Topic: BW - NSW - NSWMR_A
A Sqn NSWMR
"A" Squadron, NSW Mounted Rifles
Antill Letter, 22 January 1900
The following transcript is of a letter written by Captain John Macquarie Antill, Officer Commanding the New South Wales Mounted Rifles contingent to South Africa to the New South Wales Chief Staff Officer and Assistant Adjutant General Colonel Henry Douglas Mackenzie.
22 January 1900
The Assistant Adjutant
Since my last advice nothing of importance has transpired. In accordance with instructions. Priesk has been attacked by 800 rebels on the 13th I returned on this place almost 40 miles south and awaiting reinforcements which arrive tomorrow from De Aar when it is intended to re-enter the town and I surmise march on Grequa Town and thus relieve the pressure on Kimberley. Our relief consists of a battery Royal Artillery, one Squadron of Imperial Light Horse, 2 Companies Infantry and 2 Companies Mounted Infantry was fortunately able to effect retirement without loss or mishap but only evacuated Prieska 1½ hours before it was occupied by the Boers in large numbers. Also got my prisoners away to De Aar with 1,000 sheep. The 9 horses we took are a valuable addition to the Squadron as it just fills our casualties. The men are in splendid health two only being exempt from work Private Symonds (slight fever) and Private Maxwell (pneumonia) I am very pleased to state that the discipline is all that can be derived and that the Commanding Officer Colonel Alderson has expressed his very great satisfaction with the work done by the Squadron. Lieutenant McLean and Onslow are of great assistance and Lieutenant Tooth who has had charge of the Transport has given every satisfaction. The Transport at first was a difficulty as it meant leaving De Aar with 40 mules only about 10 of which had been in harness: Warrant Officer Holeman, Staff Sergeant Wasson and all NCOs are doing good work. The duties are arduous for so small a unit there being 20 miles of front to watch. This means only about 2 nights out of bed per week. There are also 3 roads diverging from here to patrol. Greatly miss veterinary assistance having had none whatever. There is a dearth of Veterinary Officers and this country teems with horse sickness. Lieutenant McDonnell is here with us and will have medical charge of this column: Will you kindly have it promulgated that to date there has been no casualty as the men find a difficulty in procuring writing materials and the mails are very disjointed. I will be glad if you will ask General French if he has noted the papers which I arranged to have sent to him from Cape Town.
Your obedient servant
JM Antill, Captain
Commander Mounted Rifles.
Chief Staff Officer
15 February 1900
Previous: Antill Letter, 16 January 1900
War Diaries and Letters
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Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: "A" Squadron, NSW Mounted Rifles, Antill Letter, 22 January 1900