Topic: BW - Tas - 1TMI
1st Tasmanian Mounted Infantry
Map illustrating the activities of the 1st Tasmanian Mounted Infantry in South Africa, 1900.
[From: Chamberlain, M., The Australians in the South African War 1899-1902, Canberra, 1999.]
In 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, produced a marvellous Boer War reference detailing all the contingents sent from Australia to South Africa, giving a brief history of the formation and finally, listing all the soldiers who saw service in South Africa with that unit. The book was called, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa. It is now the standard reference and starting place for any person interested in pursuing information about Australian involvement in the Boer War.
Murray, P. L., Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, pp. 546 - 548.
First (Tasmanian) Contingent.
This Contingent, which consisted of one company of Infantry (converted in South Africa into Mounted Infantry), was raised in October, 1899, under statute of the local Legislature, 63 Vict. No. 11, with an establishment of 4 officers, 1 warrant officer, 5 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 buglers, and 64 privates. It was subsequently strengthened by a draft comprising 1 officer (Medical Staff), 2 sergeants, and 43 rank and file. Men were enlisted as far as possible from the local forces; and it was notified that officers and N.C.O.'s of such forces serving in the ranks whose Position and seniority had been altered, would resume their original position and seniority on their return to Tasmania.
The following were the rates of pay from date on which officers and others reported themselves in camp, to time of disembarkation in South Africa :-Privates and buglers, 4s. 8d. per diem; corporals, 7s.; sergeants, 8s.; colour-sergeants, 9s.; warrant officers, 11s. 6d.; lieutenants, 19s.; captains, 23s. 6d.
After the date of disembarkation in South Africa, the following was the rate of pay:-Privates, 3s. 6d.; buglers, 3s. 6d; corporals, 5s. 4d.; sergeants, 5s. 8d.; colour-sergeants, 6s.; warrant officers, 6s. 6d.; lieutenants, 10s.; captains, 8s. 11d.
The difference between the two rates was paid by the Imperial Government. Any member of the Contingent was authorized to make over his pay to an agent approved by the Defence Minister. A personal allowance of £5 was granted to commissioned officers towards the cost of kit; and the cost of the valise was also defrayed from funds specially provided.
Uniform consisted of khaki cloth jacket, trousers, puttees, and field-service hat. Great-coats with capes, khaki cloth frock, and boats were also provided as wall as field-service cap, worsted cap, haversack, and a very complete kit, comprising underclothing and necessaries, water-bottles, clasp-knives, and mess-tins.
Rifle M.E. .303, with bayonet, &c., waist belts, ball-bags, and V.E. braces. Regimental transport was furnished.
It was estimated that the total weight of equipment was as follows:-For an officer-Articles carried on the person, 37 lbs. 0¼ ozs; articles carried in kit bag and kettles, 19 lbs. 10½ ozs.; total, 56 lbs. 10¾ ozs. For others-Articles carried on the person, 49 lbs.. 5¾ ozs.; articles carried in kit bag, 17 lbs. 3½ ozs.; total, 66 lbs. 9¼ ozs.
Departure And Return.
The Contingent left on the 27th October, 1899, comprising - 4 officers, 76 others, with 2 wagons. Six died or were killed; 2 were struck off in South Africa; 4 officers, 68 others, returned to Australia.
The draft was despatched on 18th January, 1900, of 2 officers, 45 others, with 2 wagons. Four died; 1 officer, 41 others returned. One officer was in charge to South Africa only.
Captain C. 9t. C. Cameron, promoted to Major, -- December, 1899. Lieutenant Wallace Brown, promoted to Captain.
Sergeants W. P. Lowther and F. B. Adams were promoted to Lieutenants, Bushmen's Contingent.
Corporal C. R. A. Chalmers, promoted Lieutenant, " E " Squadron, 3rd Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Sergeant H. Hallam, Privates C. O. Blyth, F. R. Chalmers, M. H. Swan, J. M'Cormiok, and G. F. Richardson became Lieutenants in 4th Contingent.
The First Tasmanian Contingent was under the command of Captain C. St. C. Cameron who, as an officer of the 9th Lancers, had taken part in Lord Roberts' great march across Afghanistan, and was therefore well qualified to lead theta when they figured in the mounted branch. The Company left Launceston, Tasmania, on 27th October, 1899, and embarked on board the transport Medic at Melbourne on the 28th arrived at Cape Town on 26th November. (Vide let Victorian Contingent).
The Contingent were at first on the De Aar-Modder line, where, with the remainder of the Australian Regiment, they garrisoned Enslin and other posts protecting the railways. At Naauwpoort, Cape Colony, on 1st February, 1900, they received horses, and joined General Clements' Force then holding the long line opposite the Boer position. They were engaged in operations around Colesberg, which was occupied on 28th February; but all their good service with the Australian Regiment has been narrated, under heading already referred to.
A draft of two sergeants and 43 rank and file, under Captain A. R. Riggall who took charge to Beira, and having with them Lieutenant (Medical Staff) C. Jamieson, left Hobart on 18th January, 1900; embarked in the transport Moravian at Melbourne on the 23rd., and arrived in South Africa on 20th February. They proceeded to Victoria West Road, where they were engaged on the lines of communication until the. 5th April, when they entrained for Bloemfontein, and joined the company there.
After their arrival at Bloemfontein, the Tasmanians, with the let and 2nd Victorians and the South Australians, were put under the command of Colonel Henry, whose Mounted Infantry were about the outpost line north of Glen Station. They took part in many reconnoitring patrols before the advance to Pretoria; and were in the action at Hout Nek, 30th April. Major Cameron, who had been wounded and taken prisoner (24th February) had been recaptured at Bloemfontein, and resumed command. During the march to Pretoria, which commenced on 2nd May, Colonel Henry's men were generally the screen in front of the centre and left-centre. They had very hard riding, often from 40 to 60 miles in a day, and took a prominent part in a number of skirmishes and engagements: notably Vet River (6th. Map); Zand. River (10th May), when Major Cameron was again wounded; at the coal mines on the banks of the Vaal; and in the fighting outside Pretoria.
After the occupation of Pretoria, the Mounted Infantry were mostly stationed on the eastern front. They were at the battle of Diamond Hill, and in the eastern advance from Pretoria. They were in the actions at Balmoral at the end of July, and near Belfast on 7th September. After some very hard. marching over rough country, where scouting was difficult, Komati Poort was entered on 24th September. They attended a review there on the 28th.
The total sere ice may be thus summarized :-Operatiotns round Colesberg under General Clements. Joined 4th Mounted Infantry Corps at Bloemfontein. Advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, with Hutton's Mounted Infantry Brigade and XI Division; including actions at gorse Kloof, Brandfort, Vet River, Zand River, Elandefontein, Johannesburg, and Diamond Hill. From Pretoria to Komati Poort with 18th Brigade, 11th Division; including actions at Belfast, and occupation of Kapsche Hoop.
In October, the Contingent was taken to Pretoria and there inspected by Lord Roberts.
Lieutenant J. C. Walch, S.T.A., who accompanied the Contingent as a Special Service officer, served with the Royal Horse Artillery, and was present with "Q" battery on 31st March, 1900, at Sanna's Post, when he was severely wounded on the right arm. It was at this action that, owing to the gallant conduct of the battery as a whole, four Victoria Crosses were awarded, for one officer, one N.C.O., and two gunners. Lieutenant Welch subsequently joined the Contingent.
The Contingent embarked on the transport Harlech Castle at Cape Town on 3rd November, 1900, and arrived in Tasmania on 7th December, having called at Albany, Adelaide, and Melbourne. Disbanded on 8th December.
War Service and Honours.
Cameron, Major C. St. C.-Afghan campaign, '78-'79-'80, with 5th Lancers. Medal with clasps. Bronze star - "Kabul to Candahar." Operations in Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and Transvaal, between November, 1899, and October, 1900; including advance on Kimberley, actions round Colesberg, and at Vet River, Zand River, Karee Kloof, Brandfort, and Belfast. Twice wounded Despatches, London Gazette. C.B. Queens Medal with three clasps. Aids-de-Camp to Governor-General, 8th August, 1902
Brown, Captain W.- Operations as stated, including actions round Colesberg and at Belfast. Specially mentioned in Commanding Officer's report, 7th December, 1900. Queen's Medal with three clasps.
Heritage, Lieutenant F. B.- Operations as stated; including advance on Kimberley, and actions round Colesberg, Karee Kloof, Brandfort, Vet River, Zand River, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Diamond Hill, and Belfast. Specially mentioned in Commanding Officer's report, 7th December, 1900. Queen's Medal with five clasps.
Reid, Lieutenant G. E.- Operations and actions as stated. Specially mentioned in Commanding Officer's report, 7th December, 1900. Queen's Medal with clangs.
Jamieson, Lieutenant S. C. (Medical Staff).- Operations and actions as stated except Colesberg. Specially mentioned in Commanding Officer's report, 7th December, 1900. Queen's Medal with five clasps.
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: 1st Tasmanian Mounted Infantry, Outline