"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess
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The Battle of Grootvallier, South Africa, 1 August 1901, Mentioned in Despatches Topic: BatzB - Grootvallier
The Battle of Grootvallier
South Africa, 1 August 1901
Mentioned in Despatches
Grootvallier (also known as Grootvlei), an action during the Second South African War, fought on 1 August 1901 near the Vaal River in the north-west Orange Free State.
Distinguished Service Order
Major John Stuart Mackenzie SHEA, of the 15th Bengal Lancers, for leading 200 South Australians in a night attack on Commandant Smuts's laager on the 1st August and scattering 300 Boers after hard fighting.
Mentioned in Despatches
Trooper Phillis BRANDT, of the 6th South Australian Imperial Bushmen, for conspicuous gallantry at Grootvlei.
Trooper Thomas KERMODE of the 5th South Australian Imperial Bushmen, for conspicuous gallantry at Grootvlei.
Lieutenant Sydney Colin MACFARLANE, of the 6th South Australian Imperial Bushmen, for exhibiting conspicuous gallantry and fearless leading of their men.
Captain John Alexander WATT of the 5th South Australian Imperial Bushmen, for exhibiting conspicuous gallantry and fearless leading of their men.
New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, Letter 25 July 1900 Topic: BW - NSW - NSWIB
New South Wales Imperial Bushmen
Letter 25 July 1900
New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, Letter 25 July 1900
This is an extract from the War Diary written by Major David Miller, Adjutant of the New South Wales Imperial Bushmen who arrived in the Mozambique port of Biera and then moved to Rhodesia as part of the journey for deployment in South Africa to see action in the Boer War.
Head Quarter Staff Office 00.3934
Bulawayo 25th July 1900
From: Major Miller
the Assistant Quartermaster General Sydney
I have the honour to enclose copy of my journal to date and report my departure for Mafeking on Special Service forthwith.
I have the honour to be Sir Your obedient Servant David Miller Major
OCAS Corps This should be read to the officers of the Corps and their subordinates.
It is interesting to note that this column is moving towards Mafeking, obviously to utilise this northern town, recently liberated, as a launching point to outflank the Boer forces in the north.
The Battle of Stinkhoutboom, South Africa, 24 July 1900, Outline Topic: BatzB - Stinkhoutbm
Battle of Stinkhoutboom
South Africa, 24 July 1900
Stinkhoutboom in the Orange Free State located on Google maps.
Stinkhoutboom, located some 70 kilometres north of Kroonstad in the Orange Free State and just ten kilometres south of the Vaal River, was the scene of an action during the Second youth African War fought on 24 July 1900. British forces had pursued the Boer commando led by General Christiaan de Wet north to this point, seeking to prevent his passage into the adjoining Transvaal republic and forcing him to take refuge in the Reitzburg Hills beyond the town of Vredefort. On 24 July elements of Brigadier-General C.P. Ridley's mounted infantry brigade (which included both the New South Wales Mounted Rifles and Army Medical Corps) learnt that de Wet had passed through the town the previous night, commandeering men, food and horses.
Ridley's men sped on in pursuit. At a farm called Stinkhoutboom some of the NSWMR, working with men from other units in the brigade, came upon part of de Wet's rearguard with six grain wagons. In the farmhouse they also captured several exhausted Boers who were asleep in bed still fully clothed. De Wet responded to the sound of firing by sending back Danie Theron's Scouts to make a counter-attack, supported by two guns which opened fire from concealed positions on high ground to the right. The hour-long action which followed saw the small open plain near the farm filled with several hundred men from both sides, who engaged each other at a distance often no more than 200 metres. Initially the mounted infantry were unable to hold their ground, and were forced to make an orderly retreat with the captured wagons. The end came when two guns from Ridley's brigade arrived on the scene and began shelling the Boers, forcing them to withdraw with seventeen casualties, including two men killed. The British suffered 39 casualties, reportedly including three South Australians killed and several wounded.
The engagement was principally notable for the act of a medical officer with the New Booth Wales Army Medical Corps, Captain Neville Howse, who - at the height of the fighting - rescued a young trumpeter who lay wounded without shelter in the field of fire. This act of gallantry earned Howse the Victoria Cross, the first awarded to a member of any Australian unit.
Extracted from the book produced by Chris Coulthard-Clark, Where Australians Fought - The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1998, pp. 83-84.
Additional References cited by Chris Coulthard-Clark:
L.S. Amery, (ed.) The Times History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Vol. 4 (1906), London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co.
R.L. Wallace (1976) The Australians at the Boer War, Canberra: Australian War Memorial & Australian Government Publishing Service.
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