Topic: BW - Vic - 4ACH
4th ACH (NSW)
4th Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse Victoria
Lieutenant Colonel George Jamieson JOHNSTON, Commanding Officer for the 4th ACH.
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, p. 318.
The Fourth Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse - Victorian Units.
A Battalion organised upon the same system as the Second, except that its establishment consisted of two companies from Victoria, one from South Australia, and one from Western Australia.
For details of pay, establishment, and clothing, vide; 2nd Battalion. The battalion staff prior to embarkation, also comprised a Lieutenant quartermaster (Western Australian Officer), making six officers in all, plus a chaplain. In the other battalion the quartermaster had come with the Western Australian unit.
Departure and Return
The battalion staff and Victorian units embarked on 26th March, 1902, comprising 17 officers, 235 others, with 375 horses. One died; 2 officers, 30 others were struck of in South Africa; 15 officers, 204 others returned.
The Battalion staff and Victorian units left in the transport Templemore, on 26th March, 1902. On 2nd April, arrived at Adelaide, and received the South Australian squadron; proceeded to Fremantle, and there, on 7th, half the West Australian squadron was embarked; the remainder to follow in the transport Englishman.
Arrived at Durban on 22nd April, and disembarked on the following morning . Encamped at the Show Grounds until 24th; than entrained to Newcastle, Natal, and arrived on 26th, and encamped at Kitchener’s Kop on the veldt, about 3 miles from the town. On 27th, the battalion was inspected by General Burn-Murdoch, Commandant. On 10th May, paraded at 2 a.m., and proceeded by order to Wool’s bridge, Buffalo River, where some Boer delegates were to cross on their way to Vergeeniging, the scene of the peace conference.
On 13th, started to march for Volkrust, Transvaal, thence to entrain for Elandsfontein, which was arrived at on the 18th; and there the battalion remained until 24th June, during which time it was engaged in refitting, sending sick horses to sick horse farms, and obtaining remounts. On 28th May, General Oliphant inspected tho battalion, and spoke in complimentary terms of the drill, and the cleanliness of the horse lines. On 1st June, news was received of the peace proclamation: subsequently officially confirmed, with a notification that every NCO and man was to receive 1s. 6d. worth of field stores, free, from the Field Force canteens – a concession to the troops which is said to have cost $20,000. On 7th June, a squadron, under Captain Collins, proceeded to Pretoria to take part in the service which was held next day to celebrate the cessation of hostilities. The Commanding Officer, the Second in Command, the Adjutant, and Captains Thorn and Macdonald also attended.
On 23rd, all homes were handed in to the remount depot. On 24th, the battalion entrained for Newcastle, arriving on 25th, and encamping on their former ground. Here the Australian troops were mobilizing previous to their return. On 28th, three officers and about 250 NCO’s and men of the battalion entrained for Durban, there to embark on the Manchester Merchant; these were followed on 2nd July by ten officers, to join the Britannic. The remainder were ordered to embark in the Norfolk on 7th; but this transport being unable to accommodate all, Colonel Johnston and Lieutenant Robertson, with the balance, took passage by the Drayton Grange, which arrived at Port Melbourne on 7th August.
Many of tho officers (as also N.C.O.’s and men) had seen previous service: vide nominal roll, also under various Contingents. Those who had not, received the Queen’s Medal with two clasps.
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: Boer War, 1899 - 1902, Australian Forces, 4th Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse Victoria, Outline