« November 2004 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in

Search the site:

powered by FreeFind
Volunteer with us.

Entries by Topic All topics  
A Latest Site News
A - Using the Site
AAA Volunteers
AAB-Education Centre
AAC-Film Clips
AAC-Photo Albums
AIF - Lighthorse
AIF - ALH - A to Z
AIF - DMC - Or Bat
AIF - DMC - Anzac MD
AIF - DMC - Aus MD
AIF - DMC - British
AIF - DMC - French
AIF - DMC - Indian
AIF - DMC - Italian
AIF - DMC - Medical
AIF - DMC - Remounts
AIF - DMC - Scouts
AIF - DMC - Sigs
AIF - DMC - Sigs AirlnS
AIF - DMC - 1 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - 2 Sig Sqn
AIF - DMC - Eng
AIF - DMC - Eng 1FSE
AIF - DMC - Eng 2FSE
AIF - 1B - 1 LHB
AIF - 1B - 6 MVS
AIF - 1B - 1 LHMGS
AIF - 1B - 1 Sig Trp
AIF - 1B - 1 LHFA
AIF - 1B - 1 LHR
AIF - 1B - 2 LHR
AIF - 1B - 3 LHR
AIF - 2B - 2 LHB
AIF - 2B - 7 MVS
AIF - 2B - 2 LHFA
AIF - 2B - 2 LHMGS
AIF - 2B - 2 Sig Trp
AIF - 2B - 5 LHR
AIF - 2B - 6 LHR
AIF - 2B - 7 LHR
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB
AIF - 3B - 8 MVS
AIF - 3B - 3 LHB Sigs
AIF - 3B - 3 LHFA
AIF - 3B - 3 LHMGS
AIF - 3B - 3 Sig Trp
AIF - 3B - 8 LHR
AIF - 3B - 9 LHR
AIF - 3B - 10 LHR
AIF - 4B - 4 LHB
AIF - 4B - 4 Sig Trp
AIF - 4B - 9 MVS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHFA
AIF - 4B - 4 LHMGS
AIF - 4B - 4 LHR
AIF - 4B - 11 LHR
AIF - 4B - 12 LHR
AIF - 5B - 5 LHB
AIF - 5B - 10 MVS
AIF - 5B - 5 LHFA
AIF - 5B - 5 Sig Trp
AIF - 5B - ICC
AIF - 5B - 14 LHR
AIF - 5B - 15 LHR
AIF - 5B - 1er Regt
AIF - 5B - 2 NZMGS
AIF - Aboriginal LH
AIF - Badges
AIF - Cars
AIF - Chinese LH
AIF - Double Sqns
AIF - Engineers
AIF - Fr - 22 Corps
AIF - Fr - 13 LHR
AIF - Honour Roll
AIF - HQ - 3rd Echelon
AIF - Marching Songs
AIF - Misc Topics
AIF - NZMRB - Sig-Trp
AIF - Ships
AIF - Ships - Encountr
AIF - Ships - Una
AIF - Wireless Sqn
BatzA - Australia
BatzA - Broken Hill
BatzA - Liverpool
BatzA - Merivale
BatzB - Boer War
BatzB - Bakenlaagte
BatzB - Belmont
BatzB - Bothaville
BatzB - Buffels Hoek
BatzB - Coetzees Drift
BatzB - Diamond Hill
BatzB - Driefontein
BatzB - Elands
BatzB - Graspan
BatzB - Grobelaar
BatzB - Grootvallier
BatzB - Hartebestfontn
BatzB - Houtnek
BatzB - Karee Siding
BatzB - Kimberley
BatzB - Koster River
BatzB - Leeuw Kop
BatzB - Mafeking
BatzB - Magersfontein
BatzB - Modder River
BatzB - Onverwacht
BatzB - Paardeberg
BatzB - Palmietfontein
BatzB - Pink Hill
BatzB - Poplar Grove
BatzB - Rhenoster
BatzB - Sannahs Post
BatzB - Slingersfontn
BatzB - Stinkhoutbm
BatzB - Sunnyside
BatzB - Wilmansrust
BatzB - Wolvekuil
BatzB - Zand River
BatzG - Gallipoli
BatzG - Anzac
BatzG - Aug 1915
BatzG - Baby 700
BatzG - Evacuation
BatzG - Hill 60
BatzG - Hill 971
BatzG - Krithia
BatzG - Lone Pine
BatzG - Nek
BatzJ - Jordan Valley
BatzJ - 1st Amman
BatzJ - 2nd Amman
BatzJ - Abu Tellul
BatzJ - Es Salt
BatzJ - JV Maps
BatzJ - Ziza
BatzM - Mespot
BatzM - Baghdad
BatzM - Ctesiphon
BatzM - Daur
BatzM - Kurna
BatzM - Kut el Amara
BatzM - Ramadi
BatzN - Naval
BatzN - AE1
BatzN - Cocos Is
BatzN - Heligoland
BatzN - Marmara
BatzN - Zeebrugge
BatzN - Zeppelin L43
BatzNG - Bitapaka
BatzO - Other
BatzO - Baku
BatzO - Egypt 1919
BatzO - Emptsa
BatzO - Karawaran
BatzO - Peitang
BatzO - Wassa
BatzP - Palestine
BatzP - 1st Gaza
BatzP - 2nd Gaza
BatzP - 3rd Gaza
BatzP - Aleppo
BatzP - Amwas
BatzP - Ayun Kara
BatzP - Bald Hill
BatzP - Balin
BatzP - Beersheba
BatzP - Berkusieh
BatzP - Damascus
BatzP - El Auja
BatzP - El Buggar
BatzP - El Burj
BatzP - Haifa
BatzP - Huj
BatzP - JB Yakub
BatzP - Kaukab
BatzP - Khan Kusseir
BatzP - Khuweilfe
BatzP - Kuneitra
BatzP - Megiddo
BatzP - Nablus
BatzP - Rafa
BatzP - Sasa
BatzP - Semakh
BatzP - Sheria
BatzP - Surafend
BatzP - Wadi Fara
BatzS - Sinai
BatzS - Bir el Abd
BatzS - El Arish
BatzS - El Mazar
BatzS - El Qatiya
BatzS - Jifjafa
BatzS - Magdhaba
BatzS - Maghara
BatzS - Romani
BatzS - Suez 1915
BatzSe - Senussi
BatzWF - Westn Front
BW - Boer War
BW - NSW - A Bty RAA
BW - NSW - Aust H
BW - NSW - Lancers
BW - NSW - NSW Inf
BW - Qld
BW - Qld - 1ACH
BW - Qld - 1QMI
BW - Qld - 2QMI
BW - Qld - 3ACH
BW - Qld - 3QMI
BW - Qld - 4QIB
BW - Qld - 5QIB
BW - Qld - 6QIB
BW - Qld - 7ACH
BW - SA - 2ACH
BW - SA - 4ACH
BW - SA - 8ACH
BW - Tas
BW - Tas - 1ACH
BW - Tas - 1TIB
BW - Tas - 1TMI
BW - Tas - 2TB
BW - Tas - 2TIB
BW - Tas - 3ACH
BW - Tas - 8ACH
BW - Vic
BW - Vic - 1VMI
BW - Vic - 2ACH
BW - Vic - 2VMR
BW - Vic - 3VB
BW - Vic - 4ACH
BW - Vic - 4VIB
BW - Vic - 5VMR
BW - Vic - 6ACH
BW - Vic - AAMC
BW - Vic - Scot H
BW - WA - 2ACH
BW - WA - 3WAB
BW - WA - 4ACH
BW - WA - 8ACH
BW Gen - Campaign
BW Gen - Soldiers
BW General
Cavalry - General
Diary - Schramm
Egypt - Heliopolis
Egypt - Mena
Gen - Ataturk Pk, CNB
Gen - Australia
Gen - Legends
Gen - Query Club
Gen - St - NSW
Gen - St - Qld
Gen - St - SA
Gen - St - Tas
Gen - St - Vic
Gen - St - WA
Gm - German Items
Gm - Bk - 605 MGC
GW - 11 Nov 1918
GW - Atrocities
GW - August 1914
GW - Biographies
GW - Propaganda
GW - Spies
GW - We forgot
Militia 1899-1920
Militia - Area Officers
Militia - Inf - Infantry
Militia - Inf - 1IB
Militia - Inf - 2IB
Militia - Inf - 3IB
Militia - Inf - NSW
Militia - Inf - Qld
Militia - Inf - SA
Militia - Inf - Tas
Militia - Inf - Vic
Militia - Inf - WA
Militia - K.E.Horse
Militia - LH
Militia - LH - Regts
Militia - LH - 1LHB
Militia - LH - 2LHB
Militia - LH - 3LHB
Militia - LH - 4LHB
Militia - LH - 5LHB
Militia - LH - 6LHB
Militia - LHN - NSW
Militia - LHN - 1/7/1
Militia - LHN - 2/9/6
Militia - LHN - 3/11/7
Militia - LHN - 4/6/16
Militia - LHN - 5/4/15
Militia - LHN - 6/5/12
Militia - LHN - 28
Militia - LHQ - Qld
Militia - LHQ - 13/2
Militia - LHQ - 14/3/11
Militia - LHQ - 15/1/5
Militia - LHQ - 27/14
Militia - LHS - SA
Militia - LHS - 16/22/3
Militia - LHS - 17/23/18
Militia - LHS - 24/9
Militia - LHT - Tas
Militia - LHT - 12/26
Militia - LHV - Vic
Militia - LHV - 7/15/20
Militia - LHV - 8/16/8
Militia - LHV - 9/19
Militia - LHV - 10/13
Militia - LHV - 11/20/4
Militia - LHV - 19/17
Militia - LHV - 29
Militia - LHW - WA
Militia - LHW-18/25/10
Militia - Military Orders
Militia - Misc
MilitiaRC - Rifle Clubs
MilitiaRC - NSW
MilitiaRC - NT
MilitiaRC - Qld
MilitiaRC - SA
MilitiaRC - Tas
MilitiaRC - Vic
MilitiaRC - WA
Militiaz - New Zealand
Tk - Turkish Items
Tk - Army
Tk - Bks - Books
Tk - Bks - 1/33IR
Tk - Bks - 27th IR
Tk - Bks - Air Force
Tk - Bks - Yildirim
Tk - POWs
Wp - Weapons
Wp - Hotchkiss Cav
Wp - Hotchkiss PMG
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
Open Community
Post to this Blog
Site Index
Education Centre
LH Militia
Boer War
Transport Ships
LH Battles
ALH - Units
ALH - General
Aboriginal Light H
Ottoman Sources

"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

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Forum called:

Desert Column Forum

WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Saturday, 13 November 2004
New South Wales Lancers 1897 to 1900
Topic: Militia - LHN - 1/7/1


New South Wales Lancers

History, 1897-1900

New South Wales Lancers [1885 - 1903]
1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1903-1912]
7th (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1912-1919]
1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1919-1929]
1/21st Australian Light Horse [1929-1935]
1st (Royal New South Wales Lancers) Light Horse Machine Gun Regiment [1936-1942]
1st (Royal New South Wales Lancers) Armoured Regiment [1942-1948]
1st Royal New South Wales Lancers [1948-1956]
1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers [1956- ]

[The elephant's head used on the badges is taken from the family crest of Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales from 1885 - 1890 and was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment from 1885 until 1928.] 

Tenax in fide - Steadfast in Trust

 South Africa 1899 - 1900

Allied with: King Edward's Horse (The King's Overseas Dominions Regiment).


The following history is extracted from Vernon, PV, ed., Royal New South Wales Lancers 1885 to 1985, Sydney 1986, pp. 24 - 39.


CHAPTER 2 - PROGRESS 1897 to 1900

QUEEN VICTORIA'S Jubilee was celebrated in 1897. Reviews and parades of the armed forces of the Empire would undoubtedly be an important feature of the celebrations, and it is not surprising to find that the opportunity was well and truly seized by the enthusiasts of New South Wales. On April 10, a representative detachment, including Lancers, Mounted Rifles and Permanent Artillery embarked on the P. & O. steamer Ballarat, the Lancers under temporary command of Lieutenant Cox, Captain Vernon being detained by business until a later date.
A Memorandum of Rolls dated April 15 1897 records the personnel of the detachment: Lancers, 33; Mounted Rifles, 42; Permanent Artillery, 56; total N.S.W. troops, 15 officers, 116 other ranks; also nine submarine miners already in England undergoing training. Extracts from General Order 68 of April 6 1897 give further interesting details:

"Detachment of N.S.W. Lancers for the purpose of undergoing a course of Military Instruction with the Imperial Troops and taking part in the Military Tournaments. Expenses to be borne by the Regiment. Procession to wharf, 4 horsed guns, Lancer and Artillery Bands, a Squadron of Lancers, Lancer Cadets, Artillery and Engineer Troops, baggage-waggons; all under Lieut-Colonel H. P. Airey, D.S.O. The tender of Jas McMahon and Co. accepted for supply of horses for the Brigade of Field Artillery 1897."

The A.A.G. at this time was Colonel H. D. Mackenzie, whose son, a member of the Sydney Half-Squadron, was included in the jubilee detachment.

As in 1893, the detachment went overseas entirely at its own expense, and it is interesting to note the particulars of subscriptions contained in a newspaper cutting of the day. Though unfortunately incomplete, this cutting indicates "the enthusiasm and interest that was aroused by the occasion". The subscriptions, totalling £1,223, included: Major Burns, £250; Berry Half-Squadron, £205; Casino-Lismore Squadron, £225; Singleton Half-Squadron, £50; Maitland Half-Squadron, £40, with substantial sums from some of the troopers. Public functions to raise funds included a Military Promenade Concert, held at the Sydney Town Hall on April 9 1897, under the patronage of the Governor and Lady Hampden, the Admiral and staff, the Lord Mayor of Sydney and the Major-General Commanding arid staff. Tickets were sold for 3/-, 2/- and 1/-. The pound being worth very much more in those days than it is now, it will be realised that this amount, with various additions, represented a very useful contribution towards the heavy expenses that such a detachment inevitably must incur.

The Agreements of Service were made between each member embarking and Major J. J. Walters, Major James Burns, Captain W. L. Vernon and Captain George Lee for six months' service, and contained amongst many others the following provisions:

(4) The C.O. shall have the power to discharge the member at any time and at any place without notice and without entitling the said member to any compensation or remuneration by way of damage or otherwise.

(6) The member shall serve in the said detachment without pay.

(10) The member shall be deemed to be engaged as a private in the detachment, notwithstanding he may be appointed to a higher rank.

(11) The C.O. has power to reduce any N.C.O. in grade or to the ranks.

(13) The member to remain subject to the "Volunteer Force Regulation Act, 1867" and, when serving with Her Majesty's regular forces, to the Army Act.

The following is the nominal roll of the detachment, with some notes on the later careers of the members:

Regimental Staff

Staff-Sgt G. E. Morris, D.C.M. in South African War, and later captain and adjutant.

Sydney Half-Squadron

Capt. W. L. Vernon, Regimental Commander, and Commander 2nd A.L.H. Brigade.
Lt F. H. King, Captain.
Lt F. C. Timothy, Lieut-Colonel, M.T.O., Egypt, 1916.
Sgt J. McMahon, Regimental Commander.
Tpr J. J. Anderson
Tpr A. J. Morton, Lieutenant.
Tptr K. D. Mackenzie

Parramatta Half-Squadron

Lt C. F. Cox , Regimental Commander; Commander 1st A.L.H. Brigade, A.I.F.
Sgt-Maj. R. C. Mackenzie, Regimental Commander.
Sgt P. F. O'Grady, Permanent Staff.
Sgt R. A. P. Waugh, Lieut-Colonel in A.A.M.C..
Cpl E. A. E. Houston, D.C.M. in S.A. War; Captain.
Tpr R. E. Harkus, Died in S.A. War.
Tpr W. H. Hillis, S.A. War; N.S.W. police.
Tpr F. S. D'A. Macqueen, Lieutenant.
Tpr P. Pritchard
Tpr F. W. Todhunter
Tpr Watts, S.A. War.

Berry Half-Squadron

Tpr J. Daly
Tpr J. S. Dooley, S.A. War; lieutenant.
Tpr W. Moffitt, S.A. War; Lieutenant.
Tpr W. Lumsden
Tpr J. Wilson

Maitland Half-Squadron

Sgt J. C. Mackenzie
Cpl H. E. Sparks

Singleton Half-Squadron

Sgt C. J. Williams, S.A. War.
Cpl A. G. Brady

Casino Half-Squadron

Tpr J. W. Campbell, Sergeant in S.A. War.
Tpr J. J. Riley
Tpr H. A. Robinson

Lismore Half-Squadron

Tpr A. T. Sharpe
Tpr P. Sexton

Arrived in England, the members of the detachment were quartered at the Chelsea Barracks. As they went abroad in London, they evoked much favourable comment, and, as in 1893, they distinguished themselves in the tournament ring. Out of five Empire Gold Medals allotted at Islington, Sergeant Williams won the one for tentpegging and Trooper Ben Harkus the one for lemon cutting. The competitions were in three groups, one each for regulars, auxiliaries and colonials. The Empire Medals were for competition among the first prize winners of the three groups. Two of the Empire Medals went to the N.S.W. Lancers, one to a Canadian and two to British Army competitors.

There was no lack of festivities during this tour. The people were celebrating the record reign of their Queen, and the doors of English hospitality stood open. The fine physique and gallant bearing of the Australians endeared them to their British comrades-in-arms, and their natural friendliness made them welcome visitors in innumerable British homes. No sight could have been more dazzling than the jubilee Procession in London. Troops from every corner of the Empire marched; foreign royalty attended; dignitaries and deputations of every persuasion swelled the throng. And, in the Daily Chronicle, the N.S.W. Lancers were described as the "flower of the Procession".

One of the most memorable excursions made by the Lancers was to High Wycombe, at the invitation of Earl Carrington, the honorary colonel. There was a parade of the local troops to welcome them, and the detachment presented the mayor with a lance, which was displayed on the wall of the town hall. Two more lances were presented to the vicar, and these were hung over the architrave of one entrance of the parish church.

Jubilee Medals were presented to the members of the detachment on July 3 by the Prince of Wales, and on August 26 they embarked for home on S.S. Himalaya. The experience, training and military temperament gained were of incalculable value, setting a new tempo for the entire regiment and offering yet another basis for sound friendship between squadrons during subsequent camps. And although the future could not at this time be foreseen, it is clearly evident today that the contacts with British troops, and the wider, richer military life glimpsed during this expedition was to stand the Australians in good stead within the next few years.

At a dinner given at the Sydney orderly room in October 1897, Captain W. L. Vernon gave an account of the doings of the Jubilee Contingent, and was cheered with enthusiasm. The Evening News of October 12 reports Captain Vernon:

"I travelled from England in August with General Sir William Lockhart, Commander-in-Chief of the forces operating against the tribes in the North West (Indian Frontier) ; also with Lord Methuen, who was going to the front. General Lockhart invited me to go to the front, but owing to the Government giving leave of absence for the trip only, I was unable to accept. General Lockhart said that if any Australian officers were sent to India, he would take care they would have opportunities of seeing everything, and by express request of the General, I have communicated this to Major-General French (commanding the N.S.W. Forces) . It has been said here the position of affairs was not serious enough in India to permit of the Lancers going, but it might happen to be so some day, and then instead of a squadron I would like to see the whole regiment offering."

Captain Vernon was followed by the Rev. G. North-Ash, for many years loyal padre to the regiment. The padre spoke of priests advancing in the van, and elaborated with glowing historical allusions, with the result that the newspapers next day chastened his Cromwellian aspirations as being more persuasive with burning brand and musketoon than with texts!

These stirring events served to rouse the fighting spirit of the regiment to a pitch that made the members of the jubilee Contingent very reluctant to content themselves with civilian life, weekly parades and any escort duty, tournament or review that might eventuate. Full-time soldiering seemed to be the only acceptable answer to their restlessness.

Lieut-Colonel Burns felt strongly that the regiment needed the maturing experiences of service outside its own familiar territory and one of his first acts was to circularise his sub-unit commanders, sounding them out on the possibility of raising a detachment for service in India. Colonel Burns maintained that "the Imperial Government require cavalry," that "the N.S.W. Government would also at small cost have their men experienced in active service" and that "the regiment would itself be much benefited; probably get Imperial pay, some 8/9 a week, and a good market for their horses in India."

A file of telegrams received in answer to this circular indicates the feeling of the various units:

Lt A. Hay, Berry "No difficulty 12 or 15 men and horses."
Capt. McEvilly, Robertson "Do not favour India or Imperial pay."
Capt. Bowman, Singleton "12 men likely to volunteer, no officers."
Capt. Markwell, Maitland "Little hope of getting men to volunteer."
Capt. C. E. Taylor, Lismore "Strongly in favour, probably 10 volunteers."
Capt. F. G. Fanning, Casino "Men will go India."
Lt Cox, Parramatta "Easily get 10 or 12 men."

When this offer went in, however, the whole idea was quashed by the Premier, Mr George Reid, whose only knowledge of soldiering, besides driving with the contingent in the jubilee Procession, was a memory of the Sudan Contingent, 12 years earlier, and that only an experience of patrol skirmishes. His reply was that he "did not wish to see a spirit of unrest and military adventure grow up in this country." Colonel Burns was obliged to wait another year for an outlet to his ambition to make his regiment efficient-efficient in the only true meaning of the term, through knowledge of the rigours and realities of active service.

Soon after gaining command Colonel Burns had set about transferring the band from West Maitland to Parramatta, the seat of regimental headquarters and this was accomplished in 1898. The strength was increased from 17 to 25; fresh horses, instruments, saddlery and music were purchased at the expense of the officers. Assistance in finding homes and new employment was given to those bandsmen who were agreeable to moving to the Parramatta district. One of these was A. E. Taylor, who had joined when the band was raised in 1891 and who was to become bandmaster from about 1909 to 1941 - 50 years of unbroken service in the band.

About 1899 the Sydney and Parramatta Lancers were issued with military saddlery as they were so often called upon to provide vice-regal escorts. During the South African War, however, all available military saddlery had to be called in to equip units going on active service. It was re-issued at the close of the war.

The annual camp of the New South Wales Militia in 1898 was held in April at Milkman's Hill, Rookwood. Besides the Lancer Regiment, the Mounted Rifles Regiment and "A" Battery, Field Artillery, the Mounted Brigade took in the newly raised 1st Australian (Volunteer) Horse. Permission had been given tardily in June 1897 to raise this additional cavalry regiment and it had been gazetted in August with an annual capitation allowance- of £5 per head. The founder of this regiment, Lieut-Colonel J. A. Kenneth Mackay (formerly of the West Camden Light Horse) was given command, and R. R. Thompson of the Lancers was gazetted 2nd lieutenant and appointed adjutant. Despite an acute shortage of members with any soldiering experience, drilling had been going on in the country districts. The men marched into camp in civilian clothes, but the 400 myrtle green uniforms ordered from London arrived just in time to be served out for the first parade. A heavy shower of rain during the parade, however, caused consternation in the ranks; every man in the regiment was dyed green! In this camp the field fighting was very fast for the limited amount of country available. The contact troops gained good training from it, and compared with some training in later years it was of particular value to the N.C.O's. Owing to limited space there was not much scope for the tactical training of officers. The men were very hardy and took no notice of discomforts.

During this camp, the previously projected idea of a term of intensive cavalry training at a home station (i.e., in Great Britain) was debated by the officers. It was felt that the members who went would be able to subscribe the funds for fares, uniforms, etc., the remainder to come by subscription from officers. But Imperial pay would be needed during the training, and it was hoped the New South Wales Government, who would draw great benefit from the project, would vote up to half the cost. Major-General French, the Commandant, approved heartily but Cabinet would do nothing.

The Imperial Government at this time was considering interchanges of troops with the colonies. Its plans, however, did not eventuate. It was Colonel Burns himself, in London later in 1898, who arranged for a squadron of one hundred to be quartered, fed, horsed, and trained at the chief cavalry centre. Lord Carrington, the honorary colonel of the regiment, and others in England subscribed about £500; on his return, Colonel Burns opened a fund with £300, and the other officers and patriotic well-wishers subscribed another £2,000. The subscriptions were still £2,000 short of the target, but £2,000 roughly equalled the passage money (steerage). The position was put before the units, and it was found that each applicant for training was quite ready to pay his fare of £20. Many of the men took substantial sums of money in addition, one country lad owning to a present of £100!

Fortunately the Government's disapproval of the detachment's departure was swept aside by some correspondence from the Imperial Government. Letters from the War Office and Mr Chamberlain, then Prime Minister, asked the New South Wales Government for particulars as to the number of men they were about to send over for training. Their hand was forced and they gave consent for the departure with a somewhat bad grace. The despatch and maintenance of the troops, said the Government, must not entail any expense to the public. Nor was any expense to the public incurred, except when war intervened.

It was decided that the period of absence should be six months, following the arrival in England in the early spring of 1899. Hard work and rigorous training would be the order of the day, both officers and men realising that everything that they learned would be of value to their regiment. No leave was to be granted, except a fortnight for all at the termination of training. The programme was to include the annual Salisbury Plains manoeuvres, and the entire six months was to be spent under the soldiering conditions laid down in the N.S.W. Volunteer Regulation Act and in the Imperial Army Act. Each man signed a nine months' "agreement" with Colonel Burns, and he was also required to remain at least two years in the regiment afterwards, in order to hand on the benefits of his experience.

On and about February 20 1899 the members of the various units arrived at the Lancer Barracks, Parramatta, and pitched their tents on the old parade ground used by the Imperial regiments for half a century. At the second morning's parade four sergeant-majors and sergeants picked men in turn until the four troops were constituted. They seemed to pick in order from tall to short, the troopers not being well-known to more than one of them. The result was an averaging in size, and although many of the home localities were partially obliterated, this method minimised the tendency to form cliques. The troops were led by 2nd Lieutenant S. F. Osborne, Berry; 2nd Lieutenant W. J. S. Rundle, Maitland; and the S.S.M. and S.Q.M.S. or their sergeants.

The preliminary training was in sword, lance and carbine exercises (sentry duty as usual was performed with the lance). The 30 grey band horses were run in and riding tests and school gone through. All but a few were good horsemen, brought up in the saddle, and by the second parade they knew which band horses to side-steel The horses returned to grass a fortnight later, bewildered, but better fed than usual. Nevertheless, the name "Hatracks" stuck to them ever after - in some cases unfairly.

From the reminiscences of H. V. Vernon, then a trooper, the following extract gives a vivid picture of the scene:

"Visualise the rough happy crowd just on the eve of adventure. Few had been on a ship; though some were well drilled and soldierlike, the majority were not; about five wore jubilee Medals; none had ever seen active service. As is usual with Australian soldiers, perfect friendship reigned throughout."

Nicknames had already been bestowed with rapidity, thoroughness, good humour and that typical Australian sense of democracy that allowed no discrimination. Most of the names stuck, to both officers and men, though in a few cases future events produced a better or more up-to-date effort.

The uniforms, though attractive, were not well cut. Hats were worn with red puggaree and cock's plumes, the regimental badge on the upturned side. Jacket, breeches and overalls were made of the good N.S.W. brown, reddish-tinged cloth of that day. The jacket was fairly good; breast pockets only, elephant's head badges on the collar and N.S.W. Military Forces buttons. The breeches were close fitting, and breeches and overalls had the double red stripe, except in the case of trumpeters and bandsmen who wore double white stripes. Leggings were of the "slip-on" or "stovepipe" variety, fastened by a strap under the instep, while the boots were elastic sided "Jemimas" - "handy for getting on quickly," writes Trooper Vernon, "but hopeless for field use". The solid nickel spurs were a source of envy to the cavalry in England, and the flat field service cap was of "N.S.W. brown" and red, with white piping. The full dress Lancer tunic, leather gloves, red and yellow girdle were part of the outfit; also the white lines which, tradition has it, are the survival of the cords carried in former times for tying prisoners, "and in which the recruit," he remarks, "for some time continues to tie himself”:

"For fatigue work," he adds, "we were served out with a tight thin blue jacket and pants which only required the broad arrow to complete them. Incidentally, I recollect the disgust on passing through Melbourne when a fatigue party of us to draw stores was sent to wait in this get-up for about an hour, at the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets. In Aldershot, however, they were found to be a necessity for `stables', drill order being taboo."

The accoutrements of the day were the blancoed shoulder belt and black pouch, the latter used for transport of "fags", blancoed sword belt with slings, the slings being billeted together when without sword. Arms were the Indian lance and pennon, sword and steel scabbard with blancoed knot. Martini-Enfield singleshot carbines, sighted to 800 yards, very accurate and light, were carried without slings, and a list of small kit and items was issued, each man fitting himself out independently. In Aldershot only officers normally were permitted to wear civilian clothes when on leave out of barracks. In fact, the penalty for infringing this rule was extraordinarily severe. "I recollect a man of the 6th Dragoon Guards," the reminiscences continue, "caught in `civvies' at Farnham, some five miles away, being given two years' gaol by court martial for this offence." An exception was made, however, for the Australians, and civilian clothes were included' in their kit. No horses or saddlery were taken.

Four days after assembling, a night display by the full squadron was given at Victoria Barracks at a Band Tattoo, and 12,000 people were present. On March 3, anniversary of the first public parade of the Sydney Light Horse and the embarkation of the Sudan Contingent, 1885, the squadron marched with the band from Paddington to the Quay. From here they were ferried by launch to the S.S. Nineveh at Dawes Point. Few had been in a ship before, but the rigging was manned as on all transports.

The following sidelights on the voyage to England are given in the reminiscences:

"The Singleton men brought a kangaroo and an emu. The latter, not being able to withstand a diet of polished buttons and badges, eventually died, partly from swallowing a two-and-a-half inch pouch belt star. The kangaroo (`Jumbo') fell 40 feet down the hold at Melbourne and led a hopeless life in Aldershot until presented to Lord Carrington for the park at High Wycombe. The programme of the Royal Military Tournament, Islington, in May and June, entered them both as 'dramatis personae'."

Tenerife being a Spanish colony, a change from uniform to "civvies" was ordered for troops going ashore, and, naturally enough, the type and cut of clothing temporarily broke up old groups and formed new. Stocks of fruit and tobacco were bought ashore, the fruit making a welcome addition to the somewhat monotonous ship's diet.

Fifty-six days out from Sydney, the Lancers arrived in London. And on a crisp April morning, led by the Coldstream Guards band, the detachment marched at a quick pace to Waterloo Station, observed along the two-mile route by an interested crowd of Londoners.

Aldershot is about 30 miles west of London, in Hampshire, and here the detachment settled into barracks without incident, attached to the 6th Dragoon Guards. From Shornecliffe, fresh from the 15th Hussars who were off to India, came the horses: good, with plenty of bone, the majority being Irish mares. "Always full of beans, most of them accurate and continuous kickers in the stalls," records Trooper Vernon, "they derived their health from three groomings and three feeds a day, and plenty of steady exercise." Their new riders had difficulty in teaching them to canter, this pace being unusual in enclosed countries, but they found that the mares trotted fast and steadily for long distances, the 6 m.p.h. laid down for long rides being no trouble to them. "The paces a regiment teaches its horses," remarks Colonel Vernon, "should be guided by the work to be done, and the class of country. But after two and a half years of responsibility in France, I advocate for Australia the trot only on roads and the slow canter on soft ground into which a regularly trained horse soon breaks of his own custom." The cavalry had to relearn its paces in Africa, many regiments taking too long to realise the Boers were beating them in horsemanship all the time. The wafer from Australia had the natural paces for the veldt and thrived better on the Karoo bushes than the Irish horse.

For the first three weeks at Aldershot, riding school chief mounted feature of the training schedule. This included some days on hills specially planted with prickly gorse, with stirrups crossed over on the wallets of the well-polished saddles.

Generally the horses were led out at 5.15 a.m. stables parade, one man, riding on numnah and surcingle, to four horses. The Australians found the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers), of whom they formed the fourth squadron, great adepts at long trots, managing the pullets like trick riders, and at this phase of cavalry work as good as any. Trained jumping was fine, and the care taken of each horse, reckoned worth £30 each, was thoroughly enforced to the great advantage of the corps.

As part of Brigadier-General French's Brigade, viz 6th D.G. (Colonel Porter) , 12th Lancers (Earl of Airlie) and 13th Hussars, the detachment soon settled down to strenuous training. The hard continual practice in sword and lance exercises developed the men rapidly, and, at the end, the average height of the squadron was close to six feet. To this practice was added a short course of musketry. Of this the cavalry seemed to get very little, the result being most noticeable next year in Africa.

"There were daily drills in the Long Valley," writes the trooper. "A stretch of some miles of grassless plain, inches deep in dust at times. For the first few weeks, during which many of the squadron were in hospital from colds which I put down to the thin `blues', the horse lines were on the edge of the valley, and our quarters in Badajos Barracks with first the 2nd Devons and then the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers ('Fighting Fifth'), just back from Egypt and Crete. When we came in from drill covered in the dust and indistinguishable, the barracks rule was to cut off the water for fear washing would hurt the skin, while our objections were ignored.

"Many field days in the country-side took place late in summer; speed and shrewd use of the hills and valleys from the officers' down to troopers' patrols made us successful and respected. Our C.O., Colonel Porter, never got used to the cantering of horses, and occasionally stopped operations by trumpet calls, but there can be no doubt he must have reversed his opinion when he was our brigadier in the Free State and Transvaal. If only a trooper could sometimes discuss matters on equal terms with higher authority - so we think!"

During a spell of intensely cold weather, the Royal Military 'Tournament was held at the Agricultural Hall., Islington. Here, from May 25 to June 8 camels as well as horses had to be looked after, the former being required for the displays which were a feature of the proceedings. Twenty-six performances of a "Cavalry Display by 6th Dragoon Guards and N.S.W. Lancers" were given, the display representing an engagement between a band of Dervishes and a patrol of Carabiniers. After the initial encounter, the Dervishes scored a temporary victory by reason of their numbers. The reinforcement of the Carabiniers by a detachment of N.S.W. Lancers, however, led to the final defeat of the Dervishes by the combined Imperial Force.

The Islington Tournament was followed by the Royal Irish Military Tournament at Ball's Bridge, Dublin, June 14 to 21. Twenty-five members of the squadron, under Lieutenant Osborne, were boarded by Sergeant-Major Harry Read at Holyhead, at 4 a.m. By some unfortunate mistake, the detachment boarded the wrong ship. On arrival, they successfully bluffed their way out of this contretemps, only to be marched from the station behind a trumpeters' band of the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, who out of devilment set a pace of 5 m.p.h. on a short 24-inch stride!

Team events in which this detachment took part were: riding and jumping, cavalry lance-exercise, cavalry sword exercise and pursuing practice, wrestling on horseback. The competitors were usually 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons and 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars. There were also numerous entries in the individual events, and at the end of a fortnight the detachment returned with some, though not a large list of prizes.

Another team went to Aberdeen, Scotland. Though they certainly did not meet the crack regiments, the members of this team took almost every prize with ease, and were overwhelmed with hospitality and friendliness by both the Scottish soldiers and the people.

Apart from these breaks in the rigours of training, little time was allowed for amusement. There were, however, one or two memorable occasions, including a night at the Empire Theatre given by Lord Carrington to the Australian cricketers and the squadron; one at the Alhambra, three days before war was declared, when an actor in a N.S.W. Lancer uniform made "Soldiers of the Queen" the current popular song, and a visit to the stables and parks of Lord Rosebery, in Buckinghamshire. Here Corporal Gould got lost in the "Maze", his feathers marking his progress by appearing over the hedges, his comrades cheering until he found his way out!

In July the 6th Dragoon Guards left for three weeks' manoeuvres and the 7th Dragoon Guards (the Black Horse) took their place, with the N.S.W. Lancers as a squadron. The Lancers heard with interest that these two regiments had not been quartered together since the Peninsular War of 1809-19. Tradition forbade friendship, for on one occasion the 6th Dragoon Guards, getting a bad mauling, abandoned their baggage on the order "Threes about", and the 7th Dragoon Guards arrived fresh and retook it, whereupon the Iron Duke gave the red jackets of the Carabiniers to the Black Horse, the blue jackets of the Black Horse going to the 6th Dragoon Guards in exchange.

The passing through, one night, of the 10th Hussars provided the Australians with yet another glimpse of tradition. When the "Shining Tenth" marched into barracks, the Lancers "mucked them in", i.e., cleaned horse and saddlery and provided bowls of tea.

Perfect August weather found the squadron trucked to take part for three weeks in the annual Salisbury Plains manoeuvres. The men found the grassy chalk down ideal for field work and entered enthusiastically into a "two schemes each day" routine, which topped off their term of intensive training to perfection.

Return to barracks was accomplished in an atmosphere of considerable expectancy and suspense. As the friction with the Boers increased, Captain Cox became more active in trying to get official sanction from the War Office for acceptance in case of fighting. Though no promise was either asked or expected from the rank and file, only a sergeant refused, on principle, to extend the duration of the trip. But when the time came for the fortnight's leave before returning to New South Wales, nothing was definite, and five members of the squadron decided to hand in regimental property and set about their private business in London. The men were warned that their ship, the S.S. Nineveh, would sail on October 10. With dramatic coincidence, on October 9 the Boers crossed into the British territories of Cape Colony and Natal, and on the 11th, England declared war. Enthusiastic demonstrations from the Londoners and speeches from the Mansion. House marked the march of the N.S.W. Lancers through the chief streets of London to the deck. Delayed for a day by fog, the squadron eventually found itself at sea, a group of highly trained men, anxious to test their strength, chafing not a little under the uncertainties inevitable to their situation.

Meanwhile, at home, applications for enlistment in the Lancers poured in from all quarters. The establishment at May 1899 had been 27 officers and 401 other ranks, a total of 428, but some 2,000 more now wished to join. It was thought risky to make the regiment too unwieldy, but some increase was made; Sydney and Parramatta were each expanded to full squadron strength in 1900 and by the end of the year the establishment and strength were roughly:

Thirteen half-squadrons of 50 men each -

Sydney, 2;

Parramatta, 2;

Hunter River, 2;

Illawarra, 2;

Northern Rivers, 2;

Richmond, 1 (formed 1 October 1900);

Windsor, 1 (formed 1 October 1900);

Newcastle, 1 (formed 1 October 1900)   

Total - 650 men

Regimental staff - 10 men

Band (Parramatta) - 25 men

Cadets (Parramatta) - 60 men

Drilled supernumeraries (unpaid) - 100 men

Grand Total - 845 men



Previous: New South Wales Lancers 1885 to 1897

Next: New South Wales Lancers, South African War


Further Reading:

1st/7th/1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse

New South Wales Lancers, Boer War Contingent

Militia Light Horse, New South Wales

Australian Militia Light Horse


Citation: New South Wales Lancers 1897 to 1900

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 1 July 2010 1:54 PM EADT
2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, AIF, Embarkation Roll, 23rd Reinforcement
Topic: AIF - 2B - 2 LHFA


2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance

Embarkation Roll, 23rd Reinforcement


HMAT A42 Boorara


2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, AIF, 23rd Reinforcement, embarked from Melbourne, Victoria on board HMAT A42 Boorara 10 May 1917.

The HMAT A42 Boorara weighed 5,923 tons with an average cruise speed of 10.5 knots or 19.44 kmph. The Boorara was previously a captured German vessel called Pfalz. It was manned by Australia officers and crew and transferred to Commonwealth Government Line, 24 June 1919.

The ensuing individual soldier's embarkation information contains the following details:

Rank on embarkation;

Full name of the soldier

Declared age of the soldier;

The last occupation held;

The last address as a civilian;

Enlistment Date; and,



Finding more about a service person.

See: Navigating the National Archives Service File 


Embarkation Roll


16996 Private Archibald Charles Donald ASHMEAD, an 18 year old Draper from Wallumbilla, Queensland. He enlisted on 18 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 27 June 1919.


16994 Private John COOK, a 24 year old Labourer from Finch Hatton, Queensland. He enlisted on 21 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 3 July 1919.


16995 Private Charles KENNEDY, a 31 year old Farmer from Allora, Queensland. He enlisted on 6 March 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 26 April 1919.


Previous:  22nd Reinforcement

Next: 24th Reinforcement


Sources Used:

National Archives Service File.

Embarkation Roll, AWM8, Class 10, Light Horse.

Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.

Collected Records of Steve Becker.


Acknowledgement: Many thanks to Steve Becker who provided much of the raw material that appears in this item.


Further Reading:

2nd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance, AIF

2nd Australian Light Horse Field Ambulance, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance, AIF, Embarkation Roll, 23rd Reinforcement

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Monday, 29 March 2010 9:15 PM EADT
1st Australian Horse Boer War Service in detail
Topic: Militia - LHN - 3/11/7


Australian Horse

Boer War Service, 1899-1900

1st (Volunteer) Australian Horse [1897 - 1903]
1st Australian Horse (Boer War) [1899 - 1901]
3rd (Australian Horse) Australian Light Horse [1903 - 1912]
11th (Australian Horse) Australian Light Horse [1912 - 1918]
7th (Australian Horse) Australian Light Horse [1919 - 1935]
7th/21st (Australian Horse) Australian Light Horse [1936-1937]
7th (Australian Horse) Australian Light Horse [1937 - 1942]
7th (Australian Horse) Australian Motor Regiment [1942 - 1943]
7th/21st (Australian Horse) Recce Regiment 1948 - 1937]
7th/21st Australian Horse [1949 - 1957]

 Hearth and Home

 South Africa 1899 - 1902

Allied with: King Edward's Horse (The King's Overseas Dominions Regiment).


Murray's account of the 1st Australian Light Horse Boer War Service


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.


1st Australian Horse marching through Newcastle to the wharf for embarkation, 14 November 1899.

[From: Sydney Mail, 18 November 1899, p. 1233.]


P. L. Murray, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, pp. 41 - 47A:




THE "First Australian Horse" should not be confounded with the "Australian Commonwealth Horse," which consisted of service battalions of Mounted Rifles, raised after the establishment of the Commonwealth, and despatched successively to the seat of war; the squadrons being from the different States. The First Australian Horse was Bush Cavalry upon the Volunteer system originally; but subsequently converted to the partial-payment, class; and raised in 1895, chiefly by the exertions of Colonel JHK Mackay, their first commanding officer, for service in the remote country districts of New South Wales. The movement became very popular; and several excellent squadrons were enrolled, of a superior class of men, who were admirably mounted. They wore a distinctive and somewhat remarkable uniform of dark green with black embroidery, of the hussar pattern; with handsome belts and accoutrements, including sabretaches. For irregular cavalry they attained a high standards of proficiency; and when the war broke out they were not behind their comrades of the other arms in seeking service, or obtaining honour.

The First Australian Horse despatched two Contingents; the first of which departed on the 14th November, 1899, taking their own horses with them. It consisted of 2 officers and 32 sergeants and rank and file, with 36 horses. Of these, 1 died, 1 officer and 2 others returned to Australia, 28 were transferred to the second Contingent, and 1 officer and 1 trooper were commissioned in the Imperial Army.

The second Contingent or service squadron left on the 17th January, 1900. It comprised 5 officers and 102 others, with 28 that joined subsequently from the first Contingent, and 112 horses. One man joined in Western Australia and one in South Africa. Of these, 3 officers and 8 others were killed or died; 1 officer suit 121 others returned to Australia; 1 officer and 1 other quitted the corps in South Africa; and 1 officer and 2 others were commissioned in the Imperial Army. The squadron arrived in Sydney on 2nd May, 1901.

For the detachment the conditions were:- Men to be good shots and proficient swordsman, of superior physique, not under 5 ft. 6 in. or 34 in. chest; good riders and bushmen, accustomed to find their way about in strange country. Horses to be up to 16 or 17 stone, and fit to carry that weight day after day.


Clothing, etc.

Uniform consisted of brown F.S. jacket and pants, with puttees and hat. Vide clothing issued to 1st Mounted Rifles, see Murray page 57.

Arms and equipment:- M.E. Carbines, swords, cartridge-belts with supporting braces. Fully horned and provided with saddles.

Also provided with Regimental transport.


Record of Service.

The first, Contingent of this regiment, comprising 2 officers and 32 non-commissioned officers and men, with Lieutenant Willoughby Dowling in command, left Newcastle, New South Wales, in SS Langton Grange on 14th November, and arrived at Cape Town on 13th December, 1899.

On arrival they were attached to the Royal Scots Greys serving in General French's cavalry division. Present at battle of Slingersfontain on 16th January, in which they were sharply handled; Lieutenant Dowling being severely wounded and captured, Sergeant Major Griffin killed, and Corporal Kirkpatrick severely wounded, afterwards dying of his wounds. Sergeant Major Griffin was the first Australian soldier who fell in the war. Present at various actions in Cape Colony during February.

Early in March the Service Squadron, which recently arrived from Australia, joined.

The Service Squadron, 1st Australian Horse, embarked at Sydney, on transport Surrey, on 17th January, and arrived at Cape Town on 23rd February, 1900.

Ordered to Modder River, arriving there on 3rd March; proceeded to Ossfontein and joined the Royal Scots Grays on 6th. Took part in the battle of Poplar Grove on the 7th March. Present at Dreifontein, 10th March, and occupation of Bloemfontein, 11th March. Formed portion of escort to Thabu 'Nehu under Major Allenby, Inniskilling Dragoons.

Present at Karee Siding, 29th March, under very heavy fire for some time. Present at Sannas Post and at affair at Evans’ Farm.

Joined advance to Pretoria, 6th May. Took part in battle of Zand River, 10th May, when the squadron formed part of an attacking force ordered to take some kopjes which were found to be so strongly occupied that the attacking force, after suffering heavy loss, was compelled to retire. In this affair Lieutenant Wilkinson and two men were taken prisoners and two men were killed. Present at capture of Kroonstadt, 12th May. Continued with advance to Pretoria, taking part in various actions en route. Present at the surrender of Pretoria, 5th June; release of prisoners at Waterval on 6th; and battle of Diamond Hill on the 9th.

Lieutenant Wilkinson assumed command on 2nd July. On 8th, the squadron moved to Crocodile River and took part in a smart engagement at Zilicats Nek on the 11th inst.; also in affair at Kameel Drift on 16th., and various minor affairs during the remainder of this month.

On 10th August, Lieutenant Vaughn was ordered into hospital at Pretoria, Lieutenant Wilkinson being the only officer left with the squadron.

Present at battle of Belfast on 27th; the splendid scouting of the Australian Horse enabling General French to turn the Boer right flank, and compel them to retire.

The squadron was engaged almost daily during the month of September, including the occupation of Barberton. Took part in operations round Ermelo and Bethel, where some heavy fighting took place; in fact the squadron was engaged almost every day during October.

Returned to Pretoria for a much needed rest on 29th October, and remained until 12th December, on which date it was ordered to Machadodorp, joining some Queenslanders and Sough Australians, and employed patrolling railway line. Ordered to Belfast rot 10th February, where remounts ware obtained; and, on 14th, took part in sharp action near Belfast, the Australian Home being complimented by General Kitchener on their gallant conduct.

On 25th February the squadron entrained at Middelberg for Pretoria, en route for Australia, and on 31st March embarked on SS Tongariro at Cape Town, and arrived at Sydney on 2nd May, 1901.



First Contingent

13th January, 1900 Arundel and Colesberg Districts.
12th February, 1900 Reit River.
13th February, 1900 Klip Drift, Modder River.
15th February, 1900 Relief of Kimberley.
16th February, 1900 Donrfieid.
18th February, 1900 Paardeberg.

Both Contingents.

8th March, 1900 Poplar Grove.
10th March, 1900 Abraham's Krall and Dreifontein.
13th March, 1900 Surrender of Bloemfontein.
29th March, 1900 The Glen or Brandfort.
31st March, 1900 Koorn Sprint. or Sannas Post.
10th May, 1900 Zand River (Ventersburg-road).
12th May, 1900 Kroonstadt.
26th May, 1900 Hartebeesfontein.
27th May, 1900 Hartebeesfontein.
28th May, 1900 Oliphant's Nek.
30th May, 1900 Doornkop.
2nd June, 1900 Johannesburg.
3rd June, 1900 Fall of Pretoria.
6th June, 1900 Waterval - Release of prisoners.
11th June, 1900 Diamond Hill.
11th July, 1900 Zilicat's or Nitrel's Nek.
16th July, 1900 Kameel Drift.
20th July, 1900 Olifantsfontein.
23rd July, 1900 Olifant’s River.
24th July, 1900 Kromdraai.
27th July, 1900 Near Middleberg.
31st July, 1900 Wonderfontein.
24th August,1900 Geluk's Farm, near Belfast.
25th August,1900 Geluk's Farm, near Belfast.
26th August,1900 Geluk's Farm, near Belfast.
27th August,1900 Belfast.
29th August,1900 Helvetia.
31st August,1900 Waterval Onder.
4th September, 1900 Bonnefoot.
5th September, 1900 Carolina.


Extracts from Report of Captain R. R. Thompson.

At 2 a.m. on 8th March, the squadron marched with the 1st Brigade of the Cavalry Division and took part in the engagement at Poplar Grove. The first shot was fired by our artillery at 5.20 a.m., the Boers replying with shell and rifle fire.

In the afternoon Trooper Palmer was shot in the head (our first casualty).

This trooper behaved very pluckily when wounded; he bandaged his own head and rejoined the ranks, until compelled to retire through loss of blood. He has since been in hospital and is now invalided to England.

No further casualties occurred amongst the men, but several horses were lost through exhaustion during the rapid advance.

The advance was continued next day; the squadron being detailed to furnish scouts, and when extended, covered in front and flanks about 5 miles of country.

10th March - Battle of Dreifontein.-The squadron moved off with the Royal Scots Greys at daybreak, and occupied two kopjes in succession and used volley firing at long ranges, which had the effect of stopping the independent firing and causing the Boers to open fire with artillery. In advancing across some open country, mounted, some Vickers-Maxim shells (pom-pomp) dropped between the 2nd and 3rd troops. One horse was killed, and Trooper Owen Taylor wounded in the shoulder. Trooper Parry, whose horse was killed, had his log broken.

This was a general engagement; 380 casualties - about 200 killed.

On Wednesday, 14th March, I heard certain British prisoners were in Bloemfontein Free State Hospital, and visited it in the hope of finding some of the Australian Horse prisoners who had been captured at Rensburg. I found Lieutenant W. V. Dowling, who had been seriously wounded, now fairly convalescent. He had lost the sight of one eye, his right thumb, and had been wounded in the thigh, but was otherwise in good health. Although he desired to continue serving throughout the campaign, the Medical Board decided that he should return to Australia.

The camp remained at "The Willows" until the 18th, when the brigade moved 4 miles further west to " Wessels Farm"; still without tents.


The Nominal Roll

Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, p. 45.


1st Australian Horse Contingent, Murray, page 45



Page 45

Vet. Lieutenant H BOWKER; Listed in Murray at p. 42; Murray states he took the 'Surrey' to Cape Town in medical charge of horses and returned by the next steamer.

947 Trooper John Henry APPLEBY; Listed in Murray at p. 45.

916 Shoeing Smith Alfred William ARMSTRONG; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900.

Squadron Sergeant Major Herbert ARNOLD; Listed in Murray at p. 45. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars (Cape Colony, Driefontein, ?, Diamond Hill, & Belfast), and DCM.

245 Sergeant Sydney Charles BARNES; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states Squadron Sergeant Major 17 February 1900. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 8 bars (Driefontein, Paardeberg, Cape Colony, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Belfast, South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902).

Lieutenant Willoughby Vincent DOWLING; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states promoted to Captain 1 January 1901, dangerously wounded at Slingersfontein where he lost an eye, captured as Prisoner of War. Released at Bloemfontein, March 1900. Invalided to Australia. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars. Lived at Bringelly, NSW died 1914.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Lancelot Arthur DOWSON; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900.

38 Sergeant Herbert Frederick DOYLE; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 21 October 1900.

Lieutenant Alfred EBSWORTH; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states killed Bronkhurstspruit 24 July 1900 - shot through forehead from long range. He was an international cricketer and 'liked by all'.

1107 Farrier Sergeant William GRAY; Listed in Murray at p. 45.

367 Trumpeter Sergeant Major George Allman GRIFFEN; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states GRIFFIN killed in action at Slingersfontein, 16 Janaury 1900. Listed as the first man killed from NSW. Memorialised on a plaque in the Sydney Town Hall.

224 Farrier Sergeant George HANSON; Listed in Murray at p. 45.

582 Sergeant Charles HARGRAVE; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states promoted to Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant, 6 February 1900. Mentioned in Lord Roberts Final Despatch, 12 September 1901.

623 Corporal James Michael JULEFF; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states promoted to Sergeant 1 December 1901.

Lieutenant Keith Kinnaird MACKELLAR; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states killed in action at Deedeport 11 July 1900. Previous service as Second Lieutenant with the 7th Dragoon Guards. He was the son of Sir Charles MACKELLAR.

137 Corporal Herbert Alfred MILLS; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states he was promoted to Sergeant 17 February 1900; invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900. Went back to farming at farmer Braidwood, NSW.

275 Corporal Harold O'BRIEN; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states he was promoted to Sergeant, 23 April 1900 and Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant, 14 December 1900.

Lieutenant James Bunbury Nott OSBORNE; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars; Commissioned in 16th Lancers, 6 March 1900. Originally from Gundaroo, NSW.

901 Trooper Sidney Carew McDonald PARRY; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states his leg was broken when his horse fell in anteater hole at Driefontein, 10 March 1900; wounded near Johannesburg; invalided to Australia and arrived on 28 May 1900.

968 Corporal William Ernest PEARD; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900.

1056 Sergeant Francis Arthur SAYER; Listed in Murray at p. 45.

811 Trooper Owen Albert TAYLOR; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states wounded in shoulder Driefontein, 10 March 1900.

1055 Sergeant Gilbert Arding THOMAS; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states commissioned in Imperial service as Lieutenant, Captain and Adjutant of the 2nd Scottish Horse. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars and the Kings South African Medal with 2 bars.

Captain Robert Roland THOMPSON; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states he was the Commanding Officer. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 4 bars.

393 Sergeant David Douglas VAUGHAN; Listed in Murray at p. 45. Originally from Braidwood, NSW. At the conclusion of his service, he enlisted in the Orange River Colony Police.

Second Lieutenant Percy William VAUGHAN; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states hospitalised Pretoria 10 August 1900 . Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars. Promoted to Captain and Mentioned in Despatches. Originally the Manager of City Bank, Braidwood, NSW.

Lieutenant John Frederick Moore WILKINSON; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states he was promoted to Captain, 1 January 1901. Captured and a Prisoner of War at Zand River, 11 May 1900. Officer Commanding 2 July 1900. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 4 bars. Returned to Sydney, 1 May 1901.

1057 Trumpeter Sergeant Alfred WILLIAMS; Listed in Murray at p. 45.

323 Corporal Rufus Roland WILSON; Listed in Murray at p. 45. Captured at Slingersfontein. An original 1897 member of the Australian Horse.

1058 Corporal Harris Dunmore Lang WOODS; Listed in Murray at p. 45; Murray states he was promoted to Sergeant, 6 February 1900; invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 April 1901.


Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, p. 46.


1st Australian Horse Contingent, Murray, page 46


Page 46
1062 Trooper John Henry Macartney ABBOTT; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray he was promoted to Corporal; invalided to Australia and arrived on 21 October 1900. Later on, commissioned in Imperial Service, Son of Sir. Joseph ABBOTT.

1063 Trooper John ALICK; Listed in Murray at p. 46, known as 'Jack' from Braidwood, NSW; invalided to Australia and arrived on 1 May 1901.

1064 Trooper John Alexander Stewart ANDREW; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states that he died at Cape Town, 5 March 1900.

984 Trooper Wallace Dalton BALL; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900 and received a NSW Government pension to 12 January 1904.

5 Trooper Thomas W BARNES; Listed in Murray at p. 46; after Rebsburg action Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 July 1900. Originally from Murrumburrah, NSW.

1065 Trooper Frederick Frank BASHFORD; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1066 Trooper Walter Montgomery BELL; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 19 November 1900. Also known as Henry BELL.

845 Trooper Alexander BISHOP; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1067 Trooper Leslie Stuart BISLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

157 Trooper William Henderson BLACK; Listed in Murray at p. 46. Invalided to Australian, and arrived at Cunningar, NSW, 7 July 1900. Originally from Murrumburrah, NSW.

747 Trooper John BONNER; Listed in Murray at p. 46; hit by shell at and killed outright at The Glen. Murray states Killed in Action at Glen Siding, 28 March 1900. Originally a stockman from Rylstone, NSW. Brother to 912 Trooper William Thomas BONNER.

912 Trooper William Thomas BONNER; Listed in Murray at p. 46. Originally a stockman from Rylstone, NSW. Brother to 747 Trooper John BONNER.

1061 Corporal Trumpeter David Henry Trayer BOOTH; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 November 1900. Originally from Murrumburrah, NSW.

641 Trooper William BORELAND; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 9 December 1900 and received a NSW Government pension to 12 January 1904. Originally from Murrumburrah, NSW.

748 Trooper Charles Clifton BOSSLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “C” Squadron as 301 Sergeant Charles Clifton BOSSLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 190.

990 Trooper Herbert Throsby BRIDGES; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron as 377 Trooper Herbert BRIDGES; Listed in Murray at p. 193.

1068 Trooper Henry Joseph BROSI; Listed in Murray at p. 46. Noted to have been a horse-holder at Vredens Verdrag, 10 May 1900.

1108 Trooper Peter BROWN; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1069 Trooper Donald Charles CAMERON; Listed in Murray at p. 46; captured at Kaalong, 10 May 1900. Murray states he re-enlisted as a Lieutenant with the 3rd New South Wales Imperial Bushmen 3NSWIB. Service in the AIF as Major allotted to “C” Squadron, 12 Light Horse Regiment. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer of 12th Light Horse Regiment and led that Regiment during the Charge at Beersheba. Cousin of 1070 Trooper William CAMERON.

1070 Trooper William CAMERON; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he embarked as a Lance Corporal. He was promoted to Corporal, 1 December 1900. Took part in the NSW Coronation Contingent for Edward VII, 1902. Became a NSW MLA and died 1931. Cousin of 1069 Trooper Donald Charles CAMERON.

1070 Trooper William Valentine COOPER; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

956 Trooper Reginald Belmore COX; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he died at Adelaide, 24 January 1900.

994 Trooper James CROWLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 46; re-enlisted as 39690 Trooper James CROWLEY, 2nd Scottish Horse. Promoted to Saddler. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 4 bars and Kings South African Medal with 2 bars.

996 Trooper Duncan CUMMING; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 August 1900.

391 Trooper Michael Joseph CUMMINS; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states died from enteric fever at Bloemfontein, 27 June 1900. He was born 1873 and was a farmer at Michelago, NSW.

1071 Trooper William Joseph CURRIE; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1072 Trooper Arthur Ernest D'ARCEY; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states wounded badly at Vredens Verdrag near Kroonstadt, 10 May 1900.

17 Trumpeter Ernest Anthony DOBSON; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1073 Trooper Frederick William DOLMAN; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 September 1900. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

974 Trooper Samuel John DUNN; Listed in Murray at p. 46; re-enlisted as 33410 Trooper Samuel G DUNN, 2nd Scottish Horse. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

812 Trooper William EAMES; Listed in Murray at p. 46. Believed to have been captured at Slingersfontein but escaped to Mafeking although another report states that he was one of 14 Prisoners of War released from Pretoria. Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 August 1900.

999 Trooper William John ELLIS; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900.

1060 Corporal Alexander Robert Leslie FERGUSON; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 16 November 1900. Originally from Goulburn, NSW.

737 Lance Corporal George James FIRMAN; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Corporal on 17 February 1902? – possibly 1900; he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 15 September 1900.

301 Trooper Thomas FOGARTY; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900.

892 Shoeing Smith Michael John FORD; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states wounded in the leg by shell splinter near the rail line in the Colesburg District. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900. Originally a policeman from Mudgee, NSW.

431 Trooper Samuel Charles FULLER; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Corporal. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900.

893 Trumpeter Charles Anthony GILCHRIST; Listed in Murray at p. 46. He died enteric fever while at Kimberley, 13 March 1900. Originally from Gundagai, NSW.

1007 Trooper Horace William GILCHRIST; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he died enteric fever while at Bloemfontein, 13 March 1900. However, despite being an entry on the Roll of Honour, it is suspected that this is a confusion with 893 Trumpeter Charles Anthony GILCHRIST who died of the same illness, at the same place on the same date. It is believed that 1007 Trooper Horace William GILCHRIST was appointed Lieutenant in the 3rd Australian Commonwealth Horse 3ACH(NSW). In 1914, he was appointed a Lieutenant in the AIF 7th Light Horse Regiment and died on a hospital ship of wounds sustained at Gallipoli 29 June 1915. He was born at Willoughby, NSW; and the son of Willoughby Mayor.

1074 Trooper Richard Henry GOWLAND; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 November 1900.

1075 Trooper Cecil Horace GRANVILLE; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900. Enlisted in 1914 with the AIF, 1st Light Horse Regiment and rose to Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Officer of 1st LHR. Awarded the DSO.

181 Trooper Wengel GRENENGER; Listed in Murray at p. 46. He returned to Australia on 8 January 1901. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 3 bars (including Paardeberg, Driefontein and Relief of Kimberley). Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

1009 Trooper Ebenezer HALL; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 8 January 1901.

689 Trooper John Alfred HARMER; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1011 Trooper Harold Laurence HARNETT; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

1013 Trooper James Patrick HARTNEY; Listed in Murray at p. 46. He took part in the action at Vredens Verdrag, 10 May 1900. Originally from Belltrees, NSW.

334 Trooper John William HAYDON; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

Private John Henry HEAZLETT; Listed in Murray at p. 46. Promoted to Shoeing Smith. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

1062 Shoeing Smith John Henry HEZLETT; Listed in Murray at p. 46.

585 Trooper Alexander HILL; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Lance Corporal, 17 February 1900. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900. Possibly he reenlisted as 382 Sergeant Alexander HILL with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron; Listed in Murray at p. 192.

1059 Corporal Hubert Stanley PULSFORD; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Sergeant. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 21 October 1900.

504 Lance Corporal Sydney John STRIKE; Listed in Murray at p. 46; Murray states he was promoted to Corporal, 17 February 1900.

931 Saddler Arthur Edward THRIFT; Listed in Murray at p. 46.


Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, p. 47.


1st Australian Horse Contingent, Murray, page 47


Page 47
1012 Trooper Geoffrey Hamlyn HARRIS; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally from Tumut, NSW, and at just 19, thought to be the youngest Australian to go to Boer War. [See: Enlistment ages for the Boer War - A Case Study] Enlisted in the AIF and served with the 1st Light Horse Regiment' at Gallipoli, Sinai and in Palestine. Finished the war as a Major. Awarded a Military Cross and Mentioned in Despatches.

1109 Trooper Alexander HEANEY; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally from  Murrumburra, NSW.

1076 Trooper Charles Edward HOCKLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1077 Trooper Reginald Arthur HOPKINS; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1015 Trooper Arthur Ernest HUXLEY; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was invalided to Aust arriving on 16 November 1900.

1078 Trooper Walter Joseph JAMES; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he died at Bloemfontein, 4 May 1900.

81 Trooper James Allen JONES; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was wounded in action at Colesburg District. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 28 May 1900. He received a NSW Government pension to 3 June 1903.

1079 Trooper Hedley John KIRKPATRICK; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was promoted to Corporal. Commissioned in the Imperial Service. Invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 August 1900. Originally from Bourke, NSW.

1017 Trooper William Henry LANGSFORD; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 August 1900.

965 Trooper Walter Givenap LEGGE; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then to Corporal, 23 April 1900. Enlisted in Kitchener’s Horse after completing service.

191 Trooper Joseph LOUIS; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

376 Trooper William LUFF; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 July 1900. Originally from Gundagai, NSW.

680 Trooper Richard John LYNN; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Captured as a Prisoner of War at Slingersfontein and was released 6 January 1900. Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron as 384 Trooper Richard John LYNN; Listed in Murray at p. 194. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

902 Trooper Richard MACDONALD; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 22 March 1901.

1109 Trooper James Peter MAHER; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1080 Trooper Armand Claude MALARTIC; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1026 Trooper James Bernard MARSHALL; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Enlisted as 33541 Trooper, then Sergeant James Bernard MARSHALL 2nd Scottish Horse. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 3 bars.

454 Trooper Herbert R MARTIN; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states severely wounded by shell fire at Glen Siding. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900.

894 Trooper Curtis MASTERS; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states inv. Aust arr. 16 November 1900.  Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

1084 Trooper William Vincent MCJANNETT


1084 Trooper William Vincent MCJANNETT; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1085 Trooper David MCMINN; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 6 August 1900. Originally from Braidwood, NSW.

1025 Trooper Crawford MCWILLIAMS; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Enlisted in the 1st Scottish Horse under the service numbers of 35412 and 30811. Awarded the Queen’s South African Medal with 5 bars. He was the brother of 1825 Trooper Thomas MCWILLIAM, 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles (3NSWMR) Listed in Murray at p. 129.


1081 Trooper John Walter MECHAM


1081 Trooper John Walter MECHAM; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was wounded at Vredes Verdrag near Zand River, 10 May 1900. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 September 1900.

1027 Trooper Maunsel Richard MECHAM; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was wounded at Vredes Verdrag near Zand River, 10 May 1900. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900.

1082 Trooper William Patrick MEEHAN; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he died Adelaide 24 January 1900.

883 Trooper Albert Abraham METTAM; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

686 Trooper Thomas John MINCH; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1083 Trooper Edgar Lionel MOODY; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Received a NSW Government pension to his death on 28 October 1903 then it was paid to his widow, Mrs. Eva Adelaide MOODY nee Hadwen until her death, 1932.

538 Trooper George Campbell NORTH; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states wounded by being shot through neck with the exit out of the jaw, which occurred near Johannesburg. Originally from Musswelbrook, NSW.

804 Trooper Thomas Edward OVEREND; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron as 387 Corporal Thomas Edward OVEREND; Listed in Murray at p. 193.

1086 Trooper Lawrence Alfred PALMER; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states he was severely wounded by being hit in forehead by spent bullet while at Poplar Grove. He was invalided to Australia and arrived on 24 November 1900. He received a NSW Government pension. Originally from Jerebombra, NSW.

1087 Trooper Richard Hawke PEARD; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

837 Trooper Robert Chaffey POLE; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

891 Trooper Norman C PRIDDLE; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he was promoted to Lance Corporal on 17 February 1900. He was wounded above eye from close shell burst near the Colesburg railway line. Originally from Gundagai, NSW.

1088 Trooper Ernest Arthur PRIOR; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1089 Trooper William RENEHAN; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

809 Trooper Richard NJ RESCH; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1054 Trooper Richard James ROE; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1090 Trooper Harry David SEE; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Murray states he reenlisted with the 1st Australian Commonwealth Horse 1ACH(NSW) being allotted to “B” Squadron as 201 Trooper Harry David SEE; Listed in Murray at p. 172.

1097 Trooper Louis SEIFFERT; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally from Goulburn, NSW.

1518 Trooper Charles Frederick SMITH; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally joined the 1st Australian Horse in 1897.

1092 Trooper Samuel SPITTLE; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

961 Trooper David Hugh SPRING; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 July 1900.

1094 Trooper Guildford William Jack STACKPOOLE; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he was promoted to Corporal on 6 February 1900 and Sergeant on 1 May 1901.

1095 Trooper Samuel Thomas STAFFORD; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1108 Trooper John STEWART; Listed in Murray at p. 47. Originally from Murrumburra, NSW.

1039 Trooper Benjamin David SWEETLAND; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Wounded at Vredes Verdrag. Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 September 1900.

1096 Trooper Frederick John TAYLOR; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1097 Trooper William Herbert THACKER; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1099 Trooper John WELLS; Listed in Murray at p. 47.

1101 Trooper Percy Gordon WILLIAMSON; Listed in Murray at p. 47; Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 17 August 1900.

Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, p. 47A.


Page 47A

208 Trooper James BUCHOLTZ; Listed in Murray at p. 47A.

Regimental Sergeant Major George Charles DUNCAN; Listed in Murray at p. 47A.

775 Trooper Edward THOMAS; Listed in Murray at p. 47A.

1098 Trooper Neville James USSHER


1098 Trooper Neville James USSHER; Listed in Murray at p. 47A; Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron as Second Lieutenant Neville James USSHER; Listed in Murray at p. 192. Originally from Gundagai, NSW.

1044 Trooper Thomas WALKER; Listed in Murray at p. 47A. Returned to Australia, 16 January 1901. Murray states he reenlisted with the 5th Australian Commonwealth Horse 5ACH(NSW) being allotted to “D” Squadron as 403 Trooper Thomas WALKER; Listed in Murray at p. 194. Originally from Murrumburra, NSW.

1100 Trooper Theodore Vehlmes WESSELL; Listed in Murray at p. 47A; Murray states that he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Murray states severely wounded by shell fire at Glen Siding. Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 12 November 1900.

1102 Trooper Robert Frank WILSON


1102 Trooper Robert Frank WILSON; Listed in Murray at p. 47A; Murray states that he died at Bloemfontein, 16 May 1900. Originally from Goulburn, NSW.

1049 Trooper Eli Alexander WINDSOR; Listed in Murray at p. 47A; Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 30 July 1900.

1103 Trooper Frederick Harold WINDSOR; Listed in Murray at p. 47A.

1104 Trooper Joseph James WINTER; Listed in Murray at p. 47A.

1106 Trooper Selwyn Herbert YARRINGTON; Listed in Murray at p. 47A; Murray states that he was invalided to Australia and arrived on 13 September 1900. Originally from Wingham and Upper Manning District, NSW.


The last word on the participation of the 1st Australia Horse is summed up by 1062 Corporal John Henry Macartney ABBOTT, the son of Sir Joseph ABBOTT and was later on, commissioned in Imperial Service. 

Why did we ever come? This isn't charging into battle. This isn't racing through flying foe. This isn't getting the Victoria Cross. Where is all the 'pomp and circumstance of war?  Where's anything but dirt, and discomfort, and starvation, and nigger-driving? Who wants to participate in a shabby war like this?

Regardless of these sentiments, the 1st Australian Horse members conducted themselves in a manner that impressed all who saw them, especially the men from the Scottish Greys with whom they were attached.


[Note: All photographs of individual members from the Australian Horse are extracted from a group photograph published in the Sydney Mail, 20 January 1900, p. 148.]


Further Reading:

3rd/11th/7th Australian Light Horse

Militia Light Horse, New South Wales

Australian Militia Light Horse


Citation: 1st Australian Horse Boer War Service in detail

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Friday, 2 July 2010 9:48 PM EADT
New South Wales Mounted Rifles, History, Part 3, 1891
Topic: Militia - LHN - 2/9/6


New South Wales Mounted Rifles

History, Part 3, 1891

New South Wales Mounted Rifles [1888 - 1903]
2nd (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) Australian Light Horse [1903 - 1912]
9th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) Australian Light Horse [1912 - 1918]
6th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) Australian Light Horse [1918 - 1941]
6th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) Motor Regiment [1941 - 1943]
6th Australian Armoured Car Regiment [1941 - 1943]
6th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles) Motor Regiment [1948 - 1949]
6th New South Wales Mounted Rifles [1949 - 1958]
Royal New South Wales Regiment [1958 - 1960]

Toujours pret - Always Ready

March - The Kynegad Slashers

 South Africa 1899 - 1902

Allied with: King Edward's Horse (The King's Overseas Dominions Regiment).


The following is the third extract from a manuscript written by an anonymous author. The hand written manuscript outlines the history of the 2nd ALHR NSW Mounted Rifles from commencement in 1888, until 5 April 1899, when history ceases. From the internal evidence of the manuscript, it appears to have been composed sometime from July 1903 to 1904.


The anonymous manuscript.


The third extract from the manuscript.


Regimental Band formed 1891

On the 16th January 1891, a Regimental Band of 17 musicians was added to the establishment, and was raised at Camden.

Encampment 1891

On the 27th March 1891, the Regiment assembled and marched into camp at Campbelltown to participate in the Annual manoeuvres at Easter, extending over nine days. On conclusion of the Camp, the following letter was received from the Officer Commanding the 4th Infantry Regiment.

My Dear Major Lassetter

Allow me to thank you for sending your band to play the 4th Regiment to the Railway Station on 4th inst; also to express my appreciation of the most valuable service rendered to my attaching column by the Mounted Infantry, it would be impossible for any men to work better, or to exhibit more readiness or intelligence. I consider it a most valuable force and the fork they did reflects the greatest possible credit upon their instruction. The road we came along was so bad in many places that I sent my force back to camp, as did all my mounted officers, for we did not care to risk valuable animals, how your men managed to steal along quite surprised me.

(Signed) CF Stokes, Lt Col.

Formation of Camden and Liverpool Companies, 1891.

On the 1st October 1891, the establishment of the Mounted Infantry Regiment was further increased viz: from 327 to 427, by the enrolment of 50 men at both Camden and Liverpool.


Previous: New South Wales Mounted Rifles, History, Part 2, 1890

Next: New South Wales Mounted Rifles, History, Part 4, 1893


Further Reading:

2nd/9th/6th Australian Light Horse

Militia Light Horse, New South Wales

Australian Militia Light Horse


Citation: New South Wales Mounted Rifles, History, Part 3, 1891

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Friday, 2 July 2010 10:32 AM EADT
Friday, 12 November 2004
New South Wales Lancers, South African War
Topic: Militia - LHN - 1/7/1


New South Wales Lancers

History, South African War

New South Wales Lancers [1885 - 1903]
1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1903-1912]
7th (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1912-1919]
1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse [1919-1929]
1/21st Australian Light Horse [1929-1935]
1st (Royal New South Wales Lancers) Light Horse Machine Gun Regiment [1936-1942]
1st (Royal New South Wales Lancers) Armoured Regiment [1942-1948]
1st Royal New South Wales Lancers [1948-1956]
1/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers [1956- ]

[The elephant's head used on the badges is taken from the family crest of Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales from 1885 - 1890 and was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Regiment from 1885 until 1928.] 

Tenax in fide - Steadfast in Trust

 South Africa 1899 - 1900

Allied with: King Edward's Horse (The King's Overseas Dominions Regiment).


The following history is extracted from Vernon, PV, ed., Royal New South Wales Lancers 1885 to 1985, Sydney 1986, pp. 40 - 62.


Chapter 3 - South African War

Before anchor was dropped on arrival of the squadron at the Cape, on November 2 1899, there were only hopes of being landed for service. These were pre-wireless days, and it was not known whether fighting had followed the incursion of the Boers, or whether the affair had passed over. It did not take long, however, to get the news that everything was in full swing, that what few troops there were had hurried north, and that fresh units were preparing to do so as fast as they arrived.

Captain Cox received not only a visit from the Mayor of Cape Town, but also orders from Military Headquarters at the Castle, and official cables from the New South Wales Government. There was great consternation when the order was read from Sir William Lyne, Premier, forbidding Captain Cox to land any members of the contingent under 20 years of age, and to return them to New South Wales. Following this, most of the dozen or so under that age scuttled to different parts of the ship, and some were not seen again, officially, until in camp on shore, the ship well and truly gone. Some who, under compulsion, had been returned to the ship, were to appear later in Africa with reinforcement drafts. Some received private cables urging them to return home. Altogether 29 remained on the S.S. Nineveh and returned to Sydney, as well as two who had been dismissed, had handed in government property, and were going home as civilians.

The disembarkation of the 72 New South Wales Lancers was as welcome as it was unexpected. Volunteering at Cape Town was in its very early stages, overseas men had not yet arrived, and the regiment holds the proud distinction of its squadron being the first of all English or overseas volunteers to land at any of the bases of that war.

The S.S. Kent had already left Sydney on October 28, with Major Lee and the 1st Reinforcements. This was a fine piece of quick enlistment and embarkation on the part of the regimental staff, only 18 days having elapsed since the Boers invaded British territory. Troops from other colonies, especially New Zealand, were already on the water.

Where a nation is not the aggressor, there has always been at the beginning of operations a great shortage of all sorts of equipment. In this case there were no horses, khaki clothing, or field equipment, that in possession of the squadron being unsuitable for the rough work ahead. The first problem was dealt with in characteristic Australian fashion: a few miles inland, at Stellenbosch, the squadron was very soon to be found catching, riding, and training about 70 Cape horses, mostly unbroken. These were seldom above 14 hands, and ever afterwards were referred to as "the guinea-pigs". S.S.M. Robson (6 feet 4 inches), tucked his legs up when the ground was rough!

What follows must not in any sense be looked upon as an account of the South African War in general. It is the story of the vicissitudes of a squadron, and of individuals whose adventures led them into strange situations, narrow escapes and, sometimes, a soldier's grave. The N.S.W. Lancers, attached to General French's 1 1st Cavalry Brigade until October 25 1900, when their term of engagement was up, became involved in a strenuous campaign of continuous movement. They were fortunate in serving under the man who had so lately been their brigadier at Aldershot. That he had their complete confidence and loyalty is proved by the manner in which they improvised cheerfully where necessary, and overcame with courage and determination obstacles which, in other circumstances, might easily have proved insurmountable.

At this stage of the war, British prestige was in the balance. The Boers attacked British territory while the bulk of Britain's army was in England and India. On the east they beleaguered Ladysmith and Natal, and on the west cut off Kimberley, thus forcing their will on the defending armies as they arrived, while moving commandos across country as they wished. In the centre they advanced down the main railway line, and had they known enough to bypass the junctions and move on south, Cape Town would have had to be defended and rebellion put down. Had this happened, it is doubtful whether further armies could have made good in time.

Only a fortnight after disembarkation at Cape Town, having journeyed 300 miles in a north-easterly direction, the Lancers detrained at De Aar Junction. A few miles from here, Lord Methuen was trying to force his way across the hills through the Boer lines, and it was thought that a start into action would be made as soon as the horses had got over the journey. But there was still insufficient equipment, and enough weapons for only a few. Hurriedly, a troop under Lieutenant S. F. Osborne was given what was available, and away they went, to the disappointment of the remainder of the squadron. With Lieutenant Osborne were S.S.M. Robson (Lismore), Sergeant McDonald (near Ballina), Sergeant Dooley (Berry), Corporal Hopf (Lismore), Lance-Corporal Ford (Lismore), and 23 troopers. They were called by the British regiments "The Fighting Twenty-nine". Eleven survived sickness and wounds and continued to the end: nine of these (two were prisoners at Waterval for five months) hold the distinction for the regiment of bearing eight, the maximum number of battle clasps on the Queen's Medal, two being awarded for battles in which they fought during the next few weeks, Belmont and Modder River. The Sydney Morning Herald commented on the matter at a later date: "The N.S.W. Lancers possess the proud distinction of having men who hold the record for engagements, against the whole of the regiments in the British Empire. Lieut-Colonel Cox has received for Trooper McManis eight clasps or bars, though he was only 18 years old: Belmont, Modder River, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeburg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hills and Belfast. Eight will receive these. Lieut-Colonel Cox has six battle clasps and two for his two years of service." A letter from Trooper Mick McGill of Berry, one of the "Twenty-nine", to his father, indicates that this trooper was "attached to the 9th Lancers at Magersfontein".

General Lord Methuen, greatly pleased by the work of "The Fighting Twenty-nine", repeatedly complimented them in person on their steadiness under heavy fire. Tactical work in the field was not difficult to these Australians after their extensive training in England, but being continually fired at was quite a new experience. The general expressed regret at losing them as his force became stronger, having found their scouting, and their ability to find their way on the open veldt, of great value.

On November 19 the squadron, less the "Twenty-nine", arrived at Naauwpoort, which was threatened, and next day General French arrived from Cape Town and Natal. The garrison here numbered only 945 with two 9-pounder guns, muzzle-loading. It consisted of: half battalion of the Berkshires; half battalion of the Black Watch: 25 Cape Police, and N.S.W. Lancers divided into two troops of about 20 each. One troop patrolled 12 miles north under Captain Cox, the other entrained at 5.45 a.m. and reconnoitred as far as Rensburg. All returned. The railway line nearer De Aar had been blown up, and 25 men were detailed to cover the repair party. On the 23rd Lieutenant Osborne's troop took part at the battle of Belmont, and on the Sam(; day a troop entrained at Naauwpoort, detrained at. Arundel and patrolled in that neighbourhood meeting the enemy. Daily reconnaissances and minor patrol engagements continued here for the next few days, as Boers estimated at 300 held an advanced host on Arundel Hills. When the Boers vacated Arundel, however, General French had insufficient troops to move up. Meantime, Lieutenant Osborne’s troop had taken part in the battles of Graspan and Modder River.

Early in December Major G. L. Lee with Lieutenant G. H. Allan, 2nd Lieutenants C:. W. F. P. Roberts and R. M. Heron, Veterinary-Lieutenant F. W. Melhuish and Warrant Officer (;. E. Fisher, 31 other ranks and 131 horses, largely from the N.S.W. Police, landed at (:ape Town, and joined the squadron at Naauwpoort on December 6. During this period the squadron was occupied on daily patrols and visits to farms. On one occasion a patrol was heavily fired on while drawing fire from Taaiboschlaagte, the Boer main position, and several horses were shot. Trooper Harrison (Parramatta) being left behind, Trooper Morris (Singleton) went back under close and heavy fire, got him up behind, and galloped out.

Patrols for moving over the veldt were usually four men of a section in line and from 30 to 100 yards apart. In drawing fire when near a suspected position, on a signal from the section leader they would turn round and trot back, which usually brought the desired information. If so, the trot was generally found too slow!

It was during this period that the Lancers were frequently fired at by their old friends, the Carabiniers, who, although they were familiar with the Australian hats at Aldershot, could not tell the troopers beneath than from Boers. The Lancers retorted that Australian "walers" could not be mistaken for veldt ponies. Nevertheless, khaki helmets that had arrived at the end of November and had been scornfully rejected by the men, were again issued - this time to be worn!

On December 7, the 6th Dragoon Guards, New South Wales Lancers and New Zealand Mounted Rifles moved out to Tweedale and remained there, while some kopjes, three and a half miles north of Arundel, were occupied. To these "A" anti "B" Squadrons, 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, marched in from Maitland.

There had been some heavy fighting in the neighbourhood and the enemy strength at Taaiboschlaagte was estimated at 3,000, and at Colesberg 3,000 in addition to which commandos were moving up. In the second week of December a base camp was established at Arundel, and it was to this camp that Troopers H. V. Vernon and George Cummings, who had left the Aldershot contingent in London, came to rejoin the squadron and draw horses.

As the month wore on, enemy activity intensified and an ever increasing force was entrenched at the Arundel camp. On December 11 Lieutenant Osborne's troop took part in the battle of Magersfontein, and, two days later, the Boers were beaten on the right flank by the 6th Dragoons, 6th Dragoon Guards, 10th Hussars, N.Z. Mounted Rifles and N.S.W. Lancers. At this time the enemy were pressing in closely: an attempt to surprise the camp was checked only a mile off. Fortunately there was no shortage of food for the troops, 3,000 captured sheep providing plenty of mutton.

On the afternoon of December 16, Captain Jackson of the 7th Dragoon Guards, attached to the Inniskillings, was brought into camp by Troopers Carlo Fiaschi and McPherson, and died on the way. He had been sniped at and shot from a hill about three mires towards Taaiboschlaagte while out with a patrol. When the two Lancers galloped up, he was on the point of being taken prisoner. McPherson kept the Boers at bay with rapid fire while Fiaschi (a medical student and son of Major T. H. Fiaschi, A.M.C.) bound up the captain's wounds, bullets missing them by inches. The two troopers then managed to get the wounded man on his horse, and holding him on, galloped out. This is only one of many examples of individual courage and initiative displayed by the men during their first experience of active service. Troopers McPherson and Fiaschi were thanked formally by the C.O., 6th Dragoons, Lieut-Colonel Page-Henderson.

General French established his headquarters at Arundel on December 17, and a few days later "C" Squadron 6th Dragoons under Major Allenby [1 Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby of Megiddo and Felixstowe, G.C.B., G.C.M.G.] arrived from Cape Town. The cavalry was then divided into:

1st cavalry Brigade, Colonel Porter: 6th D.G.; N.S.W.L.; N.Z.M.R.; M.I. 2nd Cavalry Brigade, Colonel Fisher: 6th (Inn) D.; 10th Hussars: M.I.

The 1st Brigade took the east of the railway line; the 2nd the west. Attached were Lieutenant West and a small troop from 5th Lancers. This troop, early in February, was sent to Stellenbosch and never seen again. Before they went, however, at a camp concert, a member of the troop sang a whole number standing on his head without any assistance; an accomplishment enviable in the music hall world, but not sufficiently impressive on active service to raise the prestige of a troop of lancers!

The heat was now intense. Though few colonial troops had seen much actual fighting, daily reconnaissance and outpost duty was carried out, a troop often being away for a week.

Two days before Christmas 32 other ranks of the 1st Australian Horse under Lieutenants Dowling and Osborne arrived (wearing helmets), and were mixed into the 1st Cavalry Brigade. On Christmas Day a tacit truce was observed, and in spite of the heat, races for men, mules, ponies and horses were held, only to be followed by the usual 4 p.m. dust storm and rain.

On the outbreak of war, Major Rimington, Inniskilling Dragoons, had raised a troop of Guides. He enlisted only men who knew the country and spoke Dutch; unless found absolutely efficient they were at once discharged. Known as "The Tigers", they became famous early in the war, their sobriquet being derived from the cat tails they wore round their hats, and for their daring. On December 26 "The Tigers" arrived in camp from Modder River, together with Lieutenant Osborne's troop and 1,000 infantry.

An all-day reconnaissance on December 28 round Taaiboschlaagte, which appeared to have been vacated, produced no finality in the matter. On the following day the Dragoon Guard horses, however, stung by hail and stampeding through to Lancer lines, swept off with their equine comrades on a circular four-mile gallop which, being uninterrupted by enemy fire, provided the required information. The last days of the month saw the occupation of Rensburg Ridge at Porter's Hill by the 1st Cavalry Brigade, and the withdrawal of the Lancer outpost troop which was marched to Rensburg. This troop moved off again later the same day, arrived at Maedar's Farm at 9 p.m. and before dawn relieved the Carabiniers near Coleskop.

Coleskop was a kopje, 800 feet high, overlooking the English town of Colesberg, then held by the Boers. Hard fighting in various open formations took place throughout the whole of the next day; the heat was great and there was no water for the horses until night, for the men until midnight. Near here, an incident in which runaway provision trucks, a rescue engine and the Lancer squadron were involved indicated, once again, that lack of initiative and imaginative leadership amongst the Boers that had allowed the British forces to consolidate their position early in the war. Subjected to heavy and continuous fire, the squadron were unable to do more than remain with the provision trucks, taking what shelter they could among them. After dark the men withdrew. Had the Boers persisted in their attack they could have taken the whole squadron.

About the middle of January the Boers made a bold attack on Slingersfontein, creeping up during dark and shelling and advancing unperceived at daybreak. Captain Maddocks with N.Z.

Mounted Rifles, rallying the surprised Yorkshire lads in possession, made a very gallant and successful bayonet charge right through the Boers ("New Zealand Hill") , and drove them off, the enemy leaving 21 dead.

What happened early the following morning can best be told in the words of Trooper Vernon:

"At 3 a.m.," he writes in his diary, "my troop, about 20 mixed Lancers and 1st Australian Horse under Lieutenant Dowling of the latter, set out on patrol. I was in charge of a prisoner at camp. About 3 p.m. Tpr Eames (A.H.) rode into camp, having escaped from a kopje where the troops had been surrounded and penned up by wire fences: Tp Sgt-Maj. Griffin (A.H.) killed; Cpl Kilpatrick (N.S.W.L.) wounded badly and Tpr Roberts (N.S.W.L.) shot in one hand. We volunteered to go in pursuit, but Colonel Porter stated the horses required rest: we then volunteered to go on foot, but he would not allow it.

"Bert Artlett's (Parramatta) horse was shot; he jumped up behind Lieutenant Dowling, but that horse was shot also. The fall stunned him, and when he regained consciousness, he took off his boots and sneaked through the Boers, reaching camp next morning. It appears all the horses were soon shot or captured, when each man built a stone krantz around him, and fought until every cartridge was expended, which we knew by counting the empties. The Boers then rushed them (remember, we carried no bayonets) . Started before light next day with ambulance waggons found Tpr Thomas (A.H.) wandering on the veldt, and the kopje with Griffin and Kilpatrick. Lieutenant Dowling had lost an eye and had been captured. The following Lancers were taken to Pretoria as prisoners, and were not seen again until June 5 1900 at Waterval (except the last two) : W.O. Fisher (R.H.Q.), Sgt McDonald, Tptr Taylor, Cpl Hopf, Tpr Daley (all of the Northern Rivers) ; Doudney (Parramatta) , Johnston (Sydney), Roberts (Singleton), M. Ford and G. Whittington (both of Sydney).

"The last two escaped from the prisoners' laager at Waterval and, after gruelling experiences and hairbreadth escapes, almost three months later, reported to the British Consul at Lourenco Marques in neutral Portuguese territory.

"Returning to the Slingersfontein fight, Cpl Kilpatrick died on the way to camp, and was buried the next day on top of a kopje behind the camp.... Found a medal of Cpl Hopf in his krantz on top of kopje, which helped to reconstruct the story; and a few days later handed in a masonic emblem that a New Zealander found and passed to me."

Arrival at a large farmhouse at Potfontein, surrounded by orchards with a large dam on a hill behind it, cheered both men and horses. The Lancers camped north of the dam and the Carabiniers to the south, Rimington's Guides were about three miles away at Kleinfontein, and the Guards two miles further on at Rhenoster Farm.

"Allowed a swim in the dam - very necessary," writes Trooper Vernon laconically; adding, disgustedly, "but as some plutocrat used soap this luxury was immediately stopped."

At the end of January 1900 General French left for Cape Town to meet Lord Roberts and arrange for his now famous march to relieve Kimberley. The Scots Greys with "A" Squadron, 6th Dragoons, attached, left for Modder River.

The Boers were now about 8,000 to 10,000 strong in Colesberg, with many guns. The Cavalry Brigade helio and flag-signalling stations were well developed, and very active at every point, a particularly good signaller being Bob Johnston (Sydney) . Johnston was often detached with General French personally up to the time of his capture at Slingersfontein. On February 2 camp was broken at Potfontein and the next day orders were received to return to Naauwpoort Junction. General French returned to Rensburg on this same day and by dark, a day later, the Lancers were back at Arundel, welcomed into camp by the sick-horselines troops. With the sick-horse troops the patrols formed a full squadron again, and on February 6, General French having left for Modder River, the squadron left Arundel for Naauwpoort, arriving at noon. Next night, the squadron's horses and gear were loaded on open trucks. The squadron left Naauwpoort for De Aar in bitter cold, arrived at Orange River about noon next day, and pitched camp near the Carabiniers.

An extract from Trooper Vernon's diary provides a succinct account of subsequent events:

"Feb. 10. The river was about five miles away; we could not pitch camp closer on account of enemy snipers. Consequently we watered horses early in the morning and at evening-20 miles without saddles. Most of the horses' backbones protruded and worked like caterpillars as they moved --- pleasant rides (1) , At 5 p.m. we were swimming and dawdling in the sandy shallows and islets in the :aver which was low, while S.S.M's Read and Robson stormed up and down the bank and could not get any to listen. Their threat was that we were to secretly truck that night for the front, but they were not believed. However, we got orders on return to truck for Belmont.

"Feb. 11. Arrived at Belmont amongst numbers of cavalry at 3 a.m. and pitched camp at daylight. Rumoured the cavalry were to move and many did. At 3.30 p.m. someone roared into camp asking Captain Cox why we had not gone. Sudden orders to mount and pack for a three days' reconnaissance; as we would return here we were only to take necessaries. It was two and a half months before we saw our kitbags again, and in the meantime we lived with only what we left with that day. In three or four weeks there was practically nothing left. The saddle carried the usual greatcoat, blanket, nosebag, waterbag, billy can, and mess tin: picqueting rope was carried around the horse's neck as a head rope, and pegs were scarce. Besides these were sword, lance and carbine in bucket.

"It was seldom there was any cooking by squadrons, two men drawing their rations together, cooking and sharing. A travelling cooker vehicle would have been a blessing... .

"From then on I was never under any cover, either tent, tree or rock until March 24 -only 42 days, but it seemed like three months. In March there was a wet weather spell of three weeks, during which we were naturally wet through all the time, and the blankets useless except as umbrellas at night."

The force to relieve Kimberley was the Cavalry Division under General French which had been organised during the first week of February. This division was made up of:

1st Brigade (Porter);
6th Dragoon Guards,
14th Hussars, one squadron of Scots Greys,
"A" Squadron Inniskilling Dragoons,
N.S.W. Lancers.

2nd Brigade (Broadwood):
Household Cavalry,
10th Hussars,
12th Lancers.

3rd Brigade (Gordon);
9th and 16th Lancers; and,
seven batteries of Royal Horse Artillery.

Two brigades of mounted infantry joined the division on February 13.

The relieving of Kimberley was a fine example of a cavalry flanking movement. The plan was for the cavalry to assemble at Ramdam on February 11, make a rapid dash around the Boer left at Magersfontein, some 45 miles from Ramdam, and enter Kimberley (about 20 miles beyond Magersfontein) from the east. To conceal this plan, a feint attack by a separate force was made on the right of the Magersfontein position, causing General Cronje to move more of his strength to that flank.

Major Rimington and his Guides were entrusted with the task of guiding French's force. After the concentration of the main body at Ramdam the plan was successfully carried out.

When, on the second day's march, Dekiel's Drift was taken and a crossing effected, the supply waggons got into difficulties, the column of transport becoming completely disorganised. After assembly on the north bank, the cavalry parted with their transport waggons, many of which were not seen again until Paardeberg.

On February 13 Lord Roberts visited the troops and witnessed their departure at 9 a.m. The column marched all that day in scorching heat without stopping or watering, until, towards evening, green bushes in the distance marked the line of the river, and longed-for water. The column, by now a vast, straggling mass of mixed units, made for Klip Drift, the spearhead driving the Boer commando from the further bank as the remainder came up. The Royal Horse Artillery shelled the Boer positions and the order was for any who could cross to do so. Several Lancers got across and joined in the rush of the 12th Lancers and M.I. In spite of the fact that as the column reassembled on the other side many men were on foot, their horses having dropped, brigades, regiments and small units formed in remarkably quick time. Large quantities of provisions and some sheep were taken.

After 24 hours' badly needed rest, General French continued his daring rush across the Boer flank and lines of communication. "Kimberley was now only 20 miles distant," writes Trooper Vernon, "and all were keyed up to effect the relief though many knew they would have to `foot it' and carry their arms. The advance in early morning led along a valley about two miles wide with Boers and guns on the hills on each flank. It was here our carbines, sighted only to 800 yards, did telling execution at from 1,200 to 1,500 yards, as the firers got good observation of strike on the dusty ground. We continually moved parties of Boers about for an hour.... The British had the same Martini-Enfield carbine as we had, except that theirs had magazines.

"The 9th and 16th Lancers charged up the valley, five yards between files, and we followed, passing many bodies from which the lance had not been extricated. But it cleared all opposition, and from then on I never saw a position held if the intention of a lance charge was shown."

The division reformed slowly on the forward march, watered at Roodekalkfontein, and met no further important resistance until close to Kimberley. Here the besieging forces were soon silenced, having been taken by surprise. The townspeople had at first feared that the helio messages of the relieving force were wiles of the Dutchmen, as news of the approach seemed incredible. But by sunset the British troops had appeared.

The march had been fast for the condition of the horses, and they as well as the men were mad with thirst. It is not surprising, therefore, that notwithstanding Captain Cox's prudent and forceful command to leave untouched the water in a dam in the compound which formed the cavalry camp, many drank. In the morning the dam was found to be covered with green slime and full of dead and cut-up cattle, a condition that probably accounts for many men going down with enteric at the same time, when in Bloemfontein. In spite of the fact at there was no food, the exhausted troops slept.

Next day the Lancers were joined with "A" Squadron, Inniskillings, since that squadron mustered only 42 horses. The whole under Major Allenby made the combined number of horses 170. In his book Major Yardley writes: "The N.S.W. Lancers, under Major Lee, were attached, and thereafter they remained with the regiment, rendering yeoman service until their return to N.S.W."

An extract from Trooper Vernon's diary describes the movement of the Division during the next few days:

"Feb. 16. Up at daylight and disgusted with the condition of our mounts . . . the 1st and 3rd Cavalry Brigades marched about 10 miles, the sand throwing up a heat that scorched even the air; several tongues were black and not a dam to be seen. On Dronfield Ridge we lay in the grass for about an hour 200 yards from a Boer trench, under their fire; during another `reinforcing', two Scots Greys, one on either side of me, were shot dead. The N.S.W.L. and `A' Sqn, 6th D, covered the retirement at nightfall which was slow as the infantry were carrying their casualties. Scores of dead horses were passed. Took prisoners including several Boer snipers in the low trees: one would not come down until gently urged by my lance point; he said he was only hiding but we found his rifle planted and many Schneider shells; handed him over to the Infantry, happy in knowing that when interned he would be forced to wash....

"Next morning, French, collecting every horse that could move, took the 2nd Bde, and doubling back commenced cutting off the Boer retreat to Bloemfontein, whereby Cronje with 10,000 men, many families and waggons was hemmed into the river bank at Paardeberg. We remained to rest and shot the horses that would not recover. Though mine was knocked up, he pulled through, and we soon had fodder and good grazing.

"20. From Kimberley with the 1st Bde and marched about miles towards Cronje: heard the shelling.

"22. Moved to Koodoesrandrift and took place in the ring around Paardeberg, eight miles distant. The 6th D.G. drove 150 captured sheep past our bivouac, and 30 were rushed and taken, but the old and close friendship of Aldershot prevailed.

"23. The next two or three weeks was a rainy season: neither blankets nor clothes were able to be dried. There was very little food. Our main task at first was the Boers to the north who might mass to relieve Cronje....

"27. Anniversary of Majuba; nevertheless Cronje surrendered with about 3,700 prisoners; actually, the first British officer to accept the surrender of any portion of the Boer force that day was Surgeon-Major Fiaschi, our R.M.O. in the Lancers at home.

"28. Rations were now a heaped handful of flour in the hand for two men, with two biscuits. Belts in the last holes, but cheery humour as usual with the cavalry.

"29. Although a leap year, this day is dropped out once every century, and we did not mind."

On March 3, anniversary of the Lancers' first public parade, 1885, the Boer shelling was very accurate. Corporal Harkus and 14 men with horses arrived, mostly Aldershot men, who had left Sydney per S.S. Moravian on January 17, arriving at Cape Town on February 16. This draft had been present at Paardeberg, but not with the squadron. They arrived in regimental uniform, not the khaki helmets which the rest now wore. The same column brought the main body of 1st Australian Horse, under Captain R. R. Thompson, the Sydney Troop's original sergeant instructor. The remainder of the 34 members of the Australian Horse who had been mixed in the Lancer ranks since December 23 now rejoined their own unit, the parting being mutually regretted.

Shortly after this the Cavalry Division moved off to the Battle of Poplar Grove. Marching and fighting from Abraham's Kraal to Driefontein, the 1st Brigade was the first to locate and engage the enemy. Later, a wide flank attack by the brigade took a hill under heavy fire, and for that day's work a clasp was issued. On March 13 the squadron formed part of an investing ring around Bloemfontein. This town surrendered after Major Weston had blown up the railway to the north and _sat the town off from Pretoria.

It was at this time that the N.S.W. Lancers lost a lot of men from enteric fever. Two men died: Corporal Harkus and Trooper Fetting. A number of others contracted the disease in varying degrees of severity: Lieutenant Roberts and Troopers Akers, Brady, Haken, Knight, Lee, O. L. Milling, T. Morris, K. McPherson, Stratford, Vernon, Wilks, Waddell, Whitney and J. Watts.

A further list shows men detailed for military police duty at Bloemfontein, and detached: Staff-Sergeant Read, Shoeing-Smith Moon, Troopers G. Baly, J. Heuston, James Johnson, McGill, Palmer, Pettigrew, Hillis, Sandon, Saville, F. Stuart, Weston, Wilson.

Bloemfontein having surrendered, it now became necessary to clean up the many Boer strongpoints and camps in the neighbourhood. On March 16 and 17 Major Allenby with 100 Inniskillings, New South Wales Lancers and Carabiniers safely escorted a convoy to Thaba 'Nchu, via Sanna's Post and back to Wessel's Farm. Two weeks later, the 1st Brigade with two days' supplies marched to Rondeheuval and took part in the action at Karee Siding. The enemy having been cleared out, the infantry took over the position, and the brigade returned to its camps near Bloemfontein on the 30th. A move was made next day to the sound of guns, the brigade bivouacking at Springfield, six miles to the south-east. The strain on the Cavalry Division was now beginning to tell, and its strength on the last day of March showed only 830 men with horses, "A" Squadron of Inniskillings turning out only five officers and four men. This was the day of the reverse to Broadwood's force at Sanna's Post, some 20 miles further east.

On April 1, with much reconnoitring as the Boers numbered many thousands, the Cavalry Division marched to Sanna's Post. The 1st Brigade brought in General Broadwood's wounded, returned to Springfield and remained there. Preparations were now being made for Lord Roberts's general advance. On April 7, after being for six weeks detached from 1st Cavalry Brigade, "B" and "C" Squadrons Inniskilling Dragoons rejoined "A" Squadron; thus the squadrons were reunited and the regiment complete, under command of Lieut-Colonel Page-Henderson. Major Yardley of the 6th Dragoons arrived from Natal and took over "A" Squadron. On a night march to Fischer's Farm during the fourth week of the month, hundreds of dead horses were passed, and in Bloemfontein enteric was still raging, 32,000 cases being in hospital.

Reading of this period, when matters were at a low ebb, it is heartening to encounter warm appreciation of Australian initiative and temperament: "The New South Wales Lancers under Major Lee," writes Major Yardley, "now formed a distinct squadron of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. All officers will testify to their usefulness, and the fine scouting and efficient work they rendered. Under splendid officers, their coolness, self-reliance and dash brought them out of difficulties where other troops might have suffered severely."

The 1st Australian Horse was similarly attached to the Scots Greys. But transfer of the New South Wales Lancers from French's division to General Hutton who commanded 13 colonial mounted units, not being cavalry, was only averted by Major Lee's request to Hutton not to persist.

During the first week of May, Captain Nicholson (Maitland), 40 other ranks ("The Forty Thieves") and 71 horses joined, and the brigade marched out of Springfield towards Rondeheuval. The objective was Kroonstad, temporary capital of the Orange Free State, where General Botha was in occupation with 6,000 Boers. By May 8, the brigade was 60 miles from Bloemfontein. Eighteen miles further on, at Vredes Verdag near Ventersburg Road Station, it was heavily shelled. An Inniskilling squadron supporting the 1st Australian Horse was practically annihilated by the Johannesburg Police Regiment, and Lieutenant Wilkinson, 1st A.H., was taken prisoner. In spite of this, the brigade pushed forward 12 miles by night, and went to the assistance of Lieutenant Rundle (formerly one of the Lancers' officers in the Aldershot squadron) and his troop of the Carabiniers.

At dawn on May 11 the brigade set out in bitter cold, most of the men leading their horses. Three thousand Boers were known to be making for the Vaalsch River Drift at Boshof Farm. A swift 15-mile march, however, brought the cavalry there first, and they bivouacked on the river bank. Major Weston again slipped among the Boer army 18 miles ahead and blew up the railway line five miles north of Kroonstad, he and Burnham, the American Scout, lighting the fuses under their hats within 10 yards of a passing commando.

This exploit completed the cavalry turning march on Kroonstad. At dawn thousands of Boers were seen streaming north. President Steyne escaped, while the Landdrost with a white flag rode out and surrendered to General French. Later, on the arrival of the main army, the formality of handing over the keys to Lord Roberts was gone through. Orders were to live on the country and that every farm must be stripped of provisions and fodder. The 6th Dragoons alone had lost 200 horses in the week, the route being 170 miles without counting patrolling and Cossack posts. Trooper Tunks (Parramatta) died, and was buried at Kroonstad; Trooper Pestell (Gerringong) was evacuated with enteric fever.

On May 20 the regiment, mustering 400 all ranks and 291 horses, set out on the march for the Transvaal. There were now only 37 Aldershot men left. After crossing the drift at Rhenoster River and Honing Spruit Junction, the brigade bivouacked in the bitter winter cold at Essenbosch, the New South Wales Lancers under Major Lee reconnoitring to Gredepoort Station. They returned after covering 45 miles and being 16 hours in the saddle with reports that the Boers in strong force had retired out of the Free State, to the north of the Vaal. On the Queen's birthday, May 24, the whole division with great difficulty crossed into the Transvaal at Vilgoensdrift. Enthusiasm was high amongst the men, and all the farms flew white flags.

The tale is now taken up again by Trooper Vernon:

"May 25. To Lindeque through intricate ravines and hills which could have been held by a few; the regiment took a terrible hill where the loss would have been great but for Major Allenby's excellent disposition of his men. Outpost at night.

"May 26. To Reit Spruit, and Vereeniging.

"May 27. To Doornkuil, the regiment again taking at Vlakfontein a strongly defended ridge with great gallantry and some loss.

"May 28. At daylight the regiment led the advance through Van Wyks Rust and was held up by heavy shelling. The N.S.W. Lancers in the centre gained Klip Spruit Farm, and cleared Oliphant's Vlei.

"May 29. After a night of frost and ice, without rest, fought to due west of Johannesburg at Doornkop, where the Jameson Raid met its fate. Sgt Moffitt and Tpr W. B. Carter evacuated with enteric. Infantry moved with us: our horses very done.

"May 30. To 10 miles due north of Johannesburg. At night Lieutenant Johnston, 6th D. with "Banjo" Paterson and six men penetrated the enemy with General French's despatches for Lord Roberts at Germiston, returning safely after hairbreadth escapes."

On June 1 the cavalry moved to Ber Vlei, and two days later crossed the Krokodile River and moved 25 miles to Kalkheuvel Pass. Here there was heavy fighting in rocky country. The Carabiniers and 6th Dragoons in advance were ambushed, and even General French galloped back, through a hail of bullets. Lieutenant Rundle (late New South Wales Lancers) had three horses shot under him, but the New South Wales Lancers and one squadron of the 6th Dragoons rallied, dismounted, went into action and prevented further panic. "All credit for this must be given to Major Allenby," writes Yardley, "the N.S.W. Lancers under Major Lee, and the Inniskillings supporting the Carbs." The division was critically jammed in a ravine all night, but luckily the Mafeking Commando retired.

The advanced guard cleared the pass on June 4, captured a large supply of provisions and bivouacked at Zilikats Nek under the Magaliesburg Range, due west of Pretoria. There were now only 30 men left in "A" Squadron.

The release of the 3,500 prisoners at Waterval on June 10 was a joyous and exciting event. "On the British coming within view of the barbed wire enclosures," writes Trooper Vernon, "the prisoners burst out cheering, and during the next few hours were headed to safety, the Boers shelling them and the 100 warders alike, and also a hospital train for the sick. The prisoners were too excited to assist in their own getting away, which lasted until after dark. Captain Nicholson and two troops of the N.S.W. Lancers did good work in the fight of 400 of the brigade against 2,000 Boers."

Yardley's account of the subsequent retirement indicates its hazardous nature: "The bold front kept by the Inniskillings and the N.S.W. Lancers under Major Allenby when the other troops retired," he says, "aided at first by a Scots Greys squadron and 1st A.H. kept back the large numbers of the enemy, gave time for released prisoners to escape, and made an orderly retreat of what would otherwise have been a rout."

"Almost at once the Lancers found their men who had been captured at Slingersfontein on January 16, five months before," continues Trooper Vernon, "W. O. Fisher, Sgt McDonald, Tptr Taylor, Cpl Hopf, Tprs Daley, Roberts and Johnston, two having escaped. All were fearfully thin and weak. Not one Lancer had been taken prisoner since, though all had had narrow escapes."

At Derdepoort the enemy drove in the patrols, but on June 9-10 after a march of seven miles to Kameel Drift, 70 Boers surrendered. The Battle of Diamond Hills was fought over the next three days, Lieutenant Heron's troop of New South Wales Lancers being the first to go as scouts. The 1st A.H., reduced to two officers and eight other ranks, went -with them; and the gunners, mistaking them for Boers, burst shell after shell over their heads with mathematical accuracy. Fortunately the bullets struck 200 yards ahead. This unit then bivouacked at Doornkraal.

During the next three weeks the men rested and rehorsed. One hundred of the 10th Hussars were distributed throughout the regiment, staying for several months, bringing the strength up to 500 men mounted. On July 8 Sergeant J. W. W. Campbell was evacuated with enteric fever, and on July 9 the regiment marched 25 miles to Grootfontein. This long march and winter weather conditions proved too much for the "soft" remounts, and many had to be destroyed. Another 25-mile march on July 10 brought the regiment past Rietfontein, and at noon of the following day Leeupoort Hill near Oliphantsfontein was taken. Building stone sangars for defence, the regiment held the position for three days, surrounded by the enemy in force. On July 14, Troopers B. F. Evans and G. E. L. Ramsay were evacuated with enteric fever.

At dawn on July 16 the enemy rushed two picquets. They were repulsed by the New South Wales Lancers. Two days later the regiment moved to Oliphantsfontein, and on July 21 the 4.7-inch gun (called a "cow gun" because it was drawn by oxen) shelled 800 Boers. During the 25-mile march to Dieplaagte a week later Captain Ebsworth, 1st A.H., an international cricketer, was killed by a spent bullet at 2,000 yards. Another march on July 24, the regiment as advanced guard in extended order, ended in a brigade bivouac at Bosmansfontein, and at daylight, in bleak and bitter cold, the brigade marched at 9 a.m., seizing Naauwpoort Drift on Oliphants River. So severe was the weather, the troops being bivouacked in torrents of cold rain, that one officer died later of exposure. On July 26, as advanced guard, the regiment seized a hill from the Boers, and moving at 10 a.m. next day, Erfdeel Drift was taken, and Greenfontein held.

There were now 440 fit horses in the regiment, which was relieved and returned to Erfdeel three days later. On July 30 a move was made to Koopermyn, officers' patrols scouring the country for a radius of 20 miles.

The month of August was full of rapid movement and frequent actions. From the regimental base at Strathrae, a patrol under Captain Nicholson, on August 2, discovered the enemy in force to the north-east, and surprising a commando at breakfast, "did some execution".

Next day "A" Squadron, whose strength was down to 30 men, made a reconnaissance to the Komati River and met with great opposition. Major Allenby sent the N.S.W. Lancers squadron to support on the left flank; this led to the retirement of the Boers and enabled "A" Squadron to push on. On the same date 100 of the Carabiniers were attached to the Inniskillings, and that night the regiment retired and took up an extended outpost line near Goedehoop. Throughout the next fortnight, the regiment, under Major Allenby, with two guns and a pom-pom and the 100 Carabiniers (Major Hamilton) held a line of about eight miles at Goedehoop. The enemy were very aggressive and in strong force all round. The greatest vigilance was necessary, and the constant outpost duty proved very trying to all ranks. The regiment was organised into six small squadrons of 40 men each. "British Warms" (short overcoats) were issued to all ranks for the first time about August 16, and proved to be of great benefit.

On August 21 the regiment proceeded to Blesbokspruit, and, marching at 4 a.m. on the 26th, fighting at close quarters all day, reached Vlakplaats on the 27th. Here it was again selected to take the ridges opposite, occupied by the enemy in force, with two guns. Marching as advanced guard through country full of precipices on the 29th, Helvetia was reached at midday, and the men bivouacked that night on the heights above Waterval Onder. Next morning the Inniskillings occupied the hills 1,000 feet above the town. In the afternoon "B" Squadron gained the town, galloping through a hail of bullets and, under cover of dark, bringing away a number of prisoners. The success caused the enemy to release all our prisoners at Nooitgedacht, a few miles away. Among the released was Lieutenant Rundle. On the last day of the month, the cavalry proceeded to Machadodorp, a town which had been used for some time by Mr Kruger as the capital of the Republic.

General French's task was now to accomplish a wide turning movement, via Carolina, on Barberton. In spite of difficult, mountainous country, full of enemy troops, this movement was successfully carried out.

On September 2 the regiment, as advanced guard, marched to Zevenfontein. Driving back small parties of Boers, it occupied Welgelegen, and on September 4 the Lancer squadron occupied an important hill commanding the Komati River. Bivouacking at Bonnevoie, officers and men had great difficulty in saving the bivouac and horses from the grass fires lit by the Boers on retreating. Some of the horses were saved from fire only to die some days later from eating tulip grass.

A march over open country on September 6 brought the force to Carolina. Trooper Avard (Maitland) was badly wounded on the way and left behind at a farmhouse.

On September 9 the march to Barberton was commenced, and, after fighting all the afternoon until late, a bivouac was made on ground gained on Buffels Spruit, without food. At 6.30 a.m, next day, the march continued to Koppie Aleen, and on September 11, with the Inniskillings again in advance, to Hlomo Hom.

Trooper Vernon's account is taken up again here:

"Sept. 12. Marched 3 a.m. and crossed the Komati River at the drift, but could not get the pom-pom along owing to the precipitous nature of the country.

"Sept. 13. After only an hour or two in bivouac, started at 3 a.m. and owing to the regiment's horses being knocked up, missed getting to Barberton direct, but marched 35 miles with guns by road, in many places sliding them down on locked wheels.

"Sept. 14-15. The regiment took up a big outpost line around Barberton. Tpr Thomas (Casino) was evacuated to N.S.W. from Machadodorp.

"Sept. 16. With two days' supplies, moved at 5 a.m., climbed 1,600 feet and occupied the heights in Eureka City overlooking Sheba Mine. A troop under Captain Nicholson proceeded down the railway line to Avoca, took 52 locomotives and several prisoners and held the place until the arrival of reinforcements a few days later. Major Yardley gives Captain Nicholson (N.S.W. Lancers) great praise … capable and worthy of a much higher command'."

In occupation of the mines, the squadrons of the regiment (Inniskilling Dragoons) were scattered four miles apart in wild, mountainous country. Water was very scarce, and food had to be brought up by aerial train. After about two weeks in this difficult terrain, the march back to Machadodorp was commenced on October 3. While on the 20-mile stretch through Devil's Kantoor, several horses and mules were killed by lightning; but by the 6th the force had passed over the mountains and reached Goodwin Station. On the march again next day, the 22 miles through a long and dusty gorge to Machadodorp was covered. Here, it was found, the opinion was held universally that Boer resistance was at an end. General Buller and some of his commanders were en route to England, while the South African Light Horse and other irregular corps were being disbanded. And so the next few days were spent by the regiment in remounting and refitting in preparation for General French's drive to clear the country to Pretoria.

On September 13, after going to the aid of a force in difficulty at Welgelegen, the regiment advanced to Carolina, crossed the Komati River and camped at Bonnevoie. Next day Carolina was occupied. Trooper Fred Avard, who had been left badly wounded at Carolina on the last occupation, had died a few days earlier. It was reported that the enemy had buried him reverently, numbers attending the funeral in tall hats and frock coats. The men found his grave beautifully decorated with flowers.

Two days later, on advance guard to Tevreden Hills, the regiment surprised the Boer main laager, and with great difficulty got out with 33 casualties in the Inniskillings. Major Yardley was shot in the thigh and his clothes riddled by bullets. That night the bivouac was at Witkraus. Next morning at 4.30 a march was started to Ermelo, with outpost duty at night. Farrier Sergeant E. Rose and Trooper A. H. King were wounded and SergeantMajor G. E. Morris and Sergeant E. A. E. Houston were awarded the D.C.M. for dashing work under fire this day.

With the rest of General French's force, the regiment marched on October 19, harassed by the enemy all day. "The New South Wales Lancers did good work," writes Major Yardley. "They worked as a squadron of the regiment and consistently rendered excellent service. They were a very fine lot of men and their officers, especially Major Lee, Captain Cox and Lieutenant Heron, were hard to beat anywhere." That night they bivouacked at Tietvlei. Moving off at 4 a.m. next morning, they reached Bethel in darkness and rain. On the 22nd the regimental convoy of 18 ox-waggons was evacuated, carrying 78 wounded for Standerton. A Boer commando took eight of the best waggons, but the remainder got through. This day the brigade still marched westward, accompanied by thunderstorms and hurricanes of hail. The storm delayed the column, the horses being terrified; some of them were killed by lightning. Vlakplaats was reached on October 24 and the brigade marched on to Witkop the next day. Major Lee reported: "We were fighting from Carolina a rearguard action right up to here, two men being wounded."

On October 26 the squadron found itself at the end of its journey: at the end, too, of its term of service in Africa. A final commendation from Major Yardley indicates the esteem in which the men were held. "Major Lee," he writes, "with his New South Wales Lancer squadron, now left on their return to New South Wales, greatly to our regret. Captain Cox, second-in-command, afterwards returned as lieutenant-colonel of the 3rd N.S.W. Mounted Rifles, and rendered admirable service for twelve months under Colonel Rimington."

A total of 170 or 171 of all ranks served with the squadron in South Africa, 2 and in addition nearly as many served with other units, while some having returned after serving in the squadron re-enlisted and went to South Africa again. In August 1902 there was a gathering of Lancers at the Australia Hotel, Sydney, to welcome a number of officers who had just returned from the seat of war. Colonel Burns is reported to have given those present the following information about the service of members of the regiment:

Aldershot detachment – 72 men
Three later drafts – 93 men
Veterinary surgeon attached – 1 men
Troopers who joined at the Cape – 53 men
Total in N.S.W. Lancers Squadron – 171 men
Sailed with other units (Mounted Rifles, etc.) – 41 men
5th Battalion, Commonwealth Horse – 119 men
Total number who served in South Africa – 331 men
Served right through – 3 men
Served three times – 3 men
Served twice – 44 men
Served once – 281 men
Total – 331 men

("In addition several old members had resigned and had gone over unofficially.")

Of the total of 331 there were 29 who finished the war as officers. Those who gained their commissions during the war included Captains Peek, McDonald, Blow and Middleton and Lieutenants Doudney, Luke, Moffitt, Hindmarsh, Gould, Pearce, Barnett, Robson, Shaw, Carter, Breckenridge, Stuart and Price.

Several months after the N.S.W. Lancers squadron had returned from South Africa Colonel Burns had felt moved to make representations for greater recognition of services rendered. On May 2 1901 he had written to headquarters "in connection with the recent distribution of honours amongst Colonial Troops and the comments of the Australian Press as to the non-participation of the N.S.W. Lancer Regiment in such distribution." In his letter he recalled some of the achievements of the regiment over 15 years, that it had been the first colonial regiment volunteering to send a squadron to the Afridi war in India (an offer which had not been accepted) and the praise which the service squadron in South Africa had received from General French and other well-known leaders; he concluded with: "I have the honour to suggest for your favourable consideration that the G.O.C, might represent to the Governor-General the advisability of recommending that the regiment might be allowed some honourable distinctive title, such as the Royal Australian Lancers, or King's Own Australian Lancers." This request was passed through the usual channels as far as the Prime Minister who concurred with the advice of the Minister of Defence that "this is a delicate matter, and might I think stand over until we have a General Officer Commanding". In April 1902 the new G.O.C., Sir Edward Hutton, wrote declining to recommend it at that time and pointing out that it would not be expedient to select any one special corps for the high distinction proposed without very careful consideration of the claims of others.



Previous: New South Wales Lancers 1897 to 1900

Next: New South Wales Lancers, Reorganised 1900 to 1912


Further Reading:

1st/7th/1st (New South Wales Lancers) Australian Light Horse

New South Wales Lancers, Boer War Contingent

Militia Light Horse, New South Wales

Australian Militia Light Horse


Citation: New South Wales Lancers, South African War

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 1 July 2010 1:56 PM EADT

Newer | Latest | Older

Full Site Index

powered by FreeFind
Let us hear your story: You can tell your story, make a comment or ask for help on our forum.

Desert Column Forum

A note on copyright

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.

Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.

A note to copyright holders

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.


Australian Light Horse Studies Centre

eXTReMe Tracker