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Bloemfontein to Pretoria 3 May 1900

“The main advance began on 3 May. It was a ‘grand sight to see the troops leave’, a South Australian nurse wrote. By midday Hutton’s brigade was pushing the Boers out of the village of Brandfort.  It was an encouraging start. Australian troops took casualties at Karee Siding on the 3 May as well as other more serious tussles at the crossing of the Vet River on 5 -6 May and the Zand River on 10 May. Kroonstad was occupied on 12 May and on 24 May the army crossed the border at the Vaal river and entered the Transvaal.  If the Boers could not always be rounded up, at least the countryside that sustained them could be ravaged. Pilkington’s Western Australian Mounted Infantry, posted as scouts to the infantry division of General Reginald Pole Carew (pronounced ‘pool carey’), a Guards officer, ransacked local farms next day – ‘and what a glorious time we had’, boasted young Trooper Frederick William Bretag, ‘rounding up all the stock we came across and going through the houses, taking everything that is of any use to us.’ That night, over on the right flank with Hamilton’s column, Lieutenant Frederick Dove did more for Australia’s reputation when he and his scouts took an engineer thirty kilometres behind Boer lines to cut a telegraph cable and destroy a railway line.”

Australian Contingents in advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, May-June 1900

Australian Horse Capt Thompson
NSW Lancers Maj Lee
1st NSW Mounted Rifles Lt-Col Knight
(less E Squadron)
E Squadron 1st NSW Mounted Rifles Capt Legge
NSW Medical team Col Williams
1st/2nd Vic. Mounted Rifles Col Price
1st/2nd Qld Mounted Infantry Lt-Col Ricardo
1st/2nd SA Mounted Rifles Capt Reade
1st WA Mounted Infantry Maj Moor
2nd WA Mounted Infantry Maj Pilkington
Tas Mounted Infantry Maj Cameron

REF: Wilcox, Craig. Australia’s Boer War. The War In South Africa 1899-1902. Oxford University Press in conjunction with AWM, Australia, 2002, ISBN 0 19 551637 0 p 80-81

  

Major John Baines with a contribution by Robin Droogleever

 

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