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Australian Contingents to the Boer War

 

The following Australian and Colonial units fought in South Africa 1899-1902. Australians also fought in other British units including the glorious Scottish Horse the Natal Field Artillery and the infamous Bushveldt Carbineers.

They universally considered themselves to be soldiers of the empire, and would have marched to "Soldiers of the Queen"

Click Here to listen to a rendition of Soldiers of the Queen (NSW Lancers Band recorded 1984)

The badge worn by the Commonwealth Horse units was an early version of the Australian Army badge.

Contingents and units are grouped by jurisdiction beginning with New South Wales. Data largely derive from Murray’s Official Records, Chamberlain’s Map History, and Austin’s Australian Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Zulu and Boer Wars; some data are approximations derived from incomplete or contrary evidence. Fatal casualties rarely include accidental deaths. Ranks given contingent commanders are the highest achieved while with that contingent. Acronyms used for decorations are VC (Victoria Cross), CMG (Companion of the Order of Saints Michael and George), CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath), DSO (Distinguished Service Order), DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal), and RRC (Royal Red Cross).

 New South Wales

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FIRST NEW SOUTH WALES CONTINGENT

NSW LANCERS

  • Original strength: 112 followed by 58 reinforcements
  • Subunits: one cavalry squadron only
  • Commanding officers: Captain C. F. Cox, then Major G. L. Lee
  • Left for South Africa: 9 October 1899 on Nineveh (departed London), 28 October 1899 on Kent, 17 January 1900 on Moravian, 16 February 1900 on Australian
  • Service: November 1899 - December 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal; with French’s cavalry division from relief of Kimberley (February 1900) to sweep to Heidelberg (October 1900); Aldershot component was the first Australian unit to arrive in South Africa (2 November 1899)
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds, three died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Cox), one DSO (Lee), two DCMs (E. A. E. Houston, G. E. Morris)
  • Returned to Australia: 6 December 1900 on Harlech Castle, 8 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: Cox papers (National Library, MS37), Vernon et al, Royal New South Wales Lancers (1985), Wilcox ‘New South Wales Lancers in England and South Africa’ (2000)

 

Click Here for more details on the New South Wales Lancers.

A SQUADRON NSW MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 104
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Major J. M. Antill
  • Left for South Africa: 4 November 1899 on Aberdeen, One troop of 2 officers and 25 ORs commanded by Lt A J M Onslow departed on the Langton Grange on 14 Nov 1899 Newcastle.
  • Service: December 1899 - December 1900 in north-west Cape Colony, Free State, and Transvaal; joined to NSW Mounted Rifles as A Squadron March- November 1900
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds
  • Decorations: one CB (Antill), one DSO (A. A. McLean), three DCMs (D. Drummond, R. C. Holman, J. Wasson)
  • Returned to Australia: 8 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: squadron history (State Records of NSW, 4/7648), Antill papers (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/3607), W. H. Barham diary (Mitchell Library, B1680)

NSW INFANTRY COMPANY/E SQUADRON NSW MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 126
  • Subunits: one infantry company/mounted rifle squadron and 1 X Maxim Machine Gun under command of Lt M W Logan.
  • Commanding officers: Captain J. G. Legge
  • Left for South Africa: 4 November 1899 on Aberdeen
  • Service: December 1899 - December 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal; joined to Australian Regiment December 1899-April 1900, converted to mounted rifles December 1899, joined to NSW Mounted Rifles as E Squadron May- November 1900
  • Fatal casualties seven killed or died of wounds
  • Decorations: two DSOs (F. A. Dove, W. Holmes)
  • Returned to Australia: 8 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: reports by Legge (Australian War Memorial, AWM1, 4/14), Wallace ‘No. 56 Private L. C. Hill’ (1976)

AUSTRALIAN HORSE/1ST AUSTRALIAN HORSE

  • Original strength: 143
  • Subunits: one cavalry squadron only
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant W. V. Dowling, then Captain R. R. Thompson, then Captain J. F. M. Wilkinson
  • Left for South Africa: 14 November 1899 on Langton Grange, 17 January 1900 on Surrey (Departure from Newcastle)
  • Service: December 1899 - March 1901 in northern Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal; with French’s cavalry division from relief of Kimberley (February 1900) to sweep to Heidelberg (October 1900)
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds, seven died of disease
  • Decorations: one DCM (H. Arnold)
  • Returned to Australia: 2 May 1901
  • Useful sources: H. L. Harnett papers (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/2507), J. H. M. Abbott Tommy Cornstalk (1902), Burness ‘Australian Horse’ (1985)

NSW MEDICAL TEAM

  • Original strength: 86
  • Subunits: field hospital and half stretcher bearer company
  • Commanding officer: Colonel W. D. C. Williams
  • Left for South Africa: 28 October 1899 on Kent
  • Service: December 1899 - December 1900 in Cape Colony, Free State, and Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, two died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Williams), four DSOs (T. H. Fiaschi. T. A. Green, A. E. Perkins, R. E. Roth), three DCMs (C. Linfield, T. Reuder, G. F. Selmes)
  • Returned to Australia: 8 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: reports by Williams (Australian War Memorial, AWM1 4/19), chapters by medical personnel in Barton Story of South Africa vol. 2 (c.1902)

SECOND NEW SOUTH WALES CONTINGENT

NEW SOUTH WALES RIFLES/1ST NSW MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Absorbed first contingent units that became A and E Squadrons NSW Mounted Rifles
  • Original strength: 405
  • Subunits: three mounted rifle squadrons (later numbered B, C, and D squadrons), five after absorbing A and E squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lt Col. G. C. Knight
  • Left for South Africa (B, C, and D squadrons only): 17 January 1900 on Southern Cross
  • Service: February 1900 - March 1901 in Free State, Transvaal, and western Cape Colony including charge at Diamond Hill (12 June 1900); absorbed A Squadron NSW Mounted Rifles in March 1900, 1st WA Mounted Infantry April 1900, and E Squadron NSW Mounted Rifles in May 1900
  • Fatal casualties (B, C, and D squadrons only): 10 killed or died of wounds, 13 died of disease
  • Decorations (B, C, and D squadrons only): three DSOs (A. J. Bennett, M. A. Hilliard, F. L. Learmonth), two DCMs (L. F. Hayward, F. W. P. Rudd), one Queen’s Scarf (A. H. Du Frayer)
  • Returned to Australia: 29 April 1901 (B, C, and D squadrons only):
  • Useful sources: A Squadron history (State Records NSW, 4/7648), F. L. Learmonth dispatches ( Australian War Memorial, PR90/107), W. A. Steel diary/memoir (Mitchell Library, ML MSS2105)

A BATTERY, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY

  • Original strength: 175 and six guns, followed by 44 reinforcements
  • Subunits: three field artillery sections of two guns each
  • Commanding officers: Colonel S. C. U. Smith, then Major E. A. Antill
  • Left for South Africa: 30 December 1899 on Warrigal, A detachment of 1 officer 1 NCO and 10 ORs commanded by Lt (T/Capt) A Fitzpatrick RAA departed on the Langton Grange on 14 Nov 1899 Newcastle. A reinforcement draught of one officer and 43 ORs departed on the Maplemore 17th March 1901 under command of Lt R G King.
  • Service: February 1900 - August 1901 in Cape Colony and Transvaal; the only professional Australian military unit to serve in South Africa
  • Fatal casualties: one killed, two died of disease
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 15 September 1901 on Harlech Castle
  • Useful sources: reports by Smith and material gathered for battery history (Australian War Memorial, AWM1 4/2 and MSS1261), Cubis History of ‘A’ Battery (1978)

 

Click Here for more details on A Battery Royal Australian Artillery.

NSW MEDICAL TEAM

  • Original strength: 108 including 14 nurses
  • Subunits: field hospital and half stretcher bearer company
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel R. V. Kelly, Lady Superintendent E. J. Gould (nurses)
  • Left for South Africa: 17 January 1900 on Moravian
  • Service: February - December 1900 in Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, two died of disease
  • Decorations: one VC (N. R. Howse, for rescuing wounded soldier 24 July 1900), two CBs (Kelly, Major W. L. Eames), one DSO (A. H. Horsfall), one RRC (E. Nixon), possibly also one DCM
  • Returned to Australia: 8 December 1900 on Harlech Castle, 8 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: T. Kelly diary (Australian war Memorial, 3DRL/7545), chapters by medical personnel in Barton Story of South Africa vol. 2 (c. 1902)

THIRD NEW SOUTH WALES CONTINGENT

NSW CITIZEN BUSHMEN/AUSTRALIAN BUSHMEN CONTINGENT/1ST BUSHMEN REGIMENT

  • Original strength: 525
  • Subunits: four mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant-Colonel H. P. Airey then Major J. F. Thomas
  • Left for South Africa: 28 February 1900 on Atlantian and Maplemore
  • Service: April 1900 – April 1901 in Rhodesia under Carington, west Transvaal including defence of Elands River Post (4-16 August 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal, great De Wet hunt (February – March 1901) and advance on Petersburg
  • Fatal casualties: 17 killed or died of wounds, 13 died of disease
  • Decorations: one CMG (Airey), four DSOs (A. B. Baker, H. B. Christie, W. Cope, T. M. Moore), three DCMs (T. Borlase, R. G. Davenport, W. F. Hunt)
  • Returned to Australia: 11 June 1901
  • Useful sources: F. V. Weir diary (Mitchell Library, ML MSS1024/1), J. Green Story of the Australian Bushmen (1903)

FOURTH NEW SOUTH WALES CONTINGENT

NSW IMPERIAL BUSHMEN/6TH IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 762
  • Subunits: six mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officers: Colonel J. A. K. Mackay, then Lieutenant-Colonel H. Le Mesurier
  • Left for South Africa: 23 April 1900 on Armenian
  • Service: May 1900 - May 1901 in Rhodesia under Carington and west Transvaal including capture of de la Rey’s convoy and guns at Wildfontein (24 March 1901)
  • Fatal casualties: 13 killed or died of wounds, nine died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Mackay), four DSOs (H. H. Browne, R. D. Doyle, W. E. O’Brien. K. Wray), one DCM (P. J. Moy)
  • Returned to Australia: 17 July 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: regimental order books (State Records NSW, 4/7649-51), Mackay papers and H. S. Targett papers (Australian War Memorial, PR87/207 and PR88/171)

FIFTH NEW SOUTH WALES CONTINGENT

SECOND NSW MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 1050
  • Subunits: five mounted rifle squadrons and one machine-gun section
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel H. B. Lassetter
  • Left for South Africa: c. 17 March 1901 on Custodian (solely 2NSWMR) and Maplemore balance including MG Section, Antillian 5 April 1901, Draft 1 (NSWMR) Imperial Draft Contingent (reinforcements for 2 and 3NSWMR).
  • Service: April 1901 - April 1902 in west then east Transvaal under Ingouville Williams
  • Fatal casualties: c. 30 killed, died of wounds or died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Lassetter), one DSO (R. C. Holman), two DCMs (G. L. Hobson, J. Wasson), 18 men received Queen Alexandra’s pipes.
  • Returned to Australia: 4 June 1902
  • Useful sources: machine-gun section record book, J. M. Antill papers and D. McDonald notebook (Australian War Memorial, AWM1 4/10, 3DRL/3607 and 3DRL/6666)

NSW MEDICAL TEAM

  • Original strength: 53
  • Subunits: unknown
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel R. V. Kelly
  • Left for South Africa: c. 17 March 1901 on Custodian and Maplemore
  • Service: April 1901-April 1902 in west then east Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 3 June 1902 on Aurania

3RD NSW IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Strength: c. 1000, probably no more than 600 at any time
  • Subunits: several mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel R. Carington
  • Formed May 1901 in Klerksdorp around reinforcements intended for Citizen and Imperial Bushmen contingents from drafts in the Imperial Draft Contingents. 2nd Draft (NSWIB) 63, ‘Ranee' 21 March 1901, 3rd Draft (NSWCB) 143, ‘British Princess’, 4th Draft (spare) 84, ‘Antillian’, 5 April 1901. 50 Officers as well as other time expired men joined at Klerksdorp in South Africa. Maximum strength at any time was about five hundred. Two further squadrons were recruited from Australians in Capetown in January and February 1902. 200 reinforcements raised in the NSW Riverina by J S Horsfall (Carington's father-in-Law) departed with the 3rd ACH on the 'Manhattan' 2 April 1902 under the command of Maj H H Browne.
  • Service: May 1901 - May 1902 in west then east Transvaal under Ingouville Williams then west Transvaal under Ian Hamilton
  • Fatal casualties: four killed or died of wounds, 18 died of disease
  • Decorations: one DSO and one CVO (Carington), one DCM (J. W. Porter)
  • Returned to Australia: mid 1902 on Ansonia, 11 August 1902 on Drayton Grange

3RD NSW MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 1017
  • Subunits: five mounted rifle squadrons and one machine-gun section
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel C. F. Cox
  • Left for South Africa 17th March 1901 Maplemore: Elements 3NSWMR staff, B & D Squadrons; British Princess 21 March 1901, HQ 3NSWMR, A,C,E Squadrons; Ranee 21 March 1901, MG Section 3NSWMR; Antillian 5 April 1901, Draft 1 (NSWMR) Imperial Draft Contingent (reinforcements for 2 and 3NSWMR).
  • Service: April 1901 - April 1902 in Free State and East Transvaal under Rimington including Boer breakthrough at Langverwacht (24 February 1902)
  • Fatal casualties: seven killed or died of wounds, 32 died of disease
  • Decorations: one DSO (P. McDonald), one DCM (W. M. Maxwell)
  • Returned to Australia: 3 June 1902
  • Useful sources: Cox papers (National Library, MS37), A. A. Howard diary (Australian War Memorial, PR82/060)

Click Here for more details on the 3rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles.

 Victoria

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FIRST VICTORIAN CONTINGENT

VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES AND VICTORIAN INFANTRY COMPANY/1ST VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 250
  • Subunits: one infantry company and one mounted rifle squadron, then two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officers: Major G. A. Eddy, then Major D. McLeish, then Colonel T. Price when joined 2nd Vic Mounted Rifles
  • Left for South Africa: 28 October 1899 on Medic
  • Service: November 1899 - October 1900 in northern Cape Colony including defence of Pink Hill where five killed (12 February), in Free State, and in east Transvaal; core of Australian Regiment November 1899-April 1900, converted to mounted rifles December 1899
  • Fatal casualties: nine killed or died of wounds including Eddy, seven died of disease
  • Decorations: one CMG( McLeish), one DSO (S. T. Staughton), three DCMs (H. J. Cooke, R. J. Gardiner, A. E. Starkey)
  • Returned to Australia: 4 December 1900 on Harlech Castle
  • Useful sources: Hoad papers (Australian war Memorial, PR86/261), R.J. Byers letters (La Trobe Library, MS9691), A. E. Satchwell On Active Service (1900), Reay Australian in War (1900)

SECOND VICTORIAN CONTINGENT

SECOND VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 265
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Colonel T. Price
  • Left for South Africa: 14 January 1900 on Euryalus
  • Service: February - December 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State, east Transvaal then west Transvaal; joined with 1st Vic. Mounted Rifles April-September 1900
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds, seven died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB ( Price), two DSOs (M. T. Kirby, J. L. Lilley)
  • Returned to Australia December 1900 on Harlech Castle
  • Useful sources: reports by Price (National Archives, A6443), J. H. Davies diary, F. W. Wray papers and A. Kelly memoir (Australian War Memorial, PR01486, PR00247 and 3DRL/1915)

THIRD VICTORIAN CONTINGENT

VICTORIAN BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 251
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Major W. W. Dobbin
  • Left for South Africa: 10 March 1900 on Euryalus
  • Service: April 1900 - April 1901 as part of Vialls’ 3rd Bushmen Regt in Rhodesia under Carington, west Transvaal including skirmish at Koster River where six killed (22 July 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt including charge at Wolwekuil (14 February 1901) and advance on Pietersburg
  • Fatal casualties: eight killed or died of wounds, seven died of disease
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: June 1901 on Morayshire
  • Useful sources: reports by Dobbin (National Archives, A6443), W. McKnight letters (Tas. Museum and Art Gallery), R. Gartside papers (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/7274), D. J. Ham letter (Royal historical Society of Victoria, MS000472)

VICTORIAN NURSES

  • Original strength: 10 nurses
  • Commanding officer: Sister M Rawson
  • Left for South Africa: 10 March 1900 on Euryalus
  • Service: Rhodesia April 1900-c. March 1901, with some remaining to serve elsewhere in South Africa
  • Fatal casualties: one dies of disease
  • Decorations: RRC (Rawson)

CAMERONS’ SCOUTS

  • Original strength: 25 mounted riflemen
  • Commanding officer: Captain J. M. Cameron
  • Left for South Africa: 10 March 1900 on Euryalus
  • Service: April-c. December 1900 in Rhodesia and west Transvaal as Caringtons’ escort
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: none

FOURTH VICTORIAN CONTINGENT

VICTORIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN/AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL REGIMENT

  • Original strength: 631
  • Subunits: five mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant. W. Kelly
  • Left for South Africa: 1 May 1900 on Victorian
  • Service May 1900 - June 1901 in Rhodesia under Carington, west Transvaal, Cape Colony under Henniker including relief of Philipstown (11 February 1901), capture of Boer guns at Read’s Drift (23 February), and capture of Boer patrol near Doornkloof (1 March 1901); contingent separated mid 1900-early 1901, with Major L. F. Clarke commanding C, D, and E squadrons on garrison duty in Rhodesia.
  • Fatal casualties: eight killed or died of wounds, six died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Kelly), four DSOs (Clarke, J. Dallimore, M. O’Farrell, A. Tivey), three DCMs (H. E. Elliot, A. L. Johnstone, D. Sandford)
  • Returned to Australia: 12 July 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: O’Farrell letters (National Army Museum, 8303/45/9 FOL 19), Elliot diary, E. Tivey letters and F. G. Purcell papers (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/3297/1, 3DRL/3058, and PR88/121)

FIFTH AND SIXTH VICTORIAN CONTINGENTS

5TH VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 1018
  • Subunits: originally two contingents of four mounted rifle squadrons each, then eight mounted rifle squadrons in one contingent divided in two battalions
  • Commanding officer: Colonel A. E. Otter (whole contingent), then Major W. McKnight (left wing battalion) and Major T. F. Umphelby (right wing battalion), then various (mostly British regular) wing commanders
  • Left for South Africa: 15 February 1901 on Orient, Argus, and City of Lincoln
  • Service: March 1901 - March 1902 in east Transvaal and Natal frontier under Beatson then Pulteney, including defeat at Wilmansrust where 18 killed and 42 wounded (12 June 1901), and successful intervention at Onverwacht (4 January 1902); heaviest casualties of any Australian contingent, at Wilmansrust suffered the costliest defeat
  • Fatal casualties: 36 killed or died of wounds, 13 died of disease
  • Decorations: one VC (L. C. Maygar for rescuing soldier under fire 23 November 1901), one DSO (G. J. Bell), three DCMs (J. W. Keeble, possibly also R. S. Goode and J. J. McSweeney)
  • Returned to Australia: 25 April 1902 on St Andrew, 26 April 1902 on Custodian
  • Useful sources: Wilmansrust inquiry (Public Record Office, WO32/8007), Patterson diary (National Library, MS3663), McKnight letters (Tas. Museum and Art Gallery), J. F. Stebbins letters (La Trobe Library, MS12759), Chamberlain ‘Wilmansrust Affair’ (1985)

Click Here For more details on the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles.

 Queensland

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FIRST QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

QUEENSLAND MOUNTED INFANTRY/1ST QUEENSLAND MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 262
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons including machine-gun section, later one squadron only
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant-Colonel P. R. Ricardo, then Major H. G. Chauvel
  • Left for South Africa: 1 November 1899 on Cornwall
  • Service: December 1899 - December 1900 in northwest Cape Colony including victory over rebel band at Sunnyside (1 January 1900), Free State, and east Transvaal; joined to 2nd Qld Mounted Infantry April- November 1900; many members lost to provisional police forces
  • Fatal casualties: four killed or died of wounds, five died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Ricardo), one CMG (Chauvel), two DSOs (T. W. Glasgow, D. E. Reid), two DCMs (H. Harris, J. J. Walker); DSO earned by R. Gordon attached to regular MI
  • Returned to Australia: 17 January 1901 on Orient
  • Useful sources: Chauvel papers (Australian War Memorial, PR00535), B. Spurway memoir (Australian War Memorial, PR85/084), Harvey Letters from the Veldt (1994)

Click Here For more details on the Queensland Mounted Infantry

SECOND QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

2ND QUEENSLAND MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 144
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant-Colonel K. Hutchison, then Major H. G. Chauvel when combined with 1st Qld Mounted Infantry, then Captain H. J. I. Harris
  • Left for South Africa: 13 January 1900 on Maori King
  • Service: March 1900 - March 1901 in Free State, west and east Transvaal; joined to 1st Qld Mounted Infantry April – November 1900, part of Australian Mounted Infantry Brigade c. November 1900-March 1901
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: three DCMs (T. Cooney, A. A. Harris, J. J. Trickett)
  • Returned to Australia: 3 May1901 on Tongariro and train from Sydney
  • Useful sources: Harvey Letters from the Veldt (1994)

THIRD QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

QUEENSLAND [CITIZEN] BUSHMEN/3RD QUEENSLAND MOUNTED INFANTRY/2ND BUSHMAN REGIMENT

  • Original strength: 316
  • Subunits: two or three mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Major W. H. Tunbridge
  • Left for South Africa: 2 March 1900 on Duke of Portland
  • Service: April 1900 - April 1901 in Rhodesia under Carington, west Transvaal including relief of Mafeking (16-17 May 1900), defeat at Koster River (22 July 1900) and defence of Elands River Post (4-16 August 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), and advance on Pietersburg
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds, five died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Tunbridge), one DSO (A. T. Duka), four DCMs (N. A. Davidson, A. E. Forbes, H. W. Keogh, W. L. F. Wright)
  • Returned to Australia: June 1901 on Morayshire and train from Sydney
  • Useful sources: Harvey Letters from the Veldt (1994)

FOURTH QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

QUEENSLAND IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 387
  • Subunits: three mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant-Colonel A. Aytoun then Major W. T. Deacon
  • Left for South Africa: 18 May 1900 on Manchester Port
  • Service: June 1900 - June 1901 in Free State, Transvaal, and battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt and advance on Pietersburg and into east Transvaal under Plumer
  • Fatal casualties: eight killed or died of wounds, five died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Deacon), one DSO (Aytoun)
  • Returned to Australia: 5 August 1901 on Britannic
  • Useful sources: A. H. Clarke diary (Australian War Memorial, PR00326), M. Maddern diary (National Library, MS208), Harvey Letters from the Veldt (1994)

Click Here For more details on the 4th Queensland Imperial Bushmen.

FIFTH QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

5TH QUEENSLAND IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 529
  • Subunits: three mounted squadrons and one cyclist company, then three mounted rifle squadrons only
  • Commanding officers: Lieutenant-Colonel J. F. Flewell-Smith then Major F. W. Toll
  • Left for South Africa: 6 and 10 March 1901 on Templemore and Chicago
  • Service: April 1901 - March 1902 under Plumer in east Transvaal, Free State including defeat at Mokari Drift (27 September 1901), and Natal border campaign including stand at Onverwacht (4 January 1902) where 13 died and 17 wounded
  • Fatal casualties: 26 killed or died of wounds, four died of disease, three killed accidentally by comrades
  • Decorations: three DSOs ( T. H. Dodds, H. J. Hutchens, N. V. Townley), three DCMs (H. J. H. Fogg, F. B. Knyvett, E. Sweeney)
  • Returned to Australia: 30 April 1902 on St Andrew and possibly train from Sydney
  • Useful sources: unit order books (National Archives, MP744/14), unit correspondence (National Archives, MP744/39), Toll papers (John Oxley Library, OM84.11), C. T. Mealing papers (Australian War Memorial, PR00752)

Click Here for more details on the 5th Queensland Imerial Bushmen.

SIXTH QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

6TH QUEENSLAND IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 404
  • Subunits: three mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel O. A. Tunbridge
  • Left for South Africa: 4 April 1901 on Victoria
  • Service: May 1901 - April 1902 in eastern Transvaal and Free State under Grey
  • Fatal casualties: seven killed or died of wounds, five died of disease
  • Decorations: one CMG (Tunbridge), one DSO (S. B. Boland), two DCMS( F. H. Trask, H. Travers)
  • Returned: 17 June 1902 on Devon
  • Useful sources: T. Brockett diary and G. E. Buckby letters (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/6036 and PR87/133)

SEVENTH QUEENSLAND CONTINGENT

DRAFTS FOR 5TH AND 6TH QLD IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 99
  • Commanding officer: Captain R. B. Echlin (first group), Lieutenant A. D. Chrichton (second group)
  • Left for South Africa: 20 August 1901 on train for Sydney to board Britannic (first group), 24 September 1901 on train for Sydney to board Harlech Castle (second)
  • Service: October - May 1901 on Natal border as part of Australian Commonwealth Regiment then part of 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen or Doyle’s Australian Scouts
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds
  • Decorations: probably none
  • Returned: various dates and ships
  • Useful sources: Qld Chief Secretary’s letterbooks July-October 1901 and Qld premier’s letters to agent general 1901 (Queensland State Archives, PRV11169/1/24 and 25, and PRV11166/1/4), file on Britannic drafts (National Archives, B168 1901/2837), Purcell letters (Australian War Memorial, PR88/121), C. J. C. Philp letters (John Oxley Library, OM90.44/14 and 15)

 South Australia

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FIRST SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY COMPANY/1ST SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 127
  • Subunits: one infantry company/later one mounted rifle squadron
  • Commanding officer: Major F. H. Howland
  • Left for South Africa: 2 November 1899 on Medic
  • Service: November 1899 - October 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State and in east Transvaal; part of Australian Regiment November 1899-April 1900, converted to mounted rifles December 1899, joined to 2nd SA Mounted Rifles April – October 1900
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds, three died of disease
  • Decorations: one DSO ( J. H. Stapleton)
  • Returned: 30 November 1900 on Harlech Castle
  • Useful sources: Howland diary and A. D. Botha diary (Mortlock Library, PRG248 and D7352L)

SECOND SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

2ND SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED RIFLES

  • Original strength: 119
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only, consisting of:
    Contingent command - 1 Offr 1 OR
    Mounted Squadron - 5 Offr 95 Ors
    Machine Gun Detachment - 5 Ors (one Colt MG)
    Transport Section - 11 Ors (wagons)
    Total - 119
  • Commanding officer: Major C. J. Reade
  • Left for South Africa: 21 January 1900 on Surrey
  • Service: March 1900 - October 1900 or March 1901 in northwest Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal; joined to first SA contingent April-October 1900, most of contingent then becoming part of Australian Mounted Infantry Brigade c. November 1900-March 1901; H. H. Morant was a non-commissioned officer in the contingent
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, four died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Reade), one DSO (J. F. Humphris), four DCMs (H. W. Brown, L. Knapman, V. M. Newland, H. L. S. B. Oglivy)
  • Returned: 30 November 1900 on Harlech Castle, 12 May 1900 on Tongario
  • Useful sources: Bail Diaries of Cpl Herbert Bail (1999)

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN NURSES

  • Original strength: nine
  • Commanding officer: Sister M. S. Bidmead
  • Left for South Africa: mid February 1900 on Australasian
  • Service: March 1900 - 1902 in Cape Colony, Free State, and Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: RRC (Bidmead)
  • Returned to Australia: unknown
  • Useful sources: files of nurses (State Records of SA, GRG24/6, 40/1900, and 52/1900), nurses’ letters in Adelaide Observer. 2 June 1900 p. 8, 9 June 1900 p. 7, and 21 July 1900 p. 43

THIRD SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN [CITIZEN] BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 99
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Captain S. G. Hubbe then Captain A. E. Collins
  • Left for South Africa: 7 March 1900 on Maplemore
  • Service: April 1900 - April 1901 in Rhodesia under Carrington and west Transvaal under Methuen; part of Composite Bushmen Regt August 1900-April 1901
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds including Hubbe, non died of disease
  • Decorations: two DSOs ( Collins, C. M. Ives)
  • Returned to Australia: June 1901 on Morayshire
  • Useful sources: Hubbe letters (Barr Smith Library, MSS0046/1), R. Hayward memoir (Australian War Memorial, PR00996)

FOURTH SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 234
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel J. Rowell
  • Left for South Africa: 1 May 1900 on Manhattan
  • Service: June 1900 - June 1901 as part of 4th Imperial Bushmen Regt in Cape Colony including charge at Bakenkop (3 July 1900) and skirmish at Stinkhoutboom where three killed (24 July 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt, and advance on Pietersburg and into east Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: six killed or died of wounds, three died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Rowell), two DSOs (A. E. M. Norton, H. A. Reid), three DCMs (G. S. Allnut, W. F. Spencer, F. O. Thorne)
  • Returned to Australia: 27 July 1901 on Britannic
  • Useful sources: J. H. Wadham diaries (Mortlock Library, D5369L and D5425L)

FIFTH SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

5 SAIB Administrative party consisting of: 1 Major (Major G H Heaney) 1 NCO, 6 Men, 50 Horses. Departed on the SS Teviotdale 10 February 1901 References South Australian Government [GO 2/01 10 January 1901] and Adelaide Advertiser 16 February 1901 p53

5TH SOUTH AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 316
  • Subunits: three mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Major W. Scriven then Major H. L. D. Wilson
  • Left for South Africa: 9 February 1901 on Ormazon
  • Service: March 1901 - March 1902 under de Lisle in Free State including defence of Graspan where five dead (6 June 1901) and charge at Grootvlei (2 August 1901); amalgamated with 6th SA Imperial Bushmen May 1901-March 1902 under Major J. S. M. Shea
  • Fatal casualties: nine killed or died of wounds, 10 died of disease
  • Decorations: two DSOs (E. J. F. Langley, J. A. Watt), two DCMs (J. Berry, T. Kermode)
  • Returned to Australia: 27 April 1902 on Manchester Merchant
  • Useful sources: A. G. Wellington letters and Hipwell scrapbook (Mortlock Library, D733L and PRG183)
  • CLICK HERE for the diary of Trooper Edwards which details the work of the 5 SAIB.

SIXTH SOUTH AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

6TH SOUTH AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 136
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Captain A. F. Cornish then Major F. W. Hurcombe
  • Left for South Africa: 6 April 1901 on Warrigal
  • Service: May 1901 - March 1902 under de Lisle in Free State including defence of Graspan (6 June 1901) and charge at Grootvlei (2 August 1901); amalgamated with 5th SA Imperial Bushmen under Major J. S. M. Shea
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds, three died of disease
  • Decorations: one DSO (S. C. Macfarlane), one DCM (R. Gulley)
  • Returned to Australia: 27 April 1902 on Manchester Merchant

 Western Australia

1  2  3  4  5  6

FIRST WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY COMPANY/1ST WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 130
  • Subunits: one infantry company including machine-gun section/one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Major H. G. Moor then Captain F. M. W. Parker
  • Left for South Africa: 7 November 1899 on Medic
  • Service: November 1899 - October 1900 in northern Cape Colony including defence of Australian Hill (9 February 1900), Free State, and Transvaal including battle of Diamond Hill (11-12 June 1900) and reverse at Palmietfontein (19 July 1900); part of Australian Regiment November 1899-April 1900, converted to mounted rifles December 1899, joined to 1st NSW Mounted Rifles April-October 1900
  • Fatal casualties: five killed or died of wounds including Moor, one died of disease
  • Decorations: two DSOs (H. F. Darling, Parker), five DCMs (J. Barry, J. E. Burley, R. Corkhill, P. M. Edwards, H. Force)
  • Returned: 29 December 1900 on Orient
  • Useful sources: correspondence by Moor (State Records Office of WA, 1496 1947/99), Messer scrapbook (Battye Library, 926A/12), West Australian 14 August 1900 p. 5, Campbell History of Western Australian Contingents (1910)

SECOND WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

2ND WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 103
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron and, briefly, one machine-gun crew
  • Commanding officer: Major H. L. Pilkington then Captain S. Harris
  • Left for South Africa: 3 February 1900 on Surrey
  • Service: March - November 1900 in north-west Cape Colony, Free State, and east Transvaal; some of contingent part of Australian Mounted Infantry Brigade November 1900 - March 1901
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: one CB (Pilkington), two DSOs (J. C. De Castilla, S. A. Oliver)
  • Returned: 8 December 1900 on Woolloomooloo, April 1900 on Tongariro
  • Useful sources: second contingent correspondence (state Records Office of WA, 751/38-42, 48-9), F. W. Bretag letters (Australian War Memorial, PR86/126)

THIRD WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN [CITIZEN] BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 116
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Major H. G. Vialls
  • Left for South Africa: 14 March 1900 on Maplemore
  • Service: April 1900 - April 1901 in Rhodesia under Carrington, west Transvaal including skirmish at Koster River (22 July 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt, including charge at Wolwekuil (14 February 1901), and advance on Pietersburg; amalgamated with Victorian Citizen Bushmen in 3rd Bushmen Regt
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds, two died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Vialls), one DSO (R. R. C. Vernon), two DCMs (T. H. Angel, W. A. George)
  • Returned to Australia: 28 May 1901 on Morayshire
  • Useful sources: third contingent correspondence including reports by Vialls (State Records Office of WA, 751/53-55), B. F. C. Toy scrapbook (Battye Library, PR2447)

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN NURSES

  • Original strength: 11
  • Commanding officer: Superintendent M. A. Nicolay
  • Left for South Africa: mid March 1900
  • Service: April 1900-c. 1901 in Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: unknown
  • Useful sources: file on nurses (State Records Office of WA, 1496, 47/00)

FOURTH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

4TH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY (IMPERIAL BUSHMEN)

  • Original strength: 132
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Major J. Rose
  • Left for South Africa: 8 May 1900 on Manhattan
  • Service: June 1900 - June 1901 as part of 4th Imperial Bushmen Regt in Cape Colony including skirmish at Stinkhoutboom (24 July 1900) and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt, and advance on Pietersburg and into east Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: three killed or died of wounds, none died of disease
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 20 July 1901 on Britannic
  • Useful sources: J. Wood notebooks (Battye Library, 3102A), Campbell History of Western Australian Contingents (1910)

FIFTH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

5TH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 221
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Captain H. F. Darling
  • Left for South Africa: 6 March 1901 on Devon
  • Service: April 1901 - April 1902 in east Transvaal under Walter Kitchener including defeat at Brakpan where three dead (16 May 1901); amalgamated with 6th WA Mounted Infantry May 1901 – April 1902 under Major J. R. Royston
  • Fatal casualties: six killed or died of wounds, three died of disease
  • Decorations: two DSOs (A. J. B. Brown, E. S. Clifford), one DCM (J. G. Dale)
  • Returned to Australia: 29 April 1902 on Columbian
  • Useful sources: A. Hammond letters (Battye Library, 4795A), T. A. Kidd diary (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/3525), Campbell History of Western Australian Contingents (1910)

SIXTH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

6TH WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 228
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Captain J. Campbell
  • Left for South Africa: 10 April 1901 on Ulstermore
  • Service: May 1901 - April 1902 in east Transvaal under Walter Kitchener including defeat at Brakpan where five dead (16 May 1901); amalgamated with 5th WA Mounted Infantry under Major J. R. Royston
  • Fatal casualties: 10 killed or died of wounds, four died of disease
  • Decorations: one VC (F. W. Bell for rescuing comrade 16 May 1901), two DSOs (P. J. Daly, H. B. McCormack), one DCM (A. P. Abbott)
  • Returned to Australia: 29 April 1902 on Columbian
  • Useful sources: F. W. Bretag letters, O. Techow diary (Australian War Memorial, PR86/126 and 3DRL/2235), Campbell History of Western Australian Contingents (1910)

  
  

 Tasmania

1  2  3  4

FIRST TASMANIAN CONTINGENT

TASMANIAN INFANTRY COMPANY/TASMANIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY

  • Original strength: 84 followed by 47 reinforcements
  • Subunits: one infantry company/later one mounted rifle squadron
  • Commanding officer: Major C. St. C. Cameron
  • Left for South Africa: 28 October 1899 on Medic, 23 January 1900 on Moravian
  • Service: November 1899 - November 1900 in northern Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal; part of Australian Regiment November 1899-April 1900, converted to mounted rifles December 1899; reinforcements from Tasmania sent to north-west Cape Colony where some remained while others joined the contingent in April 1900
  • Fatal casualties: four killed or died of wounds, five died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Cameron), one DCM (J. Costello)
  • Returned: 7 December 1900 on Harlech Castle
  • Useful sources: Bufton Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (1905) chs 3-4

SECOND TASMANIAN CONTINGENT

TASMANIAN [CITIZEN] BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 52
  • Subunits: half a rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel E. T. Wallack then Captain A. H. Rigall then Lieutenant W. H. Lowther
  • Left for South Africa: 5 March 1900 on Atlantian
  • Service: April 1900 - April 1901 in Rhodesia under Carington and west Transvaal under Methuen; part of Composite Bushmen Regt August 1900-April 1901
  • Fatal casualties: one killed or died of wounds, none died of disease
  • Decorations: one DSO (Riggall), one DCM (G. W. Kemsley)
  • Returned to Australia: 14 June 1901 on Aberdeen
  • Useful sources: A. M. Boyes papers (Archives Office of Tas., NS313), Bufton, Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (1905) chs 7, 9

THIRD TASMANIAN CONTINGENT

TASMANIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN/1ST TASMANIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 122
  • Subunits: one mounted rifle squadron only
  • Commanding officer: Major R. C. Lewis then Captain A. A. Sale then Lewis again
  • Left for South Africa: 26 April 1900 on Manhattan
  • Service: June 1900 - June 1901 in Free State and northern Transvaal including ambush at Zwartkloof (1 September 1900) and under Plumer as part of 4th Imperial Bushmen Regt at battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), in great De Wet hunt, in advance on Pietersburg including ambush outside the town where Sale killed (8 April 1901), and in advance into east Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: four killed or died of wounds, two died of disease
  • Decorations: two VCs (J. H. Bisdee and G. G. E. Wylly for rescuing comrades 1 September 1900), one CB (Wallack), two DSOs (Lewis, R. Perkins), three DCMs (R. Clark, F. A. Groom, A. Stocker); the most highly decorated Australian squadron in the war
  • Returned to Australia: 5 April 1901 on Britannic •
  • Useful sources: W. J. Simpson letters (Australian War Memorial, 3DRL/3190), Bufton Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (1905) chs 10-11, Lewis On the Veldt (1902)

FOURTH TASMANIAN CONTINGENT

2ND TASMANIAN IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Original strength: 253
  • Subunits: two mounted rifle squadrons
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel E. T. Watchorn
  • Left for South Africa: 27 March 1901 on Chicago
  • Service: May 1901 - May 1902 in Cape Colony
  • Fatal casualties: two killed or died of wounds, four died of disease
  • Decorations: one CB (Watchorn), one DSO (J. McCormick)
  • Returned to Australia: 5 August 1902 on Britannic
  • Useful sources: Watchorn collection and C. F. R. Cawthorn papers (Australian War Memorial, ORMF0044 and PR86/056), Bufton Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (1905) chs 12-13; Clifford ‘Private Victories’ (2000)

 Commonwealth of Australia - Units formed in South Africa

Casualties incurred and decorations earned are, with one exception, not attributed to these units but to the individual contingents (listed earlier in this appendix) that formed them.

AUSTRALIAN REGIMENT

  • Formed: November 1899 in Cape Town from first contingent units from NSW (infantry company), Vic. (Mounted Rifles and infantry company), SA (infantry company), WA (infantry company) and Tas. (infantry company)
  • Commanding officer: Colonel J. C. Hoad (Vic.)
  • Organisation: six companies/squadrons, two from Vic. And one each from other colonies
  • Service: northern Cape Colony including defence of Colesberg front (9-12 February) and Free State; converted to mounted rifles December 1899; Hoad received a CMG for leading the regiment
  • Disbanded: April 1900 in Bloemfontein
  • Useful sources: Hoad papers (Australian War Memorial, PR86/261), Reay Australians in War (1900)

AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED PIONEER CORPS

  • Formed: March-April 1900 in Cape Colony at the direction of Maj General Elliott Wood, Chief Engineer, from members of Hutton’s 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade (1st NSWMR, VMR, SA Mounted Rifles, and WA Mounted Infantry As well as Royal Engineers, British Regular MI and Canadian Mounted Rifles) Approximately 45 Australians
  • Commanding officer: Lt Colonel T S Parrott (NSW Engineers)
  • Organisation: A squadron of two troops of 4 officers and 72 other ranks
  • Service: Cape Colony, Orange Free State and Transvaal
  • Disbanded with rest of the formation October 1900. Members returned to parent units
  • Useful sources: Medal rolls at National Archives B5204

AUSTRALIAN MOUNTED INFANTRY BRIGADE

  • Formed: November 1900 in east Transvaal from members of second contingent units (2nd Qld Mounted Infantry, 2nd SA Mounted Rifles, and 2nd WA Mounted Infantry) remaining at the front
  • Commanding officer: Captain H. J. I. Harris (Qld)
  • Organisation: unknown
  • Service: east Transvaal
  • Returned to Australia: April-May 1901 on Tongariro
  • Useful sources: Bail Diaries of Cpl Herbert Bail (1999)

4TH IMPERIAL BUSHMEN

  • Formed: May 1900 on board Manhattan from imperial bushmen contingents from SA, WA, and Tas.
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel J. Rowell (SA)
  • Organisation: two SA squadrons, one each from WA and Tas.
  • Service: June 1900-June 1901 in Free State including charge at Bakenkop (3 July 1901) and skirmish at Stinkhoutboom (24 July 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt, and advance on Pietersburg and into east Transvaal; Tas. Squadron separated from regiment June-November 1900
  • Returned to Australia: July-August 1901 on Britannic
  • Useful sources: J. Wood notebooks (Battye Library, 3102A), J. H. Wadham diaries (Mortlock Library, D5369L and D5425L)

3RD BUSHMEN REGIMENT

  • Formed: June 1900 in Bulawayo from Vic. And WA citizen bushmen contingents
  • Commanding officer: Major H. G. Vialls (WA)
  • Organisation: two Vic squadrons, one WA squadron
  • Service: Rhodesia under Carington, west Transvaal including skirmish at Koster River (22 July 1900), and under Plumer in northern Transvaal including battle of Rhenoster Kop (29 November 1900), great De Wet hunt including charge at Wolwekuil (14 February 1901) and advance on Pietersburg
  • Returned to Australia: May-June 1901 on Morayshire
  • Useful sources: third contingent correspondence including reports by Vialls (State Records Office of WA, 751/53-55), reports by W. W. Dobbin (National Archives, A6443)

COMPOSITE BUSHMEN REGIMENT

  • Formed: August 1900 in Mafeking from SA and Tas. Citizen bushmen contingents, New Zealand imperial bushmen, and at various times D Squadron NSW Citizen Bushmen, D Squadron 6th/NSW Imperial Bushmen, and A and B Squadrons Vic. Imperial Bushmen
  • Commanding officer: Major S. von Donop (British regular army)
  • Organisation: unknown
  • Service: west Transvaal under Methuen including capture of Boer laagers near Paardeplaats (17 February 1901)
  • Disbanded: April 1901 in Warrenton
  • Useful sources: Hubbe letters (Barr Smith Library, MS0046/1), Bufton Tasmanians in the Transvaal War (1905) ch. 7

HASLER’S SCOUTS

  • Formed: July 1901 in Klerksdorp, mostly selected members of 2nd NSW Mounted Rifles and 3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen (both draft continents)
  • Commanding officer: Captain J. Hasler (British regular army)
  • Organisation: unknown, fewer than fifty members
  • Service: west then east Transvaal
  • Dissolved: may 1902 in Klerksdorp
  • Useful sources: Hasle’s Scouts photograph album (Australian War Memorial, P1051/25)

AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH REGIMENT

  • Formed: October 1901 in Pietermaritzburg from passengers landing from Britannic including Qld seventh contingent
  • Commanding officer: Major F. G. Purcell (Vic.)
  • Organisation: two squadrons, one substantially of reinforcements for 5th and 6th Queensland Imperial Bushmen, the other of Australian recruits for Scottish Horse
  • Service: Natal border
  • Dissolved: November 1901 in Pretoria
  • Useful sources: Purcell papers (Australian War Memorial, PR88/121)

DOYLE’S AUSTRALIAN SCOUTS

  • Formed: late 1901 or early 1902 from Queenslanders from Australian Commonwealth Regt, recruits for Qld draft contingent members choosing to remain in South Africa when their contingents departed
  • Commanding officer: Captain R. D. Doyle (NSW)
  • Organisation: unknown
  • Service: east Transvaal then west Transvaal
  • Dissolved: June 1902 in Klerksdorp
  • Useful sources: Downy ‘Medal Roll for Doyle’s Australian Scouts’ (1981)

 Commonwealth of Australia

1  2  3

FIRST AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

1ST AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 560
  • Subunits: four and a half mounted rifle squadrons (three NSW, one QLD, half Tas.)
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel J. S. Lyster (Qld)
  • Left for South Africa: 16-18 February 1902 on Custodian and Manchester Merchant
  • Service: March - May 1902 on Natal border and west Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, eight died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 9-13 August 1902 on Drayton Grange
  • Useful sources: unit diary and report (Australian War Memorial, AWM3 02/1687 and 02/1951), Barton Story of South Africa, vol. 2 (c. 1902), chs 78-80

2ND AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 553
  • Subunits: four and a half mounted rifle squadrons (three Vic., one SA, half WA)
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel D. McLeish (Vic.)
  • Left for South Africa: 12-26 February 1902 on St Andrew and Manchester Merchant
  • Service: March - May 1902 on Natal border and west Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, one died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 11 July on Drayton Grange, 31 July- 2 August 1902 on Norfolk
  • Useful sources: units reports and F. L. Dobson diary (Australian War Memorial, AWM3 02/1688 and 02/1746, PR86/273), Barton Story of South Africa, vol. 2 (c. 1902), chs 78-80

AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL TEAM

  • Original strength: 183
  • Subunits: field hospital and bearer company recruits from NSW, Vic., Qld, SA, and WA
  • Commanding officer: Major T. A Green (NSW)
  • Left for South Africa: February 1902 on Manchester Merchant
  • Service: March - May 1902 on Natal border and west Transvaal
  • Fatal casualties: none known
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: July-August 1902 on Norfolk and Drayton Grange

SECOND AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

3RD AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 615
  • Subunits: five mounted rifle squadrons (three NSW, one Qld, one Tas.)
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel E. T. Wallack (Tas.) then Lieutenant-Colonel R. Wallace (Vic.)
  • Left for South Africa: 1-8 April 1902 on Manhattan and Englishman
  • Service: none seen
  • Fatal: none killed or died of wounds, nine died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 9-13 August on Drayton Grange
  • Useful sources: unit diaries (Australian War Memorial, AWM3 02/1537 and 02/1555)

4TH AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 492
  • Subunits: five mounted rifle squadrons (three Vic., one SA, one WA)
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel G. J. Johnstone (Vic.)
  • Left for South Africa: 26 March - early April 1902 on Templemore and Englishman
  • Service: none seen
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, two died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: late July-early August 1902 on several ships, including Drayton Grange
  • Useful sources: units diaries (Australian War Memorial, AWM3 02/1570 and 02/1609)

THIRD AUSTRALIAN CONTINGENT

5TH AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 487
  • Subunits: four mounted rifle squadrons, all NSW
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Macarthur-Onslow (NSW)
  • Left for South Africa 19 May 1902 on Manchester Merchant. An advance party of 1 officer and 47 ORs, 201 horses under the command of Lt H Kessell departed 16 May 1902 on Menelaus.
  • Service: arrived after war ended
  • Fatal casualties: none known
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 1 August 1902 on Manchester Merchant

6th AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 489
  • Subunits: four mounted rifle squadrons, all Vic.
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel G. C. H. Irving (Vic.)
  • Left for South Africa: 16-19 May 1902 on Manchester Merchant and Menelaus
  • Service: arrived: after war ended
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, four died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 7 August 1902 on Britannic

7TH AUSTRALIAN COMMNONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 490
  • Subunits: four mounted rifle squadrons, all Qld
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-Colonel H.G. Chauvel (Qld)
  • Left for South Africa: 19 May 1902 on Custodian
  • Service: arrived after war ended
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, four died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: 2 Aug 1902 on Manchester Merchant

8TH AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH HORSE

  • Original strength: 485
  • Subunits: four mounted rifle squadrons (two SA, one WA, one Tas.)
  • Commanding officer: Lieutenant-colonel H. Le Mesurier (NSW)
  • Left for South Africa: 21 May-2 June 1902 on St Andrew
  • Service: arrived after war ended
  • Fatal casualties: none killed or died of wounds, three died of other causes
  • Decorations: none
  • Returned to Australia: late July 1902 on Manchester Merchant

  

Text provided by: Major John Baines RFD

Text Reference: 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, p389-413

Photos from: Henderson, W. New South Wales Contingents to South Africa October 1899 - June 1900. Turner and Henderson, Sydney 1900; and the collection of the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum, Parramatta.

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