The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Klerksdorp 19 Apr 1902

Before the war, Klerksdorp had been a fine provincial town of 6,000 people, with a court house and hospital, post office and library, several churches, and an English-language newspaper. When the Australian contingent arrived it was a sea of red mud pocked with squalid houses and surrounded by vast military encampments. Supplemented by the irregular Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry and some regular guns and pom-poms, the contingent formed an 'Australian Brigade' under Lieutenant-Colonel Beauvoir de Lisle in Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft's column: the New Zealanders joined a 'New Zealand' brigade that also included Carrington's 3rd New South Wales Imperial Bushmen and Hasler's Scouts. Both brigades drew their guns and gunners from the regular army, but otherwise they prefigured the Anzac force that would land on Gallipoli in thirteen years' time.

De Lisle was impressed by his new command, especially by McLeish and his 2nd Battalion. All the same, he found much to teach his men-not to draw to attention as he walked or rode by, not to carry anything more than rifle, bandoliers, a horse blanket, and an overcoat on the march. The contingent drilled and reviewed and drilled again, and formed depots to allot and record pay, keep and distribute stores, and house sick men and horses. .......

A march began on 19 April but halted two hours later at the news that peace negotiations seemed promising. Four days later de Lisle's brigade marched again, this time to destroy crops. The men wreaked destruction under strict orders not to enter or burn any farm unless ordered." Ref No 88 p339

Hasler's Scouts were one of many small irregular units formed in South Africa. The Unit consisted of a large proportion of Australians (many from 3rd NSW Mounted Rifles) under command of a British Captain.

Australian Mounted Troops Involved:

1st Australian Commonwealth Horse
2nd Australian Commonwealth Horse
3rd NSW Imperial Bushmen
Hasler's Scouts

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 p215, 339
Austin RFD, ED, Roy. Encyclopedia of the Zulu and Boer Wars, Slouch Hat Publications, Australia, 1999, ISBN 0 9585296 3 9 p115

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Major John Baines

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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields