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Author Topic: Boer War records  (Read 1521 times)
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« on: 15 September 2011, 01:46:28 pm »

IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts   Posted - 19/11/2002 :  06:39:11 AM 
Where will the reports/signals/accounts/details etc of Australian forces at the battle of Rensburg, 14th February 1900 be held?
Anyone know exactly which units were involved?
Any help much appreciated.
Ian

Rob THomas
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
464 Posts    Posted - 19/11/2002 :  07:38:03 AM 
Most state archives have records for their own colonial forces. If you also check the capital city newspapers just after that time you will get press reports which give an amazing amount of detail. If you check the National Archives of Australia web site they have a guide to researchers into the Boer War written by Craig Wilcox. The diary of the CO of QMI doesnt even mention any action on that date, but then again his reports on Sunnyside on Jan 1 1900 are very vague considering he lost 2 men
stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1866 Posts    Posted - 19/11/2002 :  09:33:43 AM 
Ian,
My readings of this area, Pages 101 to 113 "Australians at the Boer War" gives the following Australian units during the advance in November 1899.

NSW Lancers (detachment under Lt Cox)

The Australian Horse.

There is a book by NC Smith "The Featherbed Soldiers NSW Lancers in the Boer War" which detail the movements of the NSW Lancers with nom roll.

AB Paterson (Banjo) a well know Australian writter was at this battle and there should be an acount writen by him some where.

In Feburary 1900 I show some of the following units;

Mixed force of Victorians (1st Victorian Mounted Infantry Contingent) and Tasmanians (1st Tasmanian Mounted Infantry Contingent) and,

West Australians (1st West Australian Mounted Infantry) and South Autralians (unit unknown possibly 1st Sth Australian Mounted Infantry).

There is the story in the book mentioned before and will clear up much of the detail for you.

Good luck

S.B

Roy
Forum Member


Australia
80 Posts    Posted - 19/11/2002 :  11:20:18 AM 
Ian
I had a look at "From the Front" -Banjo Paterson's Dispatches from the Boer War.

His dispatches from Rensburg Camp covered 4 to 12 Jan 00. A major action then was the ambush of the Suffolk Regiment on 5 Jan 00.

He then reported on the action of the NSW Lancers and 1st Aust Horse at Slingersfontein on 16 Jan 00.

He then reported from the Orange River station from 2 Feb.

No reference found to action at Rensbug on 14 feb 00.

-

Rob THomas
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
464 Posts    Posted - 19/11/2002 :  3:15:32 PM 
Have a look at Pages 44-46 of Len Harvey's book "Letters from the Veldt"
IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts    Posted - 23/11/2002 :  07:16:12 AM 
Thanks guys,
That certainly gives me plenty to look at.
There was indeed a battle at Rensburg on 14th February 1900. Two companies of the 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment were completely surrounded and after all SNCO's were killed by Boer marksmen and a large part of their number killed or wounded, the remainder stood their ground until out of ammunition. The Boers outnumbered the British, Australian and New Zealand force by 10 to 1 on that day and they were quickly surrounded and over-run.My Great Grandfather was one of those prisoners (British and Australian and New zealanders) taken. They were imprisoned at Waterval (thanks Steve Becker!)and Maj Eddy? (haven't got the reference to hand) of the NSW LANCERS turned his troops around to cover the Wiltshires retreat and lost his life along with several other lancers and are buried at Rensburg.
Further research ongoing.
Regards to all

Ian

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1866 Posts    Posted - 23/11/2002 :  10:32:23 AM 
Ian,
My reading show the following.

With the retirement of Gen French's column, this left Gen R.Clements to hold the area in front of Colesberg.

Australians being part of this, Clements column continued to patrol or probe in the direction of Rensberg.

The Victorian, Tasmanians (Capt Cameron + Lt Heritage) and West Aussies had a run in with the Boers around the 9th Feb in which the war correspondent's for the London Daily News (Hales) and the Melbourne Age (Lambie) were involved. Also Troopers A.Gilham and A.Button were killed and four captured.

Later that day a patrol of 20 West Aussies (Maj Moor) with the Inniskillings Dragoons went towards Slingerfontein were they had a fight with the boer. The dragoons got away but the Australians held there ground against 400 + boers all day and retired that night lossing Lt Hensman and a number of men.

Under preasure from Commandant Grobler and 2000 boers, Gen clements retired around Hobkirk Farm 11th Feb.

At dawn on the 12th Feb a mixed force of 200 men, half from the Inniskilling and Wiltshire Regts, the rest Australians from Vict, Tassie and Sth Aussie under Maj Eddy 1st VMR took up position on Pink Hill.

Under heavy fire the force held then retired fighting under the Australians in which Eddy was killed. It said the force got away and makes no mention of any being captured? But does mention Eddy going to help the Wilts who were in a tight spot when he was killed.

S.B




IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts    Posted - 27/11/2002 :  07:18:17 AM 
Steve,
Thanks for all the info.
Check out
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/rhodes/1266/historical-Boerwaratrensburg.htm
This gives a list of Victorians killed in action and wounded at Rensburg. Also in a search engine search for Rensburg, I came across a site for the Rensburg cemetary where some of these guys are buried.
Like I said before - further research ongoing. I'm just about ready to move on to another unit after the Wilts, maybe I'll research the Australian units next. Incidentally in the 2nd Wilts Regimental Digest it mentions Victorian Rifles and not NSW Lancers. Oh! and 91 men of D and G Coy's 2nd Batt Wiltshire Regt were captured.
stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1866 Posts    Posted - 27/11/2002 :  10:17:48 AM 
Thanks mate,
Agreed, The NSW Lancers and the Australian Horse left with the main column (French's) leaving the Mounted Rifle contingents (from the States mentioned) under Gen Clements.

S.B

IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts    Posted - 29/11/2002 :  09:26:26 AM 
Steve,
Can you confirm for me that Maj Eddy was with the Victorian Rifles?
Or was it the NSW Lancers?
Only I've just read on-line (I'll find the site again if you need me to)that Maj Eddy came to the aid of the Worcesters at Hobkirks Farm/Pink Hill. Strange thing is that Conan - Doyle says Eddy came to the aid of the Wiltshires and one of the first hand accounts that I have from a Wiltshire soldier clearly states that an Australian mounted trooper "rode by and scooped me up" or words to that effect! So at least one of them were saved by the Australians and I suspect more were too. Incidentally an order from Major Clements was read out to the men of the Wiltshire Regiment regarding the events of the 12th February, where near a Dam by Bastards Nek, some Australians of the Victorian Rifles "refused to retire" and the words of praise for the brave Australians on that day are worth a read.
Ian

stevebecker
Veteran Forum Member
 


1866 Posts    Posted - 29/11/2002 :  5:02:28 PM 
Yes mate,
Maj George Albert EDDY 1st Victorian Mounted Rifles.

S.B

IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts    Posted - 05/12/2002 :  06:55:45 AM 
Steve,
Do you know an address or website for the 1st Victorian Rifles?
I'd like to see what's in their archives regarding this Battle.

Ian

Rob THomas
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
464 Posts    Posted - 05/12/2002 :  09:29:14 AM 
Ian the unit doesnt exist in any form these days other than the 4/19th POW Light Horse in Victoria.
Try the Defending Victoria Web Site and work from there but from memory it doesnt really give you much information.
Have you tried Rob Drooglever at the Boer War Study Group?rwfd@hotkey.net.au


IAN SMITH
Forum Member


United Kingdom
27 Posts    Posted - 06/12/2002 :  08:58:54 AM 
Thanks Rob,
I will look at that website again and no I haven't tried the gentleman you mention, I'll see if he can help.

Cheers

Ian
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