- Parent Category: Units
In the beginning of June 1900 a draft for the regiment saw a good deal of fighting in the north of the Orange River Colony.
On 7th June 1900 the Mounted Infantry company of the battalion had some fighting near Vredefort Road. It will be remembered that about that time the enemy had succeeded in cutting the railway, snapping up the 4th Derbyshire Regiment and other prisoners. The Commander-in-Chief had to hurry all available troops to the railway to counteract the attempts of De Wet and his assistants.
The battalion was present at Diamond Hill, but was not heavily engaged.
In July 1900, when the 21st Brigade took part in Sir A Hunter's operations against Prinsloo, the battalion had some stiff work, especially in the capture of a very strong position at Spitz Kop or Spitz Ray on 21st July, when they had about 20 casualties, 3 of which were fatal, and again at Stephenusdrai on 29th July. This work on the 21st was highly praised by the brigadier.
During the autumn the Camerons and Sussex remained with General Bruce Hamilton, and did much weary trekking about the Kroonstad-Lindley-Hoopstad district.
Thirteen officers and 19 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned in Lord Roberts' final despatch.
In January 1901 the Camerons left Bruce Hamilton's command and were taken to Pretoria, after which they operated in various parts of the Transvaal. About 25th January the battalion left the Delagoa Railway under Smith-Dorrien, who commanded a strong force, comprising at the start an infantry brigade under General Spens, consisting of part of the 1st Suffolk, 2nd West Yorkshire, 1st Essex, and the 1st Camerons, with mounted troops under Colonel Henry, including 9th Lancers, 2nd Imperial Light Horse, 3rd Mounted Infantry, and two guns each of the 66th, 83rd, and 84th Batteries, and three 5-inch guns. The Essex left for Pretoria at the end of January. There was very heavy fighting at Bothwell on 6th February (see 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment).
The Camerons accompanied Smith-Dorrien to Piet Retief. About the 13th April the battalion left Piet Retief for Volksrust and railed thence to Pretoria, where they formed part of the garrison for a time. In June they were the infantry of a column "detached from Pretoria "under General Barton to cover the establishment of a line of posts on the Crocodile River. Later in the year they were on column work in the Eastern Transvaal. In September 1901 four companies were hurried to the Natal border in consequence of the threatened invasion by Botha. At the end of October they were railed back to Pretoria.
The Mounted Infantry company of the Camerons were with General Clements when he was attacked at Nooitgedacht on 13th December 1900. The company held their ground splendidly, having 9 killed (including Lieutenant A C Murdoch) and 10 wounded out of about 40. Sergeant Donald Farmer gained the VC for carrying his wounded officer, Lieutenant Sandilands, under a very heavy and close fire to a place of safety, then returning to the firing line.
On 14th March 1902 the battalion, along with the 2nd Seaforths and 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was railed from Pretoria to Klerksdorp, in the Western Transvaal, to strengthen the columns there in the final efforts against the commandos under Delarey, who, it will be remembered, had captured a convoy and its escort on 24th February, and had defeated a body of troops under Lord Methuen, the general himself being wounded and taken prisoner, on 7th March. During the latter part of March and the month of April the Camerons were chiefly employed in taking convoys to the mounted columns. In the final drive towards Vryburg under Sir Ian Hamilton the Camerons were with two columns under Von Donop and Green-fell on the extreme right of the line. The drive accounted for about 363 prisoners, many waggons, much stock, etc.
During the latter phases of the war 3 officers and 2 men were mentioned in despatches by Lord Kitchener, and in his final despatch the names of 5 officers and 4 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.
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