New Zealand units
- Parent Category: Units
- Hits: 1056
About 20th December 1899—that is, a few days after the defeat at Colenso—it was announced that the Australian Colonies and New Zealand were to send further contingents—that from New Zealand being two squadrons of Mounted Rifles, which sailed on 20th January 1900 on the Waiwera, and landed at Cape Town on 25th February. This 2nd contingent, under Major Montagu Cradock, entrained at Cape Town for the north on February 27. They were detrained at Victoria West, and, together with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and a Canadian battery of field artillery, formed the advanced guard, under Major Cradock, of the Carnarvon Field Force, under Colonel Parsons, which was one of the three columns Lord Roberts mentioned in his despatch of 15th March 1900 as taking part in the expedition to put down the organised disaffection in the Prieska-Carnarvon district. The troops of the Carnarvon Field Force endured much hardship. On one occasion Major Cradock's men did 50 miles in twenty four hours, but after all failed to get into contact with the enemy. Two New Zealand troopers, T G Anderson and T Hempton, died of enteric during this expedition; and Lieutenant John Findlay and Corporal J F Neal, both of the 2nd New Zealand Mounted Rifles, had a narrow escape from drowning, but were gallantly rescued by Sergeant G H Street and Private W Cassidy of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and a trooper of the Canadians. Cassidy was for his fearlessness presented with the Royal Humane Society Medal. He received the award from the hands of Lord Roberts at Pretoria on 25th October, the day the annexation of the Transvaal was proclaimed. The advanced guard reached Kenhardt on 1st April and occupied it without opposition, being then 100 miles ahead of the main body. They captured a few rebels, many rifles, and 1900 rounds of ammunition. After three days' occupation they were relieved by a column under Major Burke, being part of a parallel force under General Settle, and were then marched back to Victoria West with all speed, and were there entrained to Norvals Pont. The contingent marched from Norvals Pont, and arrived at Bloemfontein on 29th April.
The Colonial Mounted Infantry under Hutton took a very prominent part in the advance from Bloemfontein (see Canadian Mounted Rifles). At the engagement of Brandfort, 3rd May, the 2nd New Zealand Mounted Rifles were directed to attack the town, and they captured it simultaneously with a successful attack by some of Rimington's Guides on the heights near it. Towards the end of April the 1st contingent had been operating east and south - east of Bloemfontein with General French; on 4th May they joined Hutton's force, and were put into the 3rd corps of Mounted Infantry under Colonel Pilcher, which was composed as follows: 1st and 2nd New Zealand Mounted Rifles, 1st and 2nd Queensland Mounted Infantry — Colonel Ricardo; 3rd Battalion Regular Mounted Infantry—Major Anley. This 3rd corps of Mounted Infantry took part in every engagement fought by French and Hutton on the way to Pretoria, often in the advanced guard. At Kroonstad, on 15th May, Pilcher was sent on a very lengthy circular march in the Bothaville direction. His column covered 200 miles; they captured 30 prisoners on the 19th.
As ordered by Lord Roberts, Mahon marched from Pretoria eastwards towards the Belfast district. His force included 'M' Battery BHA, the 3rd Mounted Infantry Regulars, some Queensland Mounted Infantry, and Queensland Bushmen, temporarily commanded by Colonel Cradock of the 2nd New Zealand; the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New Zealanders, whose strength had fallen to 16 officers and 226 men, under Major Robin; the 79th Yeomanry, Imperial Light Horse, and Lumsden's Horse. After a forced march Mahon joined French at Carolina, south of the railway, to take part in the movement on Barberton (see Imperial Light Horse). Barberton was occupied on the 13th, after some wonderful marching and hill-climbing and no little stiff fighting.
See the 3rd Contingent for more details.