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In October 1899, the DLI was commanded by Lt-Colonel T. M’ Cubbin, had 416 on strength and was based in Colenso.

On 2nd October the Natal Carbineers were ordered to patrol the Free State Border and observe the passes, and within the next few days the cyclists of the Durban Light Infantry were patrolling from Colenso to Springfield, covering 80 miles on bad roads in twelve hours.  Along with the Natal Naval Volunteers the Durban Regiment was employed in building forts near Colenso.  The Umvoti Mounted Rifles were watching the drifts lower down the Tugela, - an invaluable service, which they performed for many months; other bodies were on outpost duty.  

As soon as the enemy had closed in on  Ladysmith, they turned their attention to the force at Colenso: Dublin Fusiliers, Durban Light Infantry some Natal Naval Volunteers, and the Natal Field Battery.  On 3rd November Colonel Cooper, who commanded this force, found it necessary to retire to Estcourt.  

Sixty men of the Durban Light Infantry formed part of the personnel of the armoured train which at this time patrolled daily from Estcourt to Colenso.  On 15th November a rail was removed or twisted, and the train was attacked; 2 men of the Durban regiment were killed, Captain J.  Wyllie and 15 were wounded, and 19 were taken prisoners, of whom 8 were wounded, 1 mortally.  A squadron of Carbineers and one of Imperial Light Horse came out to the help of the armoured train.  These reinforcements drove back the enemy, killing 3.  Some of the Durban Light Infantry, Natal Royal Rifles, a squadron of Carbineers, and some of the Police were present in the action at Willow Grange on 22nd and 23rd November under Colonel Martyr (see General Hildyard's Report of 24th November 1899).  Four guns of the Natal Artillery were out on reconnaissance work in the same district about this time.  On the 27th the Volunteers moved forward to Frere, but when General Buller arrived he sent most of them back to the lines of communication.  On 9th December a detachment of Naval Volunteers, 2 officers and 47 men, joined the Naval Brigade of Captain Jones, RN, and with him worked the big guns throughout the relief operations.  It was soon found that the services of the mounted men would be needed at the front, and a composite regiment was made up, including 1 squadron Imperial Light Horse, 1 squadron Carbineers, some regular Mounted Infantry, and some of the Police.  This regiment was, on 15th December, in the battle of Colenao with Lord Dundonald, on the right, at Hlangwane Mountain; the Volunteers were heavily engaged, losing 4 men killed, 2 officers, Lieutenants D. W. M`Kay and R. W. Wilson of the Carbineers, and 6 men wounded.  The regiment accompanied Dundonald to Potgieter'e Drift, Trichard's Drift, and Acton Homes (see Imperial Light Horse and South African Light Horse).  The regiment remained with Dundonald throughout the great struggle to break through the chain of Boer defences.  Like the remainder of Dundonald's Brigade they did fine work at Acton Homes on 18th January 1900, where the Carbineer Scouts were the first to discover the enemy; also at the seizure of Cingolo, Monte Cristo, and other important positions (14th to 27th February).  In these operations the Volunteers suffered a few casualties.  

On 21st September 1900 authority had been obtained from Lord Roberts to raise among the Natal Volunteers a composite regiment of 300 mounted men to take over the duties hitherto performed by the Volunteer Brigade, and thus facilitate the return of the remainder of the Brigade to their daily avocations.  The Volunteer Composite Regiment was made up as follows:






Natal Carbineers




Natal Mounted Rifles




Umvoti Mounted Rifles




Border Mounted Rifles




Natal Field Artillery




Natal Royal Rifles




Durban Light Infantry




Hotchkiss Gun Detachment




Volunteer Medical Corps







The regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Evans, Natal MR, did much hard and effective work down to the close of the campaign.  

In March the regiment, under Major Bede-Crompton, was employed blocking the Drakensberg passes while the great drives in the Orange River Colony were going on.  About the end of March Natal decided to raise 400 more mounted infantry.  This was completed on 17th April, the Durban Light Infantry contributing a mounted contingent, and the new mounted infantry were, along with the old Volunteer Composite Regiment, put under Lieutenant Colonel Bru-de-Wold.  They operated about the Buffalo River and the southeast of the Transvaal till peace was declared.  As will be seen from the mentions, General Buller placed very high value on the services of the guides provided to his army by the Natal colonists.

General Buller’s final despatch:  CoIonel T. M`Gubbin, as station commandant at various places.

Lord Robert’s despatches 4th September 1901:  Durban Light Infantry - Lieutenant Colonel T. M`Cubbin.

See the forum posts on the Durban Light Infantry.

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(1319 Records)

 Surname   Forename/inits   Regimental no   Rank   Notes 
AbbottW558 PrivateSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AbrahamA C882 PrivateSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AdamsEPrivateNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
AdamsE R779 LieutenantSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AdamsHPrivateNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
AdamsR J581 PrivateSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AikmanGPrivateNatal 1906 (0)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
AlansonC966 PrivateSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AlcockR H576 CaptainSource: Nominal roll in WO127
AlexanderTPrivateNatal 1906 (1)
Source: Recipients of the Natal 1906 Medal
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