In the reports by General Forestier-Walker of 18th October 1899 and subsequent dates, given in the Appendices to the War Commission Report, the Kaffrarian Rifles, strength 385, were stated to be embodied at that date, and to be the garrison of East London. They were soon taken farther north, and when active operations under General Gatacre commenced the corps was given a post of honour. The officer commanding the corps was Major H W Cuming. On 21st November General Gatacre visited Sterkstroom, where the bulk of the Kaffrarian Rifles were stationed, also Bushman's Hoek, where a mounted company was posted, both these places being considered important points. Major Pollock, in his 'With Seven Generals', says: "The General paid some well-deserved compliments to that excellent corps, and thereby pleased them greatly. Realty, the Kaffrarians had done plenty of hard work during the past three weeks, and they had, moreover, been exposed to no inconsiderable danger, holding the post of honour at the head of the Division, and, until Thursday, being wholly unsupported by any other troops nearer than Queenstown". The Kaffrarian Rifles did not take part in the Stormberg expedition. All through December and January they continued to hold Bushman's Hoek and other posts, and to patrol their district—work which they did so well that the wily enemy never caught them napping. Fighting frequently took place in the neighbourhood, and when the enemy in great force, probably 2000 to 3000, attacked the camp of the Cape Police on 3rd January 1900, a mounted company, about 60 of the Kaffrarian Rifles under Captain Maclean, reinforced the Police in time to take part in the very excellent defence (see Cape Police).
The corps, now 600 strong, were in the Colonial Division, under Brigadier General Brabant, and took part in his rapid and very successful operations in February, which regained possession of the Dordrecht-Jamestown and Aliwal North districts and drove the enemy out of many strong positions in the north-east of Cape Colony (see Cape Mounted Rifles). On 5th March, at Dordrecht, this corps lost 1 killed and' 7 wounded, and on the 11th, at Aliwal North, they had 1 man killed and Captain E Muller severely wounded. A portion of the Kaffrarian Rifles, about four squadrons, took part, under Colonel Dalgety, in the splendid defence of Wepener in April, and one squadron was in the relieving force under Brabant. During the siege they had 1 man killed and Lieutenant Lister and about 12 men wounded. The corps afterwards took part in the other work of the Colonial Division, which has been already briefly sketched under the Cape Mounted Rifles. They were several times sharply engaged in the Orange River Colony and Transvaal in 1900, particularly on the march from Zeerust to Krugersdorp in the latter half of August 1900. At Quaggafontein, on 31st August, the Kaffrarian Rifles lost 6 non-commissioned officers and men killed, and Captains P Farrar, Rose-Innes, J M Fairweather, J Donovan, and R H Price, Lieutenant Beswick, and about 18 non-commissioned officers and men wounded.
Before Lord Roberts left South Africa the Colonial Division was broken up, and in October 1900 many members of the corps were allowed to return to their homes. On their arrival at East London, on 3rd November, the Kaffrarian Rifles got a magnificent reception. To their credit an immense proportion expressed a desire to take the field again immediately after 1st January 1901. The corps was soon well filled up, and going north again joined a column under the command of Colonel Crewe of the Border Horse. This column took part in General C Knox's operations in the Orange River Colony against De Wet in January 1901. In his despatch of 8th March 1901, paragraph 9, Lord Kitchener mentioned that the Boer leaders were, towards the end of January, concentrating in the Doornberg, north-east of Winburg. Knox and Bruce Hamilton were ordered against this body, but De Wet on 27th January broke up his laager and marched south with great rapidity. Knox followed, and the columns of Pilcher and Crewe fought a very hotly contested action with De Wet's rear-guard at the Tabaksberg on the 29th. In this action the Kaffrarian Rifles bore the bulk of the casualties, their losses being 5 killed and about 20 wounded, including Lieutenant Weber. The troops of Knox and Bruce Hamilton were entrained for Bethulie and then moved rapidly west to Philippolis, but they were unable to prevent the enemy's force from crossing the Orange. Knox and Bruce Hamilton crossed at Sand Drift,—a most difficult undertaking, as the river was in flood. They now joined in the pursuit, in which the corps suffered a few casualties. De Wet having been driven out of Cape Colony, Crewe's column moved from Orange River Bridge on 4th March 1901, and crossed to Bloemfontein via Koffyfontein and Petrusburg. Near the latter place they had an engagement with Brand's commando. On this march the column took 5 prisoners, 21 waggons with teams, and 2000 horses. After this the column was again taken to Cape Colony and commenced a series of pursuits and skirmishes which was to go on for another fifteen months. The despatch of 8th July 1901, appendix, shows that Colonel Crewe's column at that time consisted of the Kaffrarian Rifles, strength 301, with 374 horses and two machine-guns; the Queenstown Volunteer Rifles, 78 men and 137 horses; 44th Battery RFA, two guns, one pom-pom. Casualties were suffered on various occasions, as on December 15, near Jamestown, when Captain Fairweather and a party of his men surprised a laager. In rushing the Boers Captain Fairweather was wounded for the third time in the campaign. A Dundee man, located when the war began at Port Elizabeth, he put off his civilian's clothes and took to fighting as the proverbial duck takes to water. Sandhurst could not have turned out a better adjutant. The corps continued to operate in the east of Cape Colony until peace was declared.
The Mentions gained by the corps were:—
In Colonel Dalgety's Report as to Wepener, 29th April 1900.—Captain Farrar was invaluable in obtaining supplies from Wepener on 6th, 7th, and 8th.
LORD ROBERTS' DESPATCH: 2nd April 1901.—Lieutenant Colonel H D Cuming; Major R H Price; Captains G Farrar, J P Farrar, E H Muller; Sergeant Major R Anderson; Signalling-Sergeant C W Jones; Troopers J D R Macfarlane (dead), J Rupert (killed).
LORD KITCHENER'S DESPATCHES: 8th March 1901.—Major R H Price; Captain and Adjutant J Fairweather, DSO; Sergeant S R Hains, promoted 2nd Lieutenant
8th March 1902.—Captain and Adjutant Fairweather, for very good service at Patriot's Klip, Cape Colony, 15th December 1901.
Colonel Cuming was awarded the CB; Major Price awarded the CMG. Major Price (now Lieutenant Colonel) was again mentioned in Lord Kitchener's final despatch.
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