In October 1899 the NNV's numbered 123 all ranks and were commanded by Commander G. Tatum. The unit manned two Hotchkiss machine guns and one rifled muzzle-loading 9 pounder in Ladysmith, in Estcourt they had 15 men and one gun and in Colenso 30 men and two guns.
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.
A detachment of the Natal Naval Volunteers, with a 3-pounder Hotchkiss, were part of the garrison on Caesar's Camp, and took part in the struggle. On Wagon Hill the Hotchkiss gun, manned by Volunteers under Captain Walker, was very heavily attacked. Case shot was used with some effect, but the gun detachment, having lost 2 killed, were driven back. Captain Walker succeeded in dismantling the breech before leaving.
At the close of his despatch regarding the siege, Sir George White said: "The Natal Volunteers have performed invaluable service; their knowledge of the country has been of the very greatest use to me, and in every action in which they have been engaged they have shown themselves most forward and daring. The Natal Naval Volunteers have proved themselves worthy comrades of the land forces of the colony."
As in the case of the Imperial Light Horse, one portion of the Natal Volunteers took part in the relief of Ladysmith, while another portion was shut up in the town. 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.
Captain Jones' report to Rear-Admiral Harris, of 2nd March 1900: Lieutenant N. W. Chiazzari, Natal Naval Vols., has been most useful, especially in getting into working order and working the punts across the river, both at Potgieter's and Colenso, by which all the troops crossed.
Sir R. Buller's despatch of 30th March 1900 as to relief operations: Lieutenant N. Chiazzari, Natal Naval Vols., was in charge of a detachment who were associated with the Naval Brigade, and took their full share of the good work done by the brigade.
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