The 1st Battalion sailed from Gibraltar on the Malta, and arrived at the Cape about 16th November 1899. Along with the 3rd Grenadiers, 2nd Coldstreams, and 1st Scots Guards, they formed the 1st or Guards Brigade under Major General Colvile. The work of the brigade has been sketched under the 3rd Grenadier Guards.
At Belmont on 23rd November 1899 both battalions of the Coldstreams did well. Lord Methuen said: "The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards attacked the ridge, S W of Mount Blanc. Colonel Codrington handled his battalion coolly and well". Three other officers were praised. In his report General Colvile says: "The battalion came under fire from 'Mount Blanc' at about 800 yards, and Lieutenant Colonel Codrington, swinging his left round to meet this, became committed to a frontal attack on 'Mount Blanc', which his battalion accomplished in a very brilliant manner with remarkably little loss. The battalion's losses were 7 men killed and 1 officer and about 20 men wounded".
At Modder River the 1st Battalion was at first in reserve, but soon had to extend the line to the right, and had to lie all day under a heavy fire. Their losses were about 20 wounded. Major Granville Smith was mentioned "for volunteering to find a ford, which he did in dangerous mud and a strong river". Four non-commissioned officers of the Coldstreams were mentioned, but their battalion was not given.
At Magersfontein, 11th December (see 2nd Black Watch), the 1st Battalion was heavily engaged. Their losses were approximately 13 men killed, 5 officers and 50 men wounded. Colonel Codrington, who was wounded, "insisted on remaining in command of his battalion till nightfall". Major the Honourable W Lambton "refused to be carried because the bearers were exposed to fire; he remained on the ground for thirty-seven hours without food or water".
After the Guards Brigade returned from Koomati Poort the 1st Battalion was for a time at Heidelberg, and were thence railed to Cape Colony, where part of them were put into mobile columns, and thenceforth the battalion did much weary trekking and garrison work in Cape Colony until the end of the war. Naauwpoort and De Aar were the points where the Coldstreams were mainly employed during 1901 and the first six months of 1902.
Twenty - eight officers and 35 non - commissioned officers and men of the Coldstreams were mentioned in Lord Roberts' final despatch. These embraced both 1st and 2nd Battalions. In Lord Kitchener's final despatch 9 officers and 10 non-commissioned officers and men of the Coldstreams were mentioned.
The 2nd Battalion sailed on the Gascon, and arrived at the Cape about 12th November 1899. Along with the 3rd Grenadier Guards, 1st Coldstream, and 1st Scots Guards, they formed the 1st or Guards Brigade, the work of which has been sketched under the 3rd Grenadiers.
At Belmont, 23rd November 1899, the battalion was not very heavily engaged. Lord Methuen in his despatch of 26th November said, "They were well handled, Major the Honourable A Henniker's services proving of great value". Two other officers were mentioned. The battalion's losses were light.
At Modder River the battalion was on the left of the Guards Brigade — that is, opposite the enemy's centre—and was all day under an extremely heavy fire. Many non-commissioned officers and men of the Coldstreams exhibited unsurpassable gallantry, and several were mentioned in Lord Methuen's despatch of 1st December, but the number of the battalion was not given. One officer of the 2nd Coldstreams was mentioned. The battalion's losses were 2 officers, including Colonel Stopford, and 10 men killed, and 1 officer and 56 men wounded.
At Magersfontein the battalion was in the firing line most of the day, and lost 1 officer and 2 men killed and 22 men wounded. "Major the Marquis of Winchester was killed whilst displaying almost reckless courage". Three non-commissioned officers were also mentioned in Lord Methuen's despatch of 15th February 1900 for great courage.
With the remainder of the brigade the battalion took part in the advances to Bloemfontein, Pretoria, and Koomati Poort. At Pan, in the Eastern Transvaal, they had the misfortune to have 5 men killed and 1 officer and 13 men injured in a railway accident on 1st October 1900.
After the Guards Brigade returned from Koomati Poort the 2nd Coldstreams were ordered to Potchefstroom. In the beginning of 1901 they were sent to Cape Colony. The headquarters were generally about Graaf Reinet down to the close of the campaign, but the battalion was much scattered; for example, two companies occupied Richmond and another was at Britstown. About 70 men of the 2nd Coldstreams along with some local troops formed the garrison of Aberdeen when it was attacked on the night of 18th May 1902, shortly before peace was declared. The attack was driven off, the enemy losing several killed.
Judging by the numerous reports of concerts and sports which appeared in the 'Household Brigade Magazine' the stay at Graaf Reinet had some peaceful features, and its memories cannot be exclusively warlike.
As to mentions by Lord Roberts and in the final despatch of Lord Kitchener, reference is made to the notes under the 1st Battalion.
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