The 1st Battalion arrived in South Africa before the war commenced, and when Lord Methuen began his advance from Orange River the battalion was in that neighbourhood. One wing accompanied that general for a part of the way on his march. That wing was present at Belmont. In his despatch of 28th February, Lord Roberts stated that the 1st Munster Fusiliers would join the 19th Brigade on the arrival of certain Militia battalions, but that intention was not carried out. During Lord Roberts' advance to Bloemfontein the Munster Fusiliers were on the lines of communication. In April the Commander-in-Chief created several new brigades, one of which, the 20th, was given to Major General Arthur Paget. The brigade was partly composed of Militia regiments; at first the Munsters were the only regular battalion. The divisional commander was Lord Methuen. The battalion operated for a time between Orange River and Warrenton— chiefly about the latter place. While Lord Roberts was advancing to Pretoria, Paget's brigade, as well as Lord Methuen's other brigade, was taken to the Kroonstad-Lindley district.
It will be remembered that Lord Methuen was asked by Colonel Spragge of the Irish Battalion Imperial Yeomanry to assist him at Lindley. Lord Methuen got the message on 1st June and at once started off with his mounted troops, but on arriving at Lindley on the morning of the 2nd found that Spragge had been forced to surrender on the 31st. Paget's brigade was then left at Lindley, and had a good deal of skirmishing during the ensuing months, the enemy being in great force in the neighbourhood.
About the middle of June Lord Roberts commenced operations which culminated at the end of July in Prinsloo's surrender. In the despatch of 10th October 1900, para 6, Lord Roberts stated that "the force at and near Lindley, under Paget,—400 Mounted Infantry, two companies Imperial Yeomanry, four field guns, 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, 2nd King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 4th South Staffordshire, and a wing of the Scottish Rifles,—was to act in the direction of Bethlehem in conjunction with the troops under Clements". After several days' fighting Bethlehem was occupied on 7th July. In this operation the battalion had 3 officers and about 32 men wounded. After that Paget's force was hill-climbing and fighting practically every day till the surrender on the 30th.
Early in August Paget's brigade was taken to Pretoria, and on the 13th the 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry and Munster Fusiliers marched past Lord Roberts, who wired that they "looked very workmanlike".
Paget was sent in the latter half of August with the 2nd Wiltshires and Royal Munster Fusiliers to operate in the districts north-east and north-west of Pretoria, where his troops saw a good deal of fighting. In his telegram of 5th September Lord Roberts mentions that a kopje near Warm Baths, which was heavily attacked, "was ably defended by two mountain guns under Captain W Llewelyn, BSA Police, and a company of the Munster Fusiliers".
A portion of the battalion took part in the capture of the camp of Erasmus on 23rd September (see West Riding Regiment, which had also been put under Paget). The column having moved to the west of the Pietersburg line, trekked to Rustenburg, which it reached on 31st October.
In Lord Roberts' final despatch 10 officers and 20 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.
In November Paget returned to the east of the Pietersburg line; and on the 28th and 29th November he had severe fighting at Rhenoster Kop, north-east of Bronkhorst Spruit. On that occasion the battalion had 11 wounded. One officer and 3 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned in Lord Kitchener's despatch of 8th March 1901, the first published after Rhenoster Kop was fought.
For some time Paget and Plumer operated on the Delagoa line, and when De Wet endeavoured to get into Cape Colony in January 1901 the troops of these generals were temporarily brought to the Naauwpoort district, in Cape Colony, by rail. These troops were soon taken back to the Transvaal, and in May and the following months the Munster Fusiliers furnished three companies as the infantry of a column under General Plurner, and about four companies to Major General Beatson.
On 25th May 1901 part of the battalion was with an empty convoy which was fiercely attacked on the Bethel - Standerton road, "the escort fighting with great gallantry. On this occasion 1 officer and 8 non-commissioned officers and men of the battalion gained mention in despatches for exceptional gallantry.
For a great part of 1901 a portion of the battalion was employed in the Western Transvaal, the western part of the Orange River Colony, and in Griqualand West. In his despatch of 8th February 1902 Lord Kitchener, speaking of the operations of Colonel Sitwell near Griquatown, says that on 13th January 1902 a force of 400 rebels were holding a ridge completely commanding the line of advance. The enemy maintained their ground with great determination, "but at 6.40 pm, on the arrival of a small detachment of the Royal Munster Fusiliers, the position was carried by a well - executed bayonet charge". The Fusiliers lost 1 officer and 3 men killed and 6 wounded. One officer and 1 non-commissioned officer gained mention on this occasion.
During the latter part of the campaign part of the battalion was almost constantly trekking about, and if at the commencement of the war they were kept rather in the background, they made full use of their opportunities when these did come. The battalion gained about thirteen mentions by Lord Kitchener during the campaign, and in the final or supplementary despatch 4 officers and 7 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.
The 2nd Battalion was brought from India in December 1901, and took part in the closing scenes of the campaign, garrisoning blockhouses in the northeast of the Orange River Colony (see York and Lancaster).
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