REMARKS / HISTORY:
1. Letter from Captain and Adj. of I.L.H. to Father
2 Letter from Commanding Officer of I.L.H. to Father
3. Photo of Remnants of I.L.H. after Siege of Ladysmith
4. Photo of Intombi Cemetery, Ladysmith
5. In Biggins Book, Page 189
Although I don't have a confirmed member of the I.L.H. who was present I have one to a Trooper in the N.M.R.
William Walter Gibb, a salesman from Stamford Hill, Durban, served with the N.M.R. during the Boer War and died at the age of 50 in November 1923. He died from Septiceamia in the Berea Nursing Home and left his entire estate of 75 pounds to his sister, him being a bachelor all his life.
He is one of 6 members listed in the N.M.R. History by Eric Goetzsche as earning a Mention in Despatches.
A further reference was found in another N.M.R. history, but I foolishly omitted to copy the title page, just the relevant pages with the detail on.
Under the section for Mentions in Despatches, and the S.A. War is the following:
"Trooper W.W. Gibb, N.M.R., for going back during the retirement of his regiment at the fight at Bester's Hoek, outside Ladysmith, and assisting to bring in an unhorsed man, who was Trooper W.H. London, B.M.R., now Colonel, and formerly O.C., 3rd M.R."
The role played by the Natal Volunteers, where they were sent to the hill on the left during the engagement is detailed in the following report :
Burnett: Chapter 4 - Ladysmith during the siege
From Brigadier-General J. F. Brocklehurst, M.V.O., Commanding Cavalry Brigade.
To the Chief Staff Officer, Natal Field Force,
Ladysmith, 3rd November, 1899. The Brigade rendezvoused at the old transport lines, and was disposed, so as to support the Helpmakaar Post in case of an expected attack at dawn.
At 9.45 a.m. patrols reported enemy moving west of Ladysmith.
The Brigade rendezvoused at once at Range Post. The following is the report rendered on the day's operations:—
"At 10 a.m. the 19th Hussars, 5th Dragoon Guards, and the 21st Field Battery assembled at Range Post. Four squadrons 'I.L.H.' were already about one mile to the front, in the direction of Lancer's Nek, and had located the enemy with one gun on the ridge to their front.
" At 11.15 a.m. I advanced the battery, with escort of one squadron 5th Dragoon Guards, direct on the hill reported to be held by the enemy; with the other two squadrons 5th Dragoon Guards on the right rear of the guns. The 19th Hussars advanced over the Long Valley to the ridge to our left and outflanked the enemy's left. I sent orders to the 18th Hussars to turn out and watch the right rear of my advance. I requested General Hamilton to guard my left rear, and he occupied the detached hill one mile south of Caesar's Camp with two companies of Infantry, and sent one company Mounted Infantry to a large round topped hill east of Colenso Road.
"At 11.40 a.m. the enemy opened fire. My battery advanced to effective range, and in about four shots silenced the enemy's gun. It then turned its fire on a kraal enclosure, in which some enemy appeared to be laagered.
" At 12.15 p.m. the 19th Hussars reported Artillery fire to their right at about 2,000 yards range, and they halted under the ridge and occupied it with dismounted fire. The 18th Hussars halted still more to the right behind the kopje near the nek on Van Reenen's Road.
** I sent back then to headquarters for two more batteries. About this time it appeared to the officer commanding ' I.L.H' that the balk of the enemy had retired from the ridge, and dismounting his men he advanced close up to it. The advance was most gallantly made, but being unsupported, it was an error of judgment, and I would not have sanctioned it had I been aware that it was contemplated. The enemy returned to the ridge, and our guns had to fire on the ridge and a green kopje to our left to keep down their rifle fire.
" In order to facilitate the retreat of the ' I.L.H.' I ordered Major Gore, commanding 5th Dragoon Guards, to send one squadron forward to take up a position to cover their retirement, which he did, finding shelter in a nullah 1,000 yards to my front.
" At 1 p.m. the Natal Mounted Rifles, under Colonel Royston, came up, and I sent them on the high hill to my left, where they became warmly engaged till the withdrawal of the force.
"Two more batteries also arrived. The 42nd was sent to the right to silence the enemy's gun there, and to act with the 19th Hussars. The 53rd came up in line with the 21st.
" At 1.30 p.m. a large body of the enemy was reported by the 18th and 19th Hussars trekking east to west. The officer commanding 19th Hussars called up the battery on the right, and the enemy came under their fire and that of the dismounted men, and suffered considerable loss. At about 4 p.m. I concentrated the Artillery fire on the ridge, and the ' I.L.H.' withdrew behind the guns at a gallop in extended order. About fifteen minutes later the squadron 5th Dragoon Guards withdrew in the same manner.
"I decided to attempt nothing further till assured that Colonel Royston had entirely cleared the hill on the left, but, on his signalling that the enemy was advancing in great numbers, I turned the Artillery fire on the green kopje which was bringing a cross fire on the Volunteers, and ordered a retirement from the left. This was carried out with the greatest steadiness. The enemy was too distant for the heavy rifle fire they kept up to molest us, but again opened fire with their guns from front and both flanks.
"I would like to mention the excellent practice made by our Artillery, and the capable way in which Colonel Royston, with the Volunteers, secured my left. I also wish to commend the able way in which Major Heneage's squadron, under direction of Major Gore, advanced and covered the withdrawal of the ' I.L.H/
"General Hamilton brings to my notice the judgment shown by Captain Bridgford, commanding the Mounted Infantry, Manchester Regiment, in covering the retirement.
"I regret the great expenditure of Artillery ammunition, but it was necessary to keep down the enemy's rifle fire to avert considerable loss to the 'I.L.H.' and Major Heneage's squadron, 5th Dragoon Guards.
"I attach reports of General Hamilton, Colonel Jenkins, Colonel Royston, and Major Davis." I have, etc.,
(Signed) J. P. BROCKLEHURST, Brigadier-General.
The Natal Volunteer Record lists Corpl. H. Silburn, N.M.R. as being wounded at Bester's Hoek. This seems to me that Lancers Hill, Bester's Kop and Bester's Hoek were one and the same, or at least formed part of the area where the engagement took place. I have had this medal in my collection for a number of years and could never pin down these details until this topic was placed on the forum, I thank all of you for your input and showing your medals.