QSA (3) Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Driefontein (2502 Tpr. L. Lee, Robert’s Horse);
KSA (2) (31058 Corpl. L. E. Lee, C.C.C.C.)
2502 Trooper L. Lee, Robert’s Horse, was severely wounded at Sannah’s Post, 31 March 1900. As a consequence, he was discharged ‘medically unfit on 13 September 1900. Recovering from his wounds, he served in the Cape Colony Cyclist Corps, 14 February 1901-30 June 1902.
Lt Col G C Cunningham was ordered by French to leave a garrison at Rustenburg and to move south through Olifant’s Nek, there to take position in order to prevent De la Rey from moving eastward. Crossing the Nek on 23 January, Cunningham gained touch with the enemy (600 men under Commandant Potgieter) at Middelfontin, 7 miles from the summit of the pass.
After some intense fighting the Boers were forced to retreat. Cunningham, unfortunately, chose a position for his camp in a valley dominated on every side by rocky hills.
The next day De la Rey appeared on the scene with another 500 men and started an attack at 04h00 before dawn. This was kept up the whole of the day with the British subjected to rifle fire from all sides till darkness fell. Cunningham lost 54 killed and wounded during the 2 days’ fighting and could only extricate his force on 25 January with a further loss of 2 killed and 7 wounded when a relief column was sent by Babington from Ventersdorp.
Times History, Vol V, p112.
QSA (4) CC, Jhburg, D Hill, Witt (25410 Tpr. B. Schumann, Roberts Horse)
Captain Kuhlmann, who commanded the men of Roberts Horse still in the field at that time, gave details in a letter dated Feb 4th 1901 (“J H Kuhlmann Collection” of Boer War letters” in the South African Library in Cape Town) of the fighting at Middelfontein and the demise of Trooper Schumann:
“…I got the gunners to lay their guns, then gave the order to my best officer to advance with the 40 men. They went cheerfully, but every man knew what to expect. One man remarked ‘Oh Lord, make us thankful for what we are about to receive.’ Well they started, got across the drift & then charged at a dead gallop to get under the kopje. They got within 500 yards of it when the storm burst. I expected every saddle emptied but strange to say there was only one.
This poor fellow was shot thro the lung, eye and rt arm and killed instantly. The remainder galloped on for about 50 yds & then fell, rather than dismount, from their horses & lay flat…”