The 28th Battn Mtd Infy (3 companies of Warwickshire, Lancashire Fusiliers and Derbyshire Regiments) under Major Dowell were led in an ambush on Blesboklaagte near Klip River Station (west of Heidelberg). The 250 strong Boer force under Generals Alberts and Grobler heavily attacked the left flank, held by the Lancashire Fusiliers under Captain Challoner.
After about an hour’s fighting and losing a good many men wounded, the latter began to withdraw to their horses, about two miles away. However, they were galloped down and nearly all captured by the Boers, Captains Challenor and Le Marchant being wounded. The Derbyshire Company on their right held their position until the Warwickshire Company retired through them. They then retired, some of both companies being captured. The battalion had only just arrived from Malta and had no experience of either South Africa or of Boer tactics. 1 Officer and 11 men were killed, 6 Officers and 36 men were wounded and 6 Officers and 87 men (including the wounded) were taken prisoner.
WO 108/372 “South African Surrenders”refers.
The Boers lost 5 men killed and a number of men wounded.
In his unpublished memoirs Veldkornet Kamffer of the Heidelberg Commando noted: “Andrew Brink and I then asked the wounded officers why they had not surrendered. They replied that they had been told that the Boers fought under a black flag and that there was no use in surrendering as they would be shot in any event.”
Charles Frederick McMann attested on 24 November 1898 at Manchester, aged 18 years. He served in the 28th Battalion Mounted Infantry, was killed at Blesboklaagte and is interred at the Macauvlei Cemetery.
QSA (4) Cape Colony, Orange Free State, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Major H. S. Lockhart-Ross, 5/Lanc: Fus:) engraved naming
Provenance: Usher Collection, 1975.
Henry Stuart Lockhart-Ross, Hereditary Armour-Bearer to the King, and Squire of the Royal Body in Scotland, was born in 1857, the son of the Reverend John Lockhart-Ross and his wife Isabella, daughter of Sir Reginald Seton Steuart, Bt., of Allanton. He was commissioned Captain in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, in 1891, before transferring to the 5th (Militia) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, and served as Second in Command of the Battalion in South Africa during the Boer War, during operations in the Orange River Colony, June to July 1901, and in Cape Colony, July 1901 to 1902. Whilst in South Africa he was employed as Commandant of the fortified posts and block-houses at Jagersfontein, Stormburg, and Aliwal North, and for his services he was Mentioned in Despatches (LG 29 July 1902), the General Officer Commanding noting ‘the excellent state of the block-houses of the 5th Battalion, and the speed with which they executed immediate works.’
Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel and Honorary Colonel on 31 March 1905, Lockhart-Ross served as Commanding Officer of the 5th Battalion in 1906. In civilian life he was employed as Land Agent to Sir Maurice Fitzgerald at Buckland in Berkshire, and in 1927 was granted a Testimonial on Vellum from the Royal Humane Society, and also received the Carnegie Hero Certificate, for gallantly (but sadly unsuccessfully) attempting to save a girl from drowning at sea.
Lockhart-Ross inherited the Allanton estate on the death of his cousin, Sir Douglas Seton Steuart, Bt., in 1930, the Baronetcy becoming extinct. He died of blood poisoning in London on 6 August 1935, aged 78.
QSA (3) Cape Colony, Transvaal, South Africa 1902 (Major C. L. Robinson. Lanc: Fus:)
Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, March 2009.
Charles Lucena Robinson was born in Hong Kong on 14 June 1865 and was commissioned Lieutenant in the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers on 12 November 1884. He served with the Lancashire Fusiliers in South Africa during the Boer War, and took part in the operations in the Transvaal, February-May 1902. He was latterly a Major on Retired Pay and an Honorary Colonel in the Special Reserve.