Imperial Light Infantry
were raised in Natal soon after the commencement of the war, were inspected in December 1899 and participated in the relief of Ladysmith including at Spion Kop.
There are several forum posts detailing individual men from the ILI notably posted by Rory that are well worth reading.
Picture courtesy of DNW
CGSGSM (1) Bechuanaland (Pte. W. T. Taylor. Kimberley Rifles) locally impressed naming;
QSA (5) Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing’s Nek, South Africa 1901 (255 Pte. W. T. Taylor. Imp. L.I.);
BWM (Capt. W. T. Taylor. R.F.C.)
[ VM ]
William Thomas Taylor was born on 31 March 1877. Served in the Bechuanaland campaign of 1896-97, and in South African War of 1899-1902. In civilian life Taylor was a Hydro-Electric Consulting Engineer, F.R.S.A., F.R.G.S., M.Inst.C.E., M.I.Mech.E., M.I.E.E.; engaged in the design, construction and management of large extra-high voltage hydro-electric systems in United States of America, Mexico, India, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, etc.
During the Great War he was Captain and Company Commander, 1/12th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment from 1915-19, attached Royal Flying Corps as Equipment Officer from August 1916 to April 1918; Staff Captain, Air Ministry, 1918-19.
On 22 March 1901 General Babington, acting on observations of a sentry the previous evening, ordered Col Briggs and 3 squadrons of the ILH with a pom-pom to Kafferskraal, 25 km west of Hartbeestfontein, to find out whether De la Rey’s laager is in the vicinity. Reaching the farm Geduld at the halfway mark at 9.30 am, an advance troop under Lt Dryden was attacked by some 200 Boers. They took refuge in a kraal and vigorously returned the enemy fire.
Shortly afterwards Col Briggs brought the pom-pom into action, causing the Boers to temporarily fall back.
Having confirmed the presence of De la Rey’s commando, Briggs ordered the ILH to retire to Hartbeestfontein. De la Rey’s men attacked on horseback, firing from the saddle and a running battle developed with Smuts’ men joining in. The three ILH squadrons were subjected to heavy fire but fought their way back with the pom-pom working at maximum capacity. Individual troops and squadrons alternated as rear-guard and they reached base camp at about 2 pm.
The British casualties were heavy: 2 officers and 4 men killed, and 3 officers and 15 men wounded. Years after the war General Smuts, who was shot through the leg at close quarters in an effort to capture the pom-pom, spoke at a banquet in honour of Col Briggs when he relinquished command of the Transvaal Volunteers.
He said, inter alia: “The rear-guard action fought by the ILH, supported by a Maxim-Nordenveldt, at Hartebeestfontein was the most brilliant one I had seen fought by either side during the entire campaign. Both General de la Rey and myself were determined to capture the pom-pom, as well as the ILH”.
QSA (5) Tug H, RoL, Tvl, L Nek, SA01 (640 Pte W G Erskine Impl: Lt Infy)
William Erskine earned the battle clasps on the QSA while serving with the ILI in Natal between 15 Nov 1899 and 16 Nov 1900. A week later he enlisted in the Imperial Light Horse and was later dangerously wounded in the Hartebeestfontein action.
He was discharged as “Medically unfit” on 18 July 1901.
QSA (4) Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith, Transvaal, Laing's Nek (461 Pte. N. Newland, Impl: Lt. Infy.);
War Medal 1939-45 (578608 N. N. Newland);
African Service Medal 1939-45 (578608 N. N. Newland)
Spink says it remains unconfirmed if same recipient or family group.