On 18 September a Boer laager was discovered at Vlakfontein, south of Sannaspos. A force of about 200 Officers and men (12th Company, Mounted Infantry and Bedford Mounted Infantry) under Capt H M Tufnell, Essex Rgt with 2 guns of “U” Battery, RHA, left Sannaspos to co-operate with a party of 30 SA Constabulary in making a raid on the laager. They were surrounded by a superior Boer force, and after fighting creditably for four hours they were compelled to surrender.
One Officer and 5 men were killed, and 24 men wounded while 6 Officers and 85 men were taken prisoners. The two guns were captured, a moral gain to the Boers out of all proportion to the actual value but were recovered on 2 October. Post-war the incident was considered to be of sufficient importance to be the subject of Special Account No 26 in WO 108/372 “SA Surrenders”: this covers the action in minute detail.
Cpl Woods was one of the men taken prisoner at Vlakfontein. According to Lt Col du Moulin in “Two Years on Trek”, who followed the tracks of the guns up to Wepener, the Boers put their prisoners over the Basutoland border and dispersed.
Dr David Biggins
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