Amongst many notable achievements of the
is that they lost no men to disease during the campaign.
Picture courtesy of Dixon's Medals
QSA (1) CC (Capt A Bentley, Border Scouts)
Also entitled to SA02.
Dixon's Medals say he was also a Lieutenant in the KTG but this, I believe, is a misreading of the supplementary roll where the ditto refers to prior service in other units rather than service in the KTG - a later addition relating to the Tabuteaus.
270. Pair QSA (1) CC (344 Tpr. R. van der Colff. Orpen’s Horse);
KSA (2) (539 Serjt. R. van der Colff. Border Scouts)
Robert van der Colff enlisted in Orpen’s Horse on 11 May 1900. On 31 January 1901 he transferred to the Border Scouts. His involvement in the Naroegas skirmish is confirmed in a lengthy Afrikaans account of the action by Jesse Strauss. He mentions, inter alia, “Robert van de Colff stood up on the flats of his feet while firing at the Boers”. Van der Colff was subsequently mentioned in despatches by Kitchener (LG 29 July 1902, p4857): one can speculate that this was coupled to the fight with Conroy.
23 May 1901 Naroegas
“Yesterday at Naroegas 2½ hours north this Patrol of 60 Border Scouts were attacked at 9am by 94 Rebels. Engagement lasted until 3pm when enemy retired and ceased firing… Rebel losses 15 dead counted. 5 known to be wounded. Commandant Jan Nel severely (wounded and) left behind. One Jacobs rebel from Kakamas brought in. Others left behind. Jooste of Kakamas also prisoner. Many rebel horses killed. 1 saddle, 2 horses, arms and ammunition (explosive) brought in. Explosive ammunition freely used by rebels. Our losses one man wounded. By accident 7 horses killed. Officers and men of Border Scouts fought with great bravery.”
“Shortly after he (Conroy) took command, he decided to attack Kenhardt. While he was making ready for this with about 170 men al Dwaalgees, 12 miles north-west of Kenhardt, he learnt that an English patrol was waiting for him at Naroegas on the Keimoes road. P. Gresse and Christiaan Emmenis went to investigate and observed about six saddled horses on the farm. Without further scouting of the terrain, Conroy sent 28 horsemen to catch the ‘kakies’. While they were riding unsuspiciously in the ‘sandloop’ (sandy riverbed) to the farm they were unexpectedly put under a murderous crossfire from the ridges by the Basters of Captain Ramsbottom and Lieutenant McCloud. Those who could sought shelter behind meagre rocks and bushes outside the ‘sandloop’, where they had to endure the accurate fire of the Border Scouts for the whole day in the scorching heat. Only when it became dark could Henry Wickens risk taking a report to Conroy at Dwaalgees. Reinforcements were hastily sent to the scene of the disaster, but the coloureds had already left the ridges and were on their way to Kenhardt. Almost all the horses fell in the battle. A number of burghers (Emmenis and Willem Walton) were dead. Jacobus Bonthuys and Kootjie Knouwds were seriously wounded but escaped with the help of friends and could join the commando later. H L Jacobs who was wounded in the foot and A.C. Jooste who surrendered to the enemy were taken as prisoners to Kenhardt. The claim that wounded Boers were killed with stones after the battle cannot be substantiated.”
Translated extract from History of Kenhardt compiled by W A Burger in 1952.