“On the 19th there was a skirmish at Robinson’s Drift in which six of the South African Light Horse were taken prisoner.” Times History, Vol III, p242-3.
The above sentence was based on two reports in Cd 968 (P39-41), the so-called ‘Spion Kop Despatches’, presented to Parliament in 1902.
The first report was from Lt. Col. C Thorold, Commanding the 1st Btn., Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and the second from Maj. Gen. G Barton, Commanding at Chieveley. This second report detailed the circumstances under which the six men surrendered to the Boers, and also listed their names.
The Natal Field Force Casualty Roll lists Cpl. Eustace and Tprs. Elder, Jolliffe, Gilbanks and Brown as ‘Missing-Released, Natal 19/01/1900’ and Tpr. Lilly as ‘Wounded, Natal, 20/01/1900’.
Opposite Tpr. Elder’s name the date of release is given as 06/06/1900. The incident was covered in an article “A Forgotten Action of the South African Light Horse” by David Gruber in the OMRS Journal, Spring 1997, p12-13 which gave the names of the 6 “prisoners” as they were noted in the SAFF Casualty Roll.
However, four of the men, viz. 26 Pte A W M Brown, 451 Cpl J. Eustace, 31 Pte H E Gilbanks and 450 Pte J. Jollife were actually killed and only 371 Pte H W Eldred and 803 Pte C F M Lilly were taken as prisoners of war to Pretoria. The names of the 4 casualties are shown on the Memorial Tablets in All Saints’ Church in Ladysmith and also appear in the handwritten Natal FF Casualty Roll.
QSA (3) CC, Tug H, RoL (450 Tpr. J. Jolliffe. S.A. Lt. Horse)
QSA (2) CC, RoL (451 L.Cpl. J. Eustace. S.A. Lt. Horse)