Unit strength during the Defence of Ladysmith was 21
Natal Volunteer Hotchkiss Battery. This unit has also been referred to as the Maritzburg Artillery. A section of two 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns were raised in Pietermaritzburg in September 1899, and saw service in the Boer War, under Captain Walker with a personal of 25. During the Defence of Ladysmith they were attached to the Natal Volunteer Brigade. Whilst serving through the siege they had two men killed and five wounded on Wagon Hill during the attack by the Boers on the 6th January 1900. Rounds fired by the Battery during the Defence of Ladysmith amounted to 80.
Captain Walker succumbed to illness and the senior sergeant then commanded the unit until it’s disbandment. After the Relief of Ladysmith the unit was attached to Colonel Bethune’s force and took part in actions at Scheepers Nek in northern Natal and in the Eastern Transvaal. The Hotchkiss with its small caliber and short range was not an ideal weapon, and the unit was disbanded in November 1900.
The photo attached is the only known picture I have seen of the unit, it was taken in a Pietermaritzburg park during a public demonstration. This photo was later changed with the public being removed and a veld background added to appear as if it was taken as a "live action shot"!
I discovered this photo in the publication: Uniforms Illustrated No 19 The Boer War by P.J. Hawthorntwaith.
The medal is named up as Natal Vols.
I stand to be corrected but believe this was the smallest fighting unit in Ladymith and possibly in the War?
The following user(s) said Thank You: djb, Frank Kelley
It is a question I have asked myself a few times and suspect there are possibly smaller Town Guards but I still battle to class then as a fighting unit "as such". Unless they actually did fight and were not just "called out"! I know I will be shot down on this controversial point, but that is how I feel.
The Natal Volunteer Hotckiss Battery took part in some heavy action and took casualties.