General Sir A Hunter selected 100 men of the Imperial Light Horse, 100 Natal Carbineers and a few sappers and gunners, with 300 mounted volunteers to protect the flank, for a night attack on Gun Hill, a Boer battery about 6 miles from Ladysmith. Major Henderson led out the little column. It was a dark night and when the men were within 20 yards of the top of the hill we shouted 'Fix bayonets!' The whole force mustered only four bayonets but the ruse had it effect. Shouting 'Cold steel!' the men breasted the crest and the Boer gunners fled. Colonel Edwards, at the head of his men, was the first in the gun emplacement. The men formed a cordon around the gun parapet and the sappers, under Captain Fowke, placed gun-cotton charges in the two big guns with two minute fuses. In three quarters of an hour the whole thing was done. A 6-inch Creusot and a 4.7 inch howitzer were destroyed and a maxim was captured and brought away. 'Long Tom's' breech lock was also carried off as a trophy.
Source: The Graphic 6 January 1900
Dr David Biggins
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Attached are more pictures of the raid on Gun Hill by the Natal Volunteers, showing the breech block at the time, the captured Colt machine gun, and the damaged 6 inch Creusot "Long Tom". The Long tom was sent to the railway workshops in Pretoria, and a new breech block made. The attempt to burst the barrel only damaged the tip, which was removed, and the gun was affectionately referred ever after as "die Jood" [The Jew]!
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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