This contingent, 5 officers and 117 men, with 130 horses, sailed on the Manhattan from Hobart on 26th April 1900. Captain R C Lewis commanded the contingent. The Manhattan touched at Beira and at Durban, but ultimately the troops on board, which included the 4th South Australians and 4th West Australians, were landed at Port Elizabeth on 19th June. The three contingents formed what was known as the 4th Imperial Bushmen—Colonel Rowell of the 4th South Australians commanding. Under the latter corps the work of the regiment up to 16th July has already been described. On the 26th June the Tasmanian squadron, acting as rear screen, was pressed by the enemy, who had got into good cover within 300 yards. The squadron had Trooper Firth very badly wounded, and about a dozen horses hit when retiring. The men were said to have behaved extremely well.
Between 18th July and the middle of November the Tasmanians were separated from the remainder of the regiment. Captain Lewis and his men joined General Paget, and after doing some work about the Bethlehem-Winburg district, they formed part of the escort which took the Boers prisoners from the Wittebergen to the railway. On 14th August the contingent entrained for Pretoria, and on the 16th they marched past Lord Roberts, who was very complimentary. On the afternoon of the same day the corps moved out to join General Paget, under whom they were, during the next three months, to see endless hard marching and some very stiff fighting. As Captain Lewis says in his excellent but very modest account, "We were constantly under the fire of the enemy: pretty well every day brought its contribution of experience in the shape of small engagements".
On the 20th August the contingent was put into the mounted brigade of Colonel Hickman, under whom they acted till he left the column in December. That the squadron was most highly thought of by Colonel Hickman is best proved by the fact that he almost invariably asked them to act as advance-guard when he expected to find the enemy.
On 1st September 20 men of the squadron, under Lieutenant Guy Wylly, were out after cattle. They were caught in very bad country, and got back with great difficulty. Trooper G H Brown was killed, and 5 others were wounded, including Wylly. It was on this occasion that Lieutenant Wylly and Private Bisdee gained the VC. After this the services of Lewis's squadron were much the same as those of the 4th Queensland Imperial Bushmen.
In November the 4th South and 4th West Australians joined Hickman, and the regiment were together again.
At Rhenoster Kop, 29th November (see New Zealand - 3rd Contingent), Lewis's men were escort to the guns.
In December Captain Lewis was invalided with enteric, and Lieutenant Sale took command: under him the squadron, much reduced in numbers, took a prominent part in the pursuit of De Wet through and out of Cape Colony. Lewis rejoined before the march to Pietersburg took place. After the town was occupied, 8th April 1901, the Tasmanians being the first to enter the place, Captain Sale with a small troop galloped to a ridge beyond. He was shot dead by a Boer concealed in long grass a few paces from him, and Lieutenant Walter, going to his assistance, was mortally wounded. The day was a sad one for the squadron.
On 25th April Sergeant Stocker gained great distinction for his share in the capture of 35 prisoners (see Mentions).
In May the squadron operated under Plumer through the Eastern Transvaal to Bethel and Piet Retief. On 7th July the contingent sailed for home.
See the forum posts on the 3rd Tasmanian Contingent.