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The 5th contingent, 24 officers and 300 other ranks, landed at Port Elizabeth on 23rd March 1901. On arrival the 5th contingent was taken to the Kroonstad district, where they joined Colonel De Lisle. On 18th May the 6th joined the column at Vrede, and afterwards the 5th and 6th worked together as a regiment, Major Shea, Indian Staff Corps, being in command, with Majors Wilson and Hurcombe.

From May 1901 to March 1902 De Lisle's column did outstanding work in the north-eastern quarter of the Orange River Colony. On 6th June 1901 his troops gained great distinction by the capture of a large convoy, and by retaining practically all their captures, although the small mounted body which had effected them was most fiercely attacked by a strong force of Boers under De Wet and Delarey. Seldom in the course of the campaign was the fighting of a more determined character. The losses of the South Australians were 10 killed and 6 wounded, the large proportion of killed being accounted for by the fact that much of the firing was at ranges of less than 100 yards. The corps on this occasion gained several mentions.

The despatch of 8th August 1901 contains several references to the fine work of the 5th and 6th South Australians. In para 4 Lord Kitchener mentions that Broadwood, on 29th July, made a night march on Bothaville, which resulted in his "driving a number of Boers into the arms of Lieutenant Colonel De Lisle's South Australians, who captured 18 prisoners and 12 waggons": and on 2nd August "Major Shea, with 200 of Colonel De Lisle's South Australians, made a gallant attack on Smut's commando at Grootvallier Farm, near the Vet River. Wire-fencing, unseen in the darkness, prevented the complete success of the plan, and enabled the Boers to escape, despite the fact that the South Australians pressed forward on foot with fixed bayonets. Five Boers were left dead upon the ground, and 11 were captured, including Field-Cornet Wolmarans, of Potchefstroom ... On the 6th and 7th Colonel De Lisle was able to account for 40 prisoners, 147 waggons, 600 horses, and 2000 cattle".

In an order dated 2nd August 1901, Colonel De Lisle congratulated the regiment on "their successful night enterprises", and said that "the very dashing night attack at Grootvallier was worthy of the best traditions of the Australian troops in the war".

The South Australians who were with Colonel De Lisle saw, as did other troops who happened to be under any of the outstanding leaders, endless hard work and much severe fighting; but Colonel De Lisle never made a mistake, and could do a great deal on a comparatively small casualty list. Both contingents took part in the driving operations in the north-east of the Orange River Colony throughout January, February, and March 1902, the success of which did much to terminate hostilities. During these great drives the outpost work was so arduous that the general ordered the officers to take their turn on sentry.

The fact that the regiment during its service caught and broke in 867 veldt ponies proves the usefulness of the 'Bushman'.

The casualties of the regiment were 14 killed and 28 wounded. They trekked 3825 miles, and accounted for nearly 300 of the enemy. They were never three consecutive days in one place. The regiment sailed for home from Natal on 5th April 1902.

Click on the icon to read the account of this unit from Lt Col P L Murray's 1911 'Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa' pdficon_large

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(349 Records)

 Surname   Forename/inits   Regimental no   Rank   Notes 
AirdWilliam Alexander513TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
AlexanderAlexander225TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
ArnoldJoseph Thomas303TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
ArnottArchibald Sandy434Lance CorporalSource: OZ-Boer database
AyliffeGerald GleesonLieutenantSource: OZ-Boer database
BairdJohn Marshall488TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
BakerRichard Ernest373TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
BarnesEdward James335TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
BarnesHorace Newton338TrooperSource: OZ-Boer database
BarronR T647Lance CorporalDemise: Killed in action 06 Jun 1901
Place: Reitz. Near Graspan
Source: In Memoriam by S Watt
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Parent Category: Australian units
Category: South Australia
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