The regiment sailed on the City of Vienna and the Mohawk, and arrived at the Cape about 16th November 1899. They joined General French about Naauwpoort, and after doing a fortnight's patrol work and skirmishing in that district they were sent to Modder River about 2nd December, a few days after the battle of that name (see 3rd Grenadier Guards).
The regiment, along with the 9th Lancers, did much valuable service on 11th December at Magersfontein (see 2nd Black Watch). Both cavalry regiments were on the right flank and had a great deal of dismounted work to do, being heavily engaged from early morning till dusk. Lord Methuen's despatch of 15th February 1900 gives but few details regarding their task. He says, "Lieutenant Colonel the Earl of Airlie did excellent work with two dismounted squadrons when good service was much needed". The work of the maxim under Lieutenant Macnaghten was also praised. The losses of the regiment on the 11th were approximately 5 killed and 17 wounded.
On 9th January 1900 the regiment took part in a raid some distance into the Orange Free State. On 11th February they set out under General French for Kimberley, their brigadier being Colonel Broadwood of the regiment, and the other regiments in the brigade being the Household Cavalry and the 10th Hussars. The work of the brigade has been sketched under the Household Cavalry.
Colonel the Earl of Airlie and another officer were mentioned in Lord Roberts' despatch of 31st March 1900 for good work up to the entry into Bloemfontein.
The regiment did not accompany their brigadier towards Ladybrand, and so escaped his mishap at Sannah's Post on 31st March (see Household Cavalry). On the 29th they had taken part under General French in the battle of Karee Siding (see 2nd Norfolk Regiment).
At Diamond Hill, 11th and 12th June (see 1st Sussex Regiment), a charge of the Household Cavalry and 12th Lancers saved Q Battery, but the regiment and the army had to deplore the loss of the Earl of Airlie, "who fell at the head of his regiment". Lieutenant Wright was also killed, and the regiment had about a dozen other casualties.
In October 1900 the Household Cavalry left the brigade for home. Broadwood operated for the last four months of that year about Rustenburg and the Megaliesberg.
In Lord Roberts' final despatch 9 officers and 8 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned for good work up to the time he left South Africa.
During the first seven months of 1901 the 10th Hussars and 12th Lancers were with Colonel E C Knox in the Eastern Transvaal, taking part in General French's sweep to the Swazi border and the Vryheid district. They then operated in the north-east of the Orange River Colony; thereafter both regiments went to Cape Colony to do another eight months' chasing and skirmishing. Down to the close of the campaign the regiment frequently had sharp fighting, often involving casualties.
One officer and 4 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned in despatches during the war by Lord Kitchener, chiefly for good work in the Eastern Transvaal, and in the final despatch the names of 4 officers, 3 non-commissioned officers, and 1 private were added.
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