The regiment was at Glencoe under General Penn-Symons when war broke out, and took part in the battle of Talana Hill (see 1st Leicestershire Regiment). In Sir G White's despatch of 2nd November 1899, para 12, he says: "Turning now to our cavalry, the 18th Hussars received orders at 5.40 am to get round the enemy's right flank and be ready to cut off his retreat. They were accompanied by a portion of the Mounted Infantry and a machine-gun. Making a wide turning movement, they gained the eastern side of Talana Hill. Here Lieutenant Colonel Moller halted with one squadron 18th Hussars, the machine-gun, and Mounted Infantry, sending his two other squadrons farther to the east. These two latter squadrons took part in the pursuit of the enemy, who retreated eastward; but Lieutenant Colonel Moller and the troops with him appear, so far as can be ascertained, to have pursued in a northerly direction, to have come in contact with superior forces not previously engaged, and to have been surrounded and forced to surrender while endeavouring to return to camp round the north of Impati Mountain". 'The Times' historian states that Colonel Moller arrived at a strong defensible position from which he could have stampeded the whole of the Boers' ponies and commanded their line of retreat; that Major Knox begged to be allowed to fire on the ponies, but instead was ordered to advance with two squadrons right in rear of the Boer position. This and the rest of Colonel Moller's proceedings are inexplicable. After exhibiting great rashness he seems to have become unnerved. Knox with difficulty got back with his two squadrons. The others were taken prisoners. In his evidence before the court of inquiry Colonel Moller gave his reasons for taking the road he did, but Captain Lonsdale of the 2nd Dublin Fusiliers Mounted Infantry stated that he had informed the colonel he was taking the wrong road. The officers and men were exonerated, but Lord Roberts did not allow Colonel Moller to rejoin his regiment.
At Lombard's Kop or Ladysmith, 30th October (see 1st Liverpool Regiment), the 5th Dragoon Guards and 18th Hussars were at first near the centre, and were sent under Brocklehurst to the assistance of General French, who with the other cavalry was being hard pressed on the right.
During the siege the remaining squadrons of the 18th Hussars were frequently engaged. On 8th December 1899 they and the 5th Lancers made a reconnaissance of which Sir George White spoke very favourably. On 6th January, in the great attack, they were sent to reinforce Waggon Hill.
One officer and 1 non-commissioned officer were mentioned in Sir George White's despatch of 23rd March 1900.
In the advance north from Ladysmith the 18th Hussars were brigaded with the 5th Lancers and 19th Hussars under Major General Brocklehurst. In his despatch of 19th June 1900, dealing with the taking of Botha's Pass and Alleman's Nek, General Buller said, "On the 10th the 18th Hussars gave valuable assistance and well-timed support to the South African Light Horse".
Brocklehurst's brigade accompanied General Buller to Lydenburg, and on the way had many engagements.
In that general's final despatch Colonel Knox and 5 other officers and 1 non-commissioned officer were mentioned, and in Lord Roberts' final despatch 10 officers and 9 non-commissioned officers and men gained mention.
One squadron of the 18th Hussars accompanied General French and Brigadier General Mahon to Barberton in September 1900.
In the second phase of the war the 18th and 19th Hussars were chiefly employed in the Eastern Transvaal.
In February, March, and April they took part in General French's great sweep to the most easterly corners of the Transvaal, in which practically all Botha's artillery was captured and his proposed re-invasion of Natal rendered an abortive intention. The regiment operated in June and ensuing months in a column under Colonel Campbell,—one of those under General Sir Bindon Blood,—which did further clearing up in the Eastern Transvaal. After Benson's disaster the 18th and 19th Hussars joined Allenby, and with him went in pursuit of the Boers who had attacked Benson. Towards the close of the campaign the regiment worked under General Bruce Hamilton, and contributed to his splendid results in the Transvaal. and Orange River Colony. Reference is made to the notes under the 19th Hussars.
Five officers and no fewer than 28 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned by Lord Kitchener in despatches written during the war, and in the final despatch the names of 4 officers, the Sergeant Major, 2 non-commissioned officers, and a private were added.
Private H G Crandon gained the VC on 4th July 1901 for going back for a wounded comrade, giving him his own horse, and running after him 1100 yards on foot under heavy fire.
The regiment commenced its campaigning career with a disaster, but nothing could possibly have been finer or more valuable than its subsequent work.
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