Early in January 1900 the Legislative Council of Ceylon unanimously agreed to send a contingent of 125 mounted infantry raised from white men in the Colony.  This offer was accepted, and the squadron sailed on 2nd February, having been equipped with the greatest possible despatch.

The Ceylon MI joined Lord Roberts while he was advancing on Bloemfontein, in time to be present at the engagement of Poplar Grove.  On 6th March Lord Roberts wired to Ceylon: "I have just ridden out to meet Ceylon Mounted Infantry and welcome them to this force.  They look most workmanlike, and are a valuable addition to Her Majesty the Queen's Army in South Africa".  In the despatch of 15th March 1900 Lord Roberts noted that, along with the 5th and 7th Regiments of Regular Mounted Infantry and the 1st City of Grahamstown Volunteers, they formed the 4th Brigade of Mounted Infantry under Colonel Ridley.

The squadron was one of those praised by Lord Roberts in the despatch of 31st March 1900 for good work on the way to Bloemfontein.  With Ian Hamilton and Ridley the corps took part in the advance to Pretoria, and was present at the battle of Diamond Hill, 11th and 12th June.

Thereafter they were in the movement on Heidelberg under Ian Hamilton, crossed to the south of the Vaal with Hunter and Ridley, and under the latter took part in the first .pursuit of De Wet to the Reitzburg Hills and into the Transvaal.
The squadron was afterwards operating in the Orange River Colony.  Having been taken back to the Transvaal, they were present with General Clements in the action of Nooitgedacht, 13th December 1900, when his force suffered very severe loss.  The Ceylon MI had 1 killed and 3 wounded.  They sailed for home after about a year's service.

A second contingent, 103 strong, sailed from Ceylon on 23rd April 1902, but peace was declared before they took the field.

The Mentions gained were:—

LORD ROBERTS' DESPATCH: 2nd April 1901.—Major Murray Menzies, Lieutenant Thomas (killed).  Major Menzies was subsequently granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.

SIR R BULLER'S DESPATCH: I0th June 1900.—Under Thorneycroft's MI occurs the sentence, "Lieutenant R Villiers, who joined the regiment as a private, having been in the Ceylon MI, has done specially good work throughout".





Arrived in SA

Left SA

Ceylon Mounted Infantry, 1st Contingent



Feb 1900

Jan 1901

Ceylon Mounted Infantry, 2nd Contingent



May 1902

Jul 1902?


The total strength of the 1st Contingent was 125 men and 103 men for the 2nd Contingent.

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