This force was raised at the end of September, 1899, in Natal, recruited chiefly from the outside employees of the Natal Government Railways. Their duties were to guard the railway bridges in northern Natal, open to sabotage or destruction in the event of war with the Boer Republics then imminent. The unit was enrolled under the orders of their Commandant, Mr. J. W. Shores, Engineer-in-chief of the Natal Government Railways, assisted by district deputies. The unit was armed and equipped by the Natal Volunteer Department. All bridges of any importance were guarded by at least three guards, who performed valuable services until, their numbers being too small to put up much resistance against attack, they were withdrawn southwards progressively aa the enemy in force advanced into Natal. Upon the advance northwards by the British forces after the Relief of Ladysmith, and the damaged or destroyed bridges were repaired or restored, the Natal Bridge Guards resumed their former duties until towards the end of the war, and they performed valuable services of a monotonous and often arduous nature, small enemy raiding parties of two or three individuals more than once getting through to the bridges on mischief bent. But none ever succeeded in such attempts owing to the vigilance of the guards, who were gradually relieved as the military block-house system was extended to all vulnerable parts of the railways, particularly bridges.

The uniform worn was the usual khaki with felt hat. No badges or letters were worn. The unit was really a railway police force, which was maintained and paid by the railway department.

Source: Short History Of The Volunteer Regiments Of Natal And East Griqualand, Past and Present. Compiled by Colonel Godfrey T Hurst, DSO OBE VD, Honorary Colonel of the Natal Mounted Rifles.

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