About 15th January 1900 Lord Roberts announced the intention to form a bodyguard from picked Colonials, to be commanded by Major Laing, an officer who had served in the 91st and 93rd regiments (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders), and had settled in South Africa. In the Matabele Rebellion he had again taken to soldiering, and had done work of a very high order.
In his telegraphic despatch as to his entry into Kroonstad on 12th May 1900, Lord Roberts said, "The procession entering the town was headed by my bodyguard, all of them Colonials".
In November 1900 Lord Roberts issued an order empowering Major Laing to raise a fighting regiment, 570 strong, with 2 guns, 2 pom-poms, and 2 machine-guns, to be called 'The Bodyguard'. So great was Laing's popularity that he almost at once got over 1000 recruits. The corps took the field in the Orange River Colony. Unfortunately, the first reference to them in a despatch was in connection with a grievous mishap which took place on 3rd January 1901. In his telegram of 6th January Lord Kitchener said: "From reports of some wounded who have arrived at Heilbron, it appears that a detachment of Bodyguard 120 strong, belonging to General Charles Knox's force, came in contact with a superior number of the enemy near Lindley. I regret to say that Lieutenant Colonel Laing, 2 officers, and 15 men were killed, 2 officers and 20 men wounded. No details have been received from General Knox of this action". The other officers killed were Lieutenants King and F C Vonschade. Captain A Butters died of his wounds. Lieutenants F H Skyes, J Simpson, S Lewis, W G Perrin, and D W Robertson were wounded. The fighting was of the most severe character, and the casualties in the rank and file turned out even larger than the numbers stated by Lord Kitchener.
In February and March the corps were several times engaged in the Orange River Colony, Lieutenant L H Harding being mortally wounded.
In April, May, and June, the Bodyguard, 1000 strong, under Colonel Chesney, was in a column which operated in the Eastern Transvaal under Brigadier General Bullock, and in July under Brigadier General Spens. An account of the work of the column is given in Lieutenant Moeller's 'Two Years at the Front'. They had no very serious fighting while the Bodyguard was in the column, but towards the end of July they had skirmishes in which Captain O'Flaherty and 1 man were killed and several wounded. Not long after this the corps was disbanded, many of the officers and men joining other regiments.
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