At the commencement of the war the Diamond Fields Horse (DFH) had a strength of 178.
On the 16th October Major Scott Turner took out detachments of Diamond Fields Horse, Light Horse, and Police, and drove the enemy back towards Alexandersfontein. In this affair Captain Bodley of the Diamond Fields Horse was wounded. After this there were very many skirmishes and sorties in which the mounted men did most of the fighting; while the infantry, including the Town Guard, held the trenches and defensive works.
On 25th November Major Scott Turner with the mounted troops made a reconnaissance, and succeeded in surprising the enemy at Schmidt's Drift Road. He inflicted some loss and captured 29 prisoners, his own casualties being—Cape Police 2 killed, Captain Rush and 6 men wounded; Kimberley Light Horse 3 killed, Captain Bowen and 13 men wounded; Diamond Fields Artillery, Captain Hickson and 2 men wounded. Major Scott Turner's horse was killed, and he was slightly hit on the shoulder.
On the 28th a demonstration was made towards 'Wimbledon Rifle Range'. "Major Scott Turner, with mounted troops, attacked enemy's right flank, capturing laager and three works; enemy in fourth work offered stubborn resistance, when Turner was killed; we captured many shells and destroyed other stores". Our other casualties on this occasion included—Cape Police, 2 men killed, 8 wounded; DFH, 3 men killed, Captain S P Waldeck and 8 wounded.
Major Peakman, a colonial officer, was appointed to succeed Major Scott Turner in the command of the Kimberley Light Horse. Major Peakman had been slightly wounded early in November.
In his report, para 34, Colonel Kekewich said: "My general pIan for the defence of Kimberley was based on the principle of always keeping the enemy on the move and constantly in fear of attack from an unexpected quarter … It will be observed that portions of the mounted corps were employed on every occasion. The work which fell on the detachment (mounted) of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Cape Police, Diamond Fields Horse, and Kimberley Light Horse, and the Diamond Fields Artillery was in consequence very arduous: not only did the corps mentioned respond cheerfully, but nothing can exceed the bravery and dash with which these troops attacked the enemy on several occasions in his entrenched positions".
Diamond Fields Horse—14 killed; Captains Bodley and Waldeck, Lieutenant Smith, Sergeant Major Macdonald, and 10 non-commissioned officers and men wounded.
After the siege, the DFH became part of the Kimberley Mounted Corps.
In 1902 the Diamond Fields Horse and Artillery still kept the field and were in many engagements. Major Paris's column was part of Lord Methuen's force in his disastrous engagement of 7th March 1902 (see Cape Police). In his report Lord Methuen said that the column before being reinforced at Vryburg consisted of the 86th Imperial Yeomanry, 110 men; Diamond Fields Horse, 92; Dennison's Scouts, 58; Ashburner's Light Horse, 126; 2 guns 38th Battery; 1 pom-pom of the Diamond Fields Artillery. In the fighting on the 7th the Kimberley troops suffered very severely, the Diamond Fields Horse having about 20 casualties and the Artillery detachment had several killed and wounded.
DIAMOND FIELDS HORSE.
COLONEL KEKEWICH'S REPORT.—Major T H Rodger, is a resourceful and excellent officer, always ready and cool under fire; Sergeant A B Nicholetts, on several occasions undertook duties which involved great personal risk; he carried despatches to our troops engaged on 28th November.
LORD ROBERTS' DESPATCH: 2nd April.—Major Rodger, and Sergeant Nicholetts.
LORD KITCHENER'S DESPATCH: 8th October 1901.—Trooper J Evans, on 12th February a cattle guard of four men being surprised by enemy kept them off single-handed, sent off remaining man and saved whole herd and killed two Boers.
See the Kimberley Horse for a partial nominal roll for the DFH.
- Next >>