This regiment came into being in the second phase of the war for the purpose of assisting to expel the invaders from the Colony. In April and May 1901 they were often in action, and were said to have done very well on two occasions in the latter month, particularly at Zwagershoek. At Doornhoek, on the 13th, they had Lieutenant P E H Coombs and several men wounded.
The first reference in despatches to the corps by name was unfortunately associated with a mishap. In the despatch of 8th July 1901, dealing with the operations against Kritzinger's, Letter's, and other commandos, Lord Kitchener said: "On the 21st of June a party of 60 Midland Mounted Rifles—a local corps— was surrounded and captured by Kritzinger between Cradock and Graaf Reinet; 9 men were killed and 2 officers and 10 men wounded". According to the published casualty lists the number of killed and wounded was slightly larger. Captain H J Spandow died of his wounds; Lieutenant A P Robertson was severely wounded. It is satisfactory that the detachment made a very good fight, and that there was no surrender until the losses became out of all proportion to the end to be gained in holding out.
The Midland Mounted Rifles were to get their chance in due time. The despatch of 8th September 1901 deals with the capture of Letter's commando by Colonel Scobell on 5th September (see Cape Mounted Rifles).
In the despatch Lord Kitchener said: "It must also be mentioned that three days previously Letter's commando had been checked by a party of Midland Mounted Rifles, who killed seven and wounded six of their number, and prevented the Boers escaping by a pass which the patrol was then holding".
The corps continued to do much useful work in the central districts of Cape Colony.
The Mentions gained were—
LORD KITCHENER'S DESPATCHES: 8th October 1901. — Lance Corporal R M'Knight; Private H E Spiers, for good work in capturing 16 armed Boers, 24th September.
8th December 1901.—Lieutenant F B Doe, gallant defence, September 2nd, which prevented Letter breaking south.
This last occasion seemed to be worthy of a larger number of Mentions.