Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

Service History of
5981 Rifleman William C. Wayman
1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps
5981 Corporal William Wayman
The 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company
Local-Sergeant W. Wayman
No. 1 Section of No. 1 Company
25th (KRRC) Mounted Infantry Battalion

Compiled and Copyright © Irvin L. Mortenson - 2002


The 1881 National Census for the United Kingdom found William C. Wayman (age 8) living at New Road, Offord Cluny, Huntingdon, with his parents Charles (39) a carter, and Kezia (35) Wayman. Also at home were William’s siblings - Barry (11), Ellen (7), George (6), and Matilda (3).


William Wayman enlisted at the age of 17 to serve seven years with the Colours and five years on the First Class Army Reserve with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (based on his Regimental Number of 5981). Rifleman Wayman then underwent his recruit drills on the Square as Rifleman No. 5981 of the King’s Royal Rifles on the square of the Rifle Depot, Winchester, Hampshire.


1st Battalion left their station at Aldershot and embarked at Portsmouth for India in HMS Crocodile.


Having completed his recruit drills and passing off the Square, Wayman was posted to the Rifle Depot for a period. and then was posted with a draft for the 1st KRRC - embarking for India.


The Bunerwal Tribe showed signs of trouble. The 1st KRRC marched from Rawal Pindi for Durband as part of the Reserve Brigade (1st KRRC, 19th Bengal Infantry, 27th Punjab Infantry, and one squadron 11th Bengal Lancers), of the Hazara Field Force.


Durband was reached on 30 March 1891. The Bunerwal threat passed away while the Reserve Brigade (and the Rifles) waited in vain for a call to action. Thus did the 1st KRRC earn the clasp Hazara 1891to the India General Service Medal of 1854. The two active columns continued operations against the Hassanzais and Akazais in the Black Mountains.


Road working parties pushing a new road towards the Samana Ridge were attacked by Rabia Khel tribesmen. Many of the hill tribes rallied to a call for a Jihad, or holy war that had been proclaimed by a fanatical priest named Syed Mir Basha.


The 21 February 1891 draft joined the 1st KRRC at Durband.


With the new outbreak, trouble arose on the Miranzai border. The First Rifles left Durband for active service with the Second Miranzai Expedition, marching for Kohat.


Some men of the Regiment (likely most of the 21 February 1891 draft) entrained at Rawal Pindi at 10 a.m. for Hasan Adbal, where they awaited the arrival of the Battalion from Durband. The 1st KRRC arrived at Hasan Abdal at about 3 p.m. and bivouacked outside the train station for the night.


The Battalion left at 4 a.m. by train for Kushalgarh which was reached at 2 p.m., marching to a camping ground about a mile away, after crossing the River Indus via a pontoon bridge 300 yards long.


The 1st KRRC left Kushalgarh at 6 a.m. and marched to Gumbat; arriving there at noon.


The Rifles left Gumbat at 1 a.m. and marched to Kohat, which was reached at noon. Here the Rifles halted till the 15th and stored all kit beyond the lightest active service scale, and established a Depot for riflemen too young for active service, the sick, and the weakly. Since Wayman was not yet 19 years old - he would have been one of those left at the field depot at Kohat.


Battalion left Kohat at 4 p.m. and marched to Chilibagh, arriving at 9 p.m.


Left Chilibagh at 3 a.m. and marched to Hangu, arriving at 2 p.m. This camp was made the base of operations for the expedition.


The Second Miranzai Expedition formed up at Hangu, commanded by Brigadier- General Sir W. S. A. Lockhart. Troops were:

No. 1 Column: Colonel J. M. Sim, C.O.

No. 3 Mountain Battery, R.A.

1st K.R.Rif.C.
1st Punjab Infantry 27th Bengal Infantry
1/5th Gurkhas  
No. 2 Column: Lieutenant-Colonel A.H. Turner, C.O.
No. 3 (Peshawar) Mountain Battery 15th Bengal Infantry
3rd Sikh Infantry 2nd Punjab Infantry
No. 3 Column: Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. Brownlow
No. 2 (Derejat) Mountain Bty (3 guns) 6th Punjab Infantry
19th Bengal Infantry 29th Bengal Infantry
Divisional Troops:  
4 Companies, 2nd Manchesters 19th Bengal Lancers
2 squadrons 5th Punjab Cavalry Punjab Garrison Battery
1/4th Gurkha Regiment No. 5 Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners
Initially the force was 7381 strong, with 181 British officers and 717 British troops. When the Manchesters joined they added 11 officers and 300 men. The 1/4th Gurkhas had 8 officers and 717 men. There were also 7 HLI and 13 Wiltshire Regiment signalers, and 6 men of the Royal Irish Regiment.


No. 1 Column left Hangu at 5 a.m. The first action came when resistance was met at the village of Tsalai. Under cover of artillery fire by No. 3 Mtn Battery, R.A., two Companies of the Rifles rushed the village with the bayonet, losing Colonel C.P. Cramer and Major C.C. Egerton severely wounded, plus a Colour Sergeant and four riflemen wounded.

We ". . . marched to the bottom of the hills, and waited for about an hour, the Ghoorkhas and Punjaub Infantry skirmished up the sides of the hill, we marched up with the General (Sir W. Lockhart). When we arrived at the top of the hill, we were surprised to see the number of hills the other side and the first of the enemy's forts. We had to march 3 miles to it. We were marching along the side of the hill, when two shots were fired at us, but we did not know where from. On arriving about 2000 yds from the fort the enemy began firing rather sharp but we could not return the fire as we could not see them, but the Artillery opened fire on the fort at 1000 yds, and we were covering them. At this point the Colonel (Cramer) got wounded in the wrist, and the Brigade Major in the hand, and Pte. Forrest F Company was severely wounded in the chest with a Martini Henry bullet, convincing us that they had our own rifles using against us. After the Artillery had fired a few rounds, and opened the door of the fort, we and the Ghoorkhas charged the fort, but were surprised to find that there was not a soul inside, they had all retired to the next one named Sangar and after a lot of fighting we took possession of the fort and village, and halted for the day after a hard day’s work." (Diary of Rifleman Arthur Pickett, 1st KRRC)


For the next two days all three columns moved forward carefully, brushing aside minor opposition and placing picquets on the covering hills. On the 18th (Saturday), ‘C’ and ‘E’ Companies were left at Sangar with a few native troops:

" . . . and the remainder went out with the General, they had a very good fight, and killed a good number of the enemy, but none of their dead were left behind, as they always take them away with them. The Artillery stormed 5 forts, a few of the native troops were wounded, and one of our men [Pte. Stokes of E Company]was killed." (Diary of Rifleman Arthur Pickett, 1st KRRC)


Rifleman Pickett wrote:

"On Sunday 19th two spies from the enemy were captured and ordered to be shot, by the General. The River, and 3rd Columns had a lot of fighting, we stayed in camp and got water and provisions, it took about 5 hours to get the water, being such a long way from the Camp. About 6pm the enemy appeared on a hill facing our camp. The artillery fired a few shells into them, and they soon retired, as it was too hot for them. We had to find picquets for the remainder of the night, as we were expecting to be surprised and there were a few shots fired into the camp during the night, but no damage was done." (Diary of Rifleman Arthur Pickett, 1st KRRC)


No. 3 Column under Brownlow was strung along the Samana Ridge facing large numbers of tribesmen. Reinforcements were sent - the Peshawar Mountain Battery, the 2nd Punjabis, and four Companies each of the KRRC and the 5th Gurkhas. The Gurkhas were to attack the village of Saragarhi and clear it of the enemy, clear and capture the hills beyond, and destroy the stone towers in the village. This they did. Meanwhile the 1st KRRC with the 6th Punjabis, the 19th Bengal Infantry, and 3 guns of the Derajat Mountain Battery advanced to capture Ghuztang which was done with little opposition other than long range sniping. The 1st KRRC lost No. 4442 Rifleman Frank Stokes sniped and killed on the line of march. One officer and six men of other corps were wounded.

"On Monday 20th we had the biggest fight of all. We left Camp and joined the 3rd Column and after marching and waiting for about 9 hours, we sighted the enemy about 1pm. We kept fighting till about 5pm. It was a grand sight to see the troops running down the hills after the enemy. There were a lot of native swords and guns captured, and about 300 of the enemy killed. The Rifles and Ghoorkhas were together all the time the Ghoorkhas cut the enemy to pieces with their knives, which made a sickening sight, after which they burned them in heaps. There were 6 of the native troops wounded, but none of ours, 7 forts were taken and blown up, the villages burnt and crops spoiled. We arrived in camp again about 8pm after a very hard day's fighting and climbing." (Diary of Rifleman Arthur Pickett, 1st KRRC)


Only Indian troops went out at 8 a.m. The Rifles were employed in building roads. Four wounded came into camp in the evening.


One of the Rifles fell sick with fever on the 22nd and was sent back to Hangu.


The last real action of the campaign occurred when the force arrived at the defended village of Margharu. Screened by fire from four guns of the Peshawar Mountain Battery, the 15th Sikhs, supported by the 1st Punjabis, carried the village.


The enemy came in and submitted to terms.


General Lockhart, with No. 1 Column (minus a Half-Battalion 1st KRRC) marched to Hangu.


Lockhart began to march round the northeast end of the Samana Range, reaching Sangar on May 3rd.


The remaining Half-Battalion KRRC which had been left behind, joined No. 2 Column at Gulistan, along with a Half-Battalion of the Manchesters.


The reinforced No. 2 Column marched up the Khanki Valley as far as Mamuzai Bazaar, returning to Gulistan on 15 May, 1891. The two columns moved from village to village, accepting the submission of the villagers, exacting fines and blowing up village towers. Thus did the 1st KRRC qualify for the clasp Samana 1891to the India General Service Medal of 1854.


Battalion left Mastan for Kushalgarh.


The First Rifles entrained for Rawal Pindi, and then marched on by Half-Battalions to Gharial in the Murree Hills for the hot weather.


The 1st KRRC to station at Gharial.


Marched back down again from Gharial to West Ridge, Rawal Pindi.


To station in the Chisick Lines at Rawal Pindi.


Army Order No. 252 authorized the issuance of medals and clasp Samana 1891to all troops and followers employed in the Miranzai Expedition and against the Urakzai tribes between April 4, 1891 and May 25, 1891. The 1st KRRC qualified Regimentally for this award.


Army Order No. 27 authorized the issuance of medals and clasp Hazara 1891to all troops and followers employed in the Hazara Expedition between 12 March 1891 and 16 May 1891. The 1st KRRC qualified Regimentally for this award.


Headquarters and 4 Companies marched out of Rawal Pindi for Ghora Dhaka in the Murree Hills. The remaining Half-Battalion (less one-half company on detachment at Campbellpore), moved into the Church Lines at Rawal Pindi.


The Half-Battalion to station at Ghora Dhaka.


The First Rifles were warned for active service with the Isazai Field Force as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade. Hashim Ali, an ex-chief of the Isazai Clan returned and began to make trouble, and an expedition was prepared to punish the tribes who had broken faith by permitting his return.


The Half-Battalion at Ghora Dhaka marched for Durband, arriving on the 28th .


The Half-Battalion at Rawal Pindi moved by rail and march to Durband.


The two Half-Battalions 1/60th Rifles joined the 2nd Infantry Brigade, under Brigadier-General A.G. Hammond. The expedition came to nothing. The troops crossed the Indus, marched up to Baio, burnt a few villages, destroyed and ate up a considerable area of crops, and returned to Durband on the 8th where the force was broken up.


A draft of 317 4th KRRC NCOs and Riflemen from Burma were ordered posted to the First Battalion.


Return march started for the Rifles. During the return march a few cases of cholera broke out, and the Battalion went into quarantine camp at Margala. While there, the cholera got no worse, but half the Battalion came down with malaria and preceded it to hospital in Rawal Pindi.


The 1st KRRC returned to Rawal Pindi. Here the draft of 317 men from the 4th KRRC in Burma joined.


Lee-Medford Rifle again issued to First Battalion.


Battalion marched to Gharial for the hot season, arriving on May 9.


The India General Service Medal of 1854 with clasps Hazara 1891 and/or Samana 1891were issued to officers and men of the First Battalion.


Battalion marched to Rawal Pindi for the cold weather, arriving at that station on the 20th of November. Attended maneuvers, and then marched to Peshawar.


To station at Peshawar.


‘B’ and ‘G’ Companies went to Cherat for the hot weather, returning on 28 October 1894.


IGS-1854 medals and/or clasps for N.E. Frontier 1891 / Burma 1889-92 / Lushai 1889-92were issued to the men of the 4th KRRC who had transferred to the 1st KRRC.


A Maxim Gun was issued to the 1st KRRC and a Maxim Gun Section formed.


The 1st Rifles were warned for active service with the Chitral Relief Force, and all of the officers and men were examined to determine if they were "fit" for active service in the field. Wayman was found fit.


Left Peshawar (18 officers and 801 NCOs and men) for Hoti Mardan as part of the 1st Brigade (1st KRRC, 1st Bedfordshire Regiment, 15th Sikhs, and 37th Dogras) - commanded by Brigadier General A.A. Kinloch.


The 1st KRRC reached Hoti Mardan where they joined the 1st Brigade.


Sir Robert Lowe marched with the 2nd and 3rd Brigades towards the Malakand Pass, while the 1st Brigade marched toward the Shalkot Pass, bivouacking at Lundkwar in full sight of, and directly threatening the Shalkot Pass. Lowe ordered a feint towards the Shalkot Pass with the cavalry making a strong reconnaissance towards the Mora Pass to stir up dust and distract the enemy’s attention from the true point of attack - the Malakand Pass.


All three infantry brigades concentrated south of the Malakand Pass. The feints had deceived no one. The enemy were in force at the pass.


The action of the Malakand Pass was fought. The 2nd Brigade led, supported by the 1st Brigade, with the 3rd Brigade in reserve. The enemy’s position extended along the crest of the pass, holding the heights on either flank, whilst a series of breastworks built of stone, each commanding the one below, were pushed down the main spurs. The Guides, supported by the 4th Sikhs, scaled the heights on the extreme right of the enemy’s position, then turned inward, sweeping along the crest, taking the enemy in flank while a frontal attack was pushed home. The slope was so steep it took the Guides five hours to scale the heights and gain the crest. Meanwhile the enemy had been under a searching artillery fire from three batteries for three hours. The Gordon Highlanders and the K.O.S.B. were ordered to the frontal attack, each moving up a separate spur. The Scots swept upwards, taking breastwork after breastwork, and arrived just below the final crest almost together. While the whole of the 2nd Brigade was so engaged, the 1st Brigade in support moved the 1st KRRC followed by the 15th Sikhs up a re-entrant between the KOSB and the Guides, while the Bedfordshire Regiment and the 37th Dogras passed in front of the enemy’s position in the valley. They circled around the rear of the Gordon Highlanders and attacked the enemy’s extreme left.


The 1/60th Rifles in their ascent struck an old Buddist Road. Turning sharply to their right they soon found themselves level with the leading companies of the K.O.S.B. After a short rest to catch their breath, the three battalions fixed bayonets and rushed the crest, each topping out at almost the same time. Meanwhile the Guides and the 4th Sikhs had stormed the peak to the left, while the Bedfords and 37th Dogras pursued the fleeing enemy down into the far valley, only halting when the reached the walled village of Shar on the Swat River. The fight had lasted over five hours. Enemy losses were some 500 killed of an estimated 12,000 engaged. The British lost 11 killed and 51 wounded. KRRC casualties were four killed and four wounded.


That night the crest of the pass was held by the 1st Brigade, with two Regiments pushed down as far as Khar. The 2nd Brigade bivouacked at the south entrance to the pass. The following morning the task of pushing forward supplies and materials for the advanced brigades began. Again, the old Buddhist Road discovered by the 60th became important. It was quickly improved to allow usage by pack trains, and within 24 hours the several brigades were ready to move.


While the work on the pass was going on, the 1st Brigade moved down into the the Swat Valley where they were attacked by over 5000 men newly arrived at Khar from the Shalkot and Morah Passes. The Brigade lost two men killed and 18 wounded. The Rifles were not engaged.


The British force at Chitral Fort was relieved by Colonel Kelly’s force, ending the 47 day siege. The 1st Brigade (including the 1st KRRC) were left to guard the communications through the Swat Valley, occupying the line between Chitral and India throughout the hot weather without incident except for a few attacks by individual fanatics.


The 1st KRRC began a move to the Laram Kotal (a mountain range), where they were to be employed in road repair and making.


The 1st KRRC settled down for the hot weather at Dostai, near the Laram Kotal at Camp Birau. There was much sickness in the camp.


Battalion started its return march to India.


Nowshera was reached and the 1st Battalion entrained for Jullundur.


Rifles arrived at Jullundur.


The First Rifles to Dalhousie.


In Army Order No. 71 Queen Victoria approved of a new medal to be struck to commemorate military operations in or on the Frontier of India. The medal was to be known as The India Medal of 1895. Army Order No. 72 of April, 1896 granted two clasps to the India Medal of 1895 - Defence of Chitral 1895; and Relief of Chitral 1895. The 1st KRRC was Regimentally entitled to the latter clasp. Wayman was one of those who received the Indian Medal of 1895 with the clasp Relief of Chitral 1895.


The 1st KRRC to Jullundur.


Battalion left Jullundur under orders for the Cape and Mauritius.


The First Rifles arrived at Deolali, the reception and discharge depot which all troops had to pass through when arriving or departing India. There they left all time-expired men for return to England and discharge.


The 1st KRRC sailed for the Cape from Bombay on the RIMS Warren Hastings.


The 1st KRRC arrived at Capetown where they disembarked "B", "D", "E", and "F" Companies for garrison duties at Wynburg. The remainder of the Battalion (including Rifleman Wayman of "G" Company) sailed for Mauritius and for shipwreck on the R.I.M.S. Warren Hastings.


The Warren Hastingssailed for Mauritius, having on board "A", "C", "G", and "H" Companies of the 1st K.R.Rif.C., a Half-Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment, 25 men of the Middlesex Regiment, and a number of women and children; a total of 22 officers, 4 WOs, 940 men, 4 ladies, 13 women and 10 children.


It had all the makings of a major disaster. Off her course by eight miles, a troopship crowded with 1246 passengers and crew steams at night through torrential rains in the Indian Ocean. Running aground off the coast of Africa, the Royal Indian Marine Ship Warren Hastingssank on January 14, 1897. Among those aboard were 526 officers and men of the 1st King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The 1st KRRC had been in India since December of 1890 and saw active service with the Hazara Field Force, the Second Miranzai Expedition, the Isazai Field Force, and the Chitral Relief Force. The latter campaign concluded, the First Rifles returned to their station at Jullundur on October 5, 1895.


After a quiet year at Jullundur, the 1st KRRC received orders for South Africa and Mauritius. They left Jullundur on November 30, 1896 and arrived at Deolali1 on December 5. All time-expired men due for discharge were left at that station, and the Battalion proceeded to the port of Bombay. On December 12 they embarked on the R.I.M.S. Warren Hastings, a steel turnscrew troopship rigged as a two-masted schooner. Built at the Barrow shipyards in 1893, she was 330 feet long and almost 50 feet at the beam. Her displacement was 5000 tons. She carried eight boilers and triple expansion engines of 3,500 horsepower, had a coal capacity of 700 tons, a top speed of 18 knots, and was captained by Commander G. E. Holland, D.S.O., of the Royal Indian Marine. The crew numbered 253 of all ranks.


After coaling in the Seychelles, the ship arrived at Capetown, South Africa on December 28, where "B," "D," "E," and "F" Companies of the Rifles disembarked for garrison duty at Wynburg. Remaining with the ship were the Headquarters detachment and "A," "C," "G," and "H" Companies of the Rifles, plus 10 ladies, women2 and children of the Regiment.


Embarking at Capetown for Bombay were four companies ("A", "D", "E", and "F") of the 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment, plus 17 women and children of that Regiment. Also aboard were 2nd Lieutenant A.B. Borman, R.A, and Surgeon-Captain W.T. Swan, of the Army Medical Service; plus a detachment of one Warrant Officer and 24 men of the 2nd Middlesex Regiment.

  Officers WOs Men Ladies Women Children
2/Y & L

The ship left Capetown on January 6, 1897 with a total of 1246 passengers and crew, enroute for Mauritius, an island about 400 miles east of Madagascar. They had a tranquil passage until the morning of the 13th . The barometer fell, and the wind shifted to the south. Observations were difficult, and it began to rain. Still, they expected to make Mauritius by noon on the 14th . At 2:20 a.m. on the 14th , steaming at 12½ knots on a pitch-black, rainy night, the Warren Hastingsran aground off the Island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. The sea and winds were relatively calm, though there was a moderate swell. All aboard were awakened by the impact. Heavy bumping, grating and flooding clearly indicated the ship was aground and in danger of sinking. Luckily the engines were kept at full speed, and held the ship on the rocks.


Lieutenant-Colonel Forestier-Walker, O.C. Troops, hurried to the bridge and reported to Commander Holland, who ordered that all men fall in below on the main and troop decks. Only sentries could be above decks. When the order was given, the men assembled and stood calmly, awaiting further orders. They couldn’t see outside, the ship was clearly in trouble, and they had only bits and pieces of clothing on. Given the circumstances, their discipline was remarkable.


At 3:25 a.m. Lieutenants Dobbin and Windham, R.I.M. went down over the bow on ropes to see if men could be landed onto the rocks below. They reported it possible. The men were ordered to find boots and rifles and to form up below - The King’s Royal Rifles on the port, the York and Lancasters and Middlesex on the starboard. This allowed the forward companionways to be used simultaneously. The troops, with slung rifles, began filing forward at 4 a.m. Groping across the dark, slippery deck, they clambered down the wet rope ladders on either side of the bow. It was slow going. Suddenly the ship shifted and listed to to starboard. The men below decks were ordered to the upper decks by companies, and the disembarkation continued.


The list increased. By 4:20 a.m. it was evident that the evacuation of the women, children and sick could not be delayed until daylight. They were passed forward. The men at the bow stood quietly aside as women, children and invalids were carried or lowered onto the wet, slick rocks below. By this time the men on the starboard side were in water up to their knees and clinging onto the rails for support. As the list worsened, the seas started to break over the upper deck. The men on board were ordered to discard their boots and rifles and to move to the port rail. At 4:35 a.m. the electric lights failed and the interior of the ship was plunged into darkness. The evacuation continued, with men climbing down on lines and rope ladders off the bow. Day was breaking.


Commander Holland, increasingly concerned over the starboard list, thought the ship might flounder. At 4:55 a.m., good swimmers were allowed to jump off of the port side of the ship and swim to the rocky shore about 30 yards away. The first man to do so, a Private of the Rifles, carried a light line ashore. This was used to bring over three or four heavier lines which were made fast to rocks, allowing many a man to escape without swimming. The waves were breaking heavily on the rocky shore, there was a bad undertow, and many of the men in the water needed help in landing. Men already safely ashore waded and swam to help those in trouble. Numerous acts of heroism were noted.


By 5:30 a.m. all of the troops were ashore, and the rain had stopped. Only then would Lt.Colonel Forestier-Walker leave the ship’s bridge. He was the last soldier to leave the ship. They had run up on a narrow spit of rocks, near the village of St. Phillippe on the Island of Reunion, a French possession some 120 miles south and west of Mauritius.


The ship settled on the rocks, and gave no signs of further movement. Commander Holland authorized an attempt to salvage as much light baggage and other material as possible. One hundred and thirty men were organized into a human chain, passing baggage over the rocks from the wreck to shore. The rest of the men marched to the nearby village. At 9 a.m. 100 men of the York and Lancasters relieved the first salvage party, and continued work till 10 a.m. The seas were rising, and waves were breaking over the upper decks. Only a small portion of the light baggage was saved, and only the very top of the things in the holds could be reached. All else was lost.


The rolls were called in St. Phillippe. All troops were present. Only two men (both natives), a ship’s cook and an officer’s servant were missing and presumed drowned. Food was an immediate problem. Some tinned beef and biscuit had been salved from the wreck. Other foodstuffs were brought in from St. Joseph, a village about eight miles away. The villagers in St. Phillippe kindly put up the shipwrecked troops in whatever shelter was available on the night of the 14th .


Contact was made with HMS Consul at Reunion, Mr. C.W. Bennett, who advised that the British India liner, the s.s. Lalpoorawas available for charter at Pointe des Galets. A special train was to carry the troops from St. Pierre, the nearest railhead, to Pointe des Galets, where the s.s. Lalpooraawaited. Ste. Pierre was 21 miles away. Carts, carriages and wagons were collected to carry the women, children, and sick, plus the 350 soldiers who were without boots. Those with boots walked (424 of the Rifles and 193 of the York and Lancs). The Rifles Adjutant, Captain R.M. Stuart-Wortley later wrote that: "I doubt if a more ragamuffin looking set ever marched as part of the British forces. Many had no coats, all sorts of hats were to be seen, and one or two had even no trousers."


The marchers overnighted at Ste. Joseph on the 15th , and arrived, apparently none the worse for wear, at Ste. Pierre on the 16th , where they entrained for Pointe des Galets. After the shipwrecked troops embarked, the s.s. Lalpoorasailed at 3 p.m. on January 17, 1897 and arrived at Port Lewis, Mauritius at 6 a.m. the next day. The men were distributed between Curepipe Camp, the disused Line Barracks, the Citadel, and Fort George, until the 29th of January when the Lalpoorasailed for India with one wing of the York and Lancasters and the Middlesex draft. The Headquarters and remainer of the 2nd York and Lancaster Regiment followed in the R.I.M.S. Canningon February 3. The fitting out of the troops for India so strained the local ordnance stores that it was several months before the Rifles could be properly clothed, equipped, and in their permanent barracks at Curepipe.


On March 6, 1897 Her Majesty Queen Victoria sent Lieutenant-Colonel Forestier-Walker a cablegram reading:


I wish to express my great satisfaction with the admirable discipline shown by the troops under your command on the occasion of the wreck of the "Warren Hastings," particulars of which have only just been received by me. I much regret the loss of private property sustained by all ranks.


A special Army Order issued on 13 March 1897 read in part:


The Commander-in-Chief feels great gratification in making known to the army . . . the remarkable courage and exemplary discipline displayed by the troops . . . on board the Royal Indian Marine troopship, "Warren Hastings."


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was celebrated.


India General Service Medals with the clasp Relief of Chitral 1895were issued to the Officer Commanding, 1st KRRC by the Government of India.


Headquarters Wing (including Rifleman Wayman ) embarked at Port Louis in the RIMS Clivefor Natal (9 officers and 424 men).


Headquarters Wing arrived Durban, South Africa from Mauritius and entrained for Pietermaritzburg.


The Wynburg detachment embarked on the s.s. Avocafor Durban.


The 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company was formed at Pietermaritzburg with 5 officers and 42 NCOs and Riflemen. Wayman was one of those selected for the Mounted Infantry. The Company was organized into four sections. "G" Company of the 1st KRRC and a section of 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry (a total of 3 officers and 150 men) went on detachment to Etshowe in Zululand.


In expectation of war, the 1st KRRC (17 officers and 767 NCOs and Riflemen) left Pietermaritzburg on only a few hours’ notice. They moved via rail to Ladysmith. There they encamped till October 5th .


The 1st KRRC M.I. left Pietermaritzburg as guard to the Battalion’s heavy baggage, marching via road to Escourt with the 5th Lancers.


Reaching Escourt, the 1st KRRC M.I. loaded the Battalion’s baggage on railway trucks for Ladysmith.


The 1st KRRC M.I. left Escourt at 7 a.m. via road with much-lightened wagons, camping overmight at Colenso.


After an 18 mile march, with the Rifles M.I. on rear-guard, the 96 man 1st KRRC M.I. reached Ladysmith. The weather was hot, and much sand and dirt was blowing about.


The 1st Rifles arose at 3 a.m. after a bad night of sandstorms. They, along with the 69th Battery, R.F.A. marched to Modder Spruit, arriving around noon. The night was a cold one. The march resumed on the 6th in a rainstorm. The Rifles did 20 miles to Washbank, and arrived very tired.


1st KRRC M.I. arrived at Glencoe via road march at about 11:30 a.m. and moved on to Dundee in the afternoon. Northey was O.C. with Subalterns Crum, Jelf, and Majendie as section leaders, and about 80 NCOs and men.


War was declared in South Africa. The 1st KRRC were in camp at Dundee.


From October 12-19 the scouting by day and serving as picquets by night kept the mounted troops hard at work.


The Battle of Talana was fought. The 1/60th fielded 6½ Companies, having left "A" Company in camp as guard. Majendie’s 1st KRRC M.I. section of 22 men (which was accidently followed by Lieutenant Crum, his servant Rifleman Faulkner, and Rifleman Swain) was told off as an escort to 2nd Lieutenant H.A. Cape of the 18th Hussars and his maxim gun team. They were accompanied by one squadron of 18th Hussars (later joined by two more squadrons of 18th Hussars and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Mounted Infantry Company). Two sections of the 1st KRRC M.I. were told off as an escort to the two artillery batteries shelling the Boers on Talana Hill. Total KRRC losses were 5 officers and 13 men killed; 7 officers and 83 men wounded, of which 10 later died. Majendie’s 22 man section (plus Crum, Faulkner and Swain) of 1st KRRC M.I. was captured by the Boer along with some part-squadrons of the 18th Hussars and much of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers M.I. Company.


My[Sergeant-Major Rowat’s]company of M.I. went into the fight 80 strong, but came out only 50; this includes killed, wounded, and missing; the missing we have heard since, are prisoners at Pretoria. We returned to camp just before dusk through a drenching cold raid, and made the best of a bad night in our wet clothes.(Rowat, p. 33)


The retreat to Ladysmith began.


The troops reached Ladysmith, much fatigued.


Our last night’s march was a terrible experience, pitch black, raining, mud up to our knees and about every five minutes word was passed to the front to halt, as the column had become disconnected on account of the darkness. I should think we went about one mile an hour, and the last twenty-four hours were done on one biscuit per man; light dawned upon us when within a few miles of Ladysmith, and sad objects we looked after these two and a half days of travelling, men fairly done up, and covered with mud from head to foot, sleeping as they marched.. . . (Rowat - p. 34)


Action at Farquhar’s Farm (or Lombard’s Kop) was fought. 1st KRRC losses that day were: 3 officers and 1 man killed, 1 officer and 32 men wounded. The 2nd KRRC lost 1 officer and 7 men killed, 1 officer and 27 men wounded, with 15 men missing. The 1st KRRC M.I. were in action in support of the cavalry who were ordered to make a flank attack around Lombard’s Kop. (Rowat - p. 35)


Ladysmith was invested by the Boers. Headquarters and three companies of the 1st KRRC were sent to Wagon Hill to fortify it and prepare for a seige.


The last train left Ladysmith carrying wounded, plus General French and his staff.


The Boer commander, Joubert allowed the establishment of a camp at Intombi Spruit to house sick, wounded, and non-combatants.


Fight at Wagon Hill. the 1st and 2nd KRRC were heavily engaged.


The Siege of Ladysmith was lifted.


Ladysmith was formally relieved with Buller’s ceremonial march into Ladysmith. The 1st , 2nd and 3rd KRRC met in the streets of Lady-smith on active service - an historic occasion.


A draft of 450 First Class Army Reservists joined the 1st KRRC from the disbanded Rifle Reserve Provisional Battalion.


Battalion and its M.I. left Ladysmith as part of the 8th Brigade of the 4th Division for Colenso, making only eight miles the first day since men and horses were still weak from the effects of the long seige and short rations.


"G" Company rejoined at Colenso from it’s detail in Zululand (2 officers and 113 NCOs and men).


Battalion marched at 5:30 a.m. not towards the Mooi River, but back to Underbrook. Many Riflemen fell out along the way due to weakness.


1st KRRC and its M.I. returned to Surprise Hill, marching back through Ladysmith.


The Mounted Infantry Section rejoined from Zululand (27 men and 28 horses). The 1st KRRC M.I. was about 60 strong.


Battalion to Modder Spruit with 8th Brigade.


M.I. back up to strength.


The 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company was sent to the 4th Division Mounted Infantry Battalion as its No. 3 Company. The other M.I. companies were found by the Leicesters, Liverpools, and Manchesters.


A draft of 82 Section "D" Army Reservists joined. The 1st KRRC then posted 82 First Class Army Reservists to the 2nd KRRC.


Battalion with its Brigade crossed the Sunday River, and entered the Orange Free State.


The 4th Division marched north through One Tree Hill Pass.


Ingagne Station reached.


Entered the Transvaal, crossing the Buffalo River at Ichanga’s Drift.


At Coetzee’s Drift, some five miles from Ingogo Station. Posts were established at Botha’s Post (Half-Battalion) and Ingogo Heights.


The 3000 other-rank British prisoners held at Waterfall (10 miles north of Pretoria) were released and dribbled into Pretoria in a veryweakened condition. There were about 60 Riflemen:


. . . many of whom had been wounded at Talana. It was touching to see these poor chaps, mostly in rags, so pale and starved, so pleased to see their officers again, and though quite unfit, so keen for another chance." Supplies were short, and for a week these poor men were kept camped in the open on the race-course, short of food and clothing, and no blankets to keep out the cold. . . . Of our sixty men, only about half were passed by the doctor as fit for service. Those who were fit were re-armed with the only weapons available, Martini Henry rifles from the Boer Arsenal. The idea was to send them down country and employ them on the lones of communication, where they could refit and recoup. (With the M.I. in South Africa, F.M. Crum, pp. 66-67)


The 4th Division Mounted Infantry and 2½ Companies 1st KRRC, plus some 2nd KRRC demonstrated towards Wakkerstroom. There were withdrawn the next day without casualties.


Twenty-two recently released M.I. Riflemen (under Lieutenant Crum and Sergeant A.J. Hill) that had been taken at Talana and held as POWs at Pretoria were sent on a guard detail to Vredefort Railway Station, about 100 miles south of Pretoria in the Orange Free State. They did not rejoin the main body of the 1st KRRC MI until November 25, 1900.


A train under Colonel Bullock carrying 400 released British POWs from the Boer POW Camp at Waterfall was wrecked and attacked by the Boers at Honing Spruit, 15 miles from Kroonstad. A force of 1000 Boers with three guns kept the British under fire from 7 am to 1 pm. Losses were 1 officer and 5 men killed, 1 officer and 17 men wounded. Of the 30 KRRC Riflemen there (under 1864 Sergeant A. Bennewith), two were killed and one wounded.

Died of Wounds: 9636 Pte J. Heinrich
  8815 Pte J. McHale
Wounded: 4983 H.J. Harris


HQ and the other half-company 1st KRRC M.I. to Ingogo Railway Station.


Three men of the 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry were wounded at Rietfontein:

Wounded: 8922 Pte Clitheroe
  8437 Pte J. Swan
  8282 Sgt J.D. Jones.


One hundred men joined from the 2nd KRRC; 125 1st KRRC Riflemen were sent in return to the 2nd KRRC who were warned for duty in Ceylon.


The 1st Rifles left Ingogo over Laing’s Nek to a point between Zand Spruit and Paardekop Station.


Battalion with the Manchesters and the Gordon Highlanders drove a Boer force off the Wit Koppies.

Wounded: 4869 Pte J.B.C. Escott
  5167 Pte F. Turner.


Battalion supported the Gordons who attacked the Roi Koppies.

Wounded: 5280 LCpl J. Shields


The 1st KRRC returned to Ingogo by train.


Battalion marched to Meezicht over Laing’s Nek.


The First Rifles reached Zand Spruit. There they were joined by a draft of 93 Militia Reservists from the 8th Militia Battalion under Lieutenant L’Estrange.


A force, consisting of Sir Redvers Buller’s 4th Division (Lyttelton’s 7th and 8th Brigades) 2nd Cavalry Brigade (Brockelhurst), and 3rd Mounted Brigade (S.A.L.H., Strathcona’s Horse, "A" Battery RHA, and 4th Division M.I.) started off on a march towards Belfast. The 1st KRRC formed firing line and advanced over the Roi Koppies, occupying Amersfoort. The 1st KRRC M.I. took two kopjes under fire near Amersfoort (Rowat - p. 59)

Wounded: Capt. L.B. Cumberland
  2nd Lieut. F.L. Pardoe
  5237 Pte T. Hailey
  4561 Pte J. Harris
  9028 Pte T. Page
  4665 Pte G. Harding
  999 Pte J. Keating
  7417 Sgt T. Carlisle
  4608 ClrSgt Wright
  7204 LSgt J. Cam
  9662 Pte H. Tarrant
  8134 Pte J. Hardy
  7956 Pte F. Langsdale


Battalion pushed northwards towards Ermelo. The 1st KRRC M.I. were on rear guard of the column.


Reached Ermelo.


Reached Twyfelaar. The British force halted, with a convoy going up to Wonderfontein on Komati Port Railway to get supplies.


French’s Division advanced towards Belfast under harassing sniper fire, with the 4th Division M.I. on advance guard.

Killed: 325 Pte B. Clark


In action at Geluk Farms. The M.I. remained in camp. Two Riflemen were wounded:

Wounded: 7575 Pte S. Malone
  7135 Pte H. Tong


Three more men were wounded:

Wounded: 8479 Pte H. Grant
  4976 Pte C. Powell
  8491 Pte M. Froude


Another man was wounded:

Wounded: 2576 Pte W.H. Smith


Battle of Belfast (or Bergendal). Battalion was on rear guard at Vogelstruispoort on the extreme right and not engaged.

Wounded: 9952 Cpl A. Jarvis


To Machadodorp. Strathcona’s Horse and the 4th Division M.I. were the first into town.


To Badfontein on the Crocodile River.


Five men of the First Battalion Mounted Infantry Company were wounded by a shell from a Boer "Long Tom" sited on Rietfontein Nek: above the Badfontein Valley.

Wounded: 9610 Pte J. Bardsley
  7091 Pte J. Evans
  8458 Pte W. Priddy
  7094 Pte G. Wilson
  6550 Pte J. Egan


Battalion, along with the Leicesters, attacked up Rietfontein Nek.


Entered Lyndenburg.


The 1st KRRC were on advanced guard, and pushed over the Mauchberg at the summit of the Drakensburg Range. Three Riflemen were wounded. The Rifles M.I. was on the pursuit of the retreating Boers. (Rowat - p. 72)


In camp in the Sabie Valley.


To camp at Mac Mac Farm.


On ridge above Pilgrim’s Rest.


To Lyndenburg.


Lieutenant F.M. Crum rejoined the 1st KRRC M.I. at Lyndenburg for duty.


The 1st KRRC M.I. (80 men mounted out of 115) left Lyndenburg and moved toward Belfast with General Lyttleton’s 8th Brigade (KRRC, Leicesters, Inniskilling Fusiliers, 18th Hussars, one Battery RFA, one 5-inch gun, and one pom-pom). They were to work the eastern Transvaal for a year.


1st KRRC M.I. screening the 1st KRRC who were on column rear guard at Dulstroom (Crum M.I. - p. 82)


First Rifles arrived at Middelburg, going into garrison there the next day. From this date until 19 June 1901 the 1st KRRC was engaged in many minor operations with mobile columns out of Middelburg.


Lieutenant Scratchley left the 1st KRRC M.I. to return to England, and Lieutenant F.M. Crum assumed command of the M.I. Company.


The 1st KRRC trained to Pretoria to help represent the Natal troops in Lord Roberts’ farewell review and ceremonial annexation parade, returning on 29 October.


A section of 30 1st KRRC M.I. under Lieutenant Johnstone were sent on detachment to Pan, some miles down the rail line. Another 25 men under Lieutenant Lynes were sent on detachment to Witbank. The remainder, about 60 men under Lieutenant Crum, were sent to Oliphants River, 12 miles west of Middelburg, where they were to watch 12 miles of railway. They shared this duty with the bridge guard - four guns of the 83rd Battery RFA, and three companies of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.


The 1st KRRC Mounted Infantrymen (7189 Sergeant A.J. Hill and 21 Riflemen) that had been taken prisoner at Talana and held prisoner at Pretoria and sent on a guard detail at Vredefort Railway Station (about 100 miles south of Pretoria in the Orange Free State) rejoined the main body of the 1st KRRC M.I. Concurrently, a new section of 1st KRRC M.I. was raised and furnished to the 13th M.I. Battalion stationed at Vredefort, about 100 miles south of Pretoria in the Orange Free State (Crum - pp. 36-42). They later would be stationed at Pan (about 30 men). This section, along with two sections 3rd KRRC Mounted Infantry, would later form on 18 October 1901 No. 3 Company, 25th (Rifles) Mounted Infantry Battalion


A column moved north under Colonel Carleton of the 1st Leicesters. The 1st KRRC M.I. sent an escort of 25 men for an R.A. pom-pom.


Another column moved north under Colonel Campbell of the 1st KRRC to clear the country around the Wilge River. They captured many wagons, a few Boers and cattle, but missed the main Boer Commando who slipped away to the north. The 1st KRRC M.I. sent an escort of 25 men for the pom-pom under Captain Poole, R.A.


Lieutenant Johnstone left the M.I. for an attachment with the Imperial Light Horse, being replaced by Lieutenant R.E. Reade.


The 1st KRRC M.I. (under Crum) in action near Middelburg guarding Kitchener’s train again a Boer attack.


In the small hours of January 23rd , 1901, a cypher message arrived to say that the C.-in-C. at Pretoria would visit General Lyttleton at Middelburg that day, and extra precautions were to be taken. Accordingly I sent out a sergeant and eight extra men to the West which was less exposed, and started myself at daybreak with all available men to the East towards Uitkyk where the ground was more tricky. At Uitkyk, some six miles from Middelburg, the 18th Hussars had 50 men. . . . Leaving pickets at important points, we got in touch with the Hussars at a point some seven miles from our camp and eight from Middelburg. At 9.30 a.m. I was talking to a Hussar sergeant. We saw the trains reach Olifant’s River. Then, in the other direction, towards Uitkyk, we heard shots. With my glasses I saw some 300 men in close formation galloping hard towards Uitkyk. At over a mile I could not be sure what was up, for I had never before seen Boers maneuver like cavalry. Now, Subalterns do not like halting Commanders-in-Chief without good cause, but so far as I knew there were only 50 Hussars. They must be Boers. All the time the two trains were drawing nearer. I had only 14 men with me. The leading escort train was quite close and within range of the Boers. I sent a man galloping back to stop the train, saying I would let them know more as soon as I was certain. I then galloped forward myself with my men to a cutting, a good position between the Boers and the train. Yes, they were Boers all right. When they saw the train stop, 50 or more came galloping straight for the train, and for us hidden in our cutting.


Leaving Sergeant Ross in charge, with orders to shoot for all they were worth, I galloped my pony, stumbling and shying at rails and sleepers and wires, 600 yards down the line to where the advance train was. I told the officer in charge that there were fully 300 Boers about and asked him to get both trains back as quickly as possible, saying I would do what I could to keep them off. He seems skeptical, but I left him to it. I was in a hurry. Galloping back to my men I was relieved to find that the Boers, not knowing our strength, and having had several saddles emptied [by Ross’ directed fire] had been for a time held back. Within long range we could see fully 200 Boers at Uitkyk buzzing about like bees disturbed.


Leaving Corporal Stokes [No. 9617 Corporal - later Sergeant W. Stokes] and one man hidden here to observe, with orders to fall back on us if Boers began to get round him, I sent back Rifleman Rose [No. 9414 Rifleman B. Rose - later S.A.C.] to report that the Boers were now in possession of some two miles of line near Uitkyk, and retired myself to a better position further back. Later, thinking the position seven miles from Olifant’s River was too isolated and hearing shots on my left where I had men out owing to the ground, I retired to a strong position 1000 yards back. Before retiring I sent two men to call in Corporal Stokes, but they cam back under fire, without having found him. They reported Boers, as usual, creeping forward round our flanks. I had no option but to retire and trust that Stokes would not be caught napping. We retired none too soon for the Boers sneaking round by a donga would soon have had us in difficulties. We had just reached our new and very good position when three of our men came galloping in under a heavy fire. Sergeant Ross, unknown to me, had gone forward a mile between two fires and brought both [Stokes and the other Rifleman] back to safety*."

*Subsequently recommended (unsuccessfully) for a D.C.M. However, Sergeant George Ross was mentioned in Lord Kitchener’s despatches for his act.


Then came firing from our left (as we faced the Boers). It turned out to be Rifleman Rose who had been sent back to me with an order from "K. of K." himself. Trying to find me, he had seen a man in khaki like me, also riding a grey, he had exchanged our private signal, and had only seen his mistake when, within 30 yards, three Boers had fired from the saddle and missed him. Also I had forgotten to give Rifleman Rose Baden-Powell’s advice, for when he reached me, he was so full of his own adventures and so out of breath, that it took me some time to find out what the original message had been. The order was that a column was coming out from Middelburg, that I was to watch the Boers and report when clear. We took up a position five miles from Olifant’s River and felt our way forward occasionally but there were too many Boers for us. About noon we saw a man sneaking forward and thinking him a Boer, gave him a volley; he dropped, apparently dead. About 12.30 we pushed forward again and coming up to where the man fell, we found him lying as low as a young plover, but well and alive. A fledgling Hussar just out from home, the Boers had found him easy prey and relieved him of his horse and saddle, rifle and bandoliers. We pushed on and got touch with the 18th Hussars again and sent men along the line to see if any damage. About 3 p.m. the Boers seemed to have retired three miles south of the line. We could see them near Trichard’s Farm. I sent to report [the line clear]. Then the two trains came on again, the leading escort train had passed us and was puffing noisily up the winding slope, when there was a loud explosion and the train came to a halt. ‘That’s bad,’ I thought to myself ‘after reporting all clear.’ However, only an expert could spot a hidden mine and moreover it was beyond our section of the line. I sent back word to the C.-in-C.’s train, but he brought his own train on, right up to the disabled one. . . He got out of his saloon, . . . and went straight to inspect the damage. Then, seeming much annoyed at the delay, he gave some order, and went straight back to his carriage. He never seemed to notice us, or even to look in the direction of the Boers, where our old friend Trichard was still in view. He left it to us to see to such details. . . The column came out from Middelburg and drove the Boers away. It was found that repairs would take 24 hours, so the Chief went straight back to Pretoria. (F.M. Crum, Rifleman and Scout, pp. 42-45) (Also Crum M.I. - pp. 101-102)


The Rifles M.I. detachment at Oliphant’s River were ordered to pack up and move to Middelburg. There they were joined by the Witbank detachment on the 27th , and by the Pan detachment on the 29th . The 1st KRRC M.I. Company (120 all-ranks) was now concentrated at Middelburg.


1st KRRC M.I. moved south from Middelburg, attached to the 18th Hussars in Colonel W. Pitcairn-Campbell’s Column which comprised 900 all-ranks of the Leicesters, two squadrons 18th Hussars, one section of the 21st Battery RFA, one 12-pounder, and one pom-pom - a force totalling around 1200 men.


The 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company in action at Roodepoort. One NCO was killed, one officer and four Riflemen died of their wounds, and two men were wounded. (Crum, p. 50) (Crum M.I., pp. 110-115) (Rowat - p. 98)


4550 Sgt W. Burton

Died of wounds:

Lieut R.E. Reade 8545 L/Cpl W. Oldham 2025 Pte J. Freeman 531 Pte L. Parnham 240 Pte W. Bullock


8566 Pte J. Allen 9077 Pte F. Epps


Campbell’s Column advanced to De Wette Krans, about 14 miles south on the Ermelo Road. The M.I. were on column rear guard.


The column halted, camping at the north end of Lake Chrissie.


M.I. to Bonnie Braes, where they sent out 30 men to reconnoitre up to the Umplasie River.


The M.I. entered Amsterdam - the first British troops to do so.


Moved out at 2 p.m. on a drizzly, wet day, camping at Wolverkop, about 10 miles S.E. of Amsterdam.


The column and M.I. moved out to coordinate with two other columns attempting to round up Boers in the Swaziland kloofs. Four horses were lost in ant bear holes, and a few Boer wagons captured, but no Boers. The next several days were exceedingly wet, and little movement was possible.


A mounted infantry company from the 4th KRRC, consisting of 5 officers and 135 men embarked on the s.s. Columbrian for active service. Initially part of the 19th Mounted Infantry, they served in various columns in the eastern Transvaal (see Creswicke, Vol VII, p. 130; APGW - pp. 448 to 456; 576 to 604; and pp. 642 - 646). They later became No. 2 Company, 25th Mounted Infantry.


The column and M.I. finally left their muddy camp at Wolvenkop, marching to the Shela River Drift, 10 miles north of Piet Retief.


Campbell’s Column halted at Piet Retief. From there they were involved in a number of patrols and sweeps looking for Boers in Swaziland. Rain and cold hampered operations, and many men went sick.


Trekked back to Zand Bank Drift and to camp there.


A mounted infantry company of 4 officers and 132 NCOs and men from the 4th KRRC embarked on the s.s. Kildonan Castle at Queenstown for active service in South Africa. On arrival at the Cape, they served with several columns (references as above) in the eastern Transvaal. They would later become No. 4 Company of the 25th Mounted Infantry.


Crum and 25 M.I. went into Piet Retief as escort to 50 captured Boer wagons and 350 men, women and children.


Crum and 40 of his M.I. captured 7 wagons and 20 Natal Boers in the early morning as they attempted to cross a drift.


The 1st KRRC M.I. left Zand Bank for Piet Retief, where they stayed until 14 April.


The two 4th KRRC Mounted Infantry companies (the 19th and 25th Mounted Infantry Companies) joined a column under Colonel Parks, left Lydenburg in cooperation with a column under General Kitchener.


The 1st KRRC M.I. returned back to Middelburg, where they were played into camp by the Regimental Band.


One officer and 45 men of the Tower Hamlet Rifles left South Africa on completion of one years service.


The 1st KRRC M.I. Company was ordered to garrison at Lydenburg on the lines of communication. There they found grazing guards, picquets, and convoy escorts, and formed part of small columns skirmishing around the outlying districts for 5½ months.


Captain Coakley and 20 men of the 2nd Special Service Company (2nd Tower Hamlets Rifle Volunteers) were posted to Captain Crum’s 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company:


These men we fitted out with horses and equipment and took to Machadodorp, where we spent the time of waiting for a convoy in training them in riding and M.I. duties. They had come from various London Volunteer Battalions at a time when men were badly wanted, and brought an infusion of keenness which had a good effect. They were good shots, too, and picked up the work quickly. Some found the work hrder and less glorious than they had expected, but the majority stuck to it well, and the fact they hatey had seven casualties before they left shows how well they did their share. (With the M.I. in South Africa, Crum, pp. 167-168)


One man of the M.I. (1019 Pte T. Redmond) was killed by a Boer sniper while watering his horse.


The 1st KRRC M.I. (115 all-ranks) left on trek at 2 am with Colonel Park’s Column out of Lydenburg. They returned on the 4th , having lost three horses.


Another 1st KRRC M.I. trek with 3 officers and 50 men out for nine days, with little to show for the effort at its end.


The 1st KRRC M.I. were ordered to turn over 43 of its horses to the Liverpool M.I. Company. This was done most reluctantly, as remounts were difficult to get.


Three men of the 1st KRRC M.I. were shot while on grazing picquet. (Rowat - p. 102)


9327 Pte W.G. Humphries 3845 Pte N. Ste. A. Hawken 1388 Pte M. Graham


The two Mounted Infantry Companies of the 4th KRRC which had been with Parks’ Column concentrated at Lydenburg on October 7. There they found the 1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company (which had been five months in garrison at Lydenburg) and marched for Middelburg.


Benson’s Column had moved to Middelburg on October 12, camping three miles outside of town. The column required rest, reorganization, and culling of equipment, men, and animals worn out by months of hard marching and riding.


The 1st KRRC M.I. Company left Lydenburg at noon on the 13th with an ox convoy and all of their kit, doing double marches and killing 30 oxen, and reached Machadodorp in three days and Middelburg in three more, arriving at Middelburg on the afternoon of the 18th .


The two 4th KRRC M.I. Companies operating out of Lydenburg with Colonel Parks’ column, rode to Middelburg, arriving on the 16th . A fourth company was created from men of the 1st and 3rd KRRC. The Rifles M.I. rested, reorganized, and drew stores and remounts from Pretoria.


Twenty other-ranks of the Tower Hamlets Volunteers joined 3 officers and 110 men of the 1st KRRC M.I. in forming No. 1 Company of the 25th (KRRC) Mounted Infantry Battalion at Middelburg. A Mounted Infantry Depot was formed at Middelburg under charge of Captain Lynch Coakley of the 1st Tower Hamlets RV. (See APGW, pp. 815 - 839 for details) Thus was born the:

25th (K.R.R.) Mounted Infantry Battalion
Major C.L.E. Robertson-Eustace, - Commanding
Lieutenant J.R. Paul (Leicestershire Regt) - Adjutant
No. 1 Company (1st KRRC MI & Tower Hamlet RVs) 3 officers and 130 O/Rs
Formed Wynburg, 1897
No. 2 Company (4th KRRC MI (19th MI Coy) 5 officers and 30 O/Rs
Embarked Queenstown 19 February 1901
No. 3 Company (1st KRRC and 3rd KRRC) 3 officers and 70 O/Rs
Formed Middelburg 12 October 1901
No. 4 Company (4th KRRC MI (25th MI Coy) 3 officers and 120 O/Rs
Embarked Queenstown 18 March 1901
Benson’s Column
Colonel G.E. Benson, R.A. - Commanding
Major A.A. Lloyd, Northamptonshire Regiment - C.S.O.
Captain T.H. Eyre-Lloyd, Coldstream Guards - A.S.O.
Captain C.W. Collins, Cheshire Regiment - Signalling Officer
Colonel A. Woolls-Sampson, Imperial Light Horse - Intelligence
Unit: Strength: Commanded By:
2nd Scottish Horse 434 men Major F.D. Murray, Black Watch
3rd Mounted Infantry 501 men Major B.D.L.G. Anley, Essex Regiment
KOYLI M.I. Coy    
Loyal N. Lancs M.I. Coy    
R. Dublin Fus. M.I. Coy    
25th Mounted Infantry 364 men Major C.L.E. Eustace, KRRC
2nd Buffs (6 Companies) 650 men Major G.V. Dauglish, The Buffs
84th Battery RFA 4 guns Lieutenant-Colonel C.D. Guinness, RFA
Pom Pom Sections, RFA 2 pom-poms (one from "CC" Section, and one from R2 Section)  
Commissariat and Transport 120 ox wagons
230 mule and horse drawn wagons
  Starting at six a.m. on October 20, Benson moved 15 miles southwest to Driefontein. On the 21st the main column remained in camp during the day while Woolls-Sampson’s Kaffir scouts sought information on Boer activity. The KRRC M.I. found all of the picquets - five posts three miles out and two night posts. The evening of the 21st , Colonel Benson rode out with the 3rd M.I. and Scottish Horse on a night march. The morning of the 22nd the Rifles M.I. covered the movement of the convoy seven miles southeast to the confluence of the Olifants River and Steenkool Spruit. Benson returned that afternoon, having captured 37 men and considerable stock from a Boer laager at Trichardsfontein. The late afternoon of the 22nd was stormy, with rain, wind and hail. Many tents and shelters were flattened and over 100 horses stampeded. It rained most of the night. October 23 was spent retrieving horses and drying out.
  The afternoon of the 24th the base camp was ordered to move to Riet Kuil, some 17 miles to the southwest on the day following. At 6:30 p.m. The M.I. and Yeomanry left on another night march. Moving in sections at a walk, and avoiding skylines, the mounted men rode through the clear, moonlit night. Crossing the Oliphants River near the Maggie Mine, they had covered nearly 20 miles by dawn. Overrunning several farms at daylight, they captured three Boers. The British column then opened out, advancing at a gallop on a front almost two miles wide, hoping to catch a Boer commando under Groblar reported to have 200 men. They were too late.
  Civil Surgeon Robertson3 , newly attached to the Rifles M.I., blundered into the Boer commando and was killed. Halting at 6:30 am, the British ate breakfast at Witbank and rested their horses. On the flanks, more and more Boers were watching and waiting for the British to move on, while others shadowed the column’s line of march. At eight a.m., intensely aware of his isolation, Benson decided to retire to camp eight miles away at Riet Kuil, and then on to Brugspruit, via Brakenlaagte. Meanwhile, the Boer commandos of Trichardt, Jan Viljoen, Erasumus and Gons were gathering to help Groblar’s commando. A fight broke out.
  During Benson’s hard fought retreat, the 25th M.I. provided the flank and rear guards, not returning to camp till five pm - nine hours of fighting on horseback after an all-night march. They lost two officers and nine men wounded, plus eight horses killed. Sergeant Major Rowat of the Rifles wrote: ". . . as soon as we commenced to retire they swooped down upon us from all sides by hundreds. . . I never saw Boers come on with such dash, riding almost up to the position we held."
  The Boers spent October 26 sniping at the encamped British, but retired at dusk, perhaps fearful of a night attack. Benson moved off towards Kaffirstadt on the 27th . The advance guard (No. 4 Company of the Rifles M.I.) was much shot at. Rifleman Egan of No. 1 Company was shot in the liver and died the next day.

On Monday, the 28th the British trekked 12 miles east. The column camped at Zwakfontien at 3 p.m. Remaining there on the 29th , they searched local farms for armed Boers, and rested. The outlying 3rd M.I. pickets were particularly hard pressed by the Boer, with two men hit and two taken prisoner. Heavy rains swelled the spruits, making the roads difficult. They were 35 miles from Brug Spruit.

  At 4:30 am on Wednesday, October 30, the ox-wagon convoy started off from Cypherfontein Camp at 4:30 am under the escort of No’s 2 and 3 Companies 25th M.I., one-and-a-half companies of the Buffs, a pom-pom (R2 Section), and two guns, RFA. The main column followed an hour later with the 3rd and 25th M.I. providing the advance and flank guards. The mule wagons, two-and-a-half companies of the Buffs, the Scottish Horse, and two guns formed the main convoy. The rear guard was made up of 180 men of the 3rd M.I., a company of the East Kent Regiment, and a pom-pom ("CC" Section), all under the command of Major F.G. Antley of the Essex Regiment. At about 7 a.m. it began to rain, with a cold wind and a thick mist. The ground was clammy and wet, and the going for the wheeled transport was increasingly bad.
  The Boers attacked the rear guard while harassing the flanks and front at extreme ranges. The country was bare and boggy, but undulating enough to allow mounted men to approach within a mile or so, completely unseen. The transport began to straggle. By 9 am it had begun to rain, and the ox-wagons were badly delayed crossing a wide, deep, spruit. The two columns became one. During the delay at the spruit, half of No. 2 Company Rifles M.I. two miles out on the right flank ran into part of Groblar’s Commando, losing one man killed and Lieutenant H.F.W. Bircham, wounded. A cold, driving rain from the south limited visibility and helped the attackers to get closer, but rifle and pom-pom fire kept them at a respectful distance.
  Around 11 a.m. Sergeant Ashfield’s section from No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. (which included Corporal (Local-Sergeant) William Wayman ) was detached as an escort to two guns of the 84th Battery, R.F.A. The remaining sections of No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. joined the advance guard. At noon Captain Crum and one section were ordered by Major Eustace to hold a small hill above the camp. Eustace left a gun there, with orders that it was to retire to camp when the two 15-pounders to the rear on Gun Hill came up to take its place. This was never to be.
  Till about 1 pm Major Anley and the 3rd Mounted Infantry fought a successful rear guard action. The North Lancashire M.I. Company formed the rear screen, with sections of the Dublin Fusiliers wide on the flanks. The Yorkshire M.I. escorting the pom-pom were 1000 yards nearer the rear of the column. As the Buffs company on rear guard reached an irregular ridge, the pom-pom jammed. It went on towards the camp with a mounted escort, the rest of the Yorkshire M.I. Company joining the rear screen.
  The rear guard paused on some higher ground near a reedy marsh to wait for two ox wagons which had stuck. The main body of the British column proceeded on its march, and never halted again until it came into laager at Bakenlaagte farm. The Boers, who an hour before had been reinforced by General Louis Botha and 500 men, increased the pressure on the rear guard.
  Anley reported his predicament. Colonel Benson joined him with two squadrons of Scottish Horse, some Yorkshire M.I. and a pom-pom. Benson may have arrived with the idea of rescuing the two wagons. Once there, he quickly realized his entire rear guard was imperilled. Ordering Anley to forget the wagons, Benson, with the Scottish Horse and Yorkshire M.I. scrambled for the high ground southeast of the camp (later known as "Gun Hill"). There they found two guns and a section of M.I. (Sergeant Ashfield’s) that had been posted earlier on the ridge to cover their withdrawal. Major Anley, with the North Lancs M.I. Company, rode for a ridge further to the east. The company of Buffs on rear guard (under Lieutenants Greatwood and Lynch) were not half-way to Gun Hill.
  The two 15-pounders (about 20 yards apart) of the 84th Battery, RFA were on Gun Hill covering the convoy’s laager 2500 yards away at Brakenlaagte, and 20 NCOs and men of the First Section, No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. under Sergeant W. Ashfield. As Benson and the men of the Scottish Horse and Yorkshire M.I. came up the hill, they formed up to the right and left of the guns near Sergeant Ashfield’s Rifles M.I. section. In all, the little force formed a scanty line totalling about 180 men, including the gunners.

Botha’s moment had come. Having concealed at least 900 Boer horsemen behind the ridge, he ordered a charge. The Boers galloped on in one wide line, overlapping Anley’s detachment to the east and the Rifles M.I. to the west of the guns. The weight of the attack was on Gun Hill. The company of Buffs on rear guard were overrun, their field of fire masked by the squadron of Scottish Horse and the Yorkshire M.I. section galloping in from the ridge. The Boers slashed right through them, killing and wounding 19 men, mostly before they had time to fire. Reaching the dead ground in front of Gun Hill, the Boers dismounted and attacked on foot. Captain Crum of the Rifles later wrote

There must have been 1000 of the finest Boers in the country charging our rearguard. Soon I saw this flood mix with our dismounted men and come right on and on up to the guns a mile in rear and below me.

The solitary 15-pounder with Crum kept on firing until he ordered it away to the camp. The flood of Boers rolled on. The little party of Rifles M.I. settled into three small depressions at about 12:30 p.m., determined to hold their position at all costs.


On Gun Hill some of the fiercest fighting of the war ensued - a confused fire fight at close range - the British hopelessly outnumbered. The 32 artillerymen serving the 15-pounders lost heavily, firing only three rounds (the last two of case shot) before they were shot down - 29 officers, gunners and drivers of the 84th Battery RFA were killed or wounded:

"I heard Major Guinness call out to his sergeant-major to fetch up the gun teams which were just behind the ridge. There were no gunners left to handle up the limbers, and sending for the teams of horses when no man dared even show his head above an ant-heap was a most desperate attempt. As soon as the teams came up the Boers concentrated such a fire upon then that I saw all the horses fall in an instant like corn cut with a scythe, and the artillery sergeant-major who was leading the first team was shot through the head and all the drivers wounded or killed."

(A Military History of Perthshire - p. 44)

Major Guinness, who had come up with Benson, died by his guns. Colonel Benson, standing nearby with some of his staff officers, was wounded first in the knee, then in the arm, then mortally in the stomach. The 79 men of the 2nd Scottish Horse lost 71 men killed or wounded. In Sergeant Ashfield’s KRRC detachment of twenty, seventeen were casualties (including Wayman - who was killed), the three unwounded men being horse holders. There were forty Yorkshire M.I. there - 27 were casualties.

  In less than 25 minutes the Boers took Gun Hill. The nearest reinforcement, two weak companies of the Buffs under Major Eales, were between the camp and the hill. They turned but couldn’t get back up the slope, losing 33 men in the attempt. Boer attempts to move down Gun Hill were stopped by rifle and shell fire from the laager. Benson’s last order, calling down artillery fire on his own position, was sent off after the Boers had captured the hill. The artillery in camp burst shrapnel on and over the two abandoned 15-pounders on Gun Hill. It was night before the Boers dared withdraw the captured guns.
  Reinforcement from the camp was attempted. Lieutenant Reggie Seymour brought up a few more men of No. 1 Company M.I. to help out Captain Crum, losing several men in the process. Three weak companies of the Buffs came forward, lost 15 men, and retired, taking a few of the No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. with them due to lack of cover. Lieutenant Dalby and 25 men of No. 4 Rifles M.I. Company got within 100 yards of the captured guns, losing two men killed, and four wounded, including Lieutenant Dalby. Not only did they have the enemy’s fire to contend with, they were shelled by a pom-pom from the laager at Brakenlaagte, either because of Colonel Benson’s order to shell the hill, or because the rain, mist and the similar dress of both sides (slouch hats, and many of the Boers wearing cavalry cloaks) made it difficult to tell friend from foe.

Captain Crum, Lieutenants Reginald H. Seymour, Beauchamp Seymour, and 2nd Lieutenant H.W.M. Watson, plus 15 NCOs and men of No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. gallantly defended their three small depressions on their little hill overlooking the camp, and north and west of the captured guns on Gun Hill. For several hours the Boers tried to overrun them. The KRRC kept up a constant and accurate rifle fire. The Boers, apparently unwilling to accept more casualties, never got closer than 250 yards. Crum’s Rifles held the position till dark, then retired downhill, reluctantly leaving behind five wounded men who couldn’t be moved. They lost Rifleman Scrimshaw shot and two other men cut off during their retirement.

In the laager at Brakenlaagte, Woolls-Sampson established a defensive line while under continual Boer fire. No. 3 Company Rifles M.I. held the high ground in front, while half of No. 1 Company Rifles M.I. and a gun were posted on a hill 200 yards to the left of camp. Survivors of the rear guard who had reached the camp, and cooks, Kaffirs, and officer’s servants, were set to work to dig or to fight. The rain continued. Food, water, and ammunition were sent to the outlying detachments.


As the day wore on, a lull developed in the firing, and the British ambulances were sent out to the wounded. Around 9 pm Colonel Benson was brought in. He died the next morning at about 6 am The digging continued all night until the camp resembled a small fortress. It was a deadlock. The British held the camp, but could not retake Gun Hill; the Boer held the heights, but were too exhausted to take the laager. The commandos, some of whose men had ridden 60 miles in 24 hours to take part in the attack, had had enough. Over 100 prisoners were released and returned to the British lines. Botha withdrew towards Ermelo at 3 am with the two captured guns.

By dawn the Boers had vanished, leaving carnage in their wake. British hospitals overflowed; the doctors working 48 hours without rest. Fatigue parties buried the dead. On November 1, columns under Allenby, de Lisle, and Barter relieved the camp. The next day the wounded went to Springs with Colonel Barter’s Column. The survivors of Benson’s Column marched for Brugspruit, arriving there on November 5.

  Thus closed the battle of Brakenlaagte. British losses were heavy. Seven officers and 60 men killed, 16 officers and 149 men wounded, of whom 5 officers and 11 men subsequently died. The baptism of the 25th (K.R.R.) M.I. Battalion was particularly severe. Between October 25 and 30, the Rifles M.I. lost its surgeon and 13 men killed, 5 officers and 38 men were wounded - 3 of whom later died. A total of 57 casualties out of 364 officers and men. Boer losses were lighter, but far heavier than they were accustomed to, with an estimated 44 killed and 100 wounded.

25th Mounted Infantry Casualties

25 October 1901

No. 1 Company

7540 Pte Allen, G. WIA


No. 2 Company

Civil Surgeon Robertson, C.M. KIA



Lieut Crichton, R.E. WIA



Lieut Acland-Troyte,G.J. WIA/POW
(rejoined 26 October 1901)


No. 4 Company

8464 Sjt Harvey, A.E. WIA/POW
(rejoined 26 October 1901)



2063 LCpl Caffrey, P. WIA



2176 Pte Anson, J. WIA



2028 Pte Dobson, H. WIA



2687 Pte Ellan, W.H. WIA



2362 Pte Brown, G. WIA



2175 Pte Martin, H. WIA



2563 Pte Clarke, G. MIA/POW
(rejoined 26 October 1901)



2071 Pte Rigby, J. WIA/POW
(rejoined 26 October 1901)

27 October 1901

No. 1 Company

6550 Pte Egan, J. WIA/DOW
(died 28 October 1901)

30 October 1901

No. 1 Company
with Captain Crum

8768 Pte Scrimshaw, H. KIA



Lieut Seymour, R.H. WIA



5022 SgtMaj Rowat, G. WIA



9221 Pte Cherriman, F.W. WIA



8150 Pte Livesay, R. WIA



7336 Pte Oglesby, J. WIA


No. 1 Company - No. 1 Section on Gun Hill

7276 Sjt Ashfield, W. KIA



5981 Cpl Wayman, W. KIA



8317 LCpl Brindley, E. KIA



3851 LCpl Dagnall, H. KIA
(Volunteer Company)



8087 Bglr Douglas, J. KIA



3846 Pte Davey, E.J.A. KIA
(Volunteer Company)



7062 Pte Gent, G. KIA



9856 Pte Morrell, G. KIA



9307 Pte Tew, A. WIA/DOW
(died 1 November 1901)



9952 LCpl Jarvis, A. WIA



7989 LCpl Nicholson, J. WIA



243 LCpl Parkes, T. WIA



118 LCpl Weston, A. WIA



542 Pte Joyce, F. WIA



7579 Pte McNamara, T. WIA



3848 Pte Oke, C. WIA
(Volunteer Company)



6127 Pte Parish, T. WIA



7687 Pte Winfield, R. WIA


No. 2 Company

2385 Pte Fawcett, F. KIA



Lt Bircham, H.F.W. WIA


No. 4 Company

6365 LSjt Houseman, G.H. KIA



2528 Pte Applegarth, R. KIA



1907 Pte Foster, F. KIA



2647 Pte Clark, F. WIA/DOW
(died 4 December 1901)



Lieut Dalby, T.G. WIA



9564 Cpl Gawer, P. WIA



1917 Cpl Ward, H.D. WIA



9840 LCpl Coe, W.E. WIA



2226 LCpl Coney, J. WIA



2149 LCpl Featherstonhaugh, F. WIA



1998 LCpl Fleming, D. WIA



2827 LCpl Gorman, J. WIA



1361 LCpl Simmonds WIA



2439 Pte Bell, J. WIA



2086 Pte Blackham, J. WIA



2908 Pte Drake, F. WIA



2486 Pte Edmunds, S. WIA



2593 Pte Prickett, F. WIA

02.11.1901 The British wounded were sent with Colonel Barter’s column to Springs. The remains of Benson’s Column, temporarily commanded by Wools-Samson, started its return march towards Brug Spruit.
05.11.1901 Column reached the Eastern Railway line at Brug Spruit. They remained there until the 12th to reorganize and refit. A draft of 21 men joined from the 3rd KRRC, and were posted to No. 3 Company. No. 2 Company was temporarily broken up, with two of its sections going to No. 3 Company, one section to No. 1 Company, and one section to No. 4 Company. Lieutenant-Colonel Mackenzie took over command of what had been known as Benson’s Column, now to be known as Mackenzie’s Column. The 2nd East Kents were relieved, being replaced by the 2nd Royal Scottish Fusiliers, and the two lost guns were replaced with 12-pounders of a longer-range pattern.
  And thus it was that Local-Sergeant William Wayman, a soldier of the Queen, was killed on Active Service by the Boer in South Africa. Originally buried in the field at Nooitgedacht, his body was exhumed and ultimately was re-buried in the Primrose Garden Cemetery, Germiston, South Africa. His medals, an India Service Medal of 1895 with the clasp: Relief of Chitral 1895, and a Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps: Talana / Defence of Ladysmith / Orange Free State / Laing’s Nek / Belfast / South Africa 1901 survive him in the Mortenson Collection.


A Memorial "Erected to the memory of the Huntingdonshire men who died in the South African War 1899 - 1902" is today (2002) found at the corner of George Street and High Street, next to All Saints Church Yard in Huntingdon.

Found thereon is William Wayman

King’s Royal Rifle Corps 1st Battalion

Offord Cluney


Pair to: Corporal (Local-Sergeant) William Wayman
India Medal of 1895, clasp: Relief of Chitral 1895, to: 5981 Pte W. Wayman 1st Bn K.R.Rifle Corps
QSA, clasps: Talana / Defence of Ladysmith / Orange Free State / Laing’s Nek / Belfast / South Africa 1901, to: 5981 CORPL: W. WAYMAN. K.R.R.C.

[On R.I.M.S. Warren Hastings with ‘G’ Company]
[Killed 30 October 1901 on Gun Hill at Bakenlaagte]
[The Times of London - Casualty List of 8 November 1901 - page 6, column 1]
File: 1881 U.K. Census details
Death Certificate
Buried Primrose Garden Cemetery - Germiston, South Africa
Huntingdon Boer War Memorial details
India Medal of 1895 - 1 of 821 to the Regiment
QSA - 1 of 8 and verified - 25th Mounted Infantry Bn
Served: 1st KRRC
1st KRRC Mounted Infantry Company

10 March 2002

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