Ministry of Defence
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Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion

The Suffolk Regiment in the Boer War

The 1st Battalion arrived in Cape Town on 29th November 1899 and moved up to Colesberg on the railway between Blomfontein and Pretoria.

Their first major action, a night attack on 5th/6th January 1900, was doomed to failure through lack of experience and a failure to reconnoitre properly. They attacked a Boer force entrenched on Red or Grassy Hill in a forlorn, but heroic, attempt to take the hill. The Commanding Officer and 36 others were killed outright; a further 99 were captured. The hill is now known as Suffolk hill. Those who died were buried in Colesberg Military Cemetery. The Battalion then joined Lord Roberts's force that advanced on Pretoria and then, later, the Battalion did duty protecting 35 miles of blockhouse line.

Companies from all three Volunteer Battalions served for periods throughout the war.

In February 1900 the Battalion provided two Mounted Infantry Companies for the newly formed Mounted Infantry Regiments. These were raised as a direct requirement to combat the Boers mobility; cavalry movement, with infantry firepower when dismounted could be used to take advantage. Near the end of the war one Suffolk Company rode 99 miles within 24 hours capturing the Boer General Botha and his Staff along the way.

The Regiment's losses throughout the conflict were 8 officers and 147 N.C.O.'s and men.

The 1st Battalion arrived home on 29th September 1902; the War ended had ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging in May of that year.

18 August 2004

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