THE 2nd Battalion sailed on the Gaul about 26th November
1899, and arrived at the Cape on the 16th December. The battalion
went out as part of the Vth Division under Sir Charles Warren, but
when that general and six of his battalions went round to Natal to
assist Sir Redvers Buller, the remaining two—the 2nd Warwicks
and 1st Yorkshire Regiment—were landed at Cape Town. The Warwicks
were ordered to the Britstown - De Aar district, the Yorkshires going
to the central district, then the sphere of General French.
When Lord Roberts reorganised at Modder River prior to
his eastern advance, the 18th Brigade was formed under Major-General
T. E. Stephenson, then colonel of the Essex,1 the battalions being
the 2nd Warwicks, 1st Yorkshire, 1st Welsh, and 1st Essex , but ill-luck
again followed the Warwicks, as they could not be spared from the
lines of communication until the Militia regiments sailing from England
in January 1900 had arrived. No doubt the rising in the Prieska district
contributed to keep them in the south, consequently they missed Paardeberg
and the fighting at Poplar Grove and Driefontein. In these circumstances it is more convenient to treat the work of
the brigade under the Yorkshire Regiment.
It will be remembered that the situation in the west of
Cape Colony became so serious in February and March 1900 that Lord
Kitchener was despatched to organise a force to operate in the Britstown,
Carnarvon, and Prieska district. That force consisted of the Warwicks,
part of the City Imperial Volunteers, some New Zealanders, Canadians,
Yeomanry, and Militia. The rising having been put down, the Warwicks
joined the main army in April, and were thereafter in the 18th Brigade
in the northern advance to Pretoria, in the battle of Diamond Hill,
11th June 1900, and in the last great movement towards Koomati Poort.
When the advance to Pretoria was commenced the XIth Division
under General Pole-Carew was formed of the Guards Brigade and the
18th Brigade. (See 3rd Grenadier Guards.) In the advance towards Koomati
Poort the XIth Division had fighting, about 24th to 27th August, at
the north or right of the Boer positions, near Belfast , but General
Pole-Carew could not make progress there, and it was only after General
Buller had driven the enemy from the key at Bergendal that the XIth
Division could move forward. The Warwicks had about 20 casualties
in this fighting.
After Koomati Poort had been occupied the battalion was
chiefly employed in the Eastern Transvaal, being posted about Koomati
Poort, Avoca, and Pan for a long time.
At the Poort the battalion was much depleted by fever.
The battalion was sent as escort with prisoners to Bermuda before
the close of the war.
Ten officers and 16 non-commissioned officers and men were
mentioned in Lord Roberts' final despatch.
Four officers gained mention by Lord Kitchener during the
The Mounted Infantry companies of the 3rd and 4th Battalions
arrived in South Africa in 1901, and saw a great deal of fighting.
No less than 7 non-commissioned officers and men of the
3rd Battalion, and 1 of the 4th, gained mention in despatches during
the war, and in Lord Kitchener's final despatch 6 officers and 2 men
of the Warwicks were mentioned.
1 Lord Roberts' despatches of 16th and 28th February 1900.