from "British Commanders in the Transvaal War 1899-1900"
published by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd:
SIR W. F. GATACRE,
one of our youngest Generals, commands the third Division now operating
in South Africa. He commenced his military career with the old 77th
Foot at the age of nineteen. Possessing fine intellectual powers, it
is not surprising to find his course through the Staff College in 1874
marked by great brilliancy. Shortly afterwards he was appointed to the
staff, remaining on the same almost continuously until the present time.
With a complete disregard for danger, and possessing great confidence
in his own powers, his name has necessarily gained prominency. In 1888,
he served with the Hazara Expedition ; in 1889-90 in Burmah, and in
1895 in Chitral, after which he was made a C.B. Commanding a Division
in the final advance on Khartoum in 1898 he again received honours,
including a K.C.B.
In November, 1899, Lieut.-General Gatacre arrived at East London in
order to take part in the Boer War. His remark in a speech to the troops
whilst concentrating his forces at Queenstown, viz. : —"
I will never ask you to do anything which I am not willing to do myself,"
is of interest.
Proceeding to the North of Cape Colony, he executed many successful
reconnaissances. Continuing to harass the enemy with characteristic
doggedness and skilful generalship, he was largely instrumental in securing
the retreat of the Boers from our territory during March, 1900.