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    General Sir G White, in an attempt to cover Maj-Gen J H Yule retreat from Dundee via the Helpmekaar road, moved out from Ladysmith with 18 guns and a mixed force of some 5000 infantry and mounted troops. In what was to be primarily an artillery action, he engaged about 1000 Free Staters deployed on the 2 hills (Tinta ‘Nyoni and Swartbooiskop) on the northern side of Rietfontein farm.

    White spent most of the day attempting to get close to the Boer lines. From 8am until early afternoon the two sides kept up a constant rifle and artillery duel, but the British were unable to get close enough to the Boer lines to charge. The shelling was largely ineffectual against the widely dispersed Burghers who replied with fierce small-arms fire. White’s force retired to Ladysmith at 3pm, after receiving news via heliograph that Yule’s force was no more in danger of being trapped. 


    British losses were 14 killed and about 100 wounded while the Boers lost 13 killed and 31 wounded.

    Pte. Miles was killed in the Rietfontein skirmish.
    The following was published in the “Daily Mail” of 24 November 1900: DOING A SOLDIER’S DUTY


    A pathetic story is told of one of the soldiers killed in the recent fighting, Private Charles Miles, of the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, wrote the following letter from India on Sept. 16th to his parents, who reside at Cross Street, New Swindon, Wilts:

    “Dear Mother and Father, I am sorry to let you know that we are going to the war in South Africa. I hope this will not upset you, for remember I ama soldier, and have to do a soldier's duty. I am glad I'm going, though not for your sake, as I know what it will be like - a medal or a bullet. It can’t be helped, 
    as our regiment is one of the best, and we are the first to go from India. Cheer up, for I will try to do my duty to the Queen and country. Remember me to my relatives, and if I am killed, tell them I died a good 
    soldier's death.
    Your loving son, Charlie”

    The mother has since received this brief announcement from the War Office:

    “I have to acquaint you with regret the fact that Private C. Miles, of the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, was killed in action on the 24th instant." 

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