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    The day after the successful attacks at Belmont, the Armoured Reconnaisance Train of Methuen’s force was fired on from the kopjes at Graspan. In these hills, to the north of Belmont, it was estimated that there were 400 Boers with two artillery pieces. This force needed to be neutralized and Lord Methuen ordered the 9th Brigade to assault the positions in the early morning of 25.11.1900.


    The honour of leading the attack was given 
    to the Naval Brigade. The major kopje at Graspan, on which there were actually 2000 Boers and five guns, was a natural fortress that gave the Boer force an excellent opportunity to delay and reduce Methuen’s advancing forces. The only weak spot of the kopje was on the eastern side: at this point the Naval Brigade attacked, supported by the Yorkshire Light Infantry and two Companies of the Royal North Lancashires.


    The Northumberland Fusiliers and 
    Northamptons assaulted the front of the kopje and further support came from the Naval guns and 75th and 18th Batteries R.F.A., who pounded the top of the kopje as the British forces approached it. As they came under fire, the British troops dropped down and commenced disciplined skirmishing towards it. 

    Alternatively firing and rushing 50-60 yards, they steadily advanced but the Boer fire had been so withering that by the time the Naval Brigade (55 Bluejackets and 190 Marines) had made it to the foot of the kopje, nearly 
    half their number had been felled. The Royal North Lancashires and Yorkshires supported each other in a perilous climb and the remainder of the Naval Brigade hauled themselves up the steep face.


    They cleared the position but once again the Boers slipped away and made their retreat down the back of the hill.The assault on the position was summarised by The Times historian: ‘rarely in military history have soldiers unwaveringly fought their way through such a fiery ordeal and then successfully led the assault on an almost 
    precipitous position.’ On reaching the summit the British found 21 Boer dead and 40 wounded. Their casualties were four Officers and 18 men killed, five Officers and 158 men wounded and nine men missing.


    The Royal Marines lost the highest number with two Officers and nine men killed and one Officer and 72 men wounded.
    Spink: The Anglo-Boer War Anniversary Sale, October 1899.

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