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    The Battle of Magersfontein was fought near Kimberley on the borders of the Cape Colony and the independent republic of the Orange Free State. British forces under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen were advancing north along the railway line from the Cape in order to relief the siege of Kimberley, but their path was blocked at 
    Magersfontein by a Boer force that was entrenched in the surrounding hills.


    The British had already fought a series of battles with the Boer, most recently at Modder River, where the advance was temporarily halted. 

    Lord Methuen failed to perform adequate reconnaissance in preparation for the impending battle and was unaware that Boer General De La Rey had entrenched his forces at the foot of the hills rather than the forward slopes as was the accepted practice. This allowed the Boers to survive the initial British artillery bombardment, 
    when the British troops failed to deploy from a compact formation during their advance, the defenders were able to inflict heavy casualties.


    The Highland Brigade suffered the worst casualties, while on the Boer side, the 
    Scandinavian Corps was destroyed. 
    The Boers attained a tactical victory and succeeded in holding the British in their advance on Kimberley. The battle was the second of three battles during what became known as Black Week.


    1. Schalk Willem Meintjes was born in 1852. When he applied for his awards in Feb 1924, he stated that he had served under Gen de Wet. He was wounded at Magersfontein on 11 Dec 1899 (according to Vorm “C” Acting Commandant, 6 bullet wounds: no limbs lost; and according to ZAR Casualty Report Acting Commandant Kroonstad Laager; slightly wounded: flesh-wound in leg). 

    Meintjes was one of the senior Boer Officers taken prisoner when Gen Cronje surrendered at Paardeberg on 28 Feb 1900. His PoW number was 5950 and he was recorded as Commandant, Kroonstad Field 
    Cornetcy. He was not sent to St Helena but was held at the Cape for the duration of the war: initially at Simonstown and later at Greenpoint.


    It would seem that the Medal Application Board had some misgivings about Meintjes. There is a scribbled note “Further facts” on his Vorm “A” and they finally 
    approved the awards, but with the rank of Captain. Pictures if his medals attached.


    2. DCM (VR): 4896 L.Corpl. D. Fraser. 1st Highland L.I: 
    QSA 3 clasps Mod R, Witt, SA’01: 4896 Cpl. D. Fraser, 1st Highland Lt. Infy.
    “1ST” in DCM naming corrected unofficially.
    DCM: LG 27 September 1901 (p6318). Awarded for Magersfontein with details in London Gazette of 16 March 1900 (p1788): ‘Lance-Corporal Fraser… Specially brought to notice for cheery conduct under fire and helping to rally men’. 

    The HLI Chronicle for July 1900 reported that ‘Lance-Corporal D. Fraser was conspicuous by his coolness during the advance and his cheery remarks of encouragement to all around him’. Fraser joined the Highland Light Infantry in 1893. He served with the regiment in Crete and was slightly wounded in the chest at the hospital during rioting at Kandia on 6 September 1898. Pictures of medals attached.


    I visitthe battlefields at Magersfontein many times and walked through the trenches, picking up empty shells, which I handed in at the museum. That was really a hygh experience.

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