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    “The British entered Heidelberg on the morning of the 23rd (1900), the cavalry from the north and the infantry from the east. The cavalry continued beyond the town to pursue the retreating Boers. Kpl John Spruit had anticipated this by setting an ambush, which included his pom pom gun.


    Unknowingly Capt F.S. Whitaker led a detachment of Roberts’ Horse directly towards Spruit’s position. Spruit fired into the approaching horsemen at point-blank range. The three officers leading the detachment were severely wounded. 


    Captain Whitaker was to die of his wounds the next day. The Boer Corporal kept the troopers pinned down until British reinforcements arrived, then removed his gun and watched them head south for Villiers”. 
    Ian Uys “Heidelbergers of the Boer War”, p57.


    Capt. E.R. King, Roberts Horse; 

    “In the next advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria, the regiment was in the 5th Mounted Infantry Corps under Lieut.-Colonel Dawson, along with the 5th Mounted Infantry Regulars and Marshall’s Horse. 


    Frequently during the advance Roberts’ Horse was heavily engaged and suffered sharp losses. The regiment had sharp fighting near Heidelberg on the north side of the Vaal on 23rd June. The day was a disastrous one for the officers of the corps.


    Captain Whitaker was mortally wounded, Captain M. Browne and Lieutenants C.L. Learmonth and Rix King were wounded, while there were about 20 casualties in other ranks.” The Colonials in South Africa, Roberts Horse, p165.

    Edward Rex King was born on 13 November 1869. He was the son of Capt. William King, J.P. and was educated at Winchester. He was gazetted to the 3rd Battn. Royal Scots (1887-1891).


    He went to America, engaged in business and returned to England in 1898. After the outbreak of the Boer War he re-entered military service and sailed for South Africa on 1 January 1900, where he enlisted in Roberts Horse. He was given a commission on 2 February 1900 and promoted to Captain on 24 June 1900.


    He served in Roberts Horse from 23 January 1900 to 3 April 1901 and was slightly wounded in the 23 June incident at Heidelberg. He was mentioned in Roberts’ despatch, published in the London Gazette of 16 April 1901, p2611, and  was created a Companion of the Distinguished Order (London Gazette, 19 April 1901):

    “Edward Rex King, Capt., Roberts Horse. In recognition of services during the recent operations in South Africa.”


    On 3 April 1901 he was appointed to the South African Constabulary for a 3 year period with the rank of Captain. On 3 April 1904 his service was extended for a further 2 years until 2 April 1906 thereafter being extended indefinitely. He served in C Division (headquartered in Heidelberg) from 27 April 1901 to 6 October 1903, as Assistant Chief Secretary for Permits, Transvaal, and thereafter as ADC to the Lieut. Governor, Transvaal.


    He subsequently transferred to HQ division as O/C F Mobile unit and served until 6 December 1905. He then reverted to being ADC to the Lieut.-Governor, Transvaal. He died at the age of 37 on 21 June 1906 at the S.A.C. hospital in Potchefstroom. He was not married: his estate of £64 was left equally to his father and to his brother William Henry King.


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