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    Commandant Gideon Scheepers with some 200 men (mainly Cape Rebels) laid an ambush for the “27 Down” train in a cutting near Sherborne (between Naauwpoort and Middelburg) on 30 December.


    The train had one passenger coach with civilians, including women and children, and a number of open trucks. In one of these were some 60 Prince Alfred’s Guardsmen and 8 men from Nesbitt’s Horse who were returning home.

    Scheepers’ men opened fire as the engine drew level with them. The boiler was punctured, the train came to a standstill and heavy fire was exchanged as the soldiers leapt from the truck. Having a limited amount of ammunition, the troops eventually had to surrender with 4 men wounded.


    The civilians miraculously escaped harm. After a shake down Scheepers freed the prisoners and gave their rifles to his own men. The train was looted, and the rolling stock was set on fire, but the coach was left for the civilians and wounded. The guard was sent off on foot to Sherborne to arrange for an engine to fetch the coach.

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