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    On 3 January 1901, 150 men of the Commander-in-Chief’s Bodyguard under Lt-Col D Tyrie Laing were sent from the farm Plesier to reconnoitre the route to Reitz.


    At the boundary between the farms Fredericksdale and Kromspruit they walked into an ambush set by Gen Philip Botha with 80 men of the Kroonstad Commando. 

    According to Grant (Vol IV, p55), the party “was in close formation and without even ground-scouts” and were surrounded on three sides by the Boers and subjected to fire.


    Lt-Col Laing was wounded in the first volleys but maintained control of his men. Later he ordered his men into a donga for some cover, but when Laing was killed by a bullet through the heart the defence petered out, the men surrendered and handed over their arms.

    According to the SAFF Casualty Roll, 22 Officers and men were killed, another 7 died of wounds and 27 more were wounded. On the Boer side there is a record of one man killed, but the number of wounded is not known

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