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    Posted (edited)

    Some 300 Boers attacked a supply convoy moving from Vlakfontein to their camp at Rhenosterkop, east of Pretoria. The escort under Captain F Thomas consisted of 20 of his own men (NSW Citizen’s Bushmen) and 53 men from the West Riding Mounted Infantry. 

    After a four-hour engagement, in which the Bushmen lost one man with another mortally wounded and the West Ridings one man killed, the party surrendered.

    At the Court of Enquiry, it emerged that most of the West Ridings had just been discharged from hospital, had been drinking and had few rifles and little ammunition.


    The defence of the convoy fell on the Bushmen and the West Ridings surrendered of their own volition once they ran out of bullets. 


    The Boers overran the West Riding positions and the Bushmen had to surrender also. 
    “Shoot Straight, you Bastards” by Bleszynski, p223.


    Pte Jackson was severely wounded in the Vlakfontein debacle. In “Australia’s Boer War” by Craig Wilcox (p162) a different version of the incident is given in which Captain Thomas is blamed for the surrender:

    “The first drive to be conducted, as Kitchener intended, burned its way across the eastern Transvaal from the end of January 1901 to the middle of April.


    It was a response to a month of raids by Botha and Viljoen on railway stations, outposts, and convoys, including the seizure near Bronkhorstspruit station of thirteen wagons, a thousand sheep, and £1000 in soldiers’ pay after the leader of the convoy’s escort, Captain James Francis Thomas of the New South Wales Citizen Bushmen, had surrendered without good reason to a smaller number of Boers.” 

    Edited by archie777
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