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    On the evening of 5 June Colonel Elliott was informed that a Boer convoy was about 15 miles away from his own convoy and he detached Major Sladen, the Commander of the 6th Mounted Infantry with a force of 200 and some Australians to intercept it.


    The convoy of 120 wagons and carts was duly captured at dawn on 6 June, but the majority of prisoners were women and children with only about 100 armed Boers as guards. 

    What should have been a routine, albeit large, capture was rapidly altered by a thundering counterattack by De Wet and De la Rey who had been informed about it over breakfast. Fighting raged amongst the captured wagons and Sladen’s advance line was driven back to a cluster of native huts in a kraal. 

    The fight lasted for four hours and ascendancy swung backwards and forwards between British and Boer. Sladen held off the counterattack until relieved by De Lisle in the afternoon but casualties had been heavy on both sides: 26 British and 17 Boers killed, 25 British and 20 Boers wounded. 

    The brutal hand-to-hand fighting at Graspan gave rise to accusations of atrocities on both sides. The Boers claimed that the British had fired on unarmed women and children in the wagons and the British accused the Boers of murdering prisoners.


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