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    After landing at Port Elizabeth, the second contingent of Lovat’s Scouts entrained for Aliwal North and tasked with actively patrolling the border along the Orange River to prevent Boer commandos from entering the Cape Colony.


    During the third week of September 1901 two companies of the contingent were operating about 8km apart, each with a 15 pounder gun of the 38th Bty, RFA. 

    One company under Lt-Col the Hon A D Murray had moved to Quaggafontein Farm, 23km south-east of Zastron, and Lord Lovat, with the other company, was encamped 6km northwest of Elandskloof.


    In an attempt to join Gen J C Smuts in the Cape Colony, Gen P H Kritzinger’s commando attacked Murray’s camp as the moon set on the night of 19 September.


    The pickets were completely surprised, and the Boers were in the encampment before a shot was fired.


    They poured two volleys into the officers’ tents, turned and raked the other ranks’ tents, and then directed their heavy rifle fire into the horse lines.


    There was chaos and confusion in the dark, the screaming of dying men and horses, shooting, and horses galloping. Murray was shot while leading a bayonet charge and his adjutant, Capt E O Murray (no relation), was also killed. 


    A party of 35 men made their way, under cover of darkness, to Lord Lovat’s camp.


    The Boers remained in the camp for about an hour, collecting food, clothing and ammunition and, when they departed, they took the gun and the wounded with them.


    Lord Lovat, on hearing the firing, stood to arms and, at dawn on the 20th September reached Quaggafontein. The dead were brought away and buried at Elandskloof.


    Col A Thorneycroft and his Mounted Infantry arrived at the scene and set off in pursuit of Kritzinger. The next day, he recovered the gun and 10000 rounds of small arms ammunition and succeeded in killing two Boers and taking twenty prisoners. 


    The Quaggafontein action cost the British 54 casualties, of whom 18 were killed and 36 wounded.

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