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    Posted (edited)

    On 26 September 1901, Fort Prospect, which was garrisoned by 35 men of the Dorset Mounted Infantry and 51 of the Durham Artillery Militia under Captain Rowley of the Dorsets, was attacked by 500 of Botha’s Boers, at 4.30am, under cover of a mist in the donga.

    “The Boers’ made a very severe attack on the north and west of my position, the brunt of the attack fell on two sangars held by the Durham Company of Artillery; the Boers broke through the wire and got to within 20 yards of these sangars, but they both gallantly held their own and I, with the aid of the Maxim, was able to repulse this attack.


    By 6.30am the Boers drew off from this flank. They then commenced a very severe attack on the rear of my post, but by 10am it was repulsed.


    About this time a party of Zululand Native Police, gallantly led by Serjeant Gumbi, broke through and reinforced me; he brought with him 13 men and had marched 4 miles from his own post to reinforce me.


    The Boers now had completely surrounded the camp but contented themselves by keeping up a heavy fire chiefly directed on the Maxim Fort. This fire was kept up all day, gradually lessening towards evening, when the Boers drew off about 6pm.”

    “My casualties were one killed and eight wounded, which, considering the severity of the fire, is very little. I consider it was owing to the excellent cover afforded by the forts pand trenches, as we were subjected to very heavy firing for 13 hours.


    I estimate the strength of the Boers at from 500 to 600 men, and they belonged to the Ermelo or Carolina commandos. The casualties of the Boers are unknown, but two dead were buried at Polgeiter’s Farm.


    The prisoners who were taken at Itala say that the Boers own to having 60 killed and wounded in the attack on Fort Prospect. I picked up 30 dead horses next morning, also 2 rifles and 20 saddles. I cannot close the report without mentioning the gallantry l displayed by all ranks, especially by the Durham Company of Militia Artillery.”


    Captain Rowley’s Report on the Defence of Fort Prospect: LG 3 December 1901, p8557.

    Edited by archie777
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    • archie777 changed the title to 26 SEPTEMBER 1901 - FORT PROSPECT

    DCM (Edw VII): 2196 C. Serjt.-Maj. W. Young. Dorset Regt. M.I.;
    QSA, 6 clasps CC, TugH, OFS, RoL, Tvl, L Nek: 2196 Pte. W. Young. Dorset Rgt.;
    KSA, 2 clasps SA’01, SA’02: 2196 Serjt. W. Young. Dorset Regt.

    When William Young enlisted in February 1886 he was noted as standing 5 ft 3½ ins tall: “Under standard height but likely to grow”.


    His stature did not prevent him from being an excellent soldier: heading the list of four men of the Dorset Mounted Infantry specially mentioned in Captain Rowley’s report was 2196 Company Serjeant-Major W. Young, who ‘greatly aided me in the defence.’

    When he was discharged as “medically unfit” in March 1903 he stood 2¼ inches taller…


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