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    “The post at Fort Itala is defended by about 300 mounted infantrymen commanded by Major Chapman. Its defences consist of trenches between 50 and 100 metres apart, commanding a clear field of fire up to a range of about 600 metres, with a detached post, defended by about 80 men, on the summit of the steep Mount Itala, about two kilometres away. 

    Just after midnight General Chris Botha starts his attack, but the defenders, forewarned by Zulu scouts, are alert and opens a heavy fusillade. The Boers soon surround and overwhelm the small party on the mountain. 

    The main assault on the British camp at the fort starts at about 02:00, with Chris Botha attacking from the side of the mountain, Opperman from the south-east and Potgieter and Scholtz from the north.


    In bright moonlight, the defenders are able to use their guns to good effect and at 04:00 the attack peters out. 


    At dawn the Boers renew their attack and as the light improves, life becomes impossible for the gun crews and they cease firing.


    Firing continues all day long, but Chris Botha is unable to persuade his men to charge across the open ground dominated by the defenders’ rifles.


    At 19:00, with ammunition running out on both sides, the Boers retire. Botha reports that he has suffered a loss of 18 killed, including both Potgieter and Scholtz, and 40 wounded, including Opperman.


    The British have lost about 81 killed and wounded, including Chapman and his second in command Captain Butler who are both wounded. Chapman, almost out of ammunition and with no prospect of being reinforced, quietly evacuates his post and retires to Nkandhla.”
    “The Anglo-Boer War: A Chronology” by Pieter G Cloete.

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    Posted (edited)

    DSO (VR); MC (Geo V); 
    QSA, 5 clasps TugH, OFS, RoL, Tvl, L Nek: Lieut. R.C. Trousdale. S. Lanc. Regt.; 
    KSA, 2 clasps SA’01, SA’02: Lieut R.C. Trousdale D.S.O. S. Lan. Rgt. (engraved); 
    1914-15 Star: Capt. R.C. Trousdale. D.S.O. S. Lan. R.; 
    BWM & AVM (with MiD Oakleaf): Major R.C. Trousdale

    Major Robert Cecil Trousdale, D.S.O., was born in 1876 and educated at Clifton College. He entered the South Lancashire Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in March 1897 and advanced to Lieutenant in 1899.


    During the Boer War he served with the Mounted Infantry, was present at most of the early actions in Natal and was Mentioned in Lord Roberts’ despatch under those ‘who have rendered special and meritorious service’. 
    LG 10 September 1901, p5953

    In September 1901 he took part in the operations on the Zululand Frontier and was mentioned in Lord Kitchener’s despatch among those involved with the Defence of Itala, 26 September 1901: 

    ‘South Lancashire Regt. (1st Battn), Lieutenant R.C. Trousdale; for the plucky way he worked the machine gun after both the men with him had been killed.’
    LG 17 January 1902, p374

    As a result of his bravery he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.


    He retired from the service as Captain in 1912 and re joined the army on the outbreak of the Great War. His subsequent distinguished service in France and Belgium from January 1915 to November 1918 was recognized by being Mentioned in Despatches twice and the award of the Military Cross. 
    LG 1 January 1919


    Edited by archie777
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