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    In this action, a large Boer force, disguised as British infantry, infiltrated a smaller British force composed of 2 guns and 55 men under Colonel Damant, protected by 40 men of the 91st Company Imperial Yeomanry. 

    In the action that followed, the artillery horses and limbers were saved but at a cost – out of the 95 men of the column, Damant’s Horse and 39th Battery RHA lost 43 killed and wounded including Lt-Col Damant himself who was wounded in four places.


    In this truly heroic action, 91st Company Imperial Yeomanry had 32 hit out of 40, and, in the words of Lord Kitchener, “sacrificed itself almost to a man to save Damant’s guns”.


    For his gallantry Shoeing-Smith Ind, R.H.A. was awarded a Victoria Cross.


    The following particulars were obtained from those engaged by the correspondent of the Central News:


    The columns under Colonel Damant and Colonel Rimington left Frankfort on the 19th inst. and proceeded in the direction of Vrede. The force trekked all night through a most severe thunderstorm, during which three of our men were struck by lightning and killed.


    At daybreak the transport waggons were laagered and were left behind in charge of a small escort, while Damant with two guns of the 39th Battery, and one pom-pom and 
    ninety-five men all told, rushed forward. The little force deviated on the left flank, where a number of Boers had been located.


    On reaching a ridge Colonel Damant observed a party of seventy men dressed in British uniform busily engaged driving cattle in his direction. The strangers were at first taken to be a part of Rimington’s column which had gone out on the right flank.


    The mistake was soon discovered, however, and almost immediately another body of the enemy was located further to the left of the British laager.


    Our guns were speedily unlimbered, and quickly came into action. We had only been able to fire two shots when the Boers in charge of the cattle abandoned them and galloped boldly forward towards the British 


    The enemy opened a galling fire on the gunners at a range of two hundred yards, and simultaneously another party of 150 Boers who had remained carefully concealed in ambush in the long grass at the foot of the ridge enfiladed the position.


    A large number of the gallant defenders fell at the first few volleys, but the survivors fought tenaciously, and the enemy were only able to rush and capture the position after all the men on the ridge had been either killed or wounded except three.

    Previous to this, however, some of the gallant gunners and the escort had succeeded in getting away the limbers of the guns, not withstanding the heavy fire.


    The only gunner who had escaped the bullets then effectually destroyed the breechblocks of the guns and rendered them utterly useless to the enemy. Out of a total force of 95 in action we had 75 killed and wounded, the 91st Yeomanry losing one officer and 14 men were killed and one officer and 16 men wounded.


    The Boers, who were under Commandants Wessels, Alexander Ross, and M. Botha – the latter the son of the Commandant-General – also lost heavily. They had Commandant Van der Merwe and 30 men killed. Three of the Boer dead were buried by our men, and the remainder were carried away.

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