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    Colonel E M S Crabbe, with his column of some 500 men, was ordered to move in advance and clear the way for Major Crofton’s convoy of 100 donkey wagons that left the railhead at Beaufort West on 30 January 1902 with supplies for Fraserburg.


    It was very difficult country and, with the donkeys moving at a very indifferent pace, Crabbe soon outdistanced them. On 1 Feb he easily beat off an attack by Commandants Smith and Van Reenen some 40 km east of Fraserburg and camped for the night on the farm Rietfontein. 

    Shortly after advancing towards Fraserburg on the 2nd, he found himself in a hornet’s nest. Gen Malan with some 800 Boers surrounded them and Crabbe had to dig in.


    After some hard fighting, in which according to the Times History, “the 104th IY particularly distinguished themselves”, Crabbe camped at the farm Waterval.


    11 of his men had been wounded and another 11 were taken prisoner.

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