Extract taken from 'Our Regiments in South Africa' by John Stirling
published by Naval and Military Press Ltd

THE 1st Battalion sailed on the Braemar Castle on 1st March 1900, and arrived at the Cape on 8th April. Along with the 1st South Staffordshire, 2nd Manchester, and 2nd Royal West Kent, they formed the 17th Brigade under Major-General Boyes, and part of the VIIIth Division under General Sir Leslie Rundle. The work of the division has been briefly sketched under the 2nd Grenadier Guards.

Throughout the war the battalion had no opportunity of gaining distinction in any big engagement, although constantly in little affairs, and enduring very great hardships.

Two companies of the battalion and 43 men of the Wiltshire Imperial Yeomanry formed the garrison of Ladybrand under Major F White, Royal Marine Light Infantry, when that town was surrounded by a force of 3000 Boers, with nine guns and two machine guns, on 2nd September 1900. The little garrison held out until relieved by Bruce Hamilton on the 5th, having suffered but slight loss,1 — an instance of the value of well-constructed entrenchments.

In October 1900 the battalion was put into Bethlehem as garrison, but some portion was always marching and fighting down to the end of the war.

Twenty-seven officers and 37 men of the Worcester-shire Regiment were mentioned in Lord Roberts’ final despatches, but these commendations embraced both battalions.

The Mounted Infantry of the Worcestershire Regiment did much useful work. A party was present at the successful action at Bothaville, they gained haifa-dozen mentions by Lord Kitchener.

Six non commissioned officers and men of the “Worcestershire Regiment” were mentioned in Lord Kitchener’s first despatch, that of 8th March 1901, but the Gazette does not state the cause, and does not show to which battalion they belonged. In the final despatch 9 officers and 8 non-commissioned officers and men were mentioned.

The 2nd Battalion sailed on the Tintagel Castle on 16th December 1899, and arrived at the Cape on 8th January 1900. Along with the 2nd Bedfordshire, 1st Royal Irish Regiment, and 2nd Wiltshire, they formed the 12th Brigade under Major-General Clements (see 2nd Bedfordshire).

The brigade went to the Colesberg - Naauwpoort district on arriving m Cape Colony, and after General French and the bulk of his mounted troops were taken to Modder River for the Kimberley and Bloemfontein advances, General Clements was barely able to hold his own in the advanced and extended positions he fell heir to. On 12th February he was heavily attacked, and on that day the Worcesters lost Colonel Coningham and 15 men of the battalion killed, and 3 officers and 30 men wounded. The Wiltshires also had slight losses that day. On the 15th the fighting was again severe, the Worcesters losing 2 killed, 2 wounded, and 14 prisoners. The Wiltshires on the latter day lost very heavily.

In the operations for the surrounding of Prinsloo the battalion took part, but had only very slight loss.

When the brigade was broken up the battalion accompanied General Clements to the Megaliesberg, north-west of Pretoria, his other troops at the time being the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers, 1st Border Regiment, 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry, 8th R.F.A., and 900 mounted men under Colonel Ridley2 The column concentrated at Commando Nek and did much hard work under General Clements, and afterwards under General Cunningham and other commanders, in clearing and bringing under control the Rustenburg-Krugersdorp district.

Clements’ reverse at Nooitgedacht on 13th December 1900 is mentioned under the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers.

In the second phase of the war the battalion was much employed in the north-east of the Orange River Colony, and for part of 1901 held Heilbron and other points in that district.

As to mentions, reference is made to the notes under the 1st Battalion.

1 Lord Roberts’ despatch of 10th October 1900, pars. 43.
2 Lord Roberts’ despatch of 10th October 1900, pars. 39.

Last updated 17 February, 2009

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