The Earl, despite his period of command having expired, landed at Cape Town after the Boers attacked Natal in 1899. Lord Dundonald just departed from England without informing his wife. She had to learn the news from the Earl’s mother. He left with the Gwrych Castle coachman, Rumph, his valet and two horses from the Castle’s stables. Lord Dundonald, on arriving in South Africa, offered his services to Redvers Buller and was given command of the South Natal Field Force. With this force he was engaged at Colenso and in early 1900 took command of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, with which he took part in the Tugela fighting and on 28th February entered Ladysmith. Later the same year, he commanded the combined 3rd Mounted and Natal Volunteer Brigades in the fighting on the Biggarsberg and at Laing's Nek and in the eastern Transvaal. When Buller resigned in October 1900 the brigade was broken up and Dundonald returned to England. For his services in the campaign he was mentioned in despatches six times and promoted to Lieutenant General.

Extract from "British Commanders in the Transvaal War 1899-1900" published by W.D. & H.O. Wills Ltd:


Who has been the object of much attention and admiration during the recent attempts to relieve Ladysmith, was born in 1852. He can boast of a famous fighting ancestry, whose excellent traditions he worthily maintains.

After having the full benefit of a good education at Eton, he entered the 2nd Life Guards in 1870. During the Nile Expedition of 1884-5, Lord Dundonald was mentioned in despatches.

Recognizing his value as a Cavalry leader, our military authorities recently appointed him to the command of a cavalry brigade. Acting under General Buller's orders he has done much useful work towards driving the Boers from Natal. At the third attempt to relieve Ladysmith he defeated a strong force of the enemy at Acton Homes. On February 28th, when the relief was effected, he had the distinction of being the first to enter the town at the head of the Natal Carabineers and a composite regiment.

In addition to excellence of executive military ability, his powers of invention have been great. Perhaps the invention which has brought him into greatest prominence is the " Dundonald galloping gun carriage," so serviceable on account of its lightness, great strength and ease of locomotion over difficult country.

Last updated 10 February, 2009
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