The Manchester Regiment 1899 - 1958

The First Battalion 1899-1902


1st Battalion South Africa 1899-1902


Battalion receives instructions to leave for South Africa while on garrison duties at Gibraltar

Sails 23rd on the Goth, arrives Cape Town via Tenerife 15h September, on to Durban on 20th


9th started to march to Ladysmith, mounted infantry following, following urgent requests, the battalion entrained at Dargle Road on open cattle trucks, arriving on the 11th

mounted infantry arrived 17th

20th the Boers captured Elandslaagte, coy’s C D F & G were in the attack to recover, D in an armoured train, stopped at modderspruit by boar artillery they de-trained and attacked, the half battalion took 263 casualties while taking the Boer position

30th supported the Lombards Kop attack with five casualties

31st moved to Caesars camp



Shelled by enemy artillery and attacked on the 7th with around 20 casualties


6th serious attack at Caesars hill, Boers attacking from the rear after infiltrating the lines, the regiment suffered 34 KIA and 40 wounded, the position was held after re-inforced by highlanders, Boer newspapers reported 1000 killed and wounded by the manchesters
Sir George White summed up the Manchester’s resolution

“During the attack on Caesars camp a remote corner was held by sixteen men of the Manchester regiment who fought from three in the morning until dusk, when the Devonshire reinforced them. Fourteen of the little band lay dead and of the two survivors one was wounded- they still held their position”

Robert Scott

born in Haslingden, Lancashire, he was a twenty-five year old private in the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment, British Army during the Second Boer War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross

James Pitt

He was 22 years old, and a private in the 1st Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, British Army during the South African War (Boer War) when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.



On 6 January 1900 during an attack on Caesar's Camp, Natal, South Africa, 16 men of 'D' Company were defending one of the slopes of the hill. The defenders were under heavy fire all day, the majority being killed and their positions occupied by the enemy. At last only Private Pitts and one other man, Robert Scott, remained. They held their post for 15 hours without food or water, all the time exchanging deadly fire with the enemy, until relief troops had retaken the lost ground and pushed the enemy off the hill.


17th Kimberley relieved

28th British columns in sight of Ladysmith


3rd Battalion lined the street to welcome Bullers column

9th battalion received £7.00 cheque from N’Dunge Tribe in thanks for defending Ladysmith

15th VSC unit joined the battalion, drawn from the volunteer battalions around Manchester


Battalion formed part of the Drakensberg defence force, quartered around Elandslaagye and Junono’s Kop


21st proceeded to Zandspruit (Transvaal) via Charlestown

22nd in support of the attack on Graskop, 2 casualties

24th (to 24th August) battalion was at Meerzicht near Paadrekop


8th occupied Amersfoort,

12th Ermelo

15th Komato River

21st Van Wyks Vlei and attacked a Boer position there, 8 casualties

23rd arrived Geluk, enroute to Bergendal Farm (27th) where there was a ‘good deal of opposition’ causing 25 casualties. General Buller “The battalion had rendered valuable service in holding the right flank so firmly, for he had since learnt that the Boers had contemplated delivering a strong attack on that flank but had been unable to do so as the position was so tenaciously held”

28th Dalmanutha en route to Machadodorp and formed the garrison there


2nd one wing to Helvetia, joined by the other on the 17th


3rd 4 casualties in action there. The battalion then was guarding the road between Schoemans Kloof and Helvetia, with posts at Witklip, Badfontein and Schoemans Kloof, where they remained for several months providing piquets and escorts as well as harrasing raids



The battalion moved to Lydenburg for several months of a similar round of duties, escorting convoys, clearing Boer farms and raids on enemy positions. The telegraph line was often cut and piquets attacked.


18th Moved to Wemmershoek valley via Witklip, supported the mounted infantry in an action near Elandsspruit. Bivouacked near there and were attacked by the Boers who had taken the high ground above the camp site. 9 KIA and 17 wounded “the officer commanding the column wishes to thank the officersNCOs and men of the Manchester Regiment which held the top of the hill last night, for the gallant way they defended their posts against heavy odds and inflicted great loss on the enemy. The officer commanding will not fail to bring this to the attention of the Commander in Chief”

25th Via Dullstroom and Vlakfontein to Helvetia

27th Belfast



7th The battalions conducted several operations against the boers with varying success

21st battalion fully involved in the battle at Paardeplatz

24th moved to Houtenbek experiencing heavy opposition on the way (a daily occurrence at this time) returning to Lydenberg on the 29th


13th Helvetia, 14th Machadodorp, 15th Dalmanutha, 16th Belfast, 18th Pan. From here the battalion carried several actions against the Boer commando, taking many prisoners and important captures of stock.


21st Onvervacht

24th Battalion was part of a drive to clear the land in a SW direction to the Natal railway. The battalion covered 75 miles in 60 hours but the drive’s results were of little significance

30th left Vlaklaagte and marched north via New Denmark, Vrichgewaagte, Bethelm Ermelo, Roodesport to Eikeboom ( on the 10th April)


11th the battalion again formed part of the line for a drive south from Delagoa railway to the Natal railway which involved a 50 mile stretch of wire fencing. Drive was completed on the 14th with better results

15th new VSC company arrives, becoming M company

16th Battalion marches to Vaalbank to form part of a drive south, these actions continued to the 13th May

20th Battalion to take over blockhouses and stations at Waterval Boven, Waterval Onder and Nooitgedacht.

June 1st The battalion was informed by telegraph from Lord Kitchener that a peace treaty had been signed



chris harrison

source regimental history H C Wylly