4th Western Australian Mounted Infantry

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4th Western Australian Citizen’s Bushmen

The 4th WAMI was raised in mid-march 1900 and trained until the 8th May 1900 when it embarked for South Africa aboard the Manhattan where it arrived on the 19th June. It consisted of 9 Officers and 118 other ranks led by Major James Rose.

Warrant Officers

The unit arrived in South Africa at Port Elizabeth on the 18th June 1900 and within a week was already seeing action in the north-east of the Orange Free State, fighting at Lindley, Leeuw Kop, Bethlehem, Palmietfontein, Stinkhoutboom and Jagersfontein suffering Pte Kay and Pte Illes killed and others wounded. They remained in the Orange Free State until September-October when the 4th WAMI transferred to the central Transvaal where it would remain until January. In this new theatre the unit saw action at Machadodorp, Krugersdorp, Rhenoster Kop, H. Kraal, Crocodile River and Hekpoort, suffering a few more wounded.

 The 4th WAMI then transferred to the Cape Colony for a short period in February fighting the enemy at Grasfontein and Yellow River suffering 1 wounded. The squadron moved back to Transvaal where it would remain from February to May, undertaking operations in the centre and south like Pietersburg and Bethel, suffering LCpl Fraser killed. The unit then headed to East London and embarked on boat to Cape Town and then to Western Australia where it arrived on the 20th July 1901. The 4th WAMI suffered 3 Killed and 15 non fatal casualties.

1. Lindley 25/6/00

2. Leeuw Kop 3/7/00

3. Bethlehem 9/7/00

4. Palmietfontein 19/7/00

5. Stinkhoutboom 24/7/00

6. Jagersfontein 24/8/00

7. Machadodorp 14/10/00

8. Krugersforp 4/11/00

9. Rhenoster Kop 29/11/00

10. H. Kraal & Croc River 3/1/01

11. Hekpoort 10/1/01

12. Grasfontein & Y. River 24/2/01

13. Pietersburg 4/4/01

14. Bethel 25/5/01

Timeline Of the 4th WAMI

16/3/00 – 22/7/00

16/3/00: The 4th WAMI is formed and begins training at Karrakatta (Irwin Barracks)

The 4th WAMI having dinner at Karrakatta
The 4th WAMI having dinner at Karrakatta

8/5/00: The 4th WAMI departs Fremantle aboard the Manhattan for South Africa.

The 4th WAMI transport ship “Manhattan” at Fremantle
The 4th WAMI transport ship “Manhattan” at Fremantle

28/5/00: Beira, Portugese East Africa is reached and the troops disembark.

4/6/00: The troops re-embark and head for Durban, Natal.

6/6/00: The contingent arrives in Durban but the soldiers aren’t let off the ship until the 11th.

16/6/00: The troops re-embark and head for Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony.

18/6/00: They arrive at Port Elizabeth and disembark the next day, immediately embarking on a train for Kroonstad.

22/6/00: In just 3 days the 4th WAMI arrives in Kroonstad having travelled 600 miles by train.

23/6/00: the 4th WAMI joins a 500 strong Column consisting primarily of the Yorkshire Regiment and Yeomanry units to relieve Lindley.

25/6/00: Lindley is reached after some fighting and the 4th WAMI joins General Paget’s Column known as the 20th Brigade. (General Paget had already seen fighting in the 2nd Boer War, primarily at the battles of Belmont, Modder River and Magersfontein during which time he was mentioned in despatches twice.) (His brigade consisted of the Yorkshire Regiment, Royal Munster Fusiliers, South Staffordshire Militia, a battery of artillery and some Australian bushmen units.)

3/7/00: A battle took place outside Lindley at Leeuw Kop in which the 4th WAMI distinguished themselves by saving the British artillery in desperate fighting in which the artillery suffered heavily with 3 officers killed among others.

6/7/00: A battle took place at Bethlehem resulting in an imperial victory. It took 3 days before all resistance was mopped up. The West Australians and South Australians led the assault for the town from the front. Total imperial casualties numbered 60 while the enemy lost 120. During the battle the 1st WAMI supported the 4th WAMI and together they suffered 3 wounded and 1 captured.

14/7/00: The 4th WAMI is attached to General Broadwood’s column known as the 2nd Cavalry Brigade. (General Broadwood suffered a major tactical blunder at Sanna’s Post previously but also received a mentioned in Despatches for his leadership of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade as well as his leadership in the battle of Driefontein.)

19/7/00: The 4th WAMI takes part in the battle of Palmietfontein along with the 1st WAMI where they take part in a massive charge led by Major Moor (1st WAMI). The 4th WAMI suffers 1 killed (Pte Kay) and 2 wounded while other Westralian casualties amounted to 2 killed and 8 wounded.

22/7/00: The 4th WAMI is reassigned to General Ridley’s Column.

24/7/00 – 20/7/01

24/7/00: At least some members of the 4th WAMI are present for an engagement at Stinkhoutboom resulting in some being wounded.

The 4th WAMI soldiers
The 4th WAMI soldiers

24/7/00: The 4th WAMI is present for an engagement at Vredefort where they capture 8 Boers but are forced to retreat due to heavy enemy fire.

13/8/00: The unit is attached to General Kitchener’s Column where they begin an advance to relieve Eland’s River.

24/8/00: Engagement at Jagersfontein, Pte Illes is killed.

9/11/00: The unit finally arrives in Pretoria after 3 months of marching against evading guerrilla forces.

20/11/00: The 4th WAMI re-joins General Paget’s Column.

29/11/00: The squadron takes part in the frontal assault of Rhenoster Kop but does not suffer any casualties.

30/11/00: The 4th WAMI is attached to General Plumer’s force.

7/12/00: The contingent marches to Waterval.

16/12/00: Arrival at Waterval after some rough skirmishing on the 13th and 14th.

30/12/00: Haman’s Kraal Engagement.

3/1/01: Crocodile River Engagement.

10/1/01: Severe fighting at Hekpoort lasts an entire day.

14/1/01: Arrival back in Pretoria.

19/1/01: Engagement outside Pretoria.

24/1/01: The 4th WAMI marches to Balmoral.

30/1/01: Arrival at Balmoral after skirmishing on the 25th.

5/2/01: Arrival at Neeuwport.

9/2/01: The 4th WAMI marches to Colesberg.

12/2/01: Engagement against the enemy 12 miles from Colesberg, large number of prisoners taken.

15/2/01: Decisive skirmish at Hout Kraal after 3 continuous days of fighting. Large amount of enemy supplies captured.

24/2/01: After 2 days of fighting at Yellow River, 100 Boers surrender as well as 2 artillery pieces. The 4th WAMI begins the return to Pretoria.

22/3/01: Arrival in Pretoria, the squadron leaves for Pietersburg.

8/4/01: Pietersburg is captured after 3 days of fighting. LCpl Fraser is killed in the battle.

13/4/01: The march back to Pretoria.

6/5/01: Arrival in Pretoria.

14/5/01-26/5/01: Continuous fighting around Pretoria against enemy guerrillas especially in the areas of Bethel and Standerton.

6/6/01: The 4th WAMI leaves East London for Cape Town.

5/7/01: The 4th WAMI leaves Cape Town for Albany, Western Australia.

20/7/01: The 4th WAMI arrives back home in Western Australia.

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The Roll of the 4th WAMI