Description

Title: The Australians at the Boer War

Author: Wallace, Robert

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1976

ISBN: 0642993912

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 420 pages

Comments: The history of the Australian involvement in the Boer War between 1899 and 1902. Now a scarce title.

The first Australian troops arrived in South Africa in December 1899, too late to become involved in the serious British defeats of “black week” (10–17 December), when 2,300 men were killed or wounded by the Boers in three separate engagements. Five hundred members of the Queensland Mounted Infantry and the NSW Lancers took part in the relief of Kimberley in February 1900, and men of the NSW Mounted Rifles played a minor part in the last major battle of the war, at Paardeberg, in the same month. After a series of defeats in 1900 the Boer armies became fragmented, forming groups of highly mobile commandos which harassed British troop movements and lines of supply. Faced with this type of warfare, the British commanders became increasingly reliant on mounted troops from Britain and the colonies.

It is generally thought that about 16,000 Australians fought in the Boer War. This figure includes those who enlisted in an Australian unit, as well as the many raised locally, but it does not allow for double-counting of those who served in two contingents. A small number of Australians are known to have fought on the Boer side. The nature of the conditions under which the war was fought can be deduced from the fact that in the Australian contingents, 282 died in action or from wounds sustained in battle, while 286 died from disease and another 38 died of accident or other unknown causes. Six Australians received the Victoria Cross in South Africa, and many others received other decorations.