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The Battle of Leliefontein (also known as the Battle of Witkloof) was an engagement between British/Canadian and Boer forces during the Second Boer War on 7 November 1900, at the Komati River 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Belfast at the present day Nooitgedacht Dam.
It was during the fiercely contested British withdrawal from the banks of the Komati River that the Canadians of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and "D" Battery Canadian Field Artillery, led by Lieutenant-Colonel François-Louis Lessard were tasked with covering the withdrawal of the larger British force under the command of Major-General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien. The Royal Canadian Dragoons would save two Canadian guns during the battle and halt the initial Boer advance, successfully covering the withdrawal. Three dragoons, Sergeant Edward James Gibson Holland, Lieutenant Richard Ernest William Turner and Lieutenant Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn, would be awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions.
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms.
The Royal Scots Greys was a cavalry regiment of the British Army from 1707 until 1971, when they amalgamated with the 3rd Carabiniers to form The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Lieutenant General Sir Richard Ernest William Turner, was a senior Canadian Army officer who served during the Second Boer War and the First World War, and was a recipient of the Victoria Cross. While Turner always displayed great personal courage while under fire, he lacked the acumen for brigade- and division-sized tactics, and the men under his command during the First World War suffered grievous losses in several battles before he was moved into administrative roles.
Major Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn was a Canadian soldier, and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Major Edward James Gibson Holland was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, for actions taken during the Second Boer War in South Africa.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) is the senior armoured regiment of the Canadian Army. It is one of three armoured regiments in the Regular Force and forms part of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps.
The 3rd Carabiniers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army. It was formed in 1922 as part of a reduction in the army's cavalry by the amalgamation of the 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Carabiniers, to form the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards. It was renamed the 3rd Carabiniers in 1928 and amalgamated with the Royal Scots Greys, forming the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1971.
The Komati River is a river in South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique. It is 480 kilometres (298 mi) long, with a drainage basin 50,000 square kilometres (19,300 sq mi) in size. Its mean annual discharge is 111 m3/s at its mouth. The name Komati is derived from inkomati, meaning "cow" in siSwati, as its perennial nature is compared to a cow that always has milk.
The 9th Queen's Royal Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, first raised in 1715. It saw service for three centuries, including the First and Second World Wars. The regiment survived the immediate post-war reduction in forces, but was amalgamated with the 12th Royal Lancers to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers in 1960.
The battle of Colenso was the third and final battle fought during the Black Week of the Second Boer War. It was fought between British and Boer forces from the independent South African Republic and Orange Free State in and around Colenso, Natal, South Africa on 15 December 1899.
The Battle of Paardeberg or Perdeberg was a major battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War. It was fought near Paardeberg Drift on the banks of the Modder River in the Orange Free State near Kimberley.
The Battle of Magersfontein was fought on 11 December 1899, at Magersfontein near Kimberley, South Africa, on the borders of the Cape Colony and the independent republic of the Orange Free State. British forces under Lieutenant General Lord Methuen were advancing north along the railway line from the Cape in order to relieve the Siege of Kimberley, but their path was blocked at Magersfontein by a Boer force that was entrenched in the surrounding hills. The British had already fought a series of battles with the Boers, most recently at Modder River, where the advance was temporarily halted.
The Royal Dragoons was a mounted infantry and later a heavy cavalry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was formed in 1661 as the Tangier Horse. It served for three centuries and was in action during the First and the Second World Wars. It was amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards to form The Blues and Royals in 1969.
The 18th Royal Hussars was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, first formed in 1759. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War before being amalgamated with the 13th Hussars to form the 13th/18th Royal Hussars in 1922.
The 3rd Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685 as the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse. It was renamed as the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1751 and the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1765. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated into the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards in 1922.
The 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1689 as Sir Albert Cunningham's Regiment of Dragoons. One of the regiment's most notable battles was the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. It became the 6th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Dragoons in 1751. The regiment also fought with distinction in the Charge of the Union Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo and again as part of the successful Charge of the Heavy Brigade against superior numbers at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. The First World War sounded the death knell for mounted cavalry as it became apparent that technology had moved forward with greater destructive power and made horsed cavalry redundant on the modern battlefield. The British Army reorganised and reduced its cavalry corps by disbanding or amalgamating many of its famous cavalry regiments. The Inniskillings was one of those affected. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with 5th Dragoon Guards to form 5th/6th Dragoons in 1922.
The 15th The King's Hussars was a cavalry regiment in the British Army. First raised in 1759, it saw service over two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated with the 19th Royal Hussars into the 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars in 1922.
Lieutenant Harold Lothrop Borden was from Canning, Nova Scotia and the only son of Canada's Minister of Defence and Militia, Frederick William Borden and related to future Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden. Serving in the Royal Canadian Dragoons, he became the most famous Canadian casualty of the Second Boer War. Queen Victoria asked F. W. Borden for a photograph of his son, Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier praised his services, tributes arrived from across Canada, and in his home town a monument was erected to his memory.
The South African Light Horse regiment of the British Army were raised in Cape Colony in 1899 and disbanded in 1907.
The Battle of Witpoort was a battle during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Major Frederick Henry Munn commanded the detachment of the Royal Irish Fusiliers at Witpoort which was attacked on 16 July 1900, his orders being to "hold his position at all costs". The Boers called on Major Munn to surrender, but, scornfully refusing, he held out from daybreak till 2 pm, when the Canadian forces mounted a counterattack and the Boers retired. The battle became famous because of the death of Harold Lothrop Borden.
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