Bloody Sunday (1900)

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Bloody Sunday
Part of Second Boer War
Date18 February 1900
LocationPaardeberg Drift, Orange Free State
28°58′57″S25°5′35″E / 28.98250°S 25.09306°E / -28.98250; 25.09306 Coordinates: 28°58′57″S25°5′35″E / 28.98250°S 25.09306°E / -28.98250; 25.09306
Result First assault; Boer victory
Second assault; Imperial victory
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Canadian Red Ensign (1868-1921).svg  Canada
Flag of Transvaal.svg  South African Republic
Flag of the Orange Free State.svg  Orange Free State
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Herbert Kitchener Flag of Transvaal.svg Piet Cronjé
6,000 5,000
Casualties and losses
1,100 total, including;
280 dead
100 dead

Bloody Sunday of February 18, 1900, was a day of high Imperial casualties in the Second Boer War. [1]

Second Boer War war between South African Republic and the United Kingdom

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 them to terms.



It occurred on the first day of the Battle of Paardeberg. A combined British-Canadian force of 6,000 finally trapped a group of approximately 5,000 Boer soldiers and some civilians, under Piet Cronjé, in a bend of the Modder River near Kimberley, having advanced from south of the Modder River on the 11th. The Boers defended a series of trenches on Paardeberg Hill.

Battle of Paardeberg

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.

Piet Cronjé South African general

Pieter Arnoldus "Piet" Cronjé was a general of the South African Republic's military forces during the Anglo-Boer wars of 1880-1881 and 1899-1902.

Modder River river in South Africa

The Modder River is a river in South Africa. It is a tributary of the Riet River that forms part of the border between the Northern Cape and the Free State provinces. The river's banks were the scenes of heavy fighting in the beginning of the Second Boer War at the Battle of Modder River.

The Imperial commander, Kitchener (temporarily replacing the unwell Roberts), began the battle by ordering a charge straight at the Boer trenches. The land sloped down to the Boer position and lacked any cover for 800 metres (870 yd) or more. The Highland Brigade and the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry, led the attack.

Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener senior British Army officer and colonial administrator

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener,, was a senior British Army officer and colonial administrator who won notoriety for his imperial campaigns, most especially his scorched earth policy against the Boers and his establishment of concentration camps during the Second Boer War, and later played a central role in the early part of the First World War.

Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts British soldier

Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, was one of the most successful British military commanders of his time. He served in the Indian Rebellion, the Expedition to Abyssinia and the Second Anglo-Afghan War before leading British Forces to success in the Second Boer War. He also became the last Commander-in-Chief of the Forces before the post was abolished in 1904. He was known and referred to as "Bobs". His son was called "Young Bobs".

The Royal Canadian Regiment

The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Army. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the primary reserve. The RCR is ranked 9th in the order of precedence amongst Canadian Army regiments, but is the most senior infantry regiment that has regular force battalions.

The Boer soldiers withheld fire until the British soldiers were within 100 metres (110 yd). The British were pinned and the exchange of fire continued until nightfall when the British withdrew. The Highlanders took almost 300 casualties; the Canadian losses were 18 dead and 60 wounded. Attacks elsewhere along the line resulted in a total 1,100 casualties, with two hundred killed -- the worst single day loss for the Imperial forces.

After the first assault Roberts retook command that evening. With the Boers trapped he ordered the digging of trenches and a bombardment, which continued for nine days. On 27 February, after a confused night attack, the surviving Boer soldiers surrendered - around 4,000 in total.

A further 2,000 Imperial soldiers died or were invalided at Paardeberg from illness, mostly due to drinking the water of the Modder River, downstream from where the Boer were throwing horse and cattle corpses killed by the artillery fire.

See also

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  1. "Battle of Paardeberg, 18-27 February 1900". Retrieved 20 January 2015.