He Had With Him The 9th Brigade
(Douglas's), Which Contained The Troops Which Had Started With Him
For The Relief Of Kimberley Six Months Before.
These were the
Northumberland Fusiliers, Loyal North Lancashires, Northamptons,
and Yorkshire Light Infantry.
With him also were the Munsters, Lord
Chesham's Yeomanry (five companies), with the 4th and 37th
batteries, two howitzers and two pom-poms. His total force was
about 6000 men. On arriving at Kroonstad he was given the task of
relieving Heilbron, where Colvile, with the Highland Brigade, some
Colonial horse, Lovat's Scouts, two naval guns, and the 5th
battery, were short of food and ammunition. The more urgent message
from the Yeomen at Lindley, however, took him on a fruitless
journey to that town on June 1st. So vigorous was the pursuit of
the Yeomanry that the leading squadrons, consisting of South Notts
Hussars and Sherwood Rangers, actually cut into the Boer convoy and
might have rescued the prisoners had they been supported. As it was
they were recalled, and had to fight their way back to Lindley with
some loss, including Colonel Rolleston, the commander, who was
badly wounded. A garrison was left under Paget, and the rest of the
force pursued its original mission to Heilbron, arriving there on
June 7th, when the Highlanders had been reduced to quarter rations.
'The Salvation Army' was the nickname by which they expressed their
gratitude to the relieving force.
A previous convoy sent to the same destination had less good
fortune. On June 1st fifty-five wagons started from the railway
line to reach Heilbron.
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