About This Unit
FOURTH (IMPERIAL BUSHMEN) CONTINGENT.
FOR pay, equipment, organization, conditions of enrolment, etc., vide Imperial Bushmen, New South Wales or Victoria; also p. 341. This was the first South Australian Contingent receiving entire Imperial pay. It consisted of two squadrons, "A" and "B," under a lieutenant-colonel, with a major second in command, who likewise acted as adjutant. There were also a medical officer and
a veterinary officer on battalion staff. The establishment comprised—2 captains, 6 lieutenants, 2 sergeant-majors, 2 quartermaster-sergeants, 13 sergeants, 1 sergeant-farrier, 13 corporals, 12 lance-corporals, 1 sergeant-cook, 1 sergeant-trumpeter, 7 trumpeters. 1 corporal-farrier, 6 farriers, 2 saddlers, and 161 privates. Total, 12 officers, 222 of other ranks.
Departure and Return.
The Contingent left on 1st May, 1900, comprising—12 officers, 222 others, with 240 horses. Thirteen died or were killed; 5 N.C.O.'s were promoted to commissions, 1 N.C.O. obtained a commission in the Imperial service; 2 officers struck off in South Africa. Number of other ranks not known.
Captain H. L. D. Wilson, to Major, 10th January, 1901.
Lieutenant F. W. Hurcombe, to Captain, 20th February, 1901.
Sergeant H. J. Russell, to. Lieutenant, 20th February, 1901; Captain, 22nd April, 1901.
Sergeant-Major H. L. Keckwiok, to Lieutenant, 20th February, 1901.
Lance-Corporal F. O. Thome, to Lieutenant, 20th February, 1901.
Sergeant H. A. Reid, to Lieutenant, 4th March, 1901.
Sergeant G. E. Catchlove, to Lieutenant, 25th May, 1901.
Quartermaster-Sergeant G. Lewis, commissioned in the West Riding Regiment (Duke of Wellington's Own), 4th January, 1901.
Quartermaster-Sergeant F. C. Siekmann was appointed a Lieutenant in 2nd Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Lance-Corporal J. H. Downer became a Lieutenant in 4th Australian Commonwealth Horse.''
Trooper G. De Reyher became a Lieutenant in 4th Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Sergeant W. F. Spencer was appointed Lieutenant in 8th Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Lance-Corporal B. T. Ward was similarly appointed.
For promotions of N.C.O.'s and men, vide nominal roll.
The Fourth Imperial Bushmen left Port Adelaide in the transport Manhattan on 1st May, 1900. Called at Fremantle to embark the Fourth Western Australians: Beira, Durban, and disembarked at Port Elizabeth on 19th June.
Lieutenant Colonel Rowell was placed in command of an Australian regiment comprising some 400 Bushmen; there being the two squadrons of South Australians, one Western Australian, and one Tasmanian. For some account of the excellent service rendered, vide Fourth Western Australian and Third Tasmanian Contingents.
Bethlehem was taken on 7th July, when 300 Bushmen, mostly South and Western Australians, joined in the attack. When De Wet broke through the cordon on 16th, the Contingent took part in his pursuit to the Reitzburg hills.
At Palmietfontein on 19th, there was an engagement; and on the 24th, at Stinkhoutboom, where the South Australians sustained losses. The Contingent followed De Wet to the Transvaal.
In November, they joined General Plumer. In February, 1901, they sustained several casualties in Cape Colony, during the pursuit of De Wet; and in March, April, and May, they distinguished themselves in operations between Pretoria and Pietersberg. When General Plumer, after the occupation of the latter town, was moving southwards, Captain F. W. Hurcombe was commended for his successful leading.
During May, the Contingent suffered casualties on various occasions in the Eastern Transvaal. The service may thus be summarized :—June, 1900—Formed escort to convoy from Kroonstadt to Lindley. Attached to General Paget in operations against De Wet from Lindley to Bethlehem; and took part in the capture of the latter town.
July and August—Attached to General Broadwood, in pursuit of De Wet, from Bethlehem through Oliphant's Nek and the Magaliesberg Range. Took part in the relief of Eland's River garrison. 29th November—Engagement at Rhenoster Kop; attached to General Plumer, and participated in General French's operations in the Eastern Transvaal.
February and March, 1901—Operations in pursuit of De Wet in Cape Colony and Orange River Colony.
April, May, and June—With General Plumer to Pietersburg; in operations in Northern Transvaal, and from thence to Bethel, Standerton, and Piet Relief.
The Contingent embarked on 5th July, 1901, at East London, in the transport Britannic, and arrived at Adelaide, 27th July. Disbanded shortly afterwards.
War Service and Honours.
Rowell, Liéut.-Colonel J.—Operations in Cape Colony, Transvaal, and Orange River Colony, between July, 1900, and July, 1901, including action at Wittebergen. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. C.B. Queen's Medal with four clasps. Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General.
Hawker, Major J. C.—Operations and Action as stated. Queen's Medal with four clasps.
Wilson, Major H. L. D.—Operations and action as stated. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. Queen's Medal with four clasps. Remained for further service with 5th and 6th Imperial Bushmen.
Norton, Captain A. E. M.—Operations in Cape Colony and Orange River Colony, and action as stated. Despatches, London Gazette, 10th September, 1901. D.S.O. Queen's Medal with two clasps.
Hurcombe, Captain F. W.—Operations in Transvaal and Orange River 0olony, including Wittebergen. Subsequently promoted Major (served with 5th and 6th Imperial Bushmen). Queen's Medal with three clasps. King's Medal with two clasps.
Cook, Lieutenant A. E.—Operations and actions as first stated. Queen's Medal with four clasps. Became Captain in 8th Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Leane, Lieutenant E. T.—Operations in Transvaal and Orange River Colony, including Wittebergen. Despatches, London Gazelle, 10th September, 1901. Queen's Medal with three clasps.
Ferguson, Lieutenant R. H.—Operations in Orange River Colony and Transvaal, anü action as stated. Queen's Medal with three clasps.
Roberts, Lieutenant E. A.—Operations and action as first stated. Queen's Medal with four clasps.
White, Lieutenant S. A.—Operations in Transvaal and Orange River Colony.Staff Officer to Commandant of an Area, 1901-2. Queen's Medal with three clasps. King's Medal with two clasps.
Dunn, Captain (Medical Staff) S. S., and Bickford, Veterinary-Lieutenant W. J.—Operations as stated. Queen's Medal with clasps.
Russell, Captain H. J., Keckwick, Lieutenant H. L., and Thome, Lieutenant F. O.—Operations and action as stated. Queen's Medal with four clasps.
Reid, Lieutenant H. A.—Operations and action as stated. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. D.S.O. Queen's Medal with three clasps. He subsequently became Captain and Adjutant, 8th Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Catchlove, Lieutenant G. E.—Operations in Transvaal and Orange River Colony,and Wittebergen. Queen's Medal with four clasps (vide also nominal roll, Corporal Catchlove.)
Extract from - Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, compiled and edited in 1911 by Lieutenant-Colonel P.L. Murray, R.A.A. (Ret.).pp, 356-358