History of the Foot Guards

The Boer War 1899-1902

Image: My Brave Irish By R. Caton Woodville. Depicting the storming of the Boer positions at the battle of Val Krantz

The Boers wanted independence and attacked the small British garrisons at Kimberley, Mafeking and Ladysmith. With other units the 1st Guards Brigade was mobilised and sent to South Africa. Kimberley was relieved on 15th February 1900, Ladysmith followed on the 28th February this accumulated in the capture of the Boer city of Pretoria. More troops were needed in South Africa and two more Guards battalions were sent as part of the 16th Brigade, making seven Guards battalions in the war.

It was very difficult to engage the Boers due to the distances involved. New tactics were formed with blockhouses across the country. One company from all infantry regiments were order to form Mounted Infantry, they were trained at Aldershot and then sent out to South Africa in November 1901. The Irish Guards were formed in 1900 and joined the campaign. The campaign went on until the 30th May 1902 when the Boers finally surrendered and the Guards both mounted and foot returned home.