The Canadians in South Africa
"Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget, 13 September 1902
In an article on the Canadian Military forces, the Army and Navy Gazette says:—
"To record the prominent part taken by the contingent in the war would fill too ample a space here. The Canadians were moved up with Lord Methuen's forces from De Aar to Belmont, and were active in the events that followed. In the dark days that succeeded Magersfontein the Toronto Company, one hundred strong. Were employed in Col. Pilcher's brilliant attack upon the town of Douglas, and "At last!" was the cry which they had made when they were ordered to advance.
"In the pursuit of Cronje, the Canadians were embodied in Smith-Dorrien's brigade, which was probably the finest in the whole army. When the famous Boer leader was being invested, the pushed across the river and took up their position upon the north bank, where they distinguished themselves by the magnificent tenacity with which they persevered in the attack. When the final assault was made the Canadians had the post of honour, and advanced in the darkness before the rise of the moon. Silently they crept forward, and, when the first Boer rifle sounded, hurled themselves upon the ground. Hardly were they down when a furious burst of fire scattered the speeding bullets over them. How the regiment escaped destruction is extraordinary, but the Boers had had enough, and it was due to the Canadians and a handful of Sappers that the white flag fluttered on the morning of Majuba over the lines of Paardeberg.
"The Canadians were afterwards employed in Hutton's brigade in clearing the South-eastern district, and at Israel's Poort their gallant leader, Colonel Otter, was wounded. In the march on Pretoria they were with Ian Hamilton, and were concerned in many operations. Once again they greatly distinguished themselves by their desperate resistance in an exposed position at Honing Spruit. Later on, when the Boers made their attack upon Springs, near Johannesburg, the Canadians easily beat them off, and in Botha's last attempt upon the positions round Pretoria, on July 16, they held their post gallantly, but two of their brave young officers, Borden and Finch, the former the only son of the Canadian Minister of Militia, were killed.
"In another part of the field of operations, Canadian had done excellent service. For the relief of Mafeking Colonel Plumer was strengthened by four 12 pr. Guns of Canadian Artillery under Major Hudon, and these proved of great use in the relief operations. The Mounted Canadians and their artillery were actively employed during the guerrilla warfare and in operations about Belfast, and did excellent service under Col. Lessard. Strathcona's Horse, that bane body of troopers from the far North-West, whose services were presented to the nation by that patriotic nobleman whose name they bore, were a valuable reinforcement for General Buller in his final advance into the Transvaal. We can, however, give an imperfect picture of the fine service rendered by the Canadian contingent, and the patriotic attitude of the Canadian people throughout the war was one of the most pleasing features of that outburst of Imperial patriotism which it evoked."