The Fifth Dragoon
Guards during the South African War
cook's son, son of a hundred kings,
THE 5th Dragoon Guards at the beginning of September, when they were ordered to make ready to join the contingent which was being organized in India for service in South Africa, were commanded by an officer of-outstanding personality and ability, Lieutenant-Colonel R. S. Baden-Powell.* "B.-P.," as he was always called, held strong and slightly unorthodox ideas on the need for flexibility in cavalry tactics, the power of modern fire-arms as an adjunct to shock-action, and the advantages to be gained from training not only the junior leader but also the individual soldier to be self-reliant and capable of independent
action in accordance with a general principle. Under him noncommissioned officers and men were instructed in "personal tactics" then regarded as a specialized subject—scouting, and taught to use their brains in taking advantage of natural cover as well as in riding knee-to-knee, and encouraged to show initiative. This doctrine "went down" very well, and fully proved its value when the regiment came to take part in the grand maneuvers in the Delhi area with which the training season 1898-1899 ended.** Thus it came about that in the following September, although B.-P. himself was given special extra-regimental employment, his successor, the temporary Second-in-Command, Major Edwards,*** took over a regiment which was particularly well trained for the type of warfare which they soon afterwards met in South Africa. There was a great regimental spirit, too: eighty-six non-commissioned. officers and men who were due to be sent home "time expired" voluntarily extended their service as soon as it was known that the 5th Dragoon Guards were for active service.
In great heart, the regiment left Sialkot on 20th September and moved down-country to Deolali, where "B" and "C" Squadrons were temporarily detained in quarantine by reason of suspected anthrax. "D" Squadron embarked at Bombay on the 26th.
The Inniskillings in the spring of 1899 were on The Curragh after nearly two years spent at Dundalk. In the last week in October, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Page-Henderson, they embarked at Queenstown for South Africa, three squadrons strong.
In rough outline the situation at the outbreak of the Second Boer War in South Africa was that there were very few British troops in that country—only two cavalry regiments, about a brigade of infantry with ancillary arms and services, and some Irregular auxiliary units, all in Natal, totalling about seven thousand fighting men, under the command of General Penn-Symonds. This handful of troops could not be reinforced by an expedition from England until mid-November at the earliest, but it was hoped to get the Indian Contingent—approximately equal in strength to Penn-Symonds' force—to Africa by mid-October.
For the first two months of war, therefore, the Boers, who were thought to have a potential strength of from forty to fifty thousand, were in theory able to concentrate in superior force to the British: in fact, the lack of any effective system of organization and administration in the enemy's forces prevented them from undertaking, any large-scale strategic enterprise. Nevertheless, by the time the Indian Contingent had arrived and a small British Expedition under command of General Sir George White had reached Ladysmith to join hands with Penn-Symonds at Dundee, the Boers had been able to stage an invasion of Natal. Some forty thousand strong, the commandos crossed the border in two main columns the Transvaalers via Laing's Nek, the Orange Free Staters via Van Reenan's Pass. By mid-October the Boers had seized Talana Hill and were commanding Dundee. Attacking Talana on 10th October, Penn-Symonds had some initial success—at heavy cost in the face of heavy rifle fire of surprising range and accuracy—but in the end the attack failed; Penn-Symonds was killed and his troops fell back towards Ladysmith, where Sir George White placed himself so as to block the main line of the enemy's supply, though by so doing he ran the risk of being pinned down by greatly superior numbers.
Next day a small force of all arms organized under the command of General French,* advancing to join hands with the troops falling back on Ladysmith, had a brisk engagement at Elandslaagte, in the course of which "D" Squadron, 5th Dragoon Guards,** and one squadron of the 5th Lancers, both squadrons under command of Lieutenant-Colonel St. John Gore, 5th Dragoon Guards, got an opportunity to make a charge. Because of the rough, broken ground and because the Boers were in a very scattered formation, the charge went in not knee-to-knee but in extended files: nevertheless, it was completely successful and went through the enemy to a depth of some two miles. The squadrons then rallied, wheeled, and charged back through the scattered remnants, killing large numbers of Boers with lance, sword and revolver.*** The enemy could not face cold steel—that was not their style of fighting—and fled in all directions; only the onset of darkness saved their forces from complete destruction. As the result of this very successful engagement (which at the time was quoted as a model of tactical co-operation between all arms) the British forces were enabled concentrate at Ladysmith, where, on 26th October, all three squadrons of the 5th Dragoon Guards were once more united.
After a long, trying spell of reconnaissance and outpost duty the regiment took part in an action which aimed at destroying the left flank of the Boer position overlooking Ladysmith. The attack was a failure and the chief role of the cavalry was to cover the infantry retirement. During the course of the action an officer of the regiment, Lieutenant Norwood, earned the award of the Victoria Cross for rescuing a wounded man under fire.****
A few days later there was a similar incident when Lieutenant the Honourable R. L. Pomeroy remained behind with a dismounted trooper and under heavy fire took him up on his horse and brought him back. General Brocklehurst, who was in command of the cavalry after the withdrawal of General French to Cape Colony to direct the cavalry of the main army, saw the incident and wished to recommend it for recognition; however, the matter went no farther—"quite rightly," as Pomeroy himself wrote in the regimental history, "for any other officer in the regiment would have acted just as I did."
The British attempts to control the situation in the Ladysmith area failed. On 12th October twelve hundred British infantry were surrounded and compelled to surrender at Nicholson's Nek. White withdrew his remaining forces to the town and by the beginning of November he was completely hemmed in, unable to move back to join hands with the main body which was arriving at Cape Town, and left with no option but to endure siege as best he might.
The cavalry camp within the perimeter at Ladysmith was in full view of the Boer gunners, so each morning the regiments saddled up and exercised in the dark and afterwards, about first light, moved stealthily out to positions of concealment. The 5th Dragoon Guards found themselves some dead ground which they named Green Horse Valley, and here breakfasts used to be eaten and the normal routine of stables, orderly room and so on carried out under cover until dark, when the march back to camp was made. Shelters and splinter-proofs were improvised and field kitchens built, and in time the accommodation became fairly comfortable: but the supply situation was far from good. By Christmas, food and drink were running short, and tobacco had been replaced by dried twigs and juniper leaves.
Meanwhile a series of disastrous attempts at relief were made by Sir Redvers Buller's army at Stormberg, Magersfontein, and Colenso, all of which failed with what were then thought to be heavy casualties, and Ladysmith, Mafeking, and Kimberley remained beleaguered.
By now the situation in Ladysmith was becoming extremely serious, and in January the rations were still further cut,* and all save seventy-five of the regiment's horses were turned out to grass to save forage. As a compensation for their loss of mobility the squadrons were given rifles and bayonets and allotted a permanent sector of the defences.
On the arrival of Lord Roberts to take over the chief command, the whole campaign was reorganized, and on 28th February, 1900, Buller, with strong reinforcements, was at last successful in effecting the relief of Ladysmith. An attempt to pursue the retreating Boers was made next day by the one squadron which was all that the regiment could mount, but the horses were so weak from under-feeding that they could not sustain the effort: the leading troop did succeed in getting sufficiently close to their enemy for the troop leader, Lieutenant Dunbar, to have his horse shot under him before the attempt had to be abandoned.
Thus ended the siege of Ladysmith, which cost the 5th Dragoon Guards two officers and thirty-six men killed or died of sickness (enteric fever and dysentery were rife during the siege); four officers wounded and eight invalided home.
While all this was going on the Inniskillings had landed at Cape Town in November and had moved up by rail to Arundel to join, together with the Greys and the Carbineers, 1st Cavalry Brigade in General French's Cavalry Division, which had as its primary role the prevention of a Boer invasion of Cape Colony and which alone escaped the failures and frustrations of "Black Week" in December and retained its initiative.
While Buller in Natal was wrestling with the problem of relieving Ladysmith, the main army had prepared to advance northwards to relieve Kimberley and capture Bloemfontein. On New Year's Day, 1900, the Inniskillings got their first taste of fighting at Colesberg. Most of it fell to "C" Squadron, and their leader, Captain Herbert (Afterwards Lieutenant-Colonel), had a thrilling experience. At the head of a patrol of thirteen men Herbert suddenly found himself cut off from his squadron by some two hundred Boers: without hesitating he led the patrol against them at the charge and at once had his horse shot under him. The squadron-trumpeter, Price, pulled up in the very heart of the melee took his captain up behind him and got out of trouble. The sergeant, MacNaughton, was brought down, but got free of his horse, jumped to his feet and drove his lance straight through the Boer who had done the damage, then seized the man's rifle, shot another Boer and eventually got back to his squadron with his clothes riddled with bullet-holes. Out of a party of fourteen, five were killed and five wounded. The action seems to have made a great impression upon the enemy and to have helped considerably in establishing the prestige of the cavalry and in making the Boers chary of coming to close quarters with them. In his despatch of 2nd February General French wrote: "The 6th Dragoons showed no less dash, pursuing the enemy mounted and inflicting some loss with their lances . . ." and the regiment, like the 5th Dragoon Guards at Elandslaagte, lost no time in asserting the supremacy of cold steel when there was an opening for it.
In the operations for the relief of Kimberley, which was effected on 13th February, the main body of the Inniskillings joined a force of all arms which remained about Colesberg while the bulk of the Cavalry Division, including the third squadron of the regiment, went on to seize—after a march of thirty-five miles (made between 0300 hrs. and 1000 hrs. on 17th February)—the Vendertie Drift, a crossing of the Modder River, and to cut off the main body of the retreating Boer army.
Ten days later General Kitchener, already a soldier with a reputation, compelled the surrender at Paardeberg of Cronje's army of Boers and opened the way for the advance to Bloemfontein. The left column of this advance, which included the 1st Cavalry Brigade with one squadron of the Inniskillings, made rapid progress, and on the night 12th/13th March pushed forward a small force of the Inniskilling Squadron, the New South Wales Lancers (Permanently attached to the Inniskillings as an extra squadron), The Greys, and Rimington's Guides (Rimington was a major in the Inniskillings), to rush the Boer position at Brandkop and cut the railway north of Bloemfontein, which next day fell into British hands.
After the capture of the capital of the Orange Free State a prolonged halt for reorganization was necessary. During this time the force moved forward from Colesberg and in the first week of April the Inniskillings came together again as a regiment and took their share in providing the reconnaissances, outposts, escorts, and despatch riders which were so frequently demanded of the cavalry. Forage was still very scarce, consequently the loss among the hard-worked horses was heavy; nor could these losses be made up at once. It was not until the very day that the advance from Bloemfontein upon Pretoria began that the 1st Cavalry Brigade got their remounts. By 10th May, when the main army made its attack on the Boer position at Zand River, the 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades had managed to get up to the front, but only at a sad cost in horses half-fit, hurriedly shod and fitted with saddlery. However, they were able to move out to cover the flanks of the attack, and that evening the Inniskillings, who had covered about forty miles already that day and had had some sharp fighting, were ordered to press on another forty miles that night and to cut the railway to the north of Kronstadt before dawn. By that time the condition of the horses was such that it was impossible to comply with the order and the Brigade stayed where they were. Next morning at dawn fresh orders came to pursue the enemy; but "pursuit" could only take the form of leading the drooping, footsore and saddle-galled animals to Kronstadt, which surrendered next day.
In all, French's cavalry marched a hundred and seventy miles, fighting most of the way, in seven days-but it cost them nearly half their horses. The Inniskillings lost two hundred remounts, but they were still able to distinguish themselves conspicuously in the fighting which preceded the fall of Johannesburg on 31st May and in the rapid advance of the Cavalry Division through the Kalkheuval Pass upon Pretoria.
The 5th Dragoon Guards, since the relief of Ladysmith, had played an unspectacular but useful role. Combining with The Royals and the 13th Hussars to form the 3rd Cavalry Brigade, they had been continuously employed on the vitally important task of' ensuring the security of the line of communications between the base and the field army—a task which meant dispersion into small detachments and endless toil and sweat without any of the thrills of war, and which was a severe test of discipline and keenness. In a letter written at the time to the Colonel of the Regiment, General the Honourable S. J. G. Calthorpe, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Gore, was able to say: "The thing I am most proud of is that officers and men continue doing their duty with just the same freshness as if they had only started on it a week or two ago. Absolutely no diminution of keenness whenever there is work to be done. This, I humbly think, is the criterion of a good regiment. . . ." With the fall of Pretoria it began to look as though the regiment would not be called upon to go on much longer with their wearisome role.
When, in early June, Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, capitulated it looked as if the war would soon be over, but the fall of this capital, like the fall of Bloemfontein, did not dismay the stubborn Boers; they had plenty of fight left in them yet, and the war was far from over. Three weeks after they entered Pretoria the 1st Cavalry Brigade were off again—having fitted themselves out with more remounts—and, leaving their camp at Kameeldrift on 23rd July, moved eastwards on Middelburg by forced marches to come up with an enemy who proved himself singularly elusive. Forage and water were scarce, the marches were exacting; day after day the troops were in the saddle before dawn and on the move till dark. In the circumstances it is not to be wondered at that once again the horses fared badly and losses were heavy. Fortunately, there was a fortnight's respite at Middelburg from continuous marching, though there was constant reconnoitering and skirmishing, before the advance was resumed. By now the country was becoming extremely ill-suited for the maneuver of cavalry formations and the cavalryman was driven to fighting dismounted by fire-power rather than mounted with his sword and lance, and he was finding that his carbine was no match in either accuracy or range with the Mauser rifle of his extremely skilful enemy. Still, those handicaps were overcome: at Komati Poort, where they met dreadful ground and the stiffest of opposition, at Bergendaal (the last pitched battle of the war), at Elandsfontein and at Watervaal Onder the Inniskillings acquitted themselves remarkably well in a role which was practically that of mounted infantry.
With the Boers driven out of the field eastwards of Pretoria, Lord Roberts made a big drive north-eastwards, Buller's army on his right and French's Cavalry on his left, to pin the remaining Boer forces against the frontier of Portuguese East Africa. By mid-September the cavalry had seized Barberton after a stiff fight at Red Hill on 13th September in which the Inniskillings distinguished themselves,* Buller had reached Lydenberg, and Pole-Carew was at Komati Poort. The operations had cost the Boers three thousand men, casualties, prisoners, or forced into neutral territory, and their last base of supplies. The war seemed practically over.
Nevertheless, when on 12th October the Cavalry Division, organized in three columns, began their return to Pretoria with orders "to clear the country of enemy" they had almost continuous fighting for a fortnight. On the 16th the Inniskillings were nearly surrounded by a force of Boers near Carolina and lost Lieutenant Swanston and seven men killed and three officers and twenty-four men wounded. In the fighting, which was hot, Corporal Barker and a small detachment saved the situation by the resolute way in which they held off a flank attack by a greatly superior force. Twice Barker went back under heavy fire to his led horses to collect ammunition, and his coolness and determination inspired his men to fight it out until at last the situation was saved.**
The march-known as the Eremelo March—went on for ten days, with fighting all the way, until Heidelburg was reached. Then, after a short halt at Pretoria, in early November the 1st Cavalry Brigade moved southwards in a sweep which lasted until mid-December, when they were hurried off to Krugersdorp to take part in the operations about Megalieberg where the British column was temporarily held up.
By this time what was left of the Boer forces was broken up into small independent commandos, and Lord Roberts, having declared the formal annexation of the Transvaal, handed over the supreme command to Lord Kitchener for the final "mopping up." As it turned out, the mopping-up process was lengthy and exacting.
The commandos were highly mobile and, living on the country, were independent of bases or lines of communication. To bring them to book it was necessary to reorganize the British forces so as to obtain greater flexibility of maneuver than was possible for the orthodox brigade to achieve; consequently, a number of small "mobile columns" of all arms were formed and these took up the struggle with the utmost energy against the elusive enemy—who never lost an opportunity to strike back at them. The Inniskillings (now commanded by Rimington) were included in Pulteney's Column, one of a group of eight columns commanded by General French which started off from Johannesburg in a south-westerly direction to drive the country up to the Natal-Swaziland border. The operations were not very successful—the movement of the columns was too slow and the gaps between them too wide to make a clean sweep of the enemy and his local supplies—but at Klipfontein on 12th February, 1901 the regiment got into a large party of Boers with their swords and completely demoralized them.
While the Inniskillings were opening the New Year in this fashion one of their freshly landed drafts was gathering laurels for itself. This draft, containing a newly joined young officer, Second Lieutenant L. E. G. Oates, was on its way up to join the regiment and became involved in the operations for the capture of the town of Aberdeen in Cape Colony. On 6th February, the day after the taking of the town, Oates at the head of a. reconnaissance patrol of fifteen men was engaged by a considerably larger force of Boers who were occupying a hill about seven miles from the town. To enable the wounded and dismounted men of his advanced point to get back to him, Oates together with three others took up a position in a dry river-bed about eight hundred yards from the hill and opened fire, at the same time ordering the remainder of the men who were with him to go back to the town to report. Meanwhile his two other patrols had run into trouble, one having been chased back to the outskirts of Aberdeen and the other captured by a party of the enemy, who crept down the river-bed towards Oates while his original assailants closed to within short range of him. Oates thus was caught between two fires. Twice an invitation to surrender was sent to him; twice Oates replied that he was there "to fight, not to surrender," and continued the battle. Meanwhile the news of his isolation aroused the Inniskilliners in Aberdeen, but, on the ground that the men could not be spared from the defences, they were forbidden to go to the rescue. However, in defiance of orders, Lance-Corporal Malone, the son of an old riding-master in the regiment who in his day had won the V.C., and Oates's servant McConnell went out to do what they could. Owing to the heavy and accurate fire of the Boers they could get no closer to Oates, who by this time had had a leg broken by a bullet, than three hundred yards, but their action seems to have induced their enemy to think that reinforcements were on the way and to retire. Even after five hours' resistance Oates's ordeal was not over, for he had another long wait before the arrival of the ambuIance-wagon to collect him and his wounded men. For this action Oates was mentioned in despatches—not an over-generous recognition of extremely gallant conduct on the part of a very young officer.
The drive of French's columns into the south-eastern Transvaal was highly successful in its moral effect if not in its material captures, and by early April Pulteney's Column was freed for service under General Sir Bindon Blood about Roos, Senekal and Middelburg. After a successful series of operations, in mid-July the Inniskillings went northwards to Heilbron, in the Orange Free State, to join Colonel Rimington, who by now had a column* of his own which he was commanding with dynamic energy.
By now the 5th Dragoon Guards were released from their long and trying spell of duty on the lines of communication. Since May they had been operating together with the 13th Hussars to hunt down the scattered detachments of the enemy. Although nominally in a cavalry brigade at Standerton, the two regiments were working separately with various mobile columns. Usually these columns started off from a supply depot rationed for a fortnight and proceeded to comb out a selected area. Native trackers and spies were employed to help patrols to locate their quarry, and main bodies were moved at night to a position from which a surprise attack could be made at dawn—the hour at which the commando was most likely to be in, or just breaking, laager. A running fight usually resulted before the commando was broken up and dispersed and forced to leave its transport, cattle, and sheep scattered over the veld. This impedimenta then had to be collected by the column and brought in to the supply depot—after deficiencies and supplies and transport of the victors had been made good. Life on trek was by no means unpleasant. The climate was invigorating—hot sunny days and cold frosty nights—and the men were fit and hard; food was sufficient, and could often be supplemented by tins and bottles from the Field Force Canteens attached to supply depots or by eggs, fruit and milk from the farms. On the whole, the soldiers of those days, with their close-fitting khaki tunics with high collars (some regiments wore an open collar and a khaki hunting-stock), their narrow breeches and their Stohwasser leggings (which fastened with a spiral strap), found campaigning not unpleasant.
Between May and November the 5th Dragoon Guards operated in many areas—in the Magaliesberg; Ventersdorp; Klerksdorp; Potchefstroom; in Natal on the Zululand frontier about Volksnist, then back to Standerton to make a forced march of sixty miles in a vain attempt to help a column which had got into trouble at Trigardsfontein. At the beginning of December they were back in Pretoria, refitting for an expedition to the southern Transvaal. It was an active life.
The Inniskillings, too, were very active—almost hectic. Rimington was inexhaustible, physically or mentally, and his immense energy and drive, his unorthodox methods and his "schlimness" —as the army in South Africa referred to cunning—were intensely stimulating. For instance, Lieutenant Terrot was left behind in ambush to surprise Boers coming to search the abandoned camping ground; he got his opportunity and, chasing one of the enemy, galloped him down after a mile or so and shot him. Again, Lieutenant Johnson of the regiment, acting as Provost Marshal to the Column, led his military policemen at the charge against seventeen of the Boers, killed two and captured the remainder. Captain G. K. Ansell (also of the regiment and Rimington's staff officer), armed only with a bayonet, galloped his pony in chase of a Boer who fired twice, at a range close enough to scorch Ansell's coat, before the angry pursuer dragged him from his horse and throttled him into surrender. Private O'Hara single-handed captured two fully armed enemy. Life in Rimington's Column was never dull; by the end of October they had marched more than fifteen hundred miles from bivouac to bivouac, and still everyone was "on his toes." At the beginning Of 1902 the end came in sight. There was an increasing conviction among the Boers that to continue the struggle was not only hopeless but must end in the destruction of their nation, and the final series of drives in February and March put the issue beyond doubt—so much so that the Government of India pressed for the return of the Indian Contingent, and the 5th Dragoon Guards, who had been operating since January in the Eastern Transvaal, were brought back to Lucknow. Two months later, on 1st June, the Inniskillings, then at Heilbron in the Orange Free State, received a message by heliograph,* "Peace signed last night." On 3rd June a party of one officer and ten other ranks was dispatched to represent the regiment at the Coronation of His Majesty King Edward the Seventh,** and soon afterwards Rimington's Column broke up. In a farewell message Colonel Rimington said: "I wish especially to thank my own regiment for their excellent work all round and for the good example they have consistently set . . . not only in regard to their dashing conduct in the field but also as to their discipline and horse management."
Today, after two "world wars," the South African War may seem to us a small affair—but it was the biggest war in which we had fought since the struggle with Napoleon. We put into the field four hundred and fifty thousand men: it was significant of things to come that of this total more than one hundred thousand were "auxiliary forces"—i.e., not regular soldiers—and these "auxiliaries" included volunteers from all over the British Empire. In South Africa we saw the beginning of not merely "national" war but the Empire at war.
So far as the evolution of the cavalry arm is concerned we perceived, perhaps a little dimly and unwillingly, that the firepower of modern rifles and machine guns in combination with their long range and their smokeless discharge had increased the offensive value of the regiment in some respects almost as much as they had decreased it in others. For the first time in their two histories the 5th Dragoon Guards and the Inniskillings had fought through a major war without having the opportunity for delivering a knee-to-knee charge against their enemy. This was due in the first place, of course, to the fact that the Boers had no cavalry organized, equipped and trained to fight with sword and lance in close formation; it was also due to the fact that the enemy combined the mobility of the horse with the tactical nature of the country and the extremely accurate application of long-range fire-power so as to make the approach of close formations across open ground prohibitively expensive in casualties. It was eagerly asserted by some that cavalry as an arm was as dead as the dodo—killed by modern fire-power—and had been entirely replaced by infantry made mobile by being mounted on horses; it was equally hotly argued by others that the future still held opportunities for shock-action in something approaching the grand manner—the cavalry versus cavalry encounter, the eager snatching of a joyful moment, the exploitation of shaken infantry—and that without the sword, the weapon with which a man could fight while on the move, the reconnaissance patrol would carry out its role but timidly.
These were matters for the Army Chiefs at the War Office to ponder upon while the two regiments, untroubled by thoughts of the next war, settled down to the pleasures of peace.
By the end of October, 1902, the Inniskillings were back home at The Curragh. On arrival there they were warmly welcomed by their Colonel-in-Chief, the Duke of Connaught, who was Commander-in-Chief in Ireland and who a fortnight after their return, on 13th November, presented the Queen's South African Medal to those upon whom it had been bestowed. It seems not to have taken long for the Inniskilliners to settle down to peacetime pursuits, for in March, that is within five months of their landing in Ireland, they won the Cavalry Cup football competition.
The regiment were in the 3rd Cavalry Brigade and their Brigadier was none other than their old commanding officer, Rimington, who lost little time in reinforcing himself with his former staff officer, G. K. Ansell, as brigade major. Under the "old regime" the Inniskillings entered upon an extremely active phase of brigade training; they found their share in higher training strenuous, too, for the new Inspector-General of Cavalry, who personally directed the cavalry maneuvers, was Major-General R. S. Baden-Powell, himself brimming over with energy and originality—so much so that during the training season Of 1905 he carried out an extremely intensive programme of regimental inspections "to which he went by motor-car " (a startling innovation to the military mind), and also initiated a series of exercises in embarking and landing troops as well as a fortnight's continuous exercise under conditions of rigorous active service. All these activities were intermingled with the performance of State Duties—a Royal Review at Phoenix Park attended by Their Majesties King Edward the Seventh and Queen Alexandra; Royal Escorts for Their Majesties when they went to lay the foundation stone of a new College of Science in Dublin; lining the streets, and so on.
In September, 1904, a different kind of ceremonial parade—all these parades were carried out in Review Order (i.e., scarlet tunics)—took place when a detachment of the regiment and the mounted Band attended the unveiling of the memorial to the men of Enniskillen who had perished in South Africa. Marching from The Curragh via Wattle Bridge, Butler's Bridge and Marquis Bridge—all of them places where the regiment had fought in the opening years of their history—they entered the town of their birth. Enniskillen was gay with flags; a salute of guns from the Hill roared out to greet them; there was an Address of Welcome read out to the enthusiastic plaudits of a large crowd; there was a public luncheon at which two hundred covers were laid, and everywhere the greatest kindness and hospitality were shown towards the regiment.
Major-General Roger Evans, The Story of the Fifth Royal
Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, Aldershot, 1951
Copyright © Lewis P.