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By William Bennett

The British military suffered one among its maximum crises while in December 1899 the Boer irregulars inflicted 3 reverses in South Africa in 'Black Week'. A country grown conversant in good fortune was once shocked. a part of the reply was once a really British mixture of patriotism and pragmatism. For the 1st time civilian volunteers and part-time infantrymen have been allowed to struggle abroad to the horror of traditionalist expert squaddies. but, via the top of the Boer struggle, virtually 90,000 males had volunteered to serve the colors. a lot of wearing excessive society joined the newly shaped Imperial Yeomanry. The Volunteers despatched soldiers to serve along the regulars and the town of London financed the elevating of town Imperial Volunteers. males additionally got here ahead from the colonies. This booklet tells the tale of those volunteer devices.

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31 The City of London raised £70,000 for the CIV within ten days of Newton’s meeting with Wolseley and by 12 January had passed the Lord Mayor’s £100,000 target. The largest sum, £25,000, was donated by the Corporation of the City of London, with the Mercers’, Grocers’ and Goldsmiths’ Companies giving £5,000 each. As ever with such projects, Wernher, Beit was involved, giving £5,000 to add to the money it donated to the Imperial Yeomanry. Wellcome & Co provided free medicines and shipping companies offered their vessels to take the new regiment to South Africa.

18 Recruits for the Imperial Yeomanry did not only come forward out of patriotism, although those who did tended to downplay it. Peel recalled, “I only remember one man who declared that he had enlisted from reasons of patriotism and he was generally regarded as peculiar. If others were so influenced, they would by no means confess to it. ” At the Imperial Yeomanry base camp at Maitland, near Cape Town, Sergeant Major Fownes of the 10th Hussars kept a confessions book to which many men contributed.

The serge for its uniforms was of a better quality than that used by the Army and the boots, bought from a manufacturer in Nottingham, cost 15 shillings a pair, compared to 9 shillings for those worn by regular troops. The CIV’s boots were so superior that when they got a new supply after six months in South Africa, the commanding officer of the neighbouring regular battalion begged Mackinnon to let him have the old ones for his men. However, not every aspect of the CIV’s procurement proved so successful and the waterproof haversacks they bought quickly wore out.

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