RIFLES HISTORY TODAY - Relief of Ladysmith. 28th February - 1 March 1900, 2nd Boer War South Africa. A force commanded by General Redvers Buller VC-late Kings Royal Rifle Corps- including the, 2nd Devons, 2nd Somerset LI, 1st Durham LI, 2nd Dorsets, 3rd KRRC & 1st Rifle Brigade; following a bloody campaign which included the battles of Colenso- (where 2out of 5 VCs awarded for the action were awarded to antecedents of The Rifles), Spion Kop and Vaalkrans; relieved the beleagu...ered British garrison at the Town of Ladysmith.
The Garrison included the 1st Devon’s, 1st Gloucester’s and 1 & 2 Battalions The Kings Royal Rifle Corps. The arrival of the relief column, ended a 4 month siege by Boer Forces, where they had surrounded the town from the high ground, dominating it with their well served and numerous artillery pieces. The fighting around the town also included the action at Wagon Hill on the 6th of January 1900, where the 1st Devons earned fame with their courage and daring, and where Captain Edward Ignatious Masterson of the battalion was awarded the VC for his gallantry.
In an interesting turn of history, The Rifles have recently been offered, and accepted the Freddom Of Ladysmith by the town, in honour of the actions of our forebears there over 100 years ago. The Regiment is hoping to mark this honour in 2017.
Artefacts telling the Ladysmith story and other actions of the Boer War in Rifles Heritage can be seen at the Soldiers of Devon & Dorset Museum in Dorchester and across the Museums of The Rifles Museum Network in the collections of our antecedent Regiments' Museums.