Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
A lady with whom I was watching the aeroplane remembered having seen wild elephants there when she was a girl. It seemed wonderful that in so short a time as one lady’s life such a, vast difference could come over the country. And as I took a fly round in the aeroplane myself a few minutes later, I could see the spot where the British had fought with the Boers, and where both parties had hunted their game.
I could see where the British women had sailed their ship out past the bluff, and where the Zulus had rushed the town and had destroyed it. From the aeroplane one could almost see the history of the place at a glance. How different now. But at the same time one could see from the aeroplane the distant hills of Zululand where still the Zulus live, a brave and active race.
The Cape Mounted Rifles
There have been many fine corps of mounted men in South Africa, and I have myself belonged to several, including the Rhodesian Regiment, the Protectorate Regiment, and the South African Constabulary – one of the smartest corps for its size that ever existed.
But the C.M.R. (Cape Mounted Rifles) is the oldest and best, and, indeed, is the only regular military force in South Africa. It has proved itself so valuable that it is going to be increased. It has distinguished itself in many campaigns, best of all. I think, when on service in Basutoland some years ago.
The Basutos are a warlike tribe, all horsemen and armed with modern rifles. They live in a mountainous country between Natal and the Orange Free State. And from time to time they have proved troublesome to white settlers living near their border, so that the Cape Government had to take them in hand and to post police and magistrates in their country to keep them in order.
At one time they refused to pay their taxes, which of course were necessary, for the wages of the police, and for making roads and so on. One chief in particular refused to pay, and burnt the magistrate’s house and took up his position at the top of a very difficult mountain called Moirosis Mountain. Here he defied the Government; so an expedition was sent against them.
The force was made up of C.M.R. and Yeomanry and volunteers. They attacked the stronghold, but there was only one path by which it could be reached, and this was strongly defended by stone breastworks held by good riflemen. After a bold effort, the attackers were driven back with the loss of twenty-two killed.
A few weeks later another assault was made under command of the frontier soldier Colonel Brabant; but this, too, was repulsed with loss. Then Colonel Bayly of the C.M.R. offered to make a success of it if only that corps were allowed to carry it out without assistance from volunteers. This was granted. The stormers rushed the stone breastworks in the middle of the night. At the back of these there was a steep cliff, at the top of which was a cleft in the rocks which led on to the flat top of the mountain.
This cleft was so narrow that only one man at a time could get through it. So the job looked an almost impossible one; but, the C.M.R.; like Scouts, are not put off because a job looks difficult, they meant to have a good try at it. They had prepared for the cliff by taking scaling ladders with them. By means of these they climbed up to the cleft, and pushing through this they were soon on the mountain- top. There in the early dawn they formed themselves for attack, and as the astonished natives turned out hurriedly to repel them they charged with fixed bayonets and soon had the whole stronghold in their possession, and the rebellion was crushed.
The natives all over the country were then ordered to give up their rifles, and when they refused, further fighting went on in the following year. The Basutos attacked various settlements occupied by white magistrates and others, but these were gallantly defended.