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With the outbreak of the Boer War, the first contingent of Canadians, 2nd Battalion - Royal Canadian Regiment , was sent to South Africa. Under he command of Lieutenant Colonel W.D. Otter the unit arrived in Capetown on November 29, 1899. They were given a short training period and quickly but into action on January  1, 1900 at Sunnyside where they and the Queensland Mounted Infantry from Australia, defeated Boer commandos.

Their next action took place from February 18th to the 27th, 1900 during the Battle of Paardeberg Drift. The Canadians advanced during the night to a piece of high ground just 65 yards from the Boer forces where they dug in and forced the Boers to surrender the following day. The surrender of Boer forces occurred 19 years to the day after the famous British defeat at Majuba Hill during the First Boer War. This opened up the road for the Canadian and British forces to advance and capture the capital of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein. From that date on, the Royal Canadian Regiment have celebrated February 27th as Paardeberg Day.

This victory was the first really good news from the South African War for the British. The Royal Canadian Regiment was next assigned the mission of marching on Pretoria and was once again successful in achieving its objective.

One of the notable actions during the war was the awarding of one of the eight scarves to soldiers which were knitted by Queen Victoria herself. Private Richard Rowland Thompson of the Royal Canadian Rifles was presented with one of these scarves for his valiant action during the Battle of Paardeberg.

After the one year term had expired the Battalion returned home to Canada and was disbanded. The regiment was presented with its first colours by the Duke of Cornwall (to become King George V). The battle honours on the colours included the Northwest Rebellion in Saskatchewan form 1885 and Paardeberg/South Africa 1899-1900.


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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/war/war.html