Cape Town Highlanders Regiment - Battle Honours - The "Lost" Colours

The "Lost" Colours

The South African Union Defence Act of 1914 prohibited the deployment of South African troops beyond the borders of the South Africa and its immediate neighbouring territories. In order to send troops to Europe to support the Commonwealth in World War I, Generals Botha and Smuts created the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force. However, because of the limitations of the Defence Act, they issued a General Order (Order 672 of 1915) which stated that The South African Overseas Expeditionary Force will be Imperial and have the status of regular British Troops. "Status" was meant to imply administrative purposes, as Britain was paying for the maintenance of the force in the field for the sake of local political sensitivities.

On 8 June 1916 the Adjutant General's office at Defence Head-Quarters issued a note stating: ....the force is raised locally for the purpose of assisting the Imperial Authorities...and it amounts to the Union Government having allowed the Imperial Authorities to recruit men in South Africa for this force.....as it is certainly not raised under the Defence Act of the Union of South Africa, and this being the case, the Union Government can grant no commissions. Any such commissions will be of temporary nature and will lapse at the conclusion of hostilities.

As such, the below colours were awarded to the Unit, but because of the unit being an "Imperial Unit" at the stage of award, the right to bear the colours lapsed at the end of hostilities.

The fifteen "missing" battle honours awarded for service in France and Flanders to the 4th South African Infantry (South African Scottish) battalion include some of the most famous in South Africa’s military history:

  • Egypt 1916
  • Somme 1916
  • Delville Wood
  • Arras 19l7
  • Ypres 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Messines 1918
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Cambrai 1918
  • Pursuit to Mons
  • France and Flanders 1918
  • Le Transloy
  • Scarpe 1917
  • Kemmel
  • Lys

Read more about this topic:  Cape Town Highlanders Regiment, Battle Honours

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