6 February 1899, The Kimberley Rifles and the Diamond Fields Horse amalgamate to form the Kimberley Regiment.
DID YOU KNOW
The Kimberley Regiment is an infantry regiment of the South African Army. As a reserve unit, it has a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit.
The regiment’s origins lie in the early, lawless, diamond rush days in Kimberley in the 1870s. To bring law and order to the region, which was then known as Griqualand West, the government encouraged the formation of part-time volunteer forces. Among them were the Kimberley Light Horse and the Du Toitspan Hussars, both formed in 1876, which amalgamated in 1877 to form the Diamond Fields Horse. Volunteers from the DFH served in the 9th Frontier War in 1877, in operations in Griqualand West in 1878, and in the Basutoland Gun War in 1880 and 1881.
Kimberley later raised two more units, the Victoria Rifles of Kimberley in 1887, and the Kimberley Scots in 1890. They, along with the Diamond Fields Artillery, amalgamated in 1890 to form the Kimberley Rifles. Both the DFH and the Kimberley Rifles served in the 1896-1897 Bechuanaland campaign. In 1899, the two units amalgamated to form the Kimberley Regiment.
Regimental traditions have survived from each of the constituent cavalry, artillery and rifle units, with a distinctly Scottish element very much in evidence in the uniforms, pipe band and regimental culture to this day.
During the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902, the Regiment helped to defend the city during the four-month-long Siege of Kimberley. It is one of only two regiments of the former British Empire holding as a Battle Honour the defence of its own city – in this instance Defence of Kimberley. The other was the Royal Hong Kong Regiment – the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps in the defence of Hong Kong during 1941.
The baptism of fire for the Kimberley Regiment (under that title) was at the battle of Dronfield on 24 October 1899.