A Fine South Africa Campaign Group of Four to Lieutenant-Colonel H.L. Davies, Commandant of the Basuto Contingent and Ever Present Throughout Griffith’s, Brabant’s and Bayly’s Command of the Field Force at the Siege and Capture of Morosi’s Mountain Stronghold, 1879, Later Commissioner of Cape Police South Africa 1877-79, one clasp, 1879 (Commdt. H.L.Davies. Basuto. Contingt.),partly officially corrected Capeof Good Hope General Service 1880-1897, one clasp,Basutoland (Commdt. H.L. Davies. Staff Office), engraved in upright serif capitals; Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, two clasps, Cape Colony, Orange Free State (Lieut:-Col: H.L Davies. Cape P.D.I.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, two clasps (Lt. Col: H.L. Davies. C.P. Dist. I.),[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.][You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Lee Davies (1851-1912), born King William’s Town, South Africa; appointed Assistant Clerk to C. Griffiths (Governor’s Agent in Basutoland), 1871; Second Clerk to the Governor’s Agent, 1873; Deputy Post Master 1874; First Clerk and Post Master 1876; Resident Magistrate of the Thaba Bosigo District, 1877; he occupied this post as unrest and conflict grew in surrounding districts and territories, in particular with the Gaika and Galeka tribes and then through into Zululand. This unrest manifested itself in Basutoland with the Baphuti tribe. Led by it’s tactically astute military commander Morosi, the tribe rose up defiance of the restrictions being placed upon them by the governing authorities. They were further encouraged by the British disaster at Isandhlwana, persuading the Cape Government to raise a force of two thousand Basuto Levies to quell the rising. As Magistrate, Davies would have played an organising role in 1879) with the force to Palmietfontein on the edge of Morosi’s
territory. The force under the command of Griffiths consisted of Chief Lerothili and Jonathan’s men, one hundred Cape Mounted Riflemen, three hundred Cape Mounted Yeomanry, a number of Fingo Levies under Captain McLean and fifty troopers of the the Basuto Police and Volunteers under Chiefs George and Ntsane On the 16th March 1879 Griffiths’ sent his entire force to move on Morosi’s mountain stronghold. The latter had formidable natural defences, combined with loop-holed ‘Schantzes’ (walls). The Mounted Police and Davies with the Basutoland Contingent acted as scouts, screening the column’s advance on the stronghold. Chief Lerothili moved up the north bank of the Orange, skirmishing and capturing cattle along the way, whilst Davies commanded those detached to the right of the column, leading various patrols.
was deep, with many caverns they had to retire with the loss of 1‘Camp Qoboshianing,
29th April 1879’ refers).On the 25th of March Griffith’s force camped astride the main route up to the mountain. On the 6th of April he was re-enforced with a further troop of the Cape Mounted Rifles, and two seven pounder mountain guns. The assault began at dawn two days later. Despite a sustained period of heavy shelling, the initial full frontal attack on the stronghold was repulsed by heavy rifle fire from within. The defensive strength of the position combined with the attacking force’s lack of assault ladders lead to a general retirement at dusk. Griffiths’ force had suffered 5 men killed and 17 wounded. Two Cape Mounted Riflemen were awarded the Victoria Cross for there part in the attempted assault The besiegers were re-enforced with the arrival Colonel C.Y. Brabant and 140 Cape Mounted Yeomanry. Included in the party was a twelve pounder which had been moved into position by 200 burghers. With the arrival of the new mounted troops and the stark failure of the assault, Griffiths pursued a different strategy. The crops in the surrounding area were destroyed and the tribe’s cattle captured. Davies led many of these raids, ‘Started on 22nd for the purpose of recovering certain horses belonging to men of my contingent which had been stolen by the enemy at the Sebapala River.
On the 15th of May a detachment under Colonel Brabant left the Bayly conceived a new plan for one final assault on Morosi’s Field Force to patrol fifteen miles up the Quthing. Brabant’s force stronghold. His troops, complete with 25 scaling ladders were to consisted of 85 Cape Yeomanry, a seven pounders and 100 Basutos
Attack from five different positions. After three days and nights of commanded by Davies. Not long into their patrol they found a continuous shelling the assault commenced at midnight on the concentration of enemy forces in a deep gorge running at right 19th of November. Fifty of Davies’ men were sent in with the 1st angles to the river. Once again the tribesmen had made the most and 2nd storming parties. Their role was to carry the scaling of natural defences - one end of the gorge was too steep to ladders. The storming parties were met with a withering fire from attempt a descent and the other had several cellar like caves, the inside of the fort, and the assault seemed to be coming to a similar passages to which were protected by loophole stone walls. Over conclusion to its predecessors, with Davies’ men capitulating first. The course of three days Brabant’s men shelled the position with The Basutos dropped the ladders they had been entrusted with and artillery fire and hurled dynamite in to the entrances of the caves. Ran in the opposite direction. Fortunately the resolve of the Cape Davies, due to his knowledge of the local dialect, attempted to Mounted Rifles stayed true, they hoisted the ladders onto their induce the natives to surrender by reasoning with them. He shoulders and pressed home the attack with the point of an eventually succeeded, with both Chief Riza and Letseka’s men bayonet. The rear walls crashed under the weight of the attack and agreeing terms The Baphuti lost fifteen men killed, eighty-two the fort was carried by sunrise. Seventy of Morosi’s warriors lay were made prisoner, ten of this number had been wounded and dead, however a great number managed to escape during the three hundred women and children accompanied the men. (Davies melee.
Received a mention in Brabant’s report) With Morosi’s revolt put down, Davies returned to his position as On the 30th of May Brabant assumed command of the main field Magistrate. Unrest remained in the territory, however, due to the force. He struggled to make an immediate impact however, with government’s policy to disarm the Basutos. Davies found himself Morosi’s men undertaking several daring raids outside of their placed in a difficult position, torn between having to carry out his
Fortified position. A picket of Yeomanry was surprised during the orders and his sympathetic feelings towards the Basuto people, ‘I night at the cost 21 killed or wounded. On a similar occasion a very heavily handicapped in having now to look out the new C.M.R. patrol was ambushed, with Morosi’s men killing one of order of things: - nor can I fail, under the circumstances of the case, their number before taking another prisoner. The following to be partial to the loyals, who have fought side by side with us morning the prisoner’s head was displayed on a pole and his body and risked their lives to save ours. It is therefore in the interests of
Thrown over the wall. The Government as well as in my own that I should be removed from Basutoland.’ (Letter from recipient to the Acting Governor’s On the 5th of June another direct assault was attempted, this also Agent, dated 17.11.1881, refers) ended in failure and ultimately led to the desertion of Chief Lethordi’s men from the Basuto Contingent. Davies was made Davies’ request was granted and he was appointed a Commandant of the remaining 286 men. With the onset of winter
Commissioner in the Cape Police, 31.8.1882; Justice of the Peace, Brabant met Morosi under a flag of truce in September and 14.10.1882; during the following three years he served as October, but to no avail. This led to another change of command, Commissioner of Districts 5, 3 and 6 respectively before moving to with Colonel Bayly of the Cape Mounted Rifles filling the post. The District 1 (the Eastern Province) with the re-organisation of the make up of the besieging force also changed with its commander, system; with the outbreak of the Boer War the Cape Police were the Yeomanry, burghers, and many of the levies returned home put on a military footing and Davies became Lieutenant-Colonel, leaving Bayly, his Regiment and Davies with his force of Basutos.seeing active service from November 1899; the 1st Division Cape Police served as part of General Gatacre’s 3rd Division, and from June 1901 with Gorringe’s Flying Column. Davies retired from the force, 30.6.1904.