Battle of Leliefontein

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The Battle of Leliefontein (also known as the Battle of Witkloof) was an engagement between British/Canadian and Boer forces during the Second Boer War on 7 November 1900, at the Komati River 30 kilometres (19 mi) south of Belfast at the present day Nooitgedacht Dam.

It was during the fiercely contested British withdrawal from the banks of the Komati River that the Canadians of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles and "D" Battery Canadian Field Artillery, led by Lieutenant-Colonel François-Louis Lessard were tasked with covering the withdrawal of the larger British force under the command of Major-General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien. The Royal Canadian Dragoons would save two Canadian guns during the battle and halt the initial Boer advance, successfully covering the withdrawal. Three dragoons, Sergeant Edward James Gibson Holland, Lieutenant Richard Ernest William Turner and Lieutenant Hampden Zane Churchill Cockburn, would be awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions.

See also[edit]


  • Greenhous, Brerton (1983). Dragoon : the Centennial History of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1883-1983. Belleville, Ont. : Guild of The Royal Canadian Dragoons, 1983 ISBN 0-9691281-0-X