Natal Mounted Rifles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Natal Mounted Rifles
SANDF Natal Mounted Rifles emblem
SANDF Natal Mounted Rifles emblem
Active 1854–Present
Country  South Africa
Type Armour
Role Armour / Tank and Mechanised Infantry Regiment
Size Regiment
Part of South African Armoured Formation
Army Conventional Reserve
Garrison/HQ Durban
Motto(s) Rough but Ready
Anniversaries Regimental Birthday - 23 March each year.
Equipment Marmon Herrington Mk1V / Ferret armoured cars / Olifant mk1 A and B tanks
Battle honours
Battle Honours
South Africa 1879
South Africa 1899-1902
Defence of Ladysmith
Natal 1906
South West Africa 1914 - 1915
East Africa 1940-41
Western Desert 1941-43
Springbok Road
Bir Temrad
Best Post
Alamein Defence
El Alamein
Italy 1944-45
The Tiber
The Greve
Gothic Line
Po Valley
El Yibo
South West Africa/Angola 1975-1976
Lt Col M.J. Rowe
Colonel of
the Regiment
Lt Col M.J. Rowe
Beret Colour Black
Armour Squadron emblems SANDF Armour squadron emblems
Armour beret bar circa 1992 SANDF Armour beret bar

The Natal Mounted Rifles is an armoured 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. It is part of the South African Army Armour Formation and is based in the city of Durban.



The original and accepted "Parent / Unit" of the Natal Mounted Rifles is the "Royal D'Urban Rangers" which was formed at a meeting of the public in the town of Durban, at "Boltbee's Hotel" on 23 March 1854. Other ante-cedant Units that were then subsequently amalgamated into the NMR since 1854 are as follows:

  1. 1854–1869: Royal D'Urban Rangers
  2. 1888–1869: Victoria Mounted Rifles
  3. 1875–1887: Stanger Mounted Rifles
  4. 1865–1888: Alexander Mounted Rifles
  5. 1878–1879: Isipingo Mounted Rifles
  6. 1873–1888: Durban Mounted Rifles
  7. 1884–1888: Umzimkulu Mounted Rifles

Timeline events[edit]

  • 1888: Units amalgamated into a new unit known as the Natal Mounted Rifles
  • 1894: The NMR was split into two units, namely the Border Mounted Rifles and the Natal Mounted Rifles
  • 1913: Just prior to World War I the BMR and NMR once more amalgamated and became the 3rd Mounted Rifles (N.M.R.)
  • 1925: The East Griqualanad Mounted Rifles amalgamated into the NMR
  • 1932: Another name change, to the Natal Mounted Rifles
  • 1940: At South Africa's entry to World War II, the NMR was re-formed into two units, namely: The 1st BN (V) N.M.R. and the 2nd BN (V) N.M.R.
  • 1945: The two units amalgamated once more, into the Natal Mounted Rifles,and has remained such to this day


In May 1868 the Regimental Committee of the Durban Mounted Rifles, presided over by Captain WH Addison, held a meeting to discuss the forming of the Natal Mounted Rifles. The formation of the regiment would entail the amalgamation of four Volunteer Units; Royal D’urban Rangers (1854), Victoria Mounted Rifles (1862), Alexander Mounted Rifles (1865) and Durban Mounted Rifles(1873).[1]

Anglo Boer War[edit]

The regiment was re-activated in Durban during February and March 1901 for service in the South African War. It was originally called the 2nd Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment but the name was soon changed to Natal Mounted Infantry. The unit was armed and equipped by the Natal Volunteer Department and horsed by the Imperial Remount Department. The first depot was at Dundee, but, on the unit changing its name, this was transferred to Newcastle.[2]

World War I[edit]

At the outbreak of WW1, the regiment became the 3rd Mounted Rifles and was attached to the 8th Mounted Brigade with the Central Force in the German South West African Campaign.On 1 July 1913 the Regiment was re-amalgamated with the Border Mounted Rifles, renamed the 3rd Mounted Rifles (Natal Mounted Rifles) and transferred to the Active Citizen Force of the Union Defence Force.

World War II[edit]

In 1932 the Regiment's name was simplified to The Natal Mounted Rifles and in 1934 it was converted to infantry.The regiment was mounted for 80 years until July 1934 when horses were entirely dispensed with and NMR converted to a machinegun unit. In January 1934 the regiment was remustered as an armoured reconnaissance regiment of the Sixth SA Armoured Division.

In addition to the campaigns in which its various constituent units fought in before the Regiment's formation, the Natal Mounted Rifles served in the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), the Zulu Rebellion (1906–1907), World War I (specifically in South-West Africa from 1914 to 1915), World War II (See 1st SA Infantry Division and South Africa's post-war internal conflicts and the South African Border War).[3][4]

Post World War II[edit]

Border War[edit]

Post 1994[edit]

Since the 1994 Democratic Elections, the NMR has undergone several training exercises and continues to recruit members into its ranks. It boasts a Regimental Pipe Band and is affiliated to the 3rd King’s Own Hussars.



NMR Badge Plaque

Regimental mottos:

  • 1888–1913: Just and frank
  • 1913 – Present: Rough but ready

Previous Dress Insignia[edit]

SADF era Natal Mounted Rifles Cap badge c. 1965 
SADF Natal Mounted Rifles cap badge c. 1980s-2000 
SADF era Natal Mounted Rifles shoulder emblem 
SADF era Natal Mounted Rifles shoulder title 
SADF era 8th Armoured Division Natal Mounted Rifles Flash 


  •  United Kingdom - affiliated 9 April 1930 to The Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish)
  • Glenwood Boys High School affiliated to NMR on 17 February 1936
  • South African School of Armour affiliated to NMR on 21 March 1997
  • Durban Metro Police Equestrian Unit affiliated to NMR on 25 March 2000
  • South African Air Force No.15 (Helicopter) Squadron, Durban, affiliated to NMR

Battle honours[edit]


Natal Mounted Rifles Leadership
From Honorary Colonels To
n.d. Col Godfrey T Hurst DSO OBE VD n.d.
n.d. unknown Present
From Commanding Officers To
n.d. Lt Col Mike Rowe Present
From Regimental Sergeants Major To
n.d. MWO Bobby Freeman Present



  1. ^ "Ladysmith History and the Boer War". Natal Mounted Rifles. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "South African Units". Natal Mounted Infantry. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  3. ^[dead link]
  4. ^ Kleynhans E.P. ARMOURED WARFARE, THE SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE IN EAST AFRICA, 1940-1941 Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, 2014