- Name: Peter BROWN
- D.O.B: 1st Jan, 1837
- D.O.A: 8th Apr, 1879
- D.O.D: 11th Sep, 1894
- Award: Victoria Cross
- Occupation at time of action: Trooper, Cape Mounted Riflemen
- Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
Morosi’s Mountain, Basutoland 8 April 1879
8 April 1879
BASUTO WARS 1879-81
Basutoland (now Lesotho) had been annexed by the Crown in 1868 following an appeal by its Paramount Chief, Moshoeshoe I, for assistance against the Orange Free State. In 1871 its Administration had been transferred to the Cape Colony. The first outbreak of unrest there involved the Baphuti Chief, Morosi, a vassal of Moshoeshoe. The Baphuti had been granted territory by Moshoeshoe south of the Orange river. Following his defeat by the Boers of the Orange Free State, their chief Morosi had in the 1860s established his stronghold there on the mountain which bears his name. Over a thousand feet high, its flanks were precipitous and it was almost impregnable, except to the south-east, where the approaches to the summit were guarded by a series of stone walls (schanzes). In November 1878 John Austen, the magistrate at Quthing, arrested one of Morosi’s sons wars of empire • 415 The Victoria Cross George Cross pages 04/10/2013 10:41 Page 415 for horse theft. He was sentenced to hard labour at the Cape but was freed by the Baphuti. Colonel C D Griffith, the Cape Government’s agent in Basutoland, assembled a punitive expedition of a thousand men, which on 25 March 1879 began the siege of Morosi’s Mountain, where the Chief and 1,500 of his warriors had taken refuge. On 8 April, after a preliminary bombardment, Captain Grant led a force of 39 Cape Mounted Riflemen and 100 Cape Mounted Yeomanry in an unsuccessful assault on the schanzes.
Trooper Peter Brown, during the assault on Moirosi’s Mountain on 8th April, 1879, whilst lying under cover waiting for the order to recommence the advance, heard two men, who had been wounded some time before, crying out for water. Trooper Brown carried a water-bottle to these men, under a heavy fire, to an adjacent rock to which they had crept for shelter. Whilst giving the first man water he was wounded severely in the right thigh, and immediately afterwards a bullet shattered his right arm, the use of which he has never recovered.