Personal info

  • Name: Conwyn MANSEL-JONES
  • D.O.B: 14th Jun, 1871
  • D.O.A: 27th Feb, 1900
  • D.O.D: 29th May, 1942
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 1
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Colenso, Natal, South Africa 15 December 1899

15 December 1899

More details about:
The Second Boer War 1899 - 1902 

In an effort to relieve Ladysmith, on 15 December 1899 Sir Redvers Buller VC, with over 15,000 troops and 44 guns, sought to cross the Tugela river at Colenso and march on the besieged town from the south. His way was blocked by Louis Botha and 4,000 Boers with five guns, not only in trenches on the far side of the river but, unknown to Buller, on Hlangwane mountain on his right flank. The attack failed. On the left flank, Major General Hart and the Irish Brigade were soon pinned down, while in the centre Lieutenant General Hildyard and Major General Barton fared little better. Buller decided on withdrawal. The twelve field guns and six naval guns, commanded by Colonel C J Long, were dangerously exposed, many of the gunners being forced to retire to a donga (a narrow, steep-sided gully) for shelter. Lieutenant Ogilvy RN succeeded in bringing the naval guns back and Buller was loath to abandon the field guns. Captains H N Schofield and W N Congreve, and Lieutenant F H S Roberts (the son of Lord Roberts VC) were ordered to help retrieve them. They succeeded in limbering up one gun. Schofield then helped remove another gun. In this, they were assisted by Private G A Ravenhill of the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers and Corporal G E Nurse of the 66th Battery RFA. Lieutenant Roberts, meanwhile, had been seriously wounded and Congreve, though himself shot in the leg, went out with Major W Babtie of the RAMC to rescue him. Unfortunately, Roberts died of his wounds two days later. Babtie had already distinguished himself by tending to wounded artillerymen under heavy fire. Only the two guns were saved, though a gallant attempt was made by Captain H L Reed of the 7th Battery, RFA, to retrieve others. The battle cost the British over 1,000 casualties as against 40 suffered by the Boers.


 On the 27th February, 1900, during the assault onTerrace Hill, north of theTugela, inNatal, the companies of the West Yorkshire Regiment on the northern slope of the hill met with a severe shell, Vickers-Maxim,and rifle fire,and theiradvance wasforafew moments checked. Captain C. Mansel-Jones, however, by his strong initiative, restored confidence, and, in spite of his falling very seriously wounded, the men took the whole ridge without further check, this Officer’s selfsacrificing devotion to duty ata critical moment having averted what might have proved aserious check to the whole assault 

(The London Gazette of 27 July 1900, Numb. 27214, p. 4653)

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