The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 1 No 2 - June 1968



Under the Natal Militia Act of 1903, that Colony converted its old Volunteer units to Militia Regiments, although enlistment in them continued to he voluntary. For those who did not volunteer the Militia Reserves were designed. These were divided into three classes, according to age and marital status. The details of the Natal defence system are contained in J. Stuart's "History of the Zulu Rebellion, 1906", chapter 3.

While the Militia units all had uniform it is doubtful if any of the Reserves did, and until the 1906 Rebellion this lack hardly mattered. The Militia Orders, as published in the Colonial Government Gazette, contained authority for the Reserves to adopt unit colours, and significantly the colours granted were all so granted between April, 1906 and January, 1907, the only time when the Reserves were used. In most cases the Reserves would have reported for duty in civilian clothes but the addition of a "pagri" to the commonly worn wide-brimmed felt hat was all that was really needed for identification purposes.

The following list is taken entirely from the Natal Government Gazette.

Division Colours Militia Order Date
Alexandra Purple 248 18/09/1906
Bergville Light Blue 111 08/05/1906
Camperdown Dark Blue with White Spots 111 08/05/1906
Charlestown (town) Black and Gold 123 22/05/1906
Dundee Borough Black with Amber border 123 22/05/1906
Durban Khaki and Red 123 22/05/1906
Eshowe Cardinal 238 04/09/1906
Greytown (town) Blue and Yellow 111 08/05/1906
Impendhle Khaki, White and Gold 123 22/05/1906
Inanda Red 111 08/05/1906
Klip River White 111 08/05/1906
Ladysmith Red with White spots 111 08/05/1906
Newcastle Green 111 08/05/1906
New Hanover Maroon and Gold 111 08/05/1906
Ngotshe Green and White 111 08/05/1906
Paulpietersburg Orange and Green 111 08/05/1906
Pietermaritzburg Dark Crimson 111 08/05/1906
Polela Dark Blue and Black 111 08/05/1906
Umgeni Blue 103 24/04/1906
Umlazi Blue and Red 123 22/05/1906
Umlazi North Blue with small White spots 238 04/09/1906
Umsinga Green and Gold 123 22/05/1906
Underberg Dark Blue with White stripes 6 08/01/1907
Upper Umkomanzi Red and White 123 22/05/1906
Vryheid Green and Red 111 08/05/1906
Vryheid (town) Khaki 111 08/05/1906
Weenen Brown and Salmon 282 16/10/1906
Natal Native Horse Slate with Red stripes 115 15/05/1906

The Natal Native Horse was a special service unit raised for the Rebellion only and disbanded immediately after hostilities ceased. It is dealt with here for convenience only.
It was officered by Europeans seconded from Militia regiments or the Militia Reserve. Its commanding officer was Major G.B.O. Moe, of the Umvoti Mounted Rifles and the second-in-command was R.C. Samuelson, a reserve officer of the Natal Carbineers who was also the author of a valuable book of reminiscences "Long, Long Ago." Strangely enough Samuelson was the attorney employed to defend Dinuzulu at his trial on charges of treason and rebellion in 1908.

Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

South African Military History Society /