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South West Africa 1914-1915

Following the outbreak of the First World War, The Rand Light Infantry was mobilised on the 4 August 1914 as part of the expeditionary force to seize control of the German Imperial Colony of South West Africa. The German colony bordered immediately on South Africa and the seizing of the enemy’s bases at Luderitzbucht and Swakopmund and destroying their means of communications was viewed as essential to deny the German fleet the advantage of friendly bases on the flank of their ocean line of communication with the east. The South West Africa campaign was the only land campaign undertaken, planned and brought to a conclusion by the military forces of any Dominion of the British Empire on its own responsibility in the First World War.

The Regiment formed part of the force under Colonel P.S. Beves, which reached Luderitzbucht in German South West Africa on 18 September 1914. The Regiment was in action at Grasplatz, and later joined the Central Force, seeing only sporadic action on patrol duty. Although the campaign was devoid of great battles, it was characterised by great physical difficulties and arduous feats of marching in which the RLI played a distinguished role. The Regiment returned home and was de-mobilized in July 1915.

Volunteers from the unit provided one company for the 3rd South African Infantry Regiment in France and another for the 7th South African Infantry in German East Africa. Individual members also served with other overseas units.


other battle honours

South West Africa 1914-1915

Following the outbreak of the First World War, The Rand Light Infantry was mobilised on the 4 August 1914 as part of the expeditionary force to seize control of the German Imperial Colony of South West Africa.

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