The 17th Lancers sent in February 1900 a contingent from the regiment, comprising Lieutenant-Colonel E. F. Herbert and 500 troops, was deployed to South Africa for service in the Second Boer War, and arrived to Cape Town on the SS Victorian early the next month. The contingent missed the large pitched battles, but still saw action during the war. In 1900, Sergeant Brian Lawrence won the regiment's fifth and final Victoria Cross at Essenbosch Farm. The contingent's most significant action was at the Battle of Elands River (Modderfontein) in September 1901. C Squadron was attacked by a unit of Boers under the command of Jan Smuts; the Lancers mistakenly assumed the unit was friendly because of their attire. The Boers immediately opened fire, attacking from both the front and the rear. The Lancers suffered further casualties at a closed gate that slowed them down. Only Captain Sandeman, the squadron commander, and Lieutenant Lord Vivian survived. The regiment suffered 29 killed and 41 wounded before surrendering, while Boer losses were just one killed and six wounded.They stayed in South Africa throughout the war, which ended June 1902 with the Peace of Vereeniging. Four months later, 540 officers and men left Cape Town on the SS German in late September 1902, and arrived at Southampton in late October, when they were posted to Edinburgh.
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