South African units in World War I

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The Union of South Africa was a dominion of the British Empire created in 1910 by the union of the British colonies of Natal and the Cape, and the former Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State which had become British colonies after the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. South Africa annexed German South-West Africa (now Namibia) in 1915.

Category:All South African units contains the most up-to-date list of South African units that have pages on this site.

South African Overseas Expeditionary Force

Raised for overseas war service in 1914. Paid for by British government and technically an imperial force separate from pre-war South African forces. Also recruited in Rhodesia.

See also Wikipedia:South African Overseas Expeditionary Force.

Infantry units

The most up-to-date list of infantry battalions and brigades is in Category:South African infantry units.

Mounted units

There could be some units missing from this list if they don't have war diaries and don't appear in the Monthly Army List for July 1916. These will need to be added manually if they can be identified. The most up-to-date list is in Category:South African mounted units.

Labour corps

Were these part of the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force or separate imperial forces?

Union Defence Force

Created in 1912 for home defence. It invaded German South-West Africa (now Namibia), and fought against the 1914 Boer rebellion.

See also:

Active Citizen Force

Conscripted militia.

Mounted rifles


Dismounted rifles

We're not yet sure whether these were infantry or cavalry.


Infantry


Defence Rifle Associations

Descended from the Boer Commandos. Part of the Active Citizen Force or separate?

Permanent Force

Full-time regular army. The only combat units were mounted rifle regiments:

Coast Garrison Force

Coastal artillery.

School Cadet Corps

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (South African Division)

Part-time naval reservists.

Further Reading

  1. The British Monthly Army List puts this regiment with the rest of the SAOEF. Great Britain - War Office (1916). The Monthly Army List for July, 1916. London: HMSO. p. 1936d.  See also Wikipedia:Cape Corps.