This corps, the Isipingo Mounted Rifles, was formed under the command of Captain Dering Stainbank in 1878 primarily for local defence when the various Natal volunteer units departed for service in the Zulu War.
However, after a brief training period the unit was sent to the Zululand border in March 1879 where, together with the Alexandra Mounted Rifles, Durban Mounted Rifles and the Natal Hussars, the Isipingo Mounted Rifles was involved in guard duties. The I.M.R. did not cross the Tugela into Zululand, but half its members volunteered to serve in the composite unit the Natal Volunteer Guides. Captain Stainbank was among those who volunteered and was appointed second in command to Captain Friend Addison in the N.V.G.
At the end of the Zulu War most of the I.M.R. members transferred to the Alexandra Mounted Rifles, and the unit ceased to exist.*
On formation the following men were in the I.M.R.:
Stainbank, Captain D
Quested, Lieut. W.
Fayers, Trooper Q. R.
Fayers, Trooper W. F.
Royston, Trooper **
Smith, Trooper W
Westley, Trooper A.C.
The uniform of the I.M.R. was blue cloth, with scarlet facings and white metal buttons; a helmet was worn. No badge or motto is recorded. The members were armed with the Swinburn-Henry .450 carbine and the officers carried swords.
*'The Armed Forces of South Africa' by Major G Tylden.
** J.R. (John Robinson) Royston had not yet turned sixteen when he joined the Isipingo Mounted Rifles. He was ordered to confine his services to defence duties on the Zululand border, but he defied authority, crossed the border into Zululand and reported to Captain Addison of the Natal Volunteer Guides, who enrolled Royston as a special scout. In this capacity Royston took part in the battles of Inyezane, Gingindhlovu and the Relief of Eshowe and remained with the Guides until the end of the Anglo-Zulu War.
During the Anglo-Boer War he served as Sgt-Major in the Highflats Squadron of the Border Mounted Rifles. After the Relief of Ladysmith he joined the Volunteer Composite Regiment as Captain and later commanded the West Australian Mounted Infantry operating in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. He was awarded the D.S.O. In 1906 he raised and commanded Royston's Horse and was appointed Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army. In 1910 he commanded the 2 000 troops of various units which attended the coronation of King Edward VII, to whom he was presented. The King conferred on him the C.M.G. At the outbreak of World War I he was authorized to recruit a Regiment to be called the Natal Light Horse. In 1915 he was on the Staff of General McKenzie in the German SWA campaign, and later appointed OC 9th Mounted Brigade. Subsequently he commanded Australian 12th Light Horse Regiment and then the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade in the Palestine Campaign, 1916-1917. The name Galloping Jack was given to him at the Battle of Romani, when he rode up and down the lines calling: 'No surrender, Men'. In 1935 at the age of 75, Brigadier-General Royston announced his intention to offer his services to the Emperor of Abyssinia to raise a brigade and 'take part in the struggle of this unjust war.'
['Rough But Ready': An Official History of the Natal Mounted Rifles and its Antecedent and Associated Units 1854-1969' by Eric Goetzsche]
|Muster Roll of Alexandra Mounted Rifles 1892.|
Members of the Isipingo Mounted Rifles transferred to the AMR
when the IMR was disbanded.