D.C.M. London Gazette 27.9.1901.
Sergeant-Major Richard Disley, D.C.M., was appointed Sergeant-Major of the 3rd (Militia) Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment in 1895 and held that appointment until he was discharged after 23 years service in July 1901. The 3rd Battalion 'volunteered for foreign service in 1900, strength embarked 25 Officers, 686 N.C.Os and men, Colonel B.N. North Commanding. On arrival at Cape Town March 1st 1900, employed on the lines of communications in the Orange River Colony, three Companies and Head Quarters holding Zand River Bridge, an important post commanding the railway bridge, and a very large Depot of supplies. March 14th attacked by the enemy whose attack lasted all day. The enemy had one 12 pounder gun, 2 pompoms and 1 Maxim. The garrison had no artillery. The Boers were driven off leaving many killed, wounded and prisoners. Captain R.N. de la Bere distinguished himself by leading a most successful charge, and Lieut. and Qr. Master Batchelor with some picked shots put a maxim out of action. Captain G.D. Timmis discovered the enemy who tried to surprise the post. Lord Kitchener issued orders thanking the Regt. for their "gallant conduct"' (The Constitutional Force refers).
This was the first and only major action of the 3rd Battalion during the War. Captain (later General Sir Ernest) Swinton, R.E., Adjutant of the Railway Pioneer Regiment, which lost its Commanding Officer Major Seymour in the action, noted of its aftermath: 'After the action we had the time to clear the thorn bush in front of our trenches, and so had a better field of fire. The difficulty was to find men for this work, since the most important duty for us technical troops was to re-establish communications. Superstition came to our aid. I do not know if it is a common belief in Lancashire, but the Militia lads were very keen to view the bodies of the Boers whom we had killed, which still lay unburied, and to cut the buttons off their clothes for mascots. Such an uninteresting fatigue as clearing the scrub was not popular, so we did a trade. I placed sentries, with a supply of billhooks to keep the morbid militiamen out of sight of the corpses. Any man who wanted a peep was given a billhook and told to clear a given space of scrub. When he had done his task he was allowed to see the dead, but not to touch them. A fine field of of fire was obtained; and everyone was happy. If it had become known, it would have caused a scene in Parliament as "another method of barbarism" (Over My Shoulder refers).