D.S.O. London Gazette 27.9.1901.
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Bertram Firman, D.S.O., commanded the 11th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry from 22.8.1900. This Battalion, comprising the 33rd and 53rd (both East Kent) Companies, 62nd and 112th (both Middlesex) and the 36th (West Kent) Company were decimated by de Wet at Tweefontein on Christmas Day 1901. Firman had positioned them on "Christmas Hill", as it came to be known, on General Dartnell's orders but had been ordered to proceed on leave and so was unable to avert the impending disaster.
'Until his departure on leave in the second week of December, Colonel Firman, an officer who had done good work in organising Rundle's [Eighth Division] Yeomanry, had commanded the column ... In April  3,000 unorganised and untrained Yeomanry of the second draft had been sent to him, but twenty percent, including the majority of the officers, had to be sent back as inefficient. The rest, principally by the exertions of Colonel Firman, had been formed into three Battalions (1st, 4th and 11th), officered afresh, and trained under great difficulties. Some of the best squadrons were taken from Rundle and sent to other districts' (Times History refers).
Firman's command and organisation of the Yeomanry should not be underestimated as, by this stage of the war, apathy was shrouding England and the standard of Yeomanry volunteer had reduced substantially since the war-crazed days of January 1900. The I.Y. was often referred to as 'Ignorant Yahoos' or 'Innocent Yokels'. Firman's own command had included clearing Ficksburg and its neighbourhood with a small Mounted Command in February and May 1901. Prior to that he had commanded the 35th Company in the operations in the Brandwater Basin in July 1900. For these services he was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. and Mentioned in Despatches (London Gazette 10.9.1901 refers).
Colonel Firman had been a Regular Officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and seen service in the Nile Expedition of 1884-85, including the action at Kirbekan.