K.C.B. London Gazette 3.6.1918
K.C.M.G. London Gazette 9.6.1919
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Edward Burstall, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., became one of Canada's most decorated Generals and first rose to prominence during the Boer War where he served in all the major engagements of the Royal Canadian Regiment and commanded a Canadian Contingent in the South African Constabulary. The 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment was raised in October 1899, arrived in South Africa in November and gained undying fame in Canadian military annals for its position of honour in leading the final attack at the Battle of Paardeberg. From its first engagement to its departure back to Canada in September 1900, the Royal Canadians fought in several fierce battles with the Boers and Burstall distinguished himself in each one.
On 9.1.1900 Burstall commanded half of 'H' Company, R.C.R. in the expedition from Stormberg known as Pilcher's Raid and as the 'B' Company Commander at Paardeberg the next month was in the forefront of the Canadians famous assault on the laager. The attack on Thaba Mountain on 30.4.1900 and the following day was another fine example of a fearless assault on heavily entrenched positions and Burstall's Company was in the thick of the hard fight. Carman Miller in Painting the Map Red comments on the successful attack: 'Challenged by heavy fire for more than three hours, Captain Burstall's 'B' Company drew the heaviest fire, fought the hardest, and suffered three of the six Canadian casualties, especially when his Company deliberately exposed itself to gain a protected point of high land overlooking the Boers' position, from which it drove the remaining Boers from their stronghold on the crest of Thaba Nchu.' The Royal Canadian Regiment further adds that 'Throughout the action, 'B' Coy., was commanded by Captain H.E. Burstall, whose courageous leadership was reported by Lieut.-Col. Buchan to the Brigadier.'
The forcing of the passage of the Zand River on 10.5.1900 was another episode of collective courage and this time the R.C.R. held the high ground on the flank of the main assault in the face of determined Boer fire and 'In reporting upon the events of the day, Lieut.-Col. Buchan noted the conduct of all ranks and in particular the work of Capt. H.E. Burstall and Lieut. W.T. Lawless, who had displayed courage and ability of the highest order.' Burstall was Mentioned in Desptaches by Lord Roberts (London Gazette 17.6.1902 refers).
On 2.3.1901 Burstall, an Officer in the Royal Canadian Artillery, was attached to the South African Constabulary and doubtless drew upon his experiences from the Yukon gold rush of 1898 when he had been sent to help police that unruly area. Initially he went to Krugersdorp with a Canadian S.A.C. Contingent of some 300 which included the British Columbian and Winnepeg-Portage la Prairie troops. On 31.5.1901 Burstall's Troop had the first serious encounter to involve the Canadians in the S.A.C. when his patrol had a running skirmish back to Krugersdorp with a small Boer Commando. At the end of the War, Burstall was Mentioned in Despatches by Lord Kitchener for his work as a Troop Leader (London Gazette 29.7.1902 and War Office records refer).
Burstall commanded the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery from 1907 to 1911 and served with great distinction in France during the Great War. His commands were all with the Canadians: From 1914 to 1915 as Brigadier-General Commanding Artillery, 1st Canadian Division, from 1915 to 1916 as General Officer Commanding Royal Artillery, Canadian Corps and from 1916 to 1918 as a Divisional Commander, Canadian Corps. He was successively created C.B., C.M.G., subsequently promoted to K.C.B., K.C.M.G., and Mentioned in Despatches eight times.