Captain John Marsh, Colonial Defence Force, late 2nd Brabant's Horse, was recommended for an award following an act of gallantry on 3.10.1901. In October 1901 he was the Station Commandant at Sterkstroom, Cape Colony and in command of local District Mounted Troops and Scouts. He was recommended by Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming, Kaffrarian Rifles:
'In action at Haasjes Kraal near Sterkstroom on 3rd October 1901. Hurried out with only 10 scouts to keep 50 Boers under Commandant Pretorius in check until the arrival of a local D.M.T. During a retirement necessitated by the enemy endeavouring to surround the small party, Capt. Marsh under very heavy fire went back and brought out safely two scouts whose horses had stampeded. During this action Commandant Pretorius and one man were killed and on arrival of local D.M.T. the enemy were chased and eventually driven on to a post held by No. 2 D.M.T. at Katberg Pass where 21 were captured with full equipment and horses' (War Office records refer)
He had originally been recommended, in unusual circumstances, to Lieutenant-Colonel Cumming by Trooper G.R. Aspeling in a letter dated 4.1.1902:
'As Capt. Marsh is no longer O.C. Troops here, I now feel at liberty, to personally bring to your notice, an incident which occurred during the skirmish at Hassjes Kraal on the 3rd October 1901.
It was no doubt reported to you, that, when we opened fire on the Boers, at about 2000 yards range the enemy seeing our small number, several of them who were hidden in some bushes on our right front, charged us, a number of others making for a ridge on our left flank.
However, those that charged us were met with such a warm reception, one being shot within 400 yards of us, that they swerved and made for a rise on our right. Capt. Marsh seeing this, immediately gave the order to mount, leaving two of us to continue firing until the men got on their horses.
The Boers, seeing this movement, poured in a hot fire on three sides, some of them firing with carbines from their saddles, at very close range. It was at this stage that two of the Scouts horses stampeded, the one being hit, two men being dismounted thereby. I was one of the dismounted men and ran for some distance to try and recover my horse but seeing him run past the Boers, I had to give up the chase. I ran back to where I was before.
I may state that we had no cover, the grass being burnt, with only a small ant heap here and there showing.
Capt. Marsh, who had already ridden off, seeing my predicament, returned and told me to mount behind him. I was very much exhausted from running after my horse and consequently it took some time for me to mount. During this time we were under a rather heavy cross fire from the enemy, some of the Boers being very close to us. As it was through Capt. Marsh's gallant act that I escaped death or capture, I think it only right that I should acquaint you, as his immediate chief at the time, with the facts of the case' (War Office Records refer).
The delay in Recommendation may have been the reason but it is surprising that Marsh's gallantry was not recognised.