The Natal Naval Volunteers were raised in Durban in 1885 and were 123 strong when mobilised on 29.9.1899. A section served in Ladysmith during the siege and the remainder were attached to the Royal Naval Detachment that operated with Buller's Relief Force. The Ladysmith section reached the town on 2.10.1899 and on the same day the remainder began building Fort Wylie with the Durban Light Infantry. Fort Wylie was shelled by the Boers on 2.11.99 and, ordered to evacuate, spike their guns and leave their ammunition, the Natal Naval Volunteers disobeyed orders and managed to get away with everything except one gun carriage.
The Volunteers bombarded the Boer positions during the Battle of Colenso and throughout the engagements towards the relief of Ladysmith, the majority being demobilised in April 1900.