K.C.B. London Gazette 19.4.1901.
D.S.O. London Gazette 30.5.1891.
Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Hamilton Settle, K.C.B., D.S.O., was one of a handful of Officers who served with distinction through both Roberts' and Kitchener's tenures as Commander-in-Chief and ended the War as the G.O.C. Cape Colony. When he left South Africa in June 1902, Lord Kitchener made it clear that he would have preferred there to have been a sole Commander of the forces rather than three separate Commands and Settle would have been one of the candidates for this position had it been created. As Roberts happily 'Stellenbosched' his Divisional, Brigade and Regimental Commanders, so Kitchener was not averse to summary dismissal for those who met with disaster or who did not meet his exacting standards. Settle was so important in the quelling of the rebellion in Cape Colony in 1900, and so adept in handling the invasion of 1901, that he attained one of the highest Commands, was promoted Major-General for distinguished service and created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. He had begun the War as a Colonel on the Line of Communication in Cape Colony.
At the end of February 1900 there were serious signs of organised disaffection in the Prieska, Britstown and Carnavon districts of the Cape Colony. Lord Roberts ordered a force to be organised to deal with these problems and Settle took command of one of the Columns. The Column consisted of Orpen's Horse, about 60 strong, one Company of Mounted Infantry, one Field Battery and half a Battalion of Infantry. It assembled at Hopetown and advanced on Prieska. It was so proficient that, when it spread, Settle was soon commanding three Columns to deal with what was becoming an increasingly serious rebellion. The suppression of the rebellion was conducted by Settle's Columns and those of Lord Kitchener, who Roberts had expressly detached from his Head Quarters to work alongside him. By the time Kitchener arrived, Settle had put down most of the rebellion and there was merely some mopping up to be done. What could have been an enormous military and political embarassment to the British, Boer dominance in part of a British Colony, was dispelled.
'The Transvaalers and Free Staters, and many of the prominent rebels, had escaped to the districts north of the Orange River; but the whole of the rebel committee was captured, including the Rev. Mr. Schroeder, the Bond Member of Parliament for the district. Arms were collected, prominent prisoners were detained in custody, and the less important rebels were laid under an obligation to come up for trial if required. Small garrisons were left in Upington, Kenhardt, Draghoender, and Prieska, and a force of 150 Bastard Scouts, under European Officers, was organised to assist in patrolling the districts. Then Settle returned to Cape Town to resume his work as Inspector General of the Lines of Communication, and the rest of his troops were drafted off to Bloemfontein' (Times History refers).
The suppression of the rebellion allowed Roberts to continue his advance on Bloemfontein, checked any furtherance of it and meant that when De Wet invaded a year later, the inhabitants of Cape Colony did not rise again.
Settle was called on later in 1900 to lead a column in Roberts' Orange Free State operations, a column that became known as "Settle's Imperial Circus", of which the Times History had to note: 'It is no disparagement to Settle, who worked hard and well in relieving garrisons and destroying supplies, to say that his column was dubbed "Settle's Imperial Circus". The same humourous description would have applied to nearly all the unwieldy columns of this period.'
Lord Roberts was to write in his Despatch: 'Further to the south and west, in the country extending from Modder River to Vryburg and Schweizer Reneke, the operations were entrusted to Major-General Settle, who left Christiana on the 13th October with 600 mounted men, 10 guns, and 1350 Infantry. He occupied Bloemhof on the 14th, having captured 1000 head of cattle, 12,000 sheep, and 80 horses belonging to burghers who had violated their oaths of neutrality, and he secured 50 prisoners. On arriving at Hoopstad on 17th October, I instructed him to co-operate with Hunter by marching on Bothaville. Hunter, who was then near Kopje Alleen, about 14 miles north-west of Ventersburg Road Station, had received information that 1600 Boers were moving from the south-east on Bothaville, and was following them up with half of 1st Bn. Sussex Regiment and half of 1st Bn. Cameron Highlanders, of Bruce Hamilton's Brigade, Rimington's and Le Gallais' mounted troops, and the 3rd Cavalry Brigade (Porter's). Hunter reached Bothaville on the 20th October, and sent the 3rd Cavalry Brigade to Commando Drift to reconnoitre that crossing of the Vaal and to communicate with Settle.
Meanwhile Settle was attacked on the night of the 19th October at Elizabeth's Rust. After a sharp little engagement, lasting 45 minutes, the Boers retreated to the north bank of the Vaal. Our casualties were one Officer and 15 men wounded. On the 21st October, the 3rd Cavalry Brigade met Settle's advanced troops under Colonel Sir Charles Parsons, as neither force had seen anything of the Boers, Settle retraced his steps on 22nd to Hoopstad, and Hunter reached Kroonstad on the 26th October. On 23rd October, whilst on his way to Hoopstad, Settle was closely engaged by a Boer force, numbering about 650 men from the commandos under Potgieter, De Villiers, and Wolmaranstad, which had probably crossed the Vaal from the north. The Cape Police and Cape Mounted Rifles bore the brunt of the fighting, covering the baggage of the column (73 wagons), and were heavily engaged for two hours before the Boers were driven off. The Cape Police were forced to abandon their two Maxims (having first rendered them useless), owing to the horses being shot and darkness settling in. Our casualties were seven men killed, 12 men wounded, and 17 missing. Settle arrived at Boshof on 30th October, and from there made arrangements to send Sir Charles Parsons to Honeynest Kloof to relieve Koffyfontein, he himself following in support.'
Settle, having distinguished himself overall in his command during some of the most problematic times of 1900 and helped pacify the Western Transvaal, was awarded the K.C.B. and earned the approbation of Lord Roberts:
'Colonel H.H. Settle, D.S.O., was for some time Inspector-General Lines of Communication, Cape Colony, where he did good work. Latterly he has, on several occasions, commanded columns in the disturbed district of the Western Transvaal and Orange River Colony, and has always carried out his duties to my complete satisfaction' (London Gazette 16.5.1901 refers)
His command of the later operations in Cape Colony were of the same ilk and, after six months hard campaigning from December 1900 to May 1901, he proceeded on leave to England. His period in command saw near subjugation of the invasion (see later lots for details), he met and checked it with sixteen different bodies of troops under his command, and he was to return in October 1901 as the G.O.C. Cape Colony. Here he dealt with the vexatious question of the Concentration Camps and Martial Law.
Lord Kitchener spoke highly of him in his final Despatch:
'Major-General Sir H.H. Settle, K.C.B., D.S.O., has rendered valuable service in the difficult position of General Officer Commanding, Cape Colony. I have every cause to feel grateful to him for the judgement and tact which he has displayed when dealing with the innumerable difficult questions which have arisen in connection with the administration of martial law and other kindred matters' (London Gazette 29.7.1902 refers).
Prior to the Boer War, Settle had distinguished himself in the Egyptian Campaigns. He was Mentioned in Despatches for the Nile Campaign 1884 - 85 and promoted Brevet Major (London Gazette 25.8.85 refers) and twice Mentioned in Despatches for the Sudan Campaign of 1888-91 (London Gazettes 11.1.1889 and 6.9.1889 refer), as well as being promoted Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.