Sergeant Howard Joseph Harrington served in the 4th South Australian (Imperial Bushmen) Contingent.
Stirling records that after the Contingent landed at Port Elizabeth in June 1900, 'They were very soon to see brisk fighting and to gain distinction. About the middle of June Lord Roberts commenced operations to encircle the Boers who were in the Wittebergen or Brandwater Basin, a mountain stronghold in the north-east of Orange River Colony. Rundle, with the VIIIth Division, and Brabant, with the South African Colonial Division, were holding the line from Senekal eastward to the Basutoland border. Clements and Paget, a little farther west, were about Lindley, the south-west point of the Boer stronghold. These masses of men either could not or were not allowed to live on the country, hence huge convoys of supplies had to be sent from the railway. On 23rd June a very large convoy left Kroonstad for General Paget's force at Lindley. The convoy was commanded by Colonel Brookfield, 14th Imperial Yeomanry, and consisted of 200 of that corps, 114 other Yeomanry, 400 Imperial Bushmen - namely, two Squadrons 4th South Australians, one Squadron 4th West Australians; one Squadron 4th Tasmanians; 27 Rimington Guides; 93 Prince Alfred's Guards; two guns 17th Royal Field Artillery; four guns C.I.V. Battery; half battalion Yorkshire Light Infantry and the 3rd East Kent (Buffs) Militia. The whole of the Australians were treated as one regiment under Colonel Rowell ...'
On the morning of the 26th Theron's Scouts suddenly attacked the convoy near Eland Spruit but they were driven off. In the afternoon, near Swartz Farm, Piet de Wet attacked. Colonel Rowell's men were ordered to dismount, and advancing with 'great go', the enemy was again driven off. On the 27th the convoy marched sixteen miles, the escort being engaged practically all day. Near Lindley the traction engines stuck in a spruit. Colonel Rowell's men were rear-guard, and were heavily pressed by the enemy, who endeavoured to cut off the Tasmanians who were rear screen; but the City Imperial Volunteer Battery did good work, and Colonel Brookfield having sent a fresh Squadron to Rowell's assistance, he was able to keep the Boers off the convoy. Next day Lindley was reached. The 4th South Australians had several casualties on the 26th and 27th.
It was only to be expected that the Yorkshire Light Infantry, who had done very fine work in Lord Methuen's earlier battles, would do that all soldiers could do; but Colonel Brookfield could not have been so confident about the Militia and Yeomanry and his absolutely untried Bushmen, who had not, before this, fired a shot in earnest. In a despatch to Generly Kelly-Kenny, commanding in the Orange River Colony, the Chief of Staff said that Lord Roberts was of opinon that the march of the convoy had been 'conducted with skill and foresight, that no precautions were neglected, and that the behaviour of the troops was creditable to all ranks. His Lordship is glad to observe that beside the regular troops employed, a Militia Battalion (3rd Buffs), the Corps of Imperial Bushmen, the Imperial Yeomanry, and the City Imperial Volunteer Artillery, distinguished themselves on this occasion.'
Colonel Brookfield, M.P., supplied Stirling with many of the details about the convoy and its conduct and his Despatch on the fighting adopts the same successful tone (War Officer Records refer). The authorities, however, took a different view and he received an adverse report from the G.O.C. Lindley which may have been one of the causes of his removal from the command of the 14th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry a few months later.