• G. Genis Direktoraat Dokumentasiediens, SANW
Keywords: Somaliland Burgher Contingent, was the first South African volunteer unit who fought on foreign soil, cosmopolitan unit, Somaliland, Mohammed Abdulle Hassan, Mad Mullah, Mullah resisted British and Abysinian intrigues


The Somaliland Burgher Contingent, consisting of Afrikaans and English speaking South Africans, was the first South African volunteer unit who fought on foreign soil. Volunteers hailed not only from South Africa but from Britain, Rhodesia, America, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and Austria as well. This truly cosmopolitan unit fought during the Third Expedition (1902-1903) in Somaliland against Mohammed Abdulle Hassan (1856-1920) - the so-called Mad Mullah. During this expedition the South Africans fought side by side with British troops of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, Indian troops and the King's African Rifles whose members consisted of Somalis, Sikhs, Sudanese and Yaos (Africans). These troops endured many hardships during the campaign: they had to march in extreme heat in thick bush country with meager rations and water. The Somaliland Burgher Contingent was involved in skirmishes with the Dervish forces of the Mullah but not in the disasters of Gumburu and Daratoleh during which two British forces were cut up. The Third Expedition was a military failure for the British and a victory for the Mullah who wanted to rid his country of the British infidel. The Mullah resisted British and Abysinian intrigues in his country until his death in 1920. Apart from the campaign, the composition, character, mobilization, demobilization and compensation of the Somaliland Burgher Contingent as well as the reasons why volunteers joined up, are discussed.

How to Cite
Genis, G. (2012). DIE SOMALILAND BURGHER CONTINGENT. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 26(2). https://doi.org/10.5787/26-2-243