LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR FREDERICK CARRINGTON.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR FREDERICK CARRINGTON knows South Africa as perhaps no other officer in Her Majesty's Service knows it. He has spent the greater part of his service there, and, more than that, has availed himself to the fullest extent of his opportunities of travel. He has hunted, shot and fished with an object, for he was one of those who were wise enough to foresee years ago that sooner or later the Dutch would give us trouble. So high does his name stand among the natives that it is quite one to conjure by, as the saying goes, for they recognize that what General Carrington does not know about them is not worth knowing. This is the man to whom has been entrusted the duty of guarding the Rhodesian borders with a force of Colonials and Imperial Yeomanry in the present crisis in South Africa. The duty could scarcely have been placed in more competent hands.
Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Carrington was born August 23rd, 1844. On May 4th, 1864, he joined the 24th Regiment, now the South Wales Borderers, as Ensign. The first ten years of his service were uneventful ; but in 1875 his chance came. The 1st Battalion of the "old 24th" had just been moved to the Cape from Gibraltar. Carrington was a subaltern; somebody was wanted to organize and command a corps of local mounted men for service in the Diamond Fields, where difficulties had arisen. He volunteered; his services were accepted. It was there that he laid the foundation of his reputation. Two years later found him at the head of "Carrington's Horse" on the occasion of the annexation of the Transvaal. In the Kaffir War of 1877, in the Transkei, he for the third time raised a mounted corps—the Frontier Light Horse—and was highly complimented. In the operations against the native chief Sekukuni, in 1878-79, he commanded the Transvaal Volunteers, and so high stood his good name, that to him was entrusted the charge of the advanced guard and left attack on the occasion of the capture of the stronghold. Advantage was now taken of the opportunity for recognising in a substantial manner the value of this tried leader. He was given the brevet of Major and Lieutenant-Colonel, and made. a C.M.G., and at the same time chosen to command the whole of the local forces in the Cape Colony. This brought him in due course fresh field experience, as from November, 1880, to March, 1881, he commanded the Cape Mounted Riflemen, the corps he had been instrumental in raising against the Basutos when that warlike people were endeavouring to "make it hot" for the Boers. In these operations he was severely wounded, but with the pluck of a true soldier he would not yield his command, and his "gallantry, organising ability and wonderful resourcefulness" were brought prominently to the notice of the Colonial Office.
When next he took the field it was with Sir Charles Warren's Expedition to Bechuanaland in 1884-85, this time as Commandant of the 2nd Mounted Rifles. Sir Charles Warren formed the highest opinion of his abilities as a leader, and he placed on record his estimate of his worth.
In the troubles in Zululand in 1888 Colonel Carrington, as he had become, was at the head of the Native Levies, who, it was said at the time, would have followed him "even to destruction, without a murmur," such was their belief in him. In May, 1894, he was promoted a Major-General, and a year later was appointed to the command of the Infantry Brigade at Gibraltar. The native difficulty in Rhodesia called him back to South Africa in April, 1896, when he was entrusted with the direction of military operations, with what success has been shown conclusively during the last nine months. He took over command of the troops in the Belfast District in March, 1899, and it was whilst exercising the duties of that important charge that he was ordered to proceed yet again to South Africa on his present mission.
Lewis P. Orans, 2002