The Boers demanded independence for the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The British Government refused and the 2nd Boer War started.

The 14th Hussars were warned for service in South Africa in October 1899 to reinforce the inadequate number of British forces there. While the 14th were at sea, the Boers attacked into the British possessions of Natal and Cape Colony, where they besieged the towns of Kimberley, Ladysmith and Mafeking. In the week of 10th to 15th December 1899, the British Forces were decisively defeated in three battles at Colenso, Magersfontein and Stormberg.

The main body of the 14th disembarked at Durban on 6th January 1900 and joined the 1st Natal Cavalry Brigade under the overall command of General Sir Redvers Buller. B Squadron landed at Cape Town four days later and joined Major General French’s Cavalry Division, which had been given the task of outflanking the Boers at Magersfontein to relieve Kimberley.