20 September 1915
On 20 September 1915 a new battalion consisting of Cape Coloured men, called the Cape Corps was established with the view of being dispatched to East Africa in 1916 to fight on the side of the Allies in World War One. The corps was made up of coloured members of the country's defence force, and at its peak strength it had around 23 000 members. More than 12 000 South African servicemen fought in World War One, and fewer than 4 000 were black, coloured or Indian. The most well-known battle that was fought entirely by the Cape Corps was called the Battle of Square Hill, fought against the Turks. The battle of Square Hill was fought entirely by the Cape Corps squadron, as regulations at the time stated that coloureds could not fight against whites, and the Turks were deemed "non-white". In the battle of Square Hill, the Turkish troops had taken up a post on the hill, making it impossible for British soldiers to pass. They needed to be dislodged. The Cape Corps broke through the enemy's defences in the middle of the night, eventually capturing 8 Turkish officers, 160 soldiers and 181 other Turks as well as an enemy field gun. One Cape Corps member was killed and another wounded. In a second attack at the nearby Kh Jebeit Hill, the Cape Corps faced Turkish forces again during a marathon 12-hour battle. Fifty-one Cape soldiers were killed, a further 101 were wounded and one was captured.