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Pte. McKernan, together with the 2nd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment, was mobilised at Aldershot to go to South Africa in January 1900. He sailed on the troop ship S.S. Nile and arrived two months later. The 2nd Battalion East Yorks. joined the 16th Brigade of General Rundle's 8th Division. General Rundle was in charge of clearing the South East and the 2nd Battalion took part in the engagement at Constantine Farm outside Dewetsdorp, on 22nd April 1900, sustaining many casualties.
The Battalion then marched to Pretoria and on 21st May it took Ladybrand and later seized Senekal on 25th May.
Losses to the 2nd battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment, during its action in South Africa, amounted to 11 killed and 58 wounded.
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