In the summer of 1912, the 10th Hussars were moved to South Africa, first to the Tempe Military Base in Bloemfontein and later, in 1913, to Potchefstroom. This was the time of the 1913 miners’ strike occasioned by tightened working conditions at New Kleinfontein, which included the loss of the workers’ Saturday half holiday. The strike spread rapidly to other mines and by the beginning of July, 19,000 workers were involved. The strike reached its climax on 4 and 5 July, when rioting and looting took place in Johannesburg.
The 10th Hussars were among the regiments called to quell the violence, and the arrival of the mounted cavalry officers had a remarkably calming effect on the rioters! The situation remained tense for some time.
By the early twentieth century, although cavalry regiments continued to form a substantial part of all armies, reforms were under way. In the face of new emerging warfare tactics and weaponry, cavalry as a mobile mounted force armed with swords, carbines and occasionally lances was becoming less effectual. Since the second Boer War (1899-1902), more and more emphasis was being placed on mounted infantry training: lances were abandoned for all but ceremonial purposes and from 1903 all cavalrymen were trained for dismounted action and issued with rifles.
Young and ambitious, Pat Armstrong was eager to be on top of his game. In the summer of 1913, he began to make plans for his return to England for additional training as a cavalry officer. In October he bade his regiment farewell and made his way to England. After a few months’ respite at Moyaliffe, Pat entered the Cavalry School in Netheravon, Wiltshire, in March 1914.