William Newman qualified as a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) at Edinburgh in December 1896 and joined the Cape Mounted Riflemen in 1897. He was probably not officially appointed as a veterinary officer, as the officer commanding, Colonel Dalgety, refers in his 1897 report to anthrax inoculations being "carried out by private Newman who is a qualified veterinary surgeon". For a short period during 1897/1898 Newman was stationed at Umtata, from where he contributed an article, "Biliary Fever at the Cape", to the Veterinary Record (21 May 1898, Vol. 10, p. 672). He subsequently saw service as a private (but not as a veterinary officer) during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) in Bethune's Mounted Infantry. After the war he joined the newly established South African Constabulary as a veterinary officer.