you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
3rd February 2005W.W. Lloyd - Ahead of his Time Part 2!
By John Young
Rather than have this buried in the 'Bayonets of the 24th' posting, I thought I'd cast some more doubt on Mike's statement: 'It is my view that there is no question about the authenticity of the Lloyd sketches - they are a rare and absolutely bona fide insight into the era.'

According to the Appendix I, page 509, of C.T. Atkinson's 'The South Wales Borderers 24th Foot 1689-1937', William Whitelocke Lloyd served with the 24th from 12/6/1878, joining them as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted along with a number of other officers of the regiment on 23/1/1879. He resigned his commission 26/4/1882.

In the print 'A Skirmish on Picquet', which F.W.D. Jackson used on the rear cover of 'Hill of the Sphinx', there is depicted a gun-crew in action, with a mounted officer observing the effects of the cannon's fire through field glasses.

If we study the artillerymen, we can clearly see that Lloyd has depicted them with a ball on top of their foreign-service helmets. However, in 1878/9, when I assume the sketches for these prints were made, the Royal Artillery wore a spike, introduced by virtue of G.O. 40 of 1878. It would not be until 1881, (G.O. 90 of 1881) that the ball fitting was introduced.

Was Lloyd a forward-thinker? Were his sketches made in 1878/9, or do they date from a later time of 'jam-pot' cuffs and when the R.A. had stopped wearing spikes because of the '...considerable annoyance to the horses when their riders were tightening their girths...' (D.Alastair Campbell, 'The Dress of the Royal Artillery' 1971.)

How authentic are Lloyd's prints? Not very in my opinion - look at the print of the dying lancer. The plastron is depicted buttoned with the 17th Lancers' white facing showing. Yet we know on active service the plastron was reversed with the blue covering the white, I do have a photograph to prove that as fact taken shortly after the Prince Imperial's death.

The remainder of my Lloyd prints are hidden inside a file in my study, but I'm pretty certain he has depicted shoulder straps of an infantry officer's blue patrol jacket in the print where they are eating a meal. Once again a post-1881addition to the patrol jacket.

Still happy with Lloyd's authenticity? I'm not!

John Y.
4th February 2005Martin Everett
Dear John,
The Lloyd sketches you refer to come from a booklet called 'On Active Service' that Lloyd published in 1890 - some 7 years before his death. Most of the sketches in this publication are based earlier ones done in the AZW.

Lloyd was at Helpmeaar on 22/23 Jan and with 1/24th on the 2nd Invasion. It is clear as you say that he has updated the uniforms for the 1890 publication. The some of the soldiers are wearing universal (white) facings (introduced in 1881) when they are clearly 24th soldiers. However I do not think is it is wise to dismiss Lloyd for the following reason:

We now have Lloyd's original watercolours - 115 of them! David Rattray and I spept most of last Nov travelling the ground in KZN. It is clear that Lloyd was very accurate under very difficult campaign conditions. The dying lancer picture - although the orginal sketch does not have the Lancer - the scene is of the horse laager at Upoko River where a Zulu Kraal was shelled on 7 June 1879. It was near this spot that Lt Firth was shot Lloyd has added Firth to his 1890 published picture). I took a photograph from the position horse laager and I have to tell you it has not changed at all in 126 years. These watercolurs are a truly staggering find and a fresh insight to life on campaign. You have to buy the book later this year and judge for yourself how good Lloyd as an artist was.

However you are still right in your observations. But don't dismiss Lloyd - pity you are not with us to see for yourself.
4th February 2005Mike Snook

I'll look at this again. I am attempting to arrive at the conclusive answer on the bayonet not on tunics. The provenance of the picture compared with Lloyd's service dates is, I grant you, vital. I had always believed that this particular picture was an original field sketch copied and coloured for 'On Active Service.' I will look at the matter more closely to confirm or deny its provenance. Thankyou for your observations.

But the original watercolours are startlingly true to life as Martin says.


Do the originals have anything up to Feb 79 with bayonets in? I don't want to go further to the right than Feb as the possibility then arises that the new bayonets were shipped out with the reinforcements. I will call by and confer when I can.


6th February 2005Martin Everett

See ILN dated 29 March 1879 - - Return of the Colours to Helpmekaar by LLoyd.