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DateOriginal Topic
20th May 2003Rorke's Drift VC Awards
By sally
Who designated the recipients of the VC's and DCM's after the battle of RD - Was it Chard as CO ?
20th May 2003Martin Everett
Dear Sally,
Chard - was Officer Commanding. Commanding Officer is a term used for Regimental or Battalion Commander. Bromhead was still in command of B Company 2/24th. Bromhead wrote the recommendations for the VC for the six men of the 2/24th to the Commanding Offcier 2/24th - it is dated 15 February and the original document is held in the Public Record Office Kew ref WO32/7390. His words are largely those pubished in the announcement in the London Gazette. Lord Chelmsford add the names of Chard and Bromhead to the Bromhead letter - their awards were published with the 6 x 2/24th men on 2 May 1879. I do know the Bourne's DCM file in the PRO is an empty folder (I have seen it myself) - the contents were removed before the file was transferred to the PRO. So his recommendation is missing - althought the recommendation was submitted to the Queen on 28 July 1879. I am sure that others will be able to fill in on the other awards.
20th May 2003sally
Thanks Martin
I note your comments re Officer Commanding v Commanding Officer.
21st May 2003Peter Quantrill
Although Bromhead was officer commanding B Company, Chard was in overall command during the course of the action.One would have thought that he would be privy to,or at least been consulted with regard to V.C. citations.This however was not the case.
Colonel Arthur Pickard,R.A.,V.C.,C.B.,who in his capacity as Assistant Keeper of the Privy Purse and Assistant Private Secretary to Queen Victoria at Balmoral wrote frequently to Colonel Wood (4 column) on various confidential matters. A letter from Balmoral to Wood dated 14th. October 1879 is quite revealing.In it he states "Chard has been here,and left this morning--------Chard made no complaint but it seemed odd to me that he was not consulted as to the distribution of the V.C's. But it is only one out of many things that no fellow can understand. He is not a genius,but a quiet plodding sort of fellow who will hold his own in most of the situations which as an Engr.Offr, his lot may be cast"
He also added "The Queen liked his quiet unassuming manner and the modest way in which he told his story.I gather from all I hear that Dalton was quite as much (if not more) of the presiding genius there, as himself"
Indeed a point to ponder as to why Chard was not consulted.