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 2004Promotion
By Steven Etchells
According to Army records of 1879, soldiers were promoted and demoted with amazing regularity. Can anyone tell me what kind of actions and misdemeanours would cause promotion or demotion?
4th February 2004Julian Whybra
Having looked at the PRO's records for many regts at this time the main causes for ORs' demotion seem to have been persistent drunkeness, theft, fraud, violence or abuse, all the things you might expect.. Instances of ORs' promotion where mentioned relate to conspicuous behaviour/gallantry in the face of the enemy, showing intiative, long service within a field of responsibility, or death of a superior N.C.O. placing an individual through fate on the next promotional rung of the ladder.
4th February 2004Steven Etchells
Thankyou for that information. It seems strange that their previous record, (for drunkeness, abuse, whatever,) was not held against them. It makes me wonder if the Army in 1879 was quite as brutal as we are sometimes led to believe.
4th February 2004Keith Smith

The case of Private Patrick Desmond, 1/24th, is very interesting. According to Norman Holme, Noble 24th, Desmond "received 18 fines for drunkenness beyween July and October 1878; also imprisoned by civil power. Discharged as a a worthless character 15/11/80.

In a letter to his wife, a Private Edwards says: " A man named Desmond belonging to C[?] company [page 4a] got 50 lashes for insubordination."

Desmond was present at Rorke's Drift and may have been a better pattern for Henry Hook than Hook himself!