The Rorke's Drift VC
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|1st May 2004||Controversial or not??|
By David T
I have just read "THE STORY OF THE ZULU CAMPAIGN" an original 1880 edition [SAMPSON LOW & CO LONDON 1880] written by A Major Ashe [Kings Dragoon Guards], based on letters he received from Capt. The Hon E V Wyatt-Edgell (17th Lancers - died at Ulundi). The MOST interesting thing about the book is that it is inscribed by one Lennox Gore Dobree of Copsefield, Ryde, UK, dated June 29, 1889, who claims to have been a lieutenant in 2nd/24th and who marched with Lord Chelmsford and Col. Glyn after Maj Dartnell on that fateful 22nd day of January 1879. He also formed part of the Rorke's Drift relief column. He has pencilled notes written on various pages. He claims, amongst several things - "It was an Africander who advised building the wall [at Rorke's Drift] with mealie and corn bags and Peek Frean biscuit boxes. LGD was at Rorke's Drift 3 months" - Most controversially he states "Capt Jen-Symons and Myself found the colors (sic) floating in the river near the bodies of Coghill and Melvill" - his spelling of the word "colors" is noted. This statement contradicts the history that I have read on this subject. On Isandlwana he states - "Most of these officers [those who escaped] were out shooting game when the Zulus attacked the camp" viz Capt Alan Gardner 14th Hussars & Essex 75th Regiment, Lieuts. Smith, Dorrien 95th and Cochrane 32nd and Lieut Curling R.A.
CAN ANYONE THROW LIGHT ON THE ABOVE? Was there indeed a Lieut Lennox Gore Dobree 2nd/24th?? His pencilled notes are quite clear and emphatic.
|1st May 2004||Martin Everett|
There is a modern reprint of this book - I was given one only 6 months ago.
Lionel Gore Lenox Dobré is a bit of mystery. He was commissioned the 24th on 16/2/1878 and resigned 17/5/1979. His commissioning date was the same as William Whitelocke Lloyd (the watercolour artist) but he did not came out from UK on the same boat as Lloyd, along with Franklyn. Dobré does not appear in any accounts, and there Service record in National Archives (same as Lloyd). So it would appear that he only joined 2/24th in April/May 1879. He was therefore only involved with 2/24th for a very short period (4-6 weeks at most). However, he did receive the campaign medal with just 1879 clasp. Perhpas someone can come up with a date that he arrived in South Africa.
His surname was spelt Dobré but they did not often worry about these things in Victorian times. Now we know he came from the Isle of Wight - perhaps we can track him down.
|1st May 2004||Julian whybra|
I have Dobree with F coy 2/24th on the 22nd January 1879 (and out with Chelmsford).
His remarks re the special service officers conflict with the accounts of those officers themselves and with the accounts of others who witnessed the actions of those officers.
|1st May 2004||Martin Everett|
You are correct - I missed him on my 22 January list - he was with Church and Mainwaring with F Coy 2/24th with Lord Chelmsford's party. Dobré must have come out to SA with Lloyd and Franklin on the Barmoral Castle in July(?) 1878. I meant to say above I have not found any service records at Kew for Lloyd nor Dobré.
|2nd May 2004||Julian whybra|
No, no service records but he is recorded in the Pay lists and muster Rolls.
|15th May 2004||David T|
Thank you for replies. What comments, if any, relating to pencilled claims that the Zulus did not have rifles at Hlobane and that firearm casualties were caused by cross fire? That LGD found the colours floating in the Mzinyati (not Maj Black?) That the biscuit box fortification idea at Rorke's Drift was that of an "Africander"? There other comments which I will relate should anyone be interested.