The Rorke's Drift VC
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|9th June 2004||Return to Rorke's Drift?|
By Peter Ewart
Just a thought. The recent pilgrimages to Normandy led me to wonder whether any of the defenders of 22/23rd January ever returned to Rorke's Drift after 1879.
Presumably none of the 24th were likely to have managed it, the men anyway - other than, perhaps, the one or two who remained or ended up in South Africa, and the non-24th who also did (Cantwell etc)? Or the odd colonist or two? Adendorff perhaps?
I wonder if Penn Symons found time to revisit RD or Isandlwana in 1899, or whether he was too busy with the worsening situation before the fighting & his death.
Parson Smith, by then a full CF, served again in S Africa for a year from Nov 1903, only 60 miles or so (perhaps a bit more) as the crow flies from RD. In Oct 1904 he intended to spend 3 weeks looking up old friends in Estcourt/Weenen before returning to England but RD would have been just as near, with a railway now as far as Dundee. I wonder.
Anyone come across any recorded visits, or possible/likely returns? One or two old Isandlwana men made it in 1929, so who knows?
|9th June 2004||Martin Everett|
It is interesting point. I did some research when preparing an article for our Regimental Journal to cover the 125th events. I have not found in the archives any reports of the 24th defenders revisiting Rorke's Drfit.
Of course, 2nd Battalion returned to South Africa for the Anglo Boer in 1900; only three members had seen service in AZW - the CO - Lt Col Roche, 2i/c Major Palmes and the QM - Capt Burrows. None were at Rorke's Drift. Did they pay a visit to the mission station?
As you say, a likely candidate could be Major General Sir William Penn Symons, although not a defender, died of wounds on 23 October 1899 at Dundee - he could have visited Rorke's Drift
The only account I hold is one from Brig Gen Henry Mainwaring - F Coy 2/24 on 22 January 1879 who revisited Rorke's Drift on 8 March 1921.
There is an accounts of veterans (I think there was one 24th veteran) being present on the 50th anniversary in the Natal Witness (I have a copy somewhere) in 1929.
Of course, a number of soldiers purchased their discharge and settled in South Africa. Who knows?
|10th June 2004||Martin Everett|
In 1929 during the 50th anniversary events the 3 members of the 2/24th party were shown around Fugitives' Drift by a 'Mr Power' who was present when bodies of Melvill and Coghill were found in 1879. Who is 'Trooper Power'?
|11th June 2004||Philip Pearce|
Know for a fact that my gt grand father (R. Jones) didn't return so you can cross him from the list
|11th June 2004||Ian Essex|
Good question, was thinking about that myself.
Further to this, I seem to recall seeing a photo of a re-enactment of some part of Rorke's Drift by 'surviving old soldiers'.
Can anyone give any more info:
Who was in the photo?
Where was it held and when?
Where can we see the photo?
|11th June 2004||Martin Everett|
I am sure that Peter will not mind me stealing his thunder.
There were two re-enactments staged by 2/SWB. The first when they were station at Agra, India (without my notes to hand) in about 1926. The second which i believe it is the one you refer to at the Northern Command Tatto at Ravensworth Castle, Gateshead 7-14 July 1934. No survivng RD soldiers took part but they visited the tattoo, namely Saxty, Wood, Bourne, Jobbins and Cooper. The photo is reproduced in 'Images of Wales' - see 'Shop'