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DateOriginal Topic
30th December 2004Sgt Milne, why was he at Rorke's Drift?
By Glenn Wade
Evening all
Can anyone enlighten me as to why Sgt Fred Milne of the Buffs was at Rorke's Drift and are there any accounts in existence that mention his role during the battle, especially the tale concerning him guarding the rum supply? Many thanks in advance
31st December 2004Mike Snook

Millne was there because he had been in charge of bringing engineering stores for the ponts up the lines of communication from Pietermaritzburg.

He wasn't guarding the rum - Sgt Windridge was.


31st December 2004Glenn Wade
Hi Mike
Thanks for replying. Do you know the source of your information regarding Sgt Windridge?
1st January 2005Mike Snook

Yes. It was John Chard's second report (that written for the Queen) in which he mentions detailing Windridge to the duty.

1st January 2005Peter Ewart
Surely, as the only Buff present, his role was to "steady" the defenders?

Happy New Year!

3rd January 2005Mike Snook

Undoubtedly...and what a shame there wasn't also a cavalryman there to 'lend tone to a mere vulgar brawl!'

A Very happy New Year to you Peter.

As ever

17th January 2005Mike McCabe
Sgt Milne was the Bn Pioneer Sgt of 2nd/3rd Foot, and was at Rorke's Drift having been sent there by his CO to meet a command-wide 'trawl' for military personnel experienced in the handling of boats and pontoons. Milne, with other Native and '24th' soldiers was withdrawn from the pont site by Lt Chard after they had secured the pont and barrel ferry in mid stream. He was interviewed by a Kent newspaper after his return from South Africa, providing quite a lot of detail. The PWRR Museum in Dover Castle has a copy.