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DateOriginal Topic
1st January 2005Rorke's Drift men in India
By Melanie
What was the the men from Rorke's Drift 2nd /24th doing in India.
Need info for book .
2nd January 2005Martin Everett
Why do you not read Bill Lloyd's book on John Williams VC or Barry Johnson's book on Henry Hook VC - although Henry Hook did not serve in India. Both will give you a better insight into soldier's lives at that time.
3rd January 2005Phil Pearce
Dear Melanie,
if you are writting a book do you not think it a good idea to learn the difference between singular & plural ? Although a group can be a singularity you speak of "the men " which is plural & so should ask what were not was was. Sorry to be picky .
In answer to your question have you ever heared of the British Empire ? If so do you not realise that British troops were moved around it? My gt grandfather served all over the place not just at Rorkes. Like all other troops he went where he was sent much like they do today.
3rd January 2005Ian
Soldiers of any regiment were sent where duty called they never questioned orders they were just glad of three meals a day and a shilling a week
3rd January 2005Richard
Gents I think your being a bit harsh on Melanie. I suspect Melanie is needing the info for an article for school.
3rd January 2005Melanie
He who laugh's first,
He is a fool,
He only laugh at other's,
To hide his own mistake's.
3rd January 2005David
Well done Melanie.
3rd January 2005Peter Ewart

Briefly, India was "the finest jewel in the British Crown" for many generations. The British Empire WAS India and India was the Empire - the whole of the rest put together, in comparison, was a mere sideshow, even if the sun never set on it.

An average infantryman of the 2nd half of that century (if there ever was such a thing) could expect to spend a large part of his service to the Queen sweltering in India - probably doing nothing much more than patronising the wet canteen, hanging around on trains and trying his hand at hockey or the local bazaar - unless there was a little excitement up on the NWF.

By the time the "6 & 6" or "7 & 5" men formed the larger part of the infantry after Cardwell's reforms had taken full effect, a typical infantryman might see a few weeks training at reg'tal depot, a year or so in Ireland and 5 or 6 years in India - unless a requirement of some sort sent his regiment to Africa or elsewhere. If he became time-expired between the half-yearly troopships, that was tough luck and he'd be stuck in India for a few months more. (He wouldn't usually be allowed on a draft to India until he'd turned 20).

Without looking it up, I think the 24th had two spells in Secunderabad in the 1870s, one before and one after their S African adventures.

3rd January 2005Martin Conway
Melanie, it's easy to write one word when you mean to write another. We all do it. I usually don't bother making more than a quick check and, consequently, mistakes get through. It's not important on something as trivial as a forum.

I know that you were simply asking why some men were sent to India and were not questioning the decision to send them there.

India was a very important part of the Empire. Various business interests needed to be protected there, not only against Indians who wanted foreigners to leave their country but also against the Russians, who were trying to increase their influence in central Asia. I have found a link to this Russian connection in case it is of use in your research. I haven't read the info but it looks interesting.

Ask more questions if you need to.

Good luck in whatever you're doing.


4th January 2005Phil Pearce
Sorry melanie , my errors can be pretty bad as well.
Mind you neither of us made the error I came across over the festive season.
I was actually asked what the 24th were doing in Belgium. I apparently looked bemused, as I asked what they meant. The gentleman concerned pointed out that some men were awarded their V.C's in Utrecht including my Gt G dad Pte 716. It took 20 mins to explain that there was a Utrecht in Transvaal.Informed me he would have to check this out.Thank the Lord for Glenmorangie !
4th January 2005Peter Ewart
And when he checked it out, he would have found the original Utrecht was (& is) in Holland, not in Belgium ...

(We can all be pendantic when we choose ...)

5th January 2005Phil pearce
I tried to tell him that it was in the Netherlands .But with no Atlas at hand to back me up .....Well that was a good part of the twenty mins ! I have fond (lol ) memories of The Union of Utrecht of 1579 & The later treaty of 1713. Also of the history teacher who sprayed half the class when he pronounced the last three letters. Early modern Welsh history was even worse lol
19th January 2005Julian whybra
The answer is 'Trade'.