rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Reply to topic
ZULU WAR MEDAL ON EBAY
AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 871
Location: Queensland, Australia
Reply with quote
All,

The following is on E-Bay:

'South Africa Medal 1879 - 2/24th Foot and Royal South Wales Borderers Militia', item number: 230919348464

I have cut and pasted the owners comments:

"For sale is a 100% correct South Africa Medal 1879 with the clasp 1877-8-9 engraved to:

1504 PTE. P. HARRIS, 2/24th FOOT

Other than being a great medal with the more desirable clasp to, arguably, the most interesting Regiment that took part in the "Zulu Wars", for me, the most attracttive thing about it is the paperwork that still exists. A copy of Phillip Harris' service papers survive and make for fascinating reading. A colour copy will be provided to the winner. Amongst the interesting facts that can be gleaned from the papers are:

Phillip Harris was serving with the Royal Monmouth Engineer Militia when he enlisted

He enlisted to the "Royal South Wales Borderers Militia"

He was 18 yrs old, from Caerleon, Newport, when he enlisted and could not sign his own name.

His papers are signed by someone with a signature that looks distinctly like "Bromhead"....

He attested on the 22nd January 1878, a year exactly before the fateful day at Isandlwana.

He set sail for the Cape of Good Hope on the 1st February 1878. He is, however, on the medal roll as being awarded the correct clasp!

Not on these papers but recorded also is the fact that he transferred from F to G Company at Rork's drift on the 31st January 1879 (Orders Book - Rorke's Drift, Regimental Archive - copy of this not included in sale as I don't have it).

He was discharged in December 1879 at the Royal Chelsea Hospital due to an injury."

Not having my library, I am unable to look this chap up so can add no informed comment; the signature being like 'Bromhead's' may be wishful thinking to drive up the price (yes, I am very cynical).

AMB
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Looks OK to me, Andrew, although the medal details themselves will be the key. (Peter Weedon, come in now please).

I haven't looked up the exact requirements for the 1877 clasp but I would imagine he qualfied for the 1878 clasp by arriving in the Eastern Cape early in 1878. (10th March, according to his Army Service Record). He certainly wasn't in South Africa anywhere in 1877, so that clasp is a puzzle, as the vendor describes the medal as "100% correct" even knowing he hadn't even enlisted by 1877 (except in his local militia at home). Can you give us the lowdown on that apparent anomaly, Peter?

The rest is fine. His service record does survive, as the vendor indicates, and has been available for public scrutiny since at least the 1970s, when the MoD transferred these papers to the PRO (now TNA), although Norman Holme's work doesn't indicate any examination of these papers for Harris. In recent years this collection has been digitised and is therefore available for research without travelling to Kew (or Chancery Lane in the old days). He quotes from the service record perfectly accurately.

Name, reg'l number, birthplace, enlistment, attestation etc etc are all fine. Monmouth & then Brecon, between 19 Jan 78 and 24 Jan 78, including his formal recruitment on 22 Jan at half past three in the afternoon at Brecon. Straight in & straight out of the Royal SWB Militia into the 2/24. Not usually that short a time in the Militia (Martin might correct me there). Formerly of the Ryl M E M, as the vendor indicates above. Usual physical description (includes "scar under throat" - Wales more dangerous than Zululand???) and one of the two Col Degachers, commanding 25 Sub-District, signed his forms, as did one of the Bromheads, 2/24, by the look of it.

Straight out to SA (which is why I suppose his militia period was so short) on 1st Feb, Eastern Frontier by 10th March, in Natal by 6th August. Admitted to hospital on 12 July of the following year (1879) with broken right thigh, (an accident) & a medical board at PMB authorised his discharge next day. At Netley between Sep & Nov 79, discharged as "unfit for further duty" on 24 Nov. Other details come from the The Noble 24th (his entry p140 re coy trsfr at R/D) & Norman Holme has located an entry in WO116 about his pension award of a shilling a day.

In the 1881 census he can be found as a 22 year old pensioner(!), by then married & living in Risca, Newport, close to his birthplace. In the censuses of 1861 & 71 he can be seen growing up locally.

So it all fits - but it still depends on the medal itself being genuine. Going by Norman Holme (and anyone else here who has a copy of the SA medal roll) he certainly was awarded the 1877-78-79 clasps, although my ignorance of the qualification terms means I'm not sure how he got the 1877 clasp.

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
Reply with quote
The medal is genuine and the engraving is one of the styles used for the 24th. There are no bids on the medal at present which I would value between 550 and 600. Some people are happy to pay a premium for 24th Foot medals simply because of the regiment's (not the recipient's) Rorke's Drift/Isandlwana connection.

Peter
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Many thanks for coming in and providing us with your expertise, Peter. Are you able to clarify the apparent anomaly (to me anyway) as to how he was awarded the 1877 clasp (which he clearly was) given that he didn't sail until 1st Feb 1878? Is this a common occurrence in your experience? Did that whole 2/24 draft get the 77 as well as the 78 clasp?

As an aside, I gather the Royal South Wales Borderers Militia, which I think covered two counties, provided the name for the "new" regiment in 1881 emerging from Cardwell's reforms.

Peter

P.S. Just occurred to me that it's possible that the details provided by the eBay vendor might be misconstrued by anyone reading his extracts from the attestation papers. When he says Harris couldn't sign his name, this was perfectly common (but becoming much less so by the 1870s) and therefore he made his mark in the usual way - a cross, with his name added alongside. The vendor then mentions his forms apparently being signed by Bromhead, but of course this doesn't mean instead of the illiterate recruit. They would have been signed off by Degacher & Bromhead anyway (as Commanding Officer, 25 Sub-District and Superintending Officer, Recruiting Service respectively - both at Brecon), just as the recruiting sgt of the RSWBM had signed his papers at Monmouth on the 19th. Although Gonville Bromhead would still have been at Brecon that week (just) it appears the signature is that of his brother GC Bromhead, who appends "BM 2/24" to his signature - I think he was a Brevet Major in 1878 whereas Gonville was, of course, a subaltern.

Harris enlisted only a few days before the 2/24 were ordered urgently to S Africa to take part in the close of the 9FW. Although most of these 800/900 men weren't lost at Isandlwana, CJB cleared up the bones of some of those who were in Sep 1879.

P.
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
Reply with quote
The criteria for the medal was as follows (relevant sections only)

I. The Medal will be granted to the Forces employed against:
a) The Gealekas, Gaikas and other Kafir Tribes from the 26th September, 1877, to the 28th June, 1878, inclusive.........

II. Her Majesty has also been pleased to approve of a Clasp being attached to the said Medal, on which will be indicated the year or years in which the Recipients of the Medal were engaged in the late Wars thus:
Year on Clasp
For Operations against Gealakas & C.......... 1877-78

So it was possible to have the 1877 bar despite not having entered the country until 1878.

Peter
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Ah yes, got it. Thanks for that Peter. I remember this being discussed in some detail many moons ago on the old forum. It seemed complicated then, too ...

P
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 863
Location: UK
Reply with quote
The medal did not sell - no bids received.
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Just looked at the offer on eBay, as opposed to the transcription provided above by Andrew. Hadn't realised he was starting it off at nearly a thousand quid!

Even as a non-medal collector I'm not that surprised it didn't go. I'm sure your valuation is much nearer the mark, Peter. Of course, it depends on what his market is and how well he knows it, but I don't think it was that well described - or that well set out, anyway. It seems to me you can adopt either (a) the gauche approach by conveying the idea that you're selling something about which you don't know much, encouraging the prospective purchaser to believe he is making a killing, even taking you for a ride, or (b) the knowledgeable, professional approach in which you make it clear you know exactly what you've got, describe it meticulously and know it's value. This chap appears to have fallen between two stools, as I believe it's worth giving great thought to layout, wording and overall approach when something so valuable is offered.

His description ended up looking enthusiastic but amateurish. He was absolutely right to use the info from the WO97 docs, but these were not only poorly interpreted and described, but could have been put to use in a much better way - more fully and positively, as well as more meaningfully. After all, many AZW WO97 docs to the 24th were lost, so he had a distinct advantage. There were faint clues or suggestions that his enthusiasm was masking something not quite right, picked up by Andrew & perhaps others. But it was simply his wrong choice of words. It may not seem too important, but if you want someone to part with a thousand quid or more, you have to give the approach a great deal of thought, especially when your market is knowledgeable and possibly inherently sceptical.

But perhaps he should have started it off at nearer 500 anyway?

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
ZULU WAR MEDAL ON EBAY
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All times are GMT  
Page 1 of 1  

  
  
 Reply to topic