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Rorke's Drift Defender's Medal
peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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A rare Kaffir and Zulu War medal awarded to Private Michael Minehan, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, right-hand man of the front rank of “B” Company at the defence of Rorke’s Drift and the subject of a testimonial written by Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, V.C.

South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1877-8-9 (B/1527. Pte. M. Minehan. 2/24th Foot.) very minor edge bruise, otherwise toned, good very fine £26000-30000
Footnote
Provenance: Buckland Dix & Wood, 6 May 1992.

Michael Minehan was born at Castlehaven, Co. Cork, in 1845. He enlisted for the 24th Foot at Bandon, County Cork, on 14 October, 1864, but was found to have already joined the West Coast Artillery Militia earlier in that year. Nevertheless, he was allowed to continue in the 2nd 24th Foot, and saw service in India, South Africa and the Mediterranean. He re-engaged for further service at Secunderabad on 7 October 1871.

Captain (later Major-General) Penn-Symons wrote: ‘Minehan was a great pal of mine; he was right-hand man, front rank of B Company, who knew his drill well and had often kept me straight.’ At one stage of the battle at Rorke's Drift, Minehan had been posted in the kraal. The day after the fight he was unable to speak as a result of exhaustion, but had taken Penn-Symons to the corner of the kraal at which he had been stationed. By means of gesticulation he indicated the body of a Zulu, partly hidden under the straw. It appeared that during the battle the Zulu had crawled under the straw and grabbed Minehan by the leg. Minehan had 'prodded the straw with his bayonet' and one such thrust had penetrated the Zulu's body, killing him instantly.

Minehan was highly regarded by his officers and received several testimonials of good character from them, including one written by Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, V.C., dated 24 March 1884.

After his service in South Africa, Minehan was again posted to India on 12 August 1880, and whilst there contracted cholera on 15 April 1884. He was invalided to England at the end of the same month and, following his examination by a medical board at Netley Hospital, was found to be unfit for further service and discharged on 2 September 1884. He died on 26 May 1891 and is buried in a churchyard at Castletownsend, County Cork, the grave marker, a cross of wrought iron, bearing the inscription ‘Michael Minihan (sic). Late of the 24th Regiment and one of the gallant defenders of Rorke’s Drift.’

Private Minehan's presence at the defence of Rorke's Drift is confirmed on all four of the accepted roll's and furthermore by the anecdote related above. Sold with copied discharge papers and other research.

https://www.dnw.co.uk/auctions/catalogue/lot.php?auction_id=448&lot_id=5636&search=1
The hammer price in 1992 was £5,200. I can't recall if the medal has been sold again in the meantime. Certainly Minehan is one of the most interesting defenders and would be a jewel in any collection.
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 871
Location: Queensland, Australia
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Peter,

Certainly a jewel in any RD collection.

Oh, to have deep pockets! Even if I had, I'm certain my wife would sew them up although, happily, she's more open to Astons!

Well, someone out there will snap this one up.

Interesting to see the hammer price.

Regards as ever,

AMB
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: UK
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Alan - do you have a note of the source that led to the identification of Minehan in the group picture?
http://www.rorkesdriftvc.com/defenders/survivors.htm

Peter
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Alan
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Peter, John Young is your best bet on that as he supplied the image with the names.

This is a pic of the restored metal headstone in a churchyard in Castletownsend, Co.Cork. Note the spelling of his name.

All images in the forum have been deleted by Photobucket unless payment is made to them.


Last edited by Alan on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Thanks Alan - hopefully John will pick up on this thread.

Peter
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Alan
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Meanwhile, John has given some initial information,
"Minehan was B Company right marker, due to his height. Which is why he is identified as such
in at least two photographs that show B Company. Bourne is to his right as he is in both photographs."

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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Minehan's medal hammered at £70,000, so including commission and VAT will have cost the buyer £87,500. I have followed the price of RD medals reasonably closely for the past 15 years, and all I can say is that the price is insane.

Peter
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Alan
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Agreed. Any idea of buyer/country?

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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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No idea at all.
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
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£70k?! Wow....

AMB
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Rorke's Drift Defender's Medal
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