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DateOriginal Topic
10th January 2005Realtive at Rorkes Drift
By Tony Curtis
I have a great grandfather who reportadly fought at the Drift, we have contemporary Cardiff press articles saying he was the last living survivor of the battle. However I know very little about his military history and would appreciate advise on how to track down details. His name was James or Jerimiah Callan, although I know quite a lot signed on under different names!

A visit to the regimental museum in Cardiff has him receiving a medal but that has gone missing somewhere along the line. Curator had him with the 24th but couldn't pinpoint at the drift or with Chelmford's column.

Any advice appreciated.


Tony Curtis
11th January 2005Michael Boyle
Holmes' 'Noble 24th' has him as Callan J. 1528 Private, "E" Co. 2nd Battalion. However the only connection to Rorke's Drift has him being sentenced there to 14 days confinement on 11/2/1879 for "making replies when warned to do Orderly Man".(Bit harsh to modern ears!) It records his death at Cardiff 21/11/46 which could make him one of the last survivors of the campaign (those with expertise that exceeds looking things up in a book will I'm sure help you there.) However his medal w/clasp for 1879 only would lead one to suspect he was one of the replacements or at least a late arrival.(John Young or Julian Whybra will I hope correct any inaccuracies here.)


11th January 2005Julian whybra
Callan does not appear on any of the contemporary/near contemporary Rolls/Amended Rolls listing RD participants. No other participant records his presence in any account.
I'm afraid this may just be a case of his being 'at Rorke's Drift' after the event, which became expanded in later life (down the pub) to his having taken part in the battle itself.
12th January 2005Michael Boyle
I hope the reference to the seemingly harsh punishment administered at Rorke's Drift hasn't put you off your research. If you you can check out a copy of Norman Holme's "Noble 24th"you'll see that his infraction was among the least of the myriad of those documented for the regiment. The fact that his service number is not pre-fixed with '25B' would seem to indicate that he had been with the regiment for some time and may have been among the two Cos. who attempted to march to the relief of Rorke's Drift that night.(If it weren't so late I would try to verify that for you.) A trip to Brecon and consultation with Martin Everett's people would no doubt shed more light.


13th January 2005Tony
Thanks, that is all very helpful and I'll get a copy of the book.

I have him as having joined the Warwickshires in 1876 and was alive in cardiff at age 84 at least.

The J apprantly could have been for John. Stories handed down have him as a bit of a nasty piece of work, etc, so the offence comes as no surprise.

Thanks again