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Help with Officers needed
Justin Young


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 49
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I'm looking for details on a couple of Officers who served in SA during 1878-9 and am wondering if anyone can help with any details.

1) Captain G. Eckersley - I know He commanded Eckersley's contingent in Rowlands column and served in the Sekukuni Campaign (although I know almost nothing of this unit). I'm sure I read somewhere that He was an ex RM Officer but I can't for the life of me think where this was.

2) Lieut T.H.S Donovan - Transvaal Rangers - I know nothing of him and have never heard any mention of him (although I know the unit pretty well)

Many thanks
Justin
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Justin,

I can only assist with the fact that Eckersley's forename was George, that should make any research with the Marines a little easier.

I did a search on Google and came up with this article - http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/people/sekhukhune.html

As to Donovan - nothing in my records.

John
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Justin Young


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 49
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Hi John

Eckersley's forename is a start and more than I had, thanks also for the link, I hadn't seen that before.

Hopefully someone else might have other details

Justin
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Eckersley's contingent
AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 897
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Justin & John,

Eckersley's contingent is mentioned in Tylden's The Armed Forces of SA 1659-1954. Page 79, serial 165. "Transvaal Bantu raised by Mr Eckersley, RM, for service in the Zulu War & against Sekukuni in 1879. Carried Enfield rifles. Strength at Sekukuni's 1879, 207". Sources: [i]Official History of the Zulu War[/i], p144; Harrison, [i]Recollections[/i], p201.

Hope this helps a little.

Happy New Year,

Regards,

AMB

PS. Just read my copy of Harrison & he only mentions this unit in passing - the garrisoning of Kruger's Post with 62 from 'Eckersley's natives'.
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Thanks for that Andrew.

Justin,

You can stop looking the RM in that case is Resident Magistrate, rather than the Royal Marines.

JOhn Y.
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Michael Boyle


Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 595
Location: Bucks County,PA,US
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Justin,

There was a Lt. G. Eckersley of the Lydenburg Volunteers in March 1878.

Probably no help at all but the Conception Bay North-Hutchinson's Directory 1864 (Newfoundland) has a Capt. T.H.S. Donovan serving with a detachment of The Royal Canadian Rifles. Same three initials and surname, maybe a close relative?

MAB
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Justin Young


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 49
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Thanks Andrew, John and Michael for the extra information, it really is a great help and its good to get a brief description of the unit.

Id come across a brief entry in War and Peace in SA the other day that said that Eckersley was an Assistant Native Commissioner so Johns note that He was a Resident Magistrate would tie in I guess and certainly stop me chasing the RM connection (of which Id not found anything). I would think it might make him easier to trace also.

Thats very interesting news about Donovan and certainly worth looking more into. The fact that the Donovan in the Royal Canadian Rifles was a Captain in 1864 would make me think that its not that likely to be the same man as Im sure He would have had a higher Rank in an Irregular unit. But the initials are so similar that a close relative would be a real possibility and maybe I should be checking records in Canada (although Im not familiar about Canadian records).
I previously researched another Officer from the Transvaal Rangers (Lt H.McKenzie Paterson) who had previously served as a Sgt in Ferreiras Horse and after much research turned up as a Captain in a Leeds Militia Unit in the early 1880s! - so it shows these men came from everywhere and anywhere!

Thanks again
Justin
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Justin

You probably already know that in his LGOs Keith Smith points out that Mac & Shad give his name as Eckerley, so it seems possible that a surname variant may appear in some indexes, lists or reports, etc.

As in the case of many other 19th century adventurers in SE Africa, it would seem that Huw M. Jones is the oracle as far as this chap is concerned. In his fairly lengthy entry he provides details of Eckersley's family, his place and dates of birth, marriage & death, his movements from Tongaat, the diamond fields and Griqualand West to his involvement with the Lydenburg Volunteers in the ZAR's early campaign against the Pedi.

His movements as a Lieut. between Nov 1876 & Sep 1878 are described & in the renewed 1879 campaign he "raised and commanded a corps of African volunteers based at Fort Jallalabad." They took part in the final battle of Nov 79, apparently afterwards becoming part of the Transvaal Mounted Police. He prospected in Swaziland in the 80s and a number of transactions are noted. Then Tongaat again, marriage at Verulam &, in the early 90s, overseer work at Blackburn, Victoria County. (There was also a G. Eckersley who apparently served with the Colonial Scouts, 2ABW). Post-2ABW, worked for gov't in the Pedi part of Transvaal and appointed JP.

HMJ cites fourteen separate primary & secondary sources for this entry. I was going to suggest to you that Shelagh Spencer's "British Settlers in Natal: a Biographical Register, 1824-57" might help you, but I see he has used that aready! Another entry covers Eckersley's brother Frederick Owen - they were both sons of John & Ann and I just wonder whether this John may be the same chap who crops up from time to time in works by Prof Laband, Jeff Guy & T.V. Bulpin, & who teamed up with Zibhebhu kaMapitha during the civil war, being present at the 2nd Battle of Ulundi, Cetshwayo's wounding, etc., etc. I suspect he is, given the family's connections with HG Darke, whose movements tie up with the Eckersleys rather well.

The above is only a brief summary; if more precise details from the above work are likely to help, contact me direct.

Peter
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Justin Young


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
Posts: 49
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Hi Peter

This is fantastic information, I will send you a private mail to see what else you have.

Many thanks
Justin
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Help with Officers needed
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