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Is That Hook Wearing His VC In His Company's Photograph ?
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A bit late in the day, but I was 'mucking about' with my magnifying glass with contemporary photographs from the AZW, when I saw a photo of 'B' Company taken at the end of the war.

Looking closely at the image, it appears that Hook was present, wearing his VC, in the front row, right-middle wearing a medal, perhaps his VC.

Would this be right ?

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Further to the above.

I should have added that the photograph is in the following book, page 72 -

'The Zulu War : Isandhlwana To Ulundi'
by Michael Barthorp.

If I'm correct, a larger version of this photo appeared in another AZW book, but I can't remember which.

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Johnny_H


Joined: 19 Feb 2006
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I'll have to find that book, I just received Barthorp's book on the Nile Expeditions and the relief of Khartoum.

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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
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Johnny,

I think you'll find all Barthorp's books worthwhile. Great pictures and the bones of the detail of the conflict in question. Useful.

AMB
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The Lt.


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
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Coll there's a large photograph of the members of B Co. appearing in James W. Bancroft Rorke's Drift The Zulu War, 1879 which is on both pages 98 and 99. Could this be the photo?
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Alan
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The Lt.


Joined: 04 Sep 2005
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Alan wrote:
Is this the photo?

http://www.rorkesdriftvc.com/defenders/survivors.htm


It's the same photo Alan I spoke about in my last post.....Joe
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Alan

No, it's not that image, but another more 'posed' photograph, with the company standing, sitting and lying in 3-4 rows, with the blurred figure of Lt. Bromhead standing to the left.

I'd swear it is Hook, sitting on the grass second row, centre-right, about two figures more to the right.

On the left of his chest appears to be a medal.

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Michael Boyle


Joined: 12 Dec 2005
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Coll

Would this be the one? (bottom of the page) -

http://www.britishbattles.com/zulu-war/Rorke's-drift.htm

Unfortunately, the res on this example doesn't stand up well to zooming. As far as wearing the V.C., there is an illustration in an Osprey uniform book I believe that illustrates a soldier of the 24th in the four stages from full dress to fatigue with his V.C. worn even down to his shirt sleeves so I would imagine that any soldier who had already received his V.C. would be wearing it in this photo.

I've also come across this interesting ditty bearing the title "The surivors of Rorke's Drift stand down after their battle against the Zulus."

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Rorke%27s_Drift_survivors.jpg/400px-Rorke%27s_Drift_survivors.jpg

The bearded chap third from the left does seem to present a passing resemblance to the good Padre Smith but I like the photo because the man second from the left seems to be laughing (thus slightly out of focus) and the chap with the rifle more or less at the ready seems to have a big ol' smile on his face as well. A relatively rare occurrence for the period when everyone seemed to consider having their picture taken as a solemn occasion indeed!

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Michael
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Michael

That's the one !

It is definitely Hook in the photograph, as I've looked at it several times, but it is also helpful, when having a larger portrait photo of him on the opposite page in the book for comparison, very much 'posed' at the same angle, as he is in the company.

I still can't remember where I saw a larger version of the company photo.

I'll look my books.

Thanks

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John Young


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Michael,

The man with passing resemblance to the good Padre Smith more than likely is George Smith at the death place of the Prince Imperial, this image has come up before. The Royal Engineers Museum have the original have a look at the full image on http://www.remuseum.org.uk/campaign/rem_campaign_zuluwar79.htm

John Y.
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John Young


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Coll,

I can see what you're on about in that group photograph.

The same man appears to be in 'G' Company photograph at Pinetown, standing on the extreme right, which figures as Hook joined 'G' Company. However, he is not wearing anything on his chest in that image.

John Y.
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John

Thanks.

The image I described is also in TWOTS, but it isn't that much larger than the other, nor as sharp, but you can still identify Hook, just a tad more blurred.

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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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John

I remember our discussions about the possibility of the bearded chap in the photo being Smith, which Michael has clearly also considered, when we looked at the very clear copy of that picture in the RE collection at Chatham.

I subsequently came to the conclusion that it was less likely to be him than I had earlier thought, although I can't remember all my reasons now! Visually, I thought the beard in the photo shorter than Smith's, although he could easily have trimmed/shortened it between January & June, and it also seems (to me) just a little shorter than it is in a photo I have traced of Smith taken in Pietermaritzburg in the 1870s.

More to the point, as the photo which you and Michael refer to shows men of the 2/21st Reg't during or after the demolition of Sobhuza's homestead on 3 June, as Ian Knight's caption points out (plate 23 & also 24, With His Face to the Foe) I have to have a reason for Smith being present at this episode to strengthen the case for believing it may be him. The 2nd Div was camped very close by at that time so he was certainly in the vicinity, and it looks as if the bearded man is clearly not one of the 21st (but could we be wrong there?) and possibly the other two in the foreground also. Why would he pose there? Or why not? What, if any, had been his involvement with the 2/21st that day, or with the homestead itself? Perhaps he had "officiated" at the burial of the ancient Zulu woman who died in British hands, one of the three mentioned at the site by several witnesses & painted by Lloyd? (Rattray/LLoyd, pp119-121).

As well as Lloyd's painting, "photographs survive of the burning of this village" - (Rattray/Lloyd, p119, top of r/h column) & Kisch is, it appears, the likely photographer. Other than the photo we're discussing, does anyone know of these? (Unless plates 23 & 24 are all that are known?)

Incidentally, the version in IK's book (Plate 23) is a mirror image of the one Michael has highlighted, and I suspect is the right way round in his work in view of the way the soldiers are holding their rifles?

Michael - I wonder if it is the blurring of the photo which gives the impression of a smile? And the "at the ready" chap grimacing rather than smiling?

Coll - I agree that the chap you point out appears to be Hook and, given the date of the photo, is likely to have been wearing his VC. However, would a bronze VC glint in the sun like that, I wonder? That campaign medal in the portrait photo is shining brightly, but he didn't yet possess that when the group photo was taken, presumably.

Peter
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Martin Everett


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There is a saying why let the true get in the way of a good story - has anyone considered that it might be 25B/1112 Cpl John Lyons - who had a campaign medal for New Zealand.

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Is That Hook Wearing His VC In His Company's Photograph ?
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