rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
Reply to topic
Unlocking the Archives
Alan
Site Admin

Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1418
Location: Wales
Reply with quote
(On behalf of Martin Everett)

There is a sepia photograph in the regimental archives in Brecon, which attracted my attention, shows a group of seven soldiers. It was taken by photographer James H McLean of Inchicore Road, Dublin in 1888. The only caption is ‘SS Clyde 3rd April 1879’. Unfortunately none of the group is named.



We can only assume that this is a reunion of those who sailed aboard SS CLYDE (see notes below) to South Africa nine years earlier. At the time the photograph was taken the 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers was stationed at Richmond Barracks very close to Inchicore Road in Dublin. These barracks were renamed ‘Keogh Barracks’ in 1922, but no longer exist. I think a school has been built on the site of barracks.

Following the disaster at Isandlwana in Zululand on 22nd January 1879, an urgent request went out to rest of the Army for volunteers to help reconstitute 1st Battalion 24th Regiment. The volunteers were promised that they would have the option of transferring to 24th Regiment or returning to their parent regiment at the conclusion of the Zulu campaign. On 1st March 1879, a ship transport CLYDE left Woolwich for South Africa with draft of 534 volunteers under command Colonel Henry Davies, Grenadier Guards. It was later reported that the CLYDE struck a reef on 4th April 1879 and sank after passing Simon’s Bay. Luckily, all the troops aboard were landed without loss.

In the photograph, each soldier is wearing the South Africa campaign medal. All, except the Coldstream Guards senior rank on the right of group, are wearing the uniform of the South Wales Borderers, the successor regiment to the 24th Foot. The 24th group consists of a Lt-Colonel in undress uniform, a Quartermaster-Sergeant and four Colour Sergeants. Who are they?

The key person in the centre of group is easily recognisable as Lt-Colonel Farquhar Glennie, who at the time of the photograph was taken, was commanding 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers in Dublin. Colonel Glennie, as a Captain, was severely wounded in the Eastern Cape in 1878 and after his recovery returned to South Africa with the 1879 Draft. He later became Commandant, Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall.

The pay and muster rolls, held on the National Archives at Kew, lists seven senior ranks from the Foot Guards as part of the Draft – three from the Grenadier Guards, two from the Scots Guards and two from the Coldstream Guards. The two Coldstream Guardsmen were 2359 Sergeant Elijah Dredge and 2941 Sergeant William Johnson. Dredge on arrival in South Africa transferred to 24th Foot, continued to serve many years with the South Wales Borderers. He was later promoted Quartermaster Sergeant and received his Army Long Service Medal in April 1888. [25B/235 Private William Dredge 1/24th was killed Isandlwana – there could be a family link]. Dredge is probably the man sitting on the left of the group. Sergeant Johnson returned to the Coldstream Guards after South African campaign. He is most likely the Coldstream Guardsman sitting on the right of the group wearing a four bar chevron of a Quartermaster Sergeant. He is also shown wearing the Egypt medal and Khedive’s Star gained while later serving with Coldstream Guards in 1882 Egypt campaign.

Who are the others? There is where research gets difficult as there are no nominal rolls surviving for 1st Battalion in 1888. Two likely contenders are 25B/1798 CSgt George Bennett and 1-24/1791 CSgt William Wadley but they can be ruled out as they served in Abyssinia [no Abyssinian campaign medals are shown]. Cross-relating the available documents - the South African campaign medal roll, the draft pay and muster rolls and the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal roll – this gives probable candidates 25B/1523 CSgt Charles Martin, 25B/1857 CSgt Joseph Moore, 25B/1882 CSgt Thomas Murray (later a Quartermaster) and 25B/2080 CSgt Alfred Sale (later a Quartermaster).

The Steam Ship CLYDE was a British Cargo Steamer of 2,256 tons built in 1870 by Charles Connell & Company, Scotstoun as the CITY OF POONA for George Smith & Co, Glasgow. SS CITY OF POONAH, was in the Ellerman fleet from 1870, until she was sold to the Temperley Line, and renamed CLYDE. This ship was wrecked at Dyer Island, South Africa on the 7th April, 1879. This was not far from the 1852 wreck site of the BIRKENHEAD at Danger Point.

Martin Everett

_________________
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailVisit poster's website
John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
Reply with quote
Martin,

Confirmation of two points for you.

The Coldstreamer on the right is indeed Johnson.

Here he is in mufti after his promotion to Lieutenant & Quartermaster of 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards.


Lieutenant & Quartermaster W. Johnson, 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards. 1897

(Sorry it is a very large photograph I have of him!)

Johnson enlisted in the Coldstream Guards in January 1872, in just seven years he had attained the rank of Pay-Sergeant.

Promoted to Quartermaster-Sergeant on the voyage out to Egypt, he was present at the Battle of Tel-El-Kebir in 1882.

Later awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

In July 1894 he was appointed as the Superintending Clerk of the Coldstream Guards and on the formation of the 3rd Battalion in December 1897 he was promoted to Quartermaster.

The other point the Dredges were indeed related they were brothers. Elijah's forename gives a clue to his true religion and his Jewish heritage. The facts were given to me by his late Grandson who was a friend of mine.

Ron Sheeley might be able to assist further as he has Davies' correspondence regarding the replacement draft.

John
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Martin Everett


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 784
Location: Brecon
Reply with quote
John,

Many thanks for two extra pieces to the jigsaw - much appreciated.

I noticed you used the term 'mufti' - although used in line regiments until quite recently, it was always 'plain clothes' on orders in the Foot Guards - maybe because the Guards never served East of Suez.

Although not on the photograph, I still have to find out what happened to 4579 Sgt Robert McFeeters, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who also was on the Col Davies' draft and was appointed Sergeant Major 1st 24th (vice Sgt-Maj Frederick Gapp) on his arrival in South Africa. I assume he returned to the Grenadiers.

_________________
Martin Everett
Brecon, Powys
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailVisit poster's website
John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
Reply with quote
Martin,

I am grateful for your information re-'plain clothes'.

I should have mentioned it in my previous posting Johnson is shown in my photograph in Liverpool Road, Islington outside the rear of the Agricultural Hall. In the 1890's Johnson assisted Colonel G. M. Fox, Inspector-General of Gymnasia, in a number of productions of the Royal Tournament when it was held at that venue.

McFeeters did indeed return to the Grenadiers, there is a known photograph of him wearing his 1879 Medal that I have seen. I think it may well have been subsequently reproduced in The Navy & Army Illustrated.

Regards,

John
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Unlocking the Archives
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