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Saturday, 2 July 2011


I'm still working on the rest of the Prince Imperial post, needs to be whittled down some more or it will just be to long. The whittling needs to be carefully done or the drama of the story is lost. So I thought I would post this short piece out of Morris' book.

There are many tales of heroism that came out of the battle of Isandhlwana. One that struck me the most was the following.

The Honourable Standish William Prendergast Vereker, twenty-five years old, was the third son of the Viscount Gort. Under primogeniture, there was no room in the nest for younger sons, and little enough room in England if they were not attracted to the Army, the Navy, the Church or the bar. Vereker left Oxford, and for a time thought of becoming a gentleman farmer. Then he embarked for Cape Town, and by August of 1878 he had drifted to the Transvaal. The operations against Sekukuni were about to start, and Vereker enlisted under Colonel Redvers Buller as a trooper in the Frontier Light Horse. He did well in the subsequent campaign, and when Lonsdale offered him a commission in the 3d Regiment, NNC, he accepted with alacrity. He had been stationed with the outpost at the head of the spur, and when his company fled, he continued to fight with Raw's troop of mounted natives, down the spur, through the carnage of the upper camp and into the saddle. When the last of the Natal Kaffirs and the mounted natives had gone, Vereker prepared to leave with Raw. He had lost his horse, but Raw snatched one, bridled and saddled, from the refugee stream and led it to his friend.Vereker had already mounted when a dismounted native of the Natal Native Horse rushed up to him and indicated that the horse was his. The Englishman dismounted at once, and with the courtesy of his class handed the reins to the Natal native. Lieutenant Raw survived; the body of the Honourable Standish Vereker was found in the heap of men who had died with Durnford.

Washing of the Spears, by Donald R Morris.

Honourable indeed. I don't know if I could have given up the horse in that situation. 

NNC, Natal Native Contingent.

1 comment:

Gorges Smythe said...

That's the problem with a nation (ANY nation) trying to subjugate others - a lot of good men die in the process.