SAGS (1) 1877-8-9 (Lieut. J. P. Daly. 1-24th Foot.)
Lieutenant James Patrick Daly, who was killed at Isandhlwana on the 22nd January, 1879, was born in March, 1855. He was educated at Oscott, and at the Rev. E. Barney’s establishment, at Gosport. After leaving school he served for two successive years with the Galway Militia. On the 28th of February, 1874, he was gazetted to a lieutenancy in the 1st Battalion of the 24th Regiment; and, having joined that Corps at Gibraltar, embarked with it at the latter end of the year for the Cape.
Lieutenant Daly served with his battalion through the Gaika and Galeka campaign of 1877, performing many arduous duties. In November, 1878, he proceeded with the regiment to Natal, to join the force then being prepared to act against the Zulus in the event of their refusing to comply with the terms of Sir Bartle Frere’s ultimatum. On the 9th of January, 1879, Captain Mostyn’s company, to which he was attached, marched from Pietermaritzburg to join the headquarters, which, six weeks earlier, had left the capital, and formed part of Glyn’s column at Helpmakaar. The company reached Isandhlwana on the 21st. In the disastrous encounter with the enemy which ensued at that position on the 22nd, Daly was engaged, under Captain Mostyn, at the commencement of the engagement, on the hills to the left of the camp. No accurate record of his death exists, but it is believed that he fell towards the latter end of the engagement, in the last desperate rally made by the three companies of his battalion to the east of the camp.
SAGS (1) 1877-8-9 (Capt. G. V. Wardell. 1-24th Foot.)
George Vaughan Wardell, who was killed at Isandhlwana on January the 22nd, 1879, was the second son of Major Wardell, who served for forty-three years in the 66th Regiment, the 93rd Highlanders, and the Royal Canadian Rifles. He was born at Toronto, Canada, on February the 21st, 1840, and was educated in that country and in England, passing the direct examination for a commission in the line from Kensington School. Gazetted to an ensigncy in the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, on May the 14th, 1858, he joined that corps at Bury, and, after serving at Sheffield and Aldershot, embarked with it for Mauritius in March, 1860. He there became a lieutenant by purchase, on July the 23rd, 1861, and there being a scarcity of officers of the Commissariat Department in the island, he acted for nearly two years as Deputy Assistant Commissary-General. In 1865 the battalion proceeded to Burmah, where he remained with it until the middle of 1867, when he proceeded to England on leave, and was afterwards attached to the depot at Sheffield and Preston.
In 1870 Captain Wardell exchanged into the 1st Battalion of his regiment, and served with it for three years at Malta and Gibraltar, obtaining his company on January the 10th, 1872. After being two years at the Brigade Depot at Brecon, he embarked, in May, 1875, in charge of drafts, to rejoin the head-quarters of his regiment, which had been sent to the Cape of Good Hope. In 1876 he went in command of a detachment to St Helena, where he was quartered more than a year; on his being recalled to the Cape, the governor of the island issued a general order expressing warm approval of the exemplary behaviour of the non-commissioned officers and men, against whom no single complaint had been made, and stating that by the departure of Captain Wardell he lost a valued friend. Rejoining his regiment in 1877, he accompanied it up the country to King William’s Town, and, on the Galeka outbreak taking place, was again detached with 100 men of the 24th, with about three hundred Burghers, Mounted Police, and Natives, to guard the drift, or ford, across the Great Kei River at Impetu. He there constructed a redoubt named by him Fort Warwick (in allusion to the county of his regiment), which afforded shelter to the neighbouring farmers and their families. After holding this post for three or four months, much harassed and more or less surrounded by the Kaffirs, his communications were at last entirely cut, and he had to be relieved early in January, 1878, by a strong force under Colonel Lambert, 88th Regiment. A sketch of this relief appeared in the Illustrated London News. For this service Captain Wardell received commendation from Sir Arthur Cunynghame, the Lieutenant-General Commanding, who appointed him commandant of the Kei Road and Kabousie stations, with a force of five hundred colonial troops under him. Besides keeping open the communications, he was there incessantly employed in forwarding supplies to the front. Upon the arrival of Lord Chelmsford to take command, he was superseded by a field-officer of another regiment, and rejoined his own corps in the Trans-Kei, where he served against the Galekas until they were completely subjugated.
In November, 1878, the 24th Regiment was ordered to Natal, to join the force being prepared to act against the Zulus in the event of their refusing to comply with the terms of Sir Bartle Frere’s ultimatum. Disembarking at Durban, Captain Wardell marched with his company through Maritzburg to Helpmakaar, where he was encamped for a month. Upon the expiration of the period of grace allowed to the Zulus, he was advanced, in command of two companies, to Rorke’s Drift, in order to cover the working parties employed in making the ford practicable for artillery and heavy ox-waggons, and in constructing pontoons for conveying the infantry across. On January the 11th, 1879, Colonel Glyn’s column, to which both battalions of the 24th Regiment belonged, crossed the Buffalo River into Zululand, and on the following day Captain Wardell, whose company had been the first to pass over, was engaged in a skirmish with outlying parties of the enemy. After being encamped at the Bashee Valley, the column advanced on January the 20th to a new position at the foot of Isandhlwana Hill. In the attack on the camp at that place on the 22nd, Captain Wardell was slain. Some Natal Carabineers who escaped from the massacre, reported that they saw him, surrounded by his company, making a most desperate stand against the savage foe; and in Lieut.-Colonel Black’s description of the field as he found it when he buried the dead five months afterwards, it is stated that over sixty men of the 24th Regiment were found in one spot, together with the remains of Captain Wardell and two other officers who could not be recognised.
Captain Wardell was a thorough soldier; strong, active, and fearless; beloved by his men, and of high repute amongst his brother officers. He married in 1867, at Mauritius, Lucy Anne Charlotte, daughter of Captain Russell, R.N. His father, Major Wardell, served for five years in the Royal Navy before entering the army, and was present at the capture of Java (medal and clasp) in 1811; he also lost his right arm in 1820, from the effects of a wound received whilst in the naval service.
(The South African Campaign of 1879, by J. P. Mackinnon & S. H. Shadbolt, refers).
Medal and archive acquired directly from the family in the late 1970's; this is the first occasion it has appeared at public auction and is likely one of the most complete original archives of this type relating to a Private Soldier killed at Isandlwana.
Owen Hughes is confirmed upon the Medal Roll with correct entitlement to this Medal and Clasp, also noted as having been Killed in Action with the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot. The son of Owen and Margaret, of Sling, a small village in north Wales, Hughes enlisted at Caernarfon on 30 June 1874 (giving his age as 19) and in the space of a few short years was to soon find himself on active service in South Africa for the Anglo-Zulu War.
Both battalions of the 24th participated in the campaign (each fielding six companies) with the 1st Battalion forming the principal element of Number Three Column, which was under the overall command of Colonel Richard Glyn of the 1st/24th: therefore Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pulleine was appointed to command in his stead.
Upon crossing the Buffalo River on 11 January, the column (accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief, General the Lord Chelmsford) found itself pitching camp nine days' later at the base of a prominent feature - the hill at Isandlwana. Chelmsford, eager to bring the campaign to a swift conclusion, departed at dawn on 22 January with half the column's strength (some 2,800 men) leaving behind Pulleine with approximately 1,300 men - five companies of the 1st/24th, one company of the 2nd/24th, 700 men of the Natal Native Contingent, two 7-pdr artillery pieces and a rocket battery.
Battle and Defeat
Failing to take any defensive measures to secure the camp, Pulleine's force was subsequently surprised by a vast Zulu army totalling some 20,000 warriors which, by additionally using the terrain to their advantage, swept forward to the attack using their traditional 'Horns of the Buffalo' strategy - a central advance supported by encircling forces on both flanks. Pulleine deployed the 24th Foot some way in advance of the camp in an extended firing line, aiming to subdue the Zulus with superior firepower - the young Private Hughes must have been one of those men in the line; what he likely thought and felt at that moment defies description.
For at least an hour, the British held the Zulu warriors at bay, inflicting significant casualties with their powerful Martini-Henry rifles and aided by support from the two 7-pdr guns from N/5 Battery Royal Artillery. However, as the mounted force (commanded by Colonel Anthony Durnford) began to withdraw in the face of mounting numbers of Zulus, this exposed the right flank of the British infantry firing-line; G Company (2nd/24th) was swiftly overrun and the remainder also began a withdrawal, loading and firing as they went, back towards the camp. However, by this point the Zulu encirclement of the position had almost been completed and the remains of the British force were left with no option but to either try to fight their way out or fight to the death - the result has subsequently been recorded as one of the most famous 'Last Stands' in British military history, immortalised in paintings, books, and the 1979 major motion picture 'Zulu Dawn' starring Peter O'Toole and Denholm Elliot amongst many other household names.
Of the 1,800 men at Isandlwana over 1,300 of them were killed; the bodies of the slain were afterward buried in mass graves on the battlefield, their last resting places still marked to this day by white-painted stone cairns; Private Owen Hughes is amongst them.
To be sold with the following archive material:
The box of issue for his Medal, his details written on ink to the lid and including the Royal Mint outer envelope.
The Registered Post envelope in which the medal was posted to his father in north Wales.
Hughes's school 'Home and Colonial' Copy-Book, annotated with 'Began 27th of November 1868' to the inside front over, the remainder of the book full and complete with examples of his handwriting in ink.
A poignant Memorial Card, in Welsh, 'In Loving Memory of Owen Hughes', stating the recipient being killed at Isandula [sic] aged 22 and being buried in a 'British Army grave'.
Letter to Mr O. Hughes (father of the recipient) from the Financial Secretary's Department of the War Office, dated 7 November 1879, confirming the sum of £9.15s of Deferred Pay being sent to him.
A letter, dated 18 November 1879, enclosing a Post Office Order for the above amount minus 11d post.
A letter to Mr O. Hughes from Horse Guards, dated 19 November 1880, confirming that he will be receiving a Medal and it will be forwarded when ready for issue.
A letter, dated 30 January 1882, from the Financial Secretary's Department to Hughes's father confirming the further sum of £2.10.0 as final settlement of his Accounts.
A full-length photograph of the recipient in uniform, 615mm x 520mm, framed and glazed, somewhat enhanced, likely by the photographer's studio.
Dr David Biggins
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