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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 5 days ago #74239

  • BereniceUK
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FOUGHT THE ZULUS

Nottm. Veteran Who Was At Rorke's Drift

....One of the finest old soldiers in Britain, George James Merchant, 83, of No. 1, Corby-road, Mapperley, Nottingham, died yesterday. He was believed to be the last survivor of Rorke's Drift, for he was the youngest soldier of the campaign, and at the time of the massacre was 16.
....Right up to his death he insisted on doing his own washing and 10 years ago, with an ordinary pair of pincers, and without any anæsthetic, he himself pulled out his last offending molar.
The veteran's father was in the pottery trade, and it s claimed that he introduced the first pottery teapot. George Merchant was of an adventurous disposition and ran away from home to join the Navy. When the Zulu campaign opened he found life in the Navy was "tame," so he deserted to join the Army.
....To do this he gave a wrong age, and underwent all the rigours of the first and second Zulu wars. Mr. Merchant was in the 24th Foot, and there were only a few survivors.
....After leaving the Army Mr. Merchant worked as a miner in the Rhondda Valley, and came to Nottingham about five years ago to live with his daughter and son-in-law. The funeral takes place at Wilford Hill Cemetery on Saturday.
Nottingham Evening Post, Wednesday 5th April 1944

He was possibly the George James Merchant who was born in Bristol, second quarter of 1860.

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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 5 days ago #74241

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Hi Berenice
Do you have anymore detail on this Gentleman?
No Mr Merchant at Rorkes Drift if my memory serves me correctly .
regards
Dave
P.S ..Private Collins 25B/1396, B Company 2nd battalion is believed to be the youngest soldier to defend the mission station at Rorke's Drift .
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave

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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 5 days ago #74242

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He was born in 1859 on December 5th
Joined the Navy in 1875 service number 90822 and his ship was the Impregnable.
seems he was invalided out of the Navy.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave
The following user(s) said Thank You: BereniceUK

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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 5 days ago #74244

  • BereniceUK
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Looks like he was probably a fake, then; I couldn't find any other mentions of him, even in Welsh newspapers.

Coinicidentally, the Fall 2020 issue of The Civil War Monitor has a fascinating article titled 'Counterfeit Confederates,' about men who, in the years following the end of the American Civil War, posed as Confederate Veterans at reunions. The chief attractions for being a fake were the granting of a State pension if they could get themselves officially accepted as being a Confederate veteran, particularly as the economy in the South was pretty much in ruins post-1865, and also, as time passed, the opportunities for being interviewed by the press and telling tall tales of their bogus war experiences, then being treated as a hero, free drinks, etc. Perhaps Merchant was one of the latter.

www.cbsnews.com/news/fake-war-stories-exposed/

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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 4 days ago #74252

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BereniceUK wrote: Looks like he was probably a fake, then; I couldn't find any other mentions of him, even in Welsh newspapers.

Coinicidentally, the Fall 2020 issue of The Civil War Monitor has a fascinating article titled 'Counterfeit Confederates,' about men who, in the years following the end of the American Civil War, posed as Confederate Veterans at reunions. The chief attractions for being a fake were the granting of a State pension if they could get themselves officially accepted as being a Confederate veteran, particularly as the economy in the South was pretty much in ruins post-1865, and also, as time passed, the opportunities for being interviewed by the press and telling tall tales of their bogus war experiences, then being treated as a hero, free drinks, etc. Perhaps Merchant was one of the latter.

www.cbsnews.com/news/fake-war-stories-exposed/


I think you are right Berenice. I cannot find anything relating to a soldier called Merchant at Rorkes Drift or Isandlwana.
Merchant signed up for 10 years for Naval service. However he only lasted from March 1875 to August 1876.
His character was good apparently. 5ft tall, grey eyes, brown hair and fair complexion, and looking at his profession on his papers, I think it reads Plasterer........I think he knew how to lay it on thick? B)
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Best regards
Dave

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George James Merchant's obituary 3 months 3 days ago #74268

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Claiming to have been at Rorke's Drift 40 or 50 years after the event would have guaranteed a few free pints of beer, and who could prove it wasn't true.

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