DCM Ed VII ‘Natal’ reverse (Trooper G. O. Oliver. Z.M.R.)
Natal D.C.M. Natal Gazette 10 September 1907. One of only nine awards of the Natal D.C.M., all for the 1906 Rebellion. Oliver was gazetted with initials G. W. but the roll confirms initials as G. O.
Three members of the Z.M.R., Lt. J. S. Hedges, Sgt. W. Calverley and Sgt. S. Titlestad, all of them members of old Zululand families, had been relentlessly trying to locate Sigananda. One of the rebels of Sigananda's tribe had surrendered at Nomangci camp, and had been recognized by Sgt. Calverley as an old acquaintance. He persuaded this man to act as a spy, and on the 9th was taken into the Mome bush by the two sergeants, and told to locate Sigananda's son, Mandisindaba, who was also well known to Calverley. This was done and soon Mandisindaba appeared with his family, requesting protection as he was tired of the rebellion. Colonel McKenzie agreed, on condition that he assisted with the location of Sigananda. Not only did Mandisindaba achieve this but, whilst in the gorge, he came across a rebel who was also in search of the old chief, with a message from Bambata to the effect that he (Bambata) and Mehlokazuhi were en route from Qudeni with a total of 20 companies (a company ranged from 50 to 100 men) totalling over 1,000 men that night, and intended camping at the confluence of the Mome and Nsuze rivers.
Mandisindaba rejoined Calverley and Titlestad who conveyed this vital item of intelligence to Lt. Hedges. Once convinced of its accuracy, Colonel McKenzie was briefed at 2130h and he immediately sent Troopers Johnson, Dealy and Oliver to Colonel Barker, who was still camped in the vicinity of Cetshwayo's grave. This feat alone deserves special mention; they had to ride some 23 km through rebel country, as well as through the Nkandla Forest in the dead of the night, reaching Colonel Barker at 0115h. They presented the following message to him:
‘Zululand Field Force,
Camp, Nomanci [sic] Ridge,
9th June 1906
From O.C. Troops to Col. Barker
On receipt of this despatch, you will please move AT ONCE with all available men (leaving sufficient for the defence of your camp) to the mouth of the Mome Valley. I have information that an impi is coming from Qudeni to enter the Mome Valley between this and tomorrow morning. Please try to waylay this impi and prevent them from entering the Mome, and at daylight block the mouth of the Mome at once. It is anticipated that they will not enter the Mome till daylight. I have reliable information as to almost the exact spot Sigananda is in and I am moving down to surround him. He is supposed to be just below the Mome stronghold, a little lower down than where we burnt his kraal. I will cut off this position at daylight and drive down towards you, so please do all you can to prevent his escape, and co-operate with me generally.
At daylight, please send the Zululand Police and Native levies up to Sigananda's kraal, which you burnt the day we attacked the stronghold, where they will join my forces. You must take your gun and Maxims in case you meet the impi, which is reported to be of strength. Look out for my signals.’
Trooper W. Deeley, Natal Police, and Troopers W. Johnson and G. O. Oliver, both Zululand Mounted Rifles, were each awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for their services on this occasion and probably, also, for subsequent services in the ensuing battle of Mome Gorge, in which the rebels lost over 500 killed.
Dr David Biggins
The following user(s) said Thank You: Brett Hendey, QSAMIKE
It is very rare for the auction houses to show any naming and this is a shame because it is an important part of the buying process, often being the first thing collectors look at when inspecting a medal. Sellers on ebay and BidorBuy do not have the expertise of the auction houses to spot incorrect naming styles and tend to include pictures of the naming which I certainly find very useful.