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 No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).

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Dave

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PostSubject: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:35 pm

Rorke's Drift South Africa - February 8th, 1879.

"Dear Father and Mother and dear friends at home, you will be glad to get this note. I am sure it is a miracle that I escaped being cut to pieces by the Zulu. As it happened the day our camp was attacked we went in search of the enemy, we started very early in the morning and went about four or five hours and then we went to a place where we intended stopping all night, between two large hills but as luck happened one of our dear mates escaped on horse-back and he rode up to the general as unconcerned as though nothing had happened. He said: "My Lord the camp is taken by the enemy and all our dear white boys are cut up". You may guess how we looked at one another, it was an awful affair. The General did not say any-thing personally to the men until we got within a mile and a half of the camp when we halted and formed up, and he said to us all: "My dear men we have lost our camp and all ammunition, be careful with what you have, we only carried seventy rounds per man, we must take the camp from the enemy" -- LORD CHELSMFORD. So we gave three cheers and advanced towards the camp. The guns were shelling as we went forward. We got into camp without losing a man, we stopped there all that night, watching the enemy, they were returning over hills and mountains. When day broke the sight was a frightful one. We were surrounded by dead bodies and most of them we knew, for about three miles all along the roads. You could see several that had tried to get away but was killed in the attempt. Even the poor little band boys were butchered and hung up to a wagon. The same as sheep. It is far different fighting here to what it would be with a European country. If it was only shooting a fellow it would not be so bad they cut you open and take your heart out and eat it. They think that it makes them strong, and if they leave it in they think that you would come to life again. Well, as I was telling you about stopping there that night, the next morning we proceeded to Rorke's Drift a place about 12 miles from where this occurred. As we passed the Amayovia mountain we could see the stores in flames and thousands of blacks around. We hurried towards the house that belonged to a Dutch missionary which was used as a hospital for sick and wounded. We crossed the Blood River and went to the place where the stores were. There was a company of ours there and they did some good work. They made a fort, corn in bags and sacks, only lost 14 men. We were digging holes to bury them for four days, because we must put them in deep for fear of fever. We are stopping still at the same place. It is eighteen days since officer or man, took his clothing off. We have built a wall all around us and now we fear nothing. Bryand is all right. We have to be on the look out every other night and one half sleeps, but all of us are with our rifles in our hands. Goodbye dear friends. I live in hope of returning when this is over and then I will tell you a tale. I must say goodbye now. Love to all brothers and sisters

From Your Son,

February 8th, 1879."
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:00 pm

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:11 am

Dave/1879 graves,
Can you tell me the source of this letter, whether it was published, and if not, where it is held? It's not in Brecon.
I'd be very grateful.
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:29 am

Hi Julian

I do not know the source of the letter. The information came from the following website.
http://www.historikorders.com




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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:47 am

Hi
Thanks.  That's where I've seen it but I was hoping to obtain a provenance for it.  Perhaps Dave knows.


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:50 pm

Totally wrong heading.

The 24th Regt was NEVER called the swb, meaning that the swb were NEVER the 24th Regt.

The last British infantry regiment to have the line number of 24, was the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of foot.

The line numbers and titles were ended in 1881, and the later new regiment of 1881 was simply called the swb, and therefor was NEVER the 24th Regt.

I wish some people would stop trying to steal the old regiments Line number, Glory and Honours, to try to confuse and convince others and make believe they are theirs, just like Baker tried to do with his almost fictional 1964 film (which is now long overdue for a more honest and truthful remake).
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:57 pm

Thank you Martin, I think Dave knows that and I don't think he has written what you've suggested.  He was just trying to be precise because this soldier was both in the 24th Regt (Zulu War) and then in the SWB (2nd Burmese War).  See 1879graves's post about the medals and you'll see.

I really need an answer from Dave (he has no pm) but I suspect it may be the same as 18798graves's.
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:18 pm

Thanks Julian.

Whoever wrote the heading needs to check it, they have put Borders rather than Borderers.

Yes, you may be right, it could well be the same website.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:05 pm

Looking at the website there is really no indication that the letter is from Private Read ("The following letter from a young soldier engaged in the Zulu campaign to his friend in Bath"). There are a whole host of general photographs and texts relating to the AZW, including Read's medals, but the two are not necessarily linked are they?

Incidentally, he appears on the medal roll for the 3rd Burma War but not the AZW so far as I can see.

PS it goes on to say "has been placed in our hands (Pro)" Which reads very much like a newspaper report. Or, just possibly, (Pro) means Public Record Office?
Steve
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:39 pm

Hi Steve

The Noble 24th by Norman Holme
Granted 1 penny per diem Good Conduct Pay 16th December 1878. South Africa Medal with Clasp 1877-8-9. His regimental service number was 985.

I do not have a copy of the Noble 24th to check.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:55 pm

Hi Graves

I am looking at the Noble 24th as I write. I know I am fast becoming doolally but I'm damned if I can see it! 2nd Battalion alphabetical goes Rawlinson, Reardon ..... no Read. Couldn't see him on the original roll either. Tell me it's my age.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:07 pm

Hi Steve

I have checked the Medal Roll and could not find him.

But on my database he is listed with the ref from Noble 24th?

As I do longer own a copy of the Noble 24th, I could not check it.

So it looks like you could be correct - Not listed

And No - it is not your age lol
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:46 pm

The mystery deepens! The following entry in Noble 24th.

Leon. E. 985 Private. Granted 1 penny per diem Good Conduct Pay 16/12/78. South Africa Medal with clasp 1877-8-9. Medal roll confirms.

Steve
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Kenny



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:07 am

985

Enlisted under a false name (10% did this in those days) - as Edward Leon. Reverted to his true name of Read during his service in India after signing a declaration to false enlistment. The AWZ medal is engraved 'LEON' whereas the IGM is named to 'READ'. Served C Company 2/24th.


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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Nov 27, 2016 9:25 am

Hi Kenny

Many thanks for the information.

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:31 am

I already knew that Read was indeed Pte. Leon and had independent confirmation of it - I just don't know where the blasted letter is or whether it's still in private hands.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:12 pm

Thanks Kenny, Graves. Found him on FMP. Also found this - if it's him could be why he used a false name.

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Here's his fathers grocers shop in Bath.

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Steve
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:57 pm

Steve
Brilliant.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:10 am

Having asked a colleague to research the supposed location of the letter thoroughly, he found there was no record of it and that therefore it may well not be genuine (i.e. a possible hoax) and therefore should not be advertised as genuine or used in any research (until proven otherwise). This is said with only the very best intentions.
Read was certainly Leon but there is no record of any letter.
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Kenny



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:25 pm

Letters from 'the front' have historical value and of course attract interest - but we have take some things with 'a pinch of salt'. Most soldiers wrote home to reassure their families that they had survived Isandlwana (the big news story in the press) even though they were not actually present at the battle itself (particularly in the case of letters from 2/24th soldiers - less B Company). Also many soldiers had limited literary skills - so others more able in the Company helped out - what resulted group (or a quasi-official) record of what took place rather than a true account of the individual's recollection of events which he witnessed.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:51 pm

Kenny
Whilst that's true, other letters have simply been faked (for whatever reason) and I think the 'Read/Leon' one is a modern fake.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:58 pm

Julian

There is an intriguing short sentence in the letter."Bryand is all right". Who is Bryand, a fellow soldier in 2/24th perhaps? If it can be shown to be so, it perhaps gives some degree of credibility to the account. It is always a worry though when a letter gets attached to a desirable group of medals - increases the price no end!

Steve
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:30 pm

Steve
There was a Pte Bryant in the 2/24th in a different coy from Read who enlisted at Brecon but Read/Leon's parents are believed to have lived in Berkshire so it would be strange for Read to be reassuring his parents about the safety of someone they didn't really know.
There was also a Pte. Bryan in the 2/24th.
My worry is that having tracked down where the alleged letter was supposed to be found, it simply wasn't there (I must acknowledge Frederic's help here because he did the donkey work).  In fact there was no mention of it.
In addition it's not in TNA or Brecon and the website on which it was published has no record of where it came from which is all very suspicious (unless proven otherwise).  It could of course have resided with descendants all these years but if so it's strange that they haven't made it known to Brecon and chose instead to publish it on an obscure website.  And then...there's your last comment which is sadly true and coincidental.
At the moment it's just 'text on a website' and I have to say that reading it, the content doesn't 'feel right'.  My heart hopes I'm wrong but my head says I'm right.
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:12 pm

Julian

Read's parents lived in Bath, appearing in all the census returns from 1871 - 1911. Read enlisted (as Leon) in Cardiff and gives Landsdown Rd Bath address for his next of kin. Does "Bryant" have any initials?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:28 pm

Steve
Thanks.
Bryant was Edward.  Bryan was John.
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:51 pm

Julian

In 1871 Pt. 877 Edward Bryant 2/24th was living, as a lodger, at 10 Mullings Buildings, Walcot, Bath, he was 21 and born in Melksham, Wiltshire.
Walcot is the same Bath parish where Read lived at the same time.  Bryant was a gentleman's servant.
Bryant attested for the 2/24th on 3 November 1876 at Brecon, just a month before Read. There is a note in his papers that he had given himself up for fraudulent enlistment having been invalided from the Royal Marines two years previously. He was nevertheless passed fit to serve. In 1881 he deserted, giving himself up in April 1882, and sentenced to 365 days imprisonment. He forfeited his AZW 1877-8-9 medal and clasp. He continued to serve until 1888. In 1891 he was living with his wife in St Marylebone and was still going in 1911. I would guess he and Edward Read were friends from Bath days - gives the existence of the letter some legs perhaps?

Steve


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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:29 pm

rusteze
Yes it does.  Well done Steve.  Bryant is close enough to Bryand to be the same man. I am still concerned by the absence of a provenance for the letter though.
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:34 pm

I've got Bryant, Edward as 25B/877 - so much closer to Read 25B/985.
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:00 pm

Your quite right Kenny, I have edited to 877.

Julian
Have you tried the Bath newspapers?  His father was quite well to do and the more I read the introduction on the website transcript, the more it sounds like a newspaper blurb. Obviously the heading for the Harrow School plaque is wrongly placed.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: No. 985. PTE. EDWARD READ. 2-24 Regt. (South Wales Borders).   Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:09 am

Not all Bath / Somerset papers are on-line yet. Nothing in the ones that are (so far) - thanks to Frederic's search. My gut feeling is still, that from the content point of view, this is a good fake.
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