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 Commandant George Hamilton-Brown

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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:58 pm

Part One

In the course of the eighty-two wars waged by the British Army during the reign of Queen Victoria1 there were many opportunities for men of adventurous habits to serve alongside units of the Regular Army. These corps were raised in many parts of the world, were known by all sorts of titles, ranging from “Somebody’s Horse” to “Armed Constabulary”, were recruited from any races available, not always the most warlike, and gave their officers plenty of opportunities of seeing active service under the most varied conditions. It was seldom possible to officer these local corps from the British Army; the most that could usually be done was to appoint the commanding officer and adjutant from Regular or ex-Regular officers. There grew up a class of men who drifted about the world from one war to another as occasion offered2 and made excellent and experienced leaders. Of this type was the subject of this sketch, a man who fought more or less continuously from 1866 to 1897, and, unlike most of his brother officers, has left, in three books published after his retirement,3 a very fair picture of what he saw and did himself. When he retails the experiences of other men he is not so trustworthy, but as far as his own deeds are concerned the facts and dates fit in well with other, including official, accounts. Possibly today his style would be considered rather flamboyant. He probably wrote as he talked.

“Maori” Browne, to give him the nickname by which he was generally known (it derived from his knowledge of that language), was born of a soldiering family in Ulster in 1847 and destined for the Army. For various reasons he failed to enter either Sandhurst or Woolwich as he wished and, like so many others of this type, obviously regretted it to the end of his days. His admiration for the officers and men of the British Army shows plainly right through his books – especially his great liking for the long-service soldier as opposed to the short-service man of his later campaigns. In support of this attitude he quotes Lord Roberts, though he does not seem to have realised that the Field-Marshal later changed his views completely.4

After a short spell as a driver, R.H.A. (he was apparently bought out), and a few months’ experience in the Papal Zouaves,5 he found himself in 1866 in New Zealand, in consequence of a duel on the Continent which had ended fatally for his opponent. We had been fighting the Maoris in the North Island since 1861, and as there were about 10,000 New Zealand Militia and Irregulars serving, the decision was taken to withdraw the Regulars during 1866.6 Browne enlisted in Major von Tempsky’s7 Forest Rangers – we should class them as Commando troops today – who had been three years in the field and were composed of what someone once described as “well seasoned material”. With them Browne learnt all there was to be known about bush-fighting in an appallingly difficult country. Like the British Regulars there, the New Zealanders wore a blue serge frock or jumper cut long6 but with a slouch hat instead of forage cap; trousers were worn in camp only; in the bush a shawl was used as a kilt, with a blanket-roll on the back holding rations and whatever else was required. The Rangers were very well armed with a breech-loading carbine8 and a muzzle-loading revolver, much superior to the double-barrelled smoothbore guns carried by most of the Maoris. Later in 1869 the New Zealand troops were issued with the Snider. Browne did not see a great deal of the Regulars, but he gives a notable account of the great admiration felt by the Rangers for the 57th (1st Middlesex) when the latter rushed a stockade in close order with their pioneers out in front demolishing it.

The Rangers, who included many old soldiers and sailors, and a few ex-pirates from the South Seas, were a typical corps of experienced fighters from all over the world. With them Browne served a very thorough apprenticeship. They had a mounted section in which Browne also served, and in 1867 he got a commission in the New Zealand Mounted Defence Force, transferring to the Armed Constabulary and finishing as a captain in the “Field Force”, a corps about 1,000 strong, forming part of a force under Colonel (later General Sir George) Whitmore, of whom Browne had a great opinion. In this corps Browne saw a great deal of guerrilla warfare of a most exacting sort against Te Kooti, a Maori leader who thoroughly understood what he was doing. Browne gives, presumably verbatim, an account of the opinions of a Maori chief on the British way of warfare. Though the two sides had a most excellent opinion of each other as fighting men, our opponents could never understand what they considered our most unsportsmanlike habit of trying to cut off supplies from our enemies. This the Maoris never did,9 as they felt that the better fed and fitter one’s opponents are, the greater will be the honour of fighting them.

After the end of the fighting in 1870 Browne went to Australia, and it was probably there when fighting bushrangers that he collected a bad chest wound. He went next to the States, where he served against the Sioux, and after a short visit to his family sailed in 1877, on doctor’s orders, for South Africa. After landing at Cape Town he found himself by chance at East London. Hearing that the 1st/24th (South Wales Borderers) had their headquarters not far off at Kingwilliamstown, he went there and called on the officers, some of whom he knew. The Ninth Kaffir War10 was in progress, and the battalion commander, Colonel Pulleine (afterwards killed at Isandhlwana), was raising an irregular infantry unit, largely from navvies who had been brought out from England on railway construction, which had been held up by the war. The Colonel asked Browne to take over a company of Pulleine’s Rangers, as the corps was called. This he did, finding the men good enough material in the field but quite impossible in civilisation. There was not much fighting, and at the end of hostilities in 1878 Browne again found himself at a loose end. He next drifted to Durban and on the outbreak of the Anglo Zulu War was offered a commission as major commanding the first battalion of the 3rd Regiment of the Natal Native Contingent under Commandant Lonsdale, formerly in the 74th (2nd Highland Light Infantry).

This contingent was mainly composed of what were known as Natal Kaffirs, men of the same stock as the Zulus, of whom they had a wholesome dread and whom they had little intention of fighting. Browne, however, was lucky in having three out of his eight companies formed from an ex-regiment of the Zulu army, which had been forced to live in Natal after a quarrel with a senior regiment. The men of these companies were perfectly willing to fight against other Zulus. The officers and N.C.Os. were all Europeans, one of the sergeants being Browne’s Irish servant, and the Europeans and 10 percent of the Africans carried Martini-Henry rifles, a further 10 percent having muzzle-loaders as well, and shield and assegais. The officers were most of them good men; and the 3rd Regiment, as well as having an excellent C.O., had as intelligence officer Lieutenant (later Colonel) Hartford, 99th Regiment (2nd Wiltshire Regiment), who spoke fluent Zulu and has also left an account of the campaign.11 The only difference in appearance between Browne’s men and their enemies was that the former wore a piece of coloured rag round their heads.

This was a very different kind of soldiering from any with which Browne had up to now been accustomed, though Lonsdale had already had a taste of it commanding Fingo levies in the late Kaffir War, men who fought better than the Natal Kaffirs. It was difficult to forecast what the latter would do in action, and those with firearms were always prone to shoot their own comrades by mistake, besides displaying little attention to their officers once they were committed to an attack. On the 11th January, 1879, Lord Chelmsford, G.O.C., South Africa, crossed into Zululand with a strong column of all arms, including Lonsdale’s 3rd N.N.C. Before the force camped at Isandhlwana Hill on the 20th, Browne had been engaged in two skirmishes and realised that only his three Zulu companies were of the least use. On the 21st Chelmsford sent out a small force of mounted men with Lonsdale’s command about thirteen miles from camp. There was some fighting; the force bivouacked, and next morning, the 22nd January, the G.O.C. sent out six companies of the 2nd/24th, with four guns and some African pioneers, to reinforce his advanced party. He accompanied them in person, and after more skirmishing he withdrew Browne’s battalion from the front and ordered him back to camp to help strike it. Three of Browne’s companies had been left at Isandhlwana, including one of the Zulu companies. At about 9 a.m. he was on his way, the men, who had had no food, moving very slowly and unwillingly. At 10 a.m. he captured two Zulus, who told him, perfectly correctly, that the main Zulu army was close to the camp and going to attack it. Browne at once sent an officer (they were all mounted) to Chelmsford with a note. Not long afterwards he came in sight of the camp, and at 11 a.m. he sent another note back to say that part of the Zulu army was in sight near the camp. At midday he could hear the guns at the camp in action, and at 1.30 p.m. he could see the camp and masses of Zulus moving round to the rear of Isandhlwana Hill. In all, he sent four messages, all of which were received by staff officers and eventually reached the G.O.C., who was some distance to the front, but not before 2 p.m. Already at 9.30 a.m. Lord Chelmsford had received a note from Colonel Pulleine, then commanding the camp; but a staff officer, sent to high ground from which he could see it through glasses, had reported all was correct there. After receiving Browne’s messages the G.O.C. rode back and at 2.30 p.m. met him retiring with his men. According to Browne’s account, Lord Chelmsford was surprised and annoyed to find Browne so far from camp and quite incredulous when told that the camp had been taken. However, shortly afterwards Commandant Lonsdale arrived. He had ridden back to Isandhlwana suffering from sunstroke and in some extraordinary manner escaped, although he had actually ridden in among Zulus wearing the red coats of the dead men of the 24th Foot. His arrival convinced the G.O.C. of the destruction of the whole force left in camp and he at once collected the advanced troops and moved on the camp, reaching it after dark and after the Zulus had left. The story of Isandhlwana and of the fight put up by the two guns of N5 Battery R.A., the five companies of 1st/24th and one company 2nd/24th, with some M.I. and colonials, is too well known to need repeating,12 as is that of the defence of Rorke’s Drift, but both Browne and Harford have given us an account of an episode which happened on the morning of the 23rd January, which is perhaps of interest and not generally known. Chelmsford’s force slept among the debris of the camp and moved off at dawn. As the light came they could see masses of Zulus retiring after their repulse at Rorke’s Drift. They moved past the British column within range, without making any move to attack, watched with no little anxiety especially, no doubt, by the men of the native contingents. There are two accounts of why the column was not attacked, both gathered from Zulu sources. One is that the Zulu impis were fought out after the severe losses they had sustained and their officers did not want to commit their men to further fighting and inevitably heavy casualties. The other explanation is that the regiments who had fought at Isandhlwana thought they had killed all the redcoats – they had been ordered by their king to concentrate on them – and thought it was a ghost army passing in the half-light.

Source:Anglo Zulu War Historical Society: BY MAJOR G. TYLDEN
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:59 pm

Part -Two.

Browne’s experiences on the 22nd were probably the most interesting of his career. An experienced man, fully able to grasp any military situation as it presented itself to him, he was forced to move on by himself continually collecting more and more evidence that a most serious disaster was taking place a few miles off, unable to understand why his repeated messages had no effect and entirely powerless to do anything of any use. It should be added that he had and kept a great respect and liking for the G.O.C. and that he writes in no spirit of trying to impute blame to anyone. It must have been a curious and unforgettable experience.

Immediately after the disaster of Isandhlwana Lonsdale’s regiment was disbanded, the officers and N.C.Os. being employed mainly as scouts, in which capacity Browne remained for some time at Rorke’s Drift. From both his and Harford’s accounts, it is obvious that the Natal Kaffirs had, by this time, no fighting value at all and the Zulu companies (one of which had been wiped out at Isandhlwana) were dismissed at the same time. Lonsdale was sent to the Cape to raise an irregular corps of mounted riflemen. Browne went with him and returned to Natal with a batch of recruits. Sent with despatches to Lord Chelmsford, who was for a time commanding the Southern Column, he came in for the laager fight at Ginginhlovu on the 2nd April, 1879, where the G.O.C. defeated a large force of Zulus from the southern part of Zululand. Browne, who was there merely as a spectator, watched the fight from behind a Gatling of the Naval Brigade and was very impressed with its performance, as was Lord Chelmsford.13 He also watched a small Zulu child, employed as a carrier for the kit of a warrior, run unharmed from among the fighting men through our musketry into the ranks of the sailors. He was duly “captured,” adopted, and in time entered in the Royal Navy. Browne then went back to Cape Town and was badly kicked when helping to load mules onto a transport. This injury made him miss the Sekukuni campaign of 1879, but he recovered in time to see some service in the Basutoland Rebellion of 1880-81 in the Transkei. Of this he tells us nothing, except that his Irish servant, of whom he was very fond, was killed by his side. They were probably in the Umtata Volunteers, one of the many small units raised, often for privilege of rank, in the Cape Colony for this campaign,14 usually with a uniform of the men’s own devising, willing enough to fight, but strongly objecting to being amalgamated with other corps or to being drafted.

Browne’s next service was with Warren’s Bechuanaland Expedition of 1884-5,15 which saw no fighting. He was commissioned as Major in Lieut.-Colonel Hugh Gough’s 3rd Regiment of Mounted Rifles, and he gives a lively account of the raising and disciplining of the 500 men raised in Kimberley, of which he had recruited the last hundred in twenty-four hours. Browne had a great brief for his O.C. He remained in Kimberley after the breaking up of Warren’s force and in 1886 was appointed Adjutant of the Diamond Fields Horse,16 raised in the town in 1876 and known for a short time as the Dutoitspan Hussars. They had served with credit under Colonel Warren, as he then was, in the Kaffir War of 1877 and the Northern Border war in the Kimberley area in 1878, and were now busy reorganising themselves in their original roll of cavalry, besides adding a battery of four field guns to their four squadrons. They were composed of excellent material and very smart, and Browne was in his element. In 1888 he was wired for to go to Natal and take over a battalion of Africans, mainly Zulus, one of three commanded by Lieut. Colonel Carrington, 24th Regiment,17 forming part of a small force operating in Zululand against rebel elements of the Zulu army.18 The other two battalion officers were a Captain Thompson, who had been with Browne in Lonsdale’s corps, and Major Deare of the Cape Colony staff, another experienced Kaffir fighter.19 Browne adds very little to what we already know about this campaign, which, as readers of the journal are aware, was the last occasion on which the red coat was worn in action.18 He seems to have found his men as unsatisfactory as he had in 1879, and was probably quite pleased to return to his adjutancy, which he kept till 1891 when he went to Mashonaland, today part of Rhodesia, in charge of a party sent up by de Beers.

The First Matabele War broke out in 1893 and Browne was appointed staff officer to a force collected at Salisbury under Major P.W. Forbes, Inniskilling Dragoons, who was serving as second-in-command of the British South Africa Company’s Police. Forbes was much the younger man, and this may have been the reason why the two men did not get on, and Browne resigned.20 This incident and the account of his share in the Second Matabele War of 1896 are not mentioned in his books. We know from two accounts of the campaign, one written by Lieut.-Colonel R.S.S. Baden-Powell, 13th Hussars, whom Browne had met in 1888 in Zululand, and one by Lieut.-Colonel E.A.H. Alderson, Royal West Kents,21 that Browne commanded the Umtali Rifles, a corps of Europeans 120 strong, including a mounted section. Both the above officers were sufficiently interested in him to record some of the events of his past. It appears to have been his last campaign and was a very different one from his first. He had used one of the first breech-loaders to be issued to British troops, and seen a machine-gun, the Gatling, in action, the first time one was fired in anger by our forces; now in Rhodesia, he was to see the automatic Maxim in action, using both black and smokeless powder, with the black powder Martini and the cordite Lee-Metford magazine rifle in use in the same firing lines. The red coat had gone, except on parade, and so had the blue and white of his Kimberley Volunteers, and everybody wore khaki. It was the day of Mounted Infantry; Alderson had a battalion of four companies – “English,” “Rifle,” “Highland” and “Irish” – each formed from four battalions, as had been the case at Abu Klea; and both Mounted Infantry and mounted riflemen charged mounted,22 the latter firing from the saddle, a foretaste of the South African War in its later stages. There was the same high proportion of little units ranging from a small troop to a couple of squadrons, the sort of commands which had given men of Browne’s stamp the chance to make good; and there was the usual lack of supplies for man and horse, besides transport difficulties with animals dying from want and disease. Browne died in Jamaica in 1916. He was not exceptional in any way except, perhaps, that he seems to have kept more notes than most of his kind, and this adds greatly to the value of his books. Like all the “Lost Legionaries,” as he like to call himself (from the poem by Kipling23), he was willing to take any risk; he was also a good shot and a good horseman, with the knack of handling men. In his account of Warren’s Expedition he quotes a set of doggerel verse, written by a sergeant of the Inniskillings, which concludes with a warning to all youngsters who are thinking of joining some irregular corps. The last line runs:
“And whate’er you do, you idiot, don’t you ever volunteer!”
Advice which “Maori” Browne and his like would never take.

Source:Anglo Zulu War Historical Society: BY MAJOR G. TYLDEN
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:47 am

Hi all I usally don't post but read alot on this forum and have learned much. My question is does anyone have any information or referances pertaining to Brown's service against the Sioux Indians, prior to the Zulu War. Any information is much appreciated.

regards
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton - Browne    Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:04 am

Hi General Greene .
Sorry I dont have anything on his service against the Sioux . From what I've read on ' Maori ' I'm surprised he didnt say he survived Little Big Horn . :lol: :lol:
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton Browne   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:01 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Nice one Gary (90th).

Did I not read somwhere that he single handedly rescued most of the survivors from the 'Titanic' scratch :lol:

Hope you are well mate.

Martin. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:13 am

Thanks for the replies gentleman. It would be interesting if Brown ever met Custer but I'm not holding my breath on that one. 90th :lol: about little bighorn I'm surprised he didn't claim that as well.

regards
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PostSubject: George Hamilton - Browne    Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:16 am

HI Martin .
Things are good here , glad you are well mate . Hope all is well with you .
Cheers 90th. Salute .
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton Browne   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:28 am

Yes, thanks mate, all well here (so far).

General Greene.

I am sure that littlehand posted a link on the site for a 'web book' by Hamilton - Browne, why not use the search box to see if you can find it, you never know, it may have something in about his service against the Sioux, or indeed about any meeting with G.A. Custer.

Salute
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PostSubject: George Hamilton - Browne   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:37 am

Hi Martin.
I have Maori's book ' A Lost Legionarry In Sth Africa ' and there is no mention of his time in America . I'm certain he wrote at least another one , possibly two books , so maybe his time in the US Cavalry is in one of them .
Cheers mate , 90th. You need to study mo
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton Browne   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:48 am

Hi Gary.

Yes, that's the one (I couldn't think of the name off hand). So there is no mention of him in America in that one then, but like you say, if he wrote one or two more, he might have mentioned something in those. I wonder if LH has found anything in his searches, he comes up with some real good stuff, I always appreciate the things he finds in his searches, they make very good reading.

Well mate, getting a little tired now, so off to the sack.

G'night mate. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:55 pm

GHB strikes me as one of those awful peacetime soldiers (not so good at the drilling or admin) but a man born for wartime soldiering.
You wouldn't want him next to you at dinner on a mess night, but you wouldn't want anyone else next to you when the s**t hits the fan out in the field.

If he had been around during WW2, he would have had a bloody good war.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:59 pm

He told to many yards, A man hard to believe.. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:02 pm

He had a lot of faults, but he did go looking for trouble!
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton Browne   Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:10 pm

Hi tasker.

Yes, he was a "bit of a rum lad" was George, and he could "spin a good yarn", but he's the kind of bloke you would want on your side during a ding dong.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:25 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Taken about 1911.

"George Hamilton-Browne, who posed as a hero of the New Zealand wars, was born in Ireland, probably between 1848 and 1851. He claimed that his father was George Browne, a major in the 44th Regiment; his mother's name is unknown. As a young man he drifted to New Zealand, enlisting on 16 July 1872 in the Armed Constabulary. After a period of undistinguished service as a trooper, in what was essentially a peace-keeping force, he was discharged at Taupo in October 1875. For a year or so he had no permanent employment. In early 1877 he became the publican at Te Wairoa, Lake Tarawera, for a short time before leaving, in debt, for South Africa.
By 1879 Hamilton-Browne was in Natal and participated in the Anglo-Zulu war, commanding a battalion in the irregular Natal Native Contingent, apparently on the strength of his claimed experience in New Zealand. He proved to be a passably competent commander, but his attitude to his troops was brutal and contemptuous. He was a spectator of the British defeat at Isandhlwana, where his men were too starved and exhausted to fight. Later, he briefly commanded what was to become the nucleus of the Natal Horse; he then saw further service in Bechuanaland (Botswana) and Mashonaland, and in Matabeleland in the 1890s.
Falling upon hard times, in 1908 'Colonel' Hamilton-Browne, as he styled himself, sought a pension from the British government, on the basis of active military service in New Zealand from 1866 to 1871. He claimed, in English newspapers, to have obtained the New Zealand War Medal and a captaincy in the Armed Constabulary Field Force.
George Hamilton-Browne's alleged achievements prompted a New Zealand government investigation in late 1908 and early 1909, which found evidence of his serving only after hostilities had ceased. Several colonial officers recalled him as a dispatch rider in the Taupo Armed Constabulary. One speculated that he might have obtained his New Zealand War Medal when one of his companions, Henry Brown, died: by adding an 'e' to the name on Henry Brown's medal, he would have been able to produce apparent evidence of his war service. Hamilton-Browne was not granted a pension, but the publicising of his financial plight resulted in his marriage on 1 January 1909 to a wealthy woman, Sarah Wallis Wilkerson. She believed that during the Anglo-Zulu war he had saved her fiancé, who had later died in the Sudan. It is possible that Hamilton-Browne had been married before, as he described himself as a widower on the marriage certificate.
Although his initial claims were rejected, Hamilton-Browne wrote two books about the wars in support of his assertions: With the lost legion in New Zealand (1911) and Camp fire yarns of the lost legion (1913). The former seems to be a participant's detailed account of the campaigns against Titokowaru and Te Kooti. Its fictionalised hero, Richard Burke, is a young Irish gentleman who, after early training as a British officer, becomes a colonial scout, eventually gaining a commission in the Armed Constabulary. Burke participates in every important action of the period, the military career portrayed approximating the actual one of Christopher Louis Maling of the corps of guides.
The book itself relates a plausible and often exciting tale, and is written in a bluff, robust style. The narrator, Burke, criticises any leader, such as Lieutenant General Duncan Cameron, who is not aggressive enough for his taste, and praises Colonel G. S. Whitmore and Lieutenant Thomas McDonnell, who are. In his later book Hamilton-Browne abandons the 'Richard Burke' pseudonym and identifies himself as the narrator. Since his entire service was after the cessation of all hostilities, his tales of combat, though accurate in general terms, derived from bar and barrack-room reminiscences, probably improved by some research on a visit to New Zealand in the late 1890s, during which he was convicted of forging a cheque and placed on probation for a year.
George Hamilton-Browne died in Jamaica, probably in 1916, leaving Sarah Hamilton-Browne destitute. It is not known when or where she died. There seem to have been no children of the marriage. While Hamilton-Browne was clearly an impostor, his influence as a writer on the New Zealand wars was enduring. Some of his principal contemporaries, including Gilbert Mair and Christopher Maling, were swift to challenge the truthfulness of his books. However, their condemnation was often overlooked, and Hamilton-Browne was still being cited as an authority as late as 1959."

Source: Bryan D. Gilling.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:44 pm

It's looking to me like the story of him fighting the Sioux is just another one of his tale tales. He was definitley a character to put it mildly, I do agree with Tasker though that he would be a good man to have next to you in a tight spot.

P.S. In June I will be making my first trip to the U.K. for about 10 to 14 days. I'm probably going to do a stay behind after the main tour leaves in order to visit Waterloo, Normandy and some more sites in the U.K. I would appreciate it if you guys could recommend some places that have to do with the Zulu War that I could visit.

regards
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:59 pm

GG. Drop David Payne a PM. He has probably the best collection outside of Zululand.

Here's an insight.

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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:18 pm

Brecon museum. Salute
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton - Browne    Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:02 am

Hi Gen Green
I'd think the National Army Museum has some zulu war exhibits , I think its in Chelsea ? .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:53 pm

Thanks for the responses gentlemen, I would love to visit Brecon. I could probably spend all day in the national army museum. Do the guards have a museum as well?

regards
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:42 pm

There's a museum at horse guards.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:47 pm

Charlatan of Empire? Did a colourful Victorian adventurer invent his military career?

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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:21 pm

tasker224 wrote:
He had a lot of faults, but he did go looking for trouble!

I love Ian Knights' observation about him. From memory it is something close to , "He displayed a marked tendency towards wisdom after the fact."

BULLS EYE.

That said, Maori could definitely spin a yarn. IMO he missed his true calling. If he applied himself properly he could have given Henty, Mitford and Haggard a run for their money.


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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:44 pm

"Mitford" Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:48 pm

littlehand wrote:
Charlatan of Empire? Did a colourful Victorian adventurer invent his military career?

Excellent post, Littlehand. I really enjoyed that...but in fairness, Knight's article does not imply he invented his career in S. Africa.. Personally, I would not credit a word the man said about anything without independent 3rd party verification from others...but, in contrast to New Zealand, he clearly was a key player during Chelmsford's first foray into Zululand. And thanks for pointing out the typo too!
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:57 am

Thanks 6pdr. Just for the record, my opinion about his account of seeing Pulliens body at Isandlwana is just another one of his long line of yarns..

I'm currently looking for anything from others who knew or served with Browne, and what they had to say about Browne, or his publications.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:56 pm

littlehand wrote:
Thanks 6pdr. Just for the record, my opinion about his account of seeing Pulliens body at Isandlwana is just another one of his long line of yarns..

Great minds think alike.
Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:21 am

Good to see another two feel the same!! Salute I bet it was him who started that rumour regarding.

"Our Officer Shot Himself "
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:05 pm

If you have read anything on this character at all, you will have already gathered that he was something of a story teller!


"Our Officer Shot Himself " - I think you will find this was said by another renowned and proven "story teller". His letter is on here somewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:10 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon May 20, 2013 8:10 pm

Down on his Luck!! By the way he fought at Rorkes Drift!


ANGLO-COLONIAL NOTES.
Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 37, 12 February 1909, Page 3

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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue May 21, 2013 9:23 pm

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Must admit I thought Browne, book was based on himself...
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue May 21, 2013 9:42 pm

And it's true!

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Perhaps we have been hogwashed into thinking Browne was a teller of Soldiers story. If you get time read the prefix. agree
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:24 pm

John wrote:
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Taken about 1911.


George Hamilton-Browne died in Jamaica, probably in 1916, leaving Sarah Hamilton-Browne destitute. It is not known when or where she died. There seem to have been no children of the marriage.

Sarah Hamilton-Browne remarried in Hackney in 1929. Her 2nd husband was Horace Charles Baxter, a journalist. She died in The Claybury Mental Hospital, Woodford Geen, Essex on 9 Dec 1932.
She left no Will - administration of her estate was granted to her husband. Her effects totalled £90.

The 1911 census shows George Hamilton-Browne, living with Sarah at 118 Robinson Road, Colliers Wood, Merton, SW London. He gives his age as 61 years, his occupation as a journalist and author - and his birthplace as "at Sea"....hmmmmmmmmmm

Marriage Certificate:

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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:35 pm

Why would he put Position of Rank " Gentlemen" ?
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:40 pm

impi.class system.
a ' gentleman ' has
no 'profession'.. it
was ' understood '
that to profess to
come from a good
family and be of
independent mean's.
was all that was re-
quired.' they were a
breed apart ' working
for a living as we today
understand the con-
cept was anathema to
them. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:48 pm

John wrote:
And it's true!

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Perhaps we have been hogwashed into thinking Browne was a teller of Soldiers story. If you get time read the prefix.  agree
Let me get this straight John. The fact that Browne tried to hide behind his preface in that book by saying that it was essentially true but not literally true means we all misjudged his credibility?

Not hardly. Like all men of his ilk, he was trying to have it both ways by not being accountable to facts. The operative word in historical fiction is FICTION.

The fact that you just read the preface doesn't mean others before you haven't.
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:45 pm

Browns book is on the forum and can be read free if charge. A good book!
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:09 pm

6pdr said." Like all men of his ilk, he was trying to have it both ways by not being accountable to facts. The operative word in historical fiction is FICTION."

"all men of his ilk", explain that please.. if he was a rogue,
ner do well, and bull s..ter, maybe, but he was there, one
of the first to report the loss of the camp, there is no
fiction attached to that. cheers xhosa
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:46 am

xhosa2000 wrote:
6pdr said." Like all men of his ilk, he was trying to have it both ways by not being accountable to facts. The operative word in historical fiction is FICTION."

"all men of his ilk", explain that please.. if he was a rogue,
ner do well, and bull s..ter, maybe, but he was there, one
of the first to report the loss of the camp, there is no
fiction attached to that.                                       cheers xhosa
Relax Xhosa, I am not denying that he was with Chelmsford or that his work is a valuable historical artifact -- it most surely is -- but what I wish to guard against is those who would quote him verbatim as if every thing he wrote is unvarnished truth. His contemporaries surely wouldn't have read him that way. He quite clearly is given to exaggeration and bending truth to a more convenient shape to fit his narrative. That is part and parcel of being both a master story teller and a master "bull s..ter," as you would say. Recognizing that doesn't mean I would throw out the baby with the bathwater however.  If nothing else, the attitudes and postures he strikes give a clear idea of what a Victorian adventurer was supposed to be.  And finally, like any good conman, I think the man was genuinely observant and often funny in a droll sort of way...
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:35 am

hiya 6pdr, i'm relaxed. agree  Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:54 pm

"ECHO OF ZULU WARS AT ISANDHLWANA". EYE-WITNESS'S STORY. (By Colonel G. Hamilton Browne, late Commandant Natal Native Contingent)

Just thirty years ago to-day (Jan. 22nd JAN, 1879> the greatest disaster British troops have ever encountered at the hands of blacks befell the camp at Isandlwana, when the Zulus wiped out a force of about!)00 white men. It was January 10th that the headquarters column of the British force, under Lord Chelmsford, crossed the Buffalo river, the advance on Cetewayo's kraal. I was commandant of the 1st Battalion of the 3rd Regiment Natal native contingent, composed of ten companies, each consisting of three white officers, six white non-coms., and 100 or more natives. Three of my companies consisted of fine fighting Zulus, but the rest proved themselves abject cowards. Happily only 10 per cent, carried rifles, and as they had only five rounds of each, I hoped for the best. But they were certainly more dangerous to me and my officers than to the enemy. The position on the morning of the 22nd, the day of the disaster, is easily explained. Our camp had been pitched at Isandlwana, but Lord Chelmsford with his column had now vacated it, leaving there Colonel Pulleine, with two guns and about 900 men, mostly of the 24th including one of my Zulu companies. That morning, after I had been in action, I saw the General at breakfast, and was ordered to return to Isandlwana and assist Colonel Pulleine to strike camp and re-join the column. My non-coms, had had a very hard day on the 21st, and no rest at night, as the natives had to be watched lest they bolted. Nor had any of us tasted food since the previous morning, so we were none too fresh. "Just brush them aside, and go on," were my orders in case I came in touch with the enemy, so on I had to go. At this time we were about 13 miles from the camp.

ZULUS' ATTACK. On the march we captured a native Boy, who said he came from the big army, and pointed to the range of hills to the left of the camp. Here was the fat in the lire with a vengeance! The big Zulu army was within striking distance of the camp which, contrary to all the. Rules of South African warfare, had not been laagered (or entrenched"), and the only garrison was Colonel Pulleine with his two gnus and 900 men. I at once sent a mounted officer to the
General with the note: "10 a.m. —I have just captured a Zulu scout, who informs-me the Zulu army is behind the range of hills on the left flank of the camp. Wilt push on as fast as possible. The ground here is good for mounted men and guns." we pushed on. At about 11 o'clock 1 saw through my glasses, puffs of smoke rise from the hills on the left of the camp. They seemed to come from a huge shadow on the hillside, and 1 knew that they were bursting shell, and that the shallow must he the Zulu army, 1 at once sent off a second message to the effect that the Zulus were attacking the camp, the guns had opened on them, and I would push on to support. My scared natives, who now saw what was going on, had to be thrashed and kicked forward by my officers. My two fine Zulu companies—the third was in the doomed camp—l put in the rear, with orders to kill any who lagged behind. I could now see through glasses the troops at the camp lying down and firing steadily, while the guns were hard at it. The Zulus were getting it hot, and must have been losing heavily. At noon I was about six miles away, and could see the Zulu army throw out their left wing to. Develop their favourite enveloping tactics. The two right companies of "the 24th, with one gun, changed front to meet them. Independent firing was going on, as if all who could use a rifle, servants and wagon, men, were fighting for their lives.

BRITISH DIE FTGHTING. T was making for the right of the camp when, about 1.30. Looking through my glasses, I realised that all was over. On to the camp came a huge mob of maddened cattle, followed by a dense swarm of Zulus. These poured on to the undefended right and rear of our fighting men. At the same time the left and centre of the enemy rushed in. All formation was broken in a minute, and the camp was full of dust, smoke struggling men, and maddened cattle. Through the mist I could see the flash of baronet and assegai, and the tossing horns of infuriated rattle, while above the sharp crack of the rifles and the clash of the shields could be heard the yells of the savages, the bellowing of the oxen, and the cheers of our men gradually -dying away. . I told Captain "Devlin to ride as hard as could and send all the men he could as  the camp must taken at all costs. Then I ordered my officers to form their companies into rings the way of Zulus, and concealing all the white men in centre and retreated slowly This we did. And although there were enemy parties of the enemy close to us they took no notice.
About five miles from the camp I halted at a place where 1 thought I could put up a bit of a light in case we were attacked. . During the retreat I often looked back, and could see the fighting was over in the camp, but one company in company square, was ‘retreating slowly up the hill surrounded by a dense 'swarm of Zulus. They kept the enemy off as long as their ammunition lasted, then used the bayonet, but at last, overcome by numbers, they fell in heaps. Presently Develin galloped back. He had met Major Black, with the second 24th and Colonel Harness with the guns, and they at once turned back towards me, but on their way were recalled by the staff.

INCREDULOUS GENERAL. Towards evening the General with his start rode up, and said to me, "what are you doing here, Commandant .Browne  You ought to have been in camp hours ago." I replied that the camp had been taken. ,'How dare I you tell me such a. falsehood;'" he retorted. "Get your men into line at once and advance." I did so, and with my crowd of miserable cowards, supported by the Staff, advanced against the victorious Zulu thousands! Presently the General called me to' him, and said, "On your honour, Commandant Browne, is the camp taken:''" I replied that it was taken about 1.30 that afternoon, and pointed out that the Zulus were now burning some of the tents. Thereupon he ordered me to halt my men, and sent back for the rest of the column: At last evening closed in, and in the darkness we set out to recapture the camp. My .orders were to take the Kopjes at all costs, and in case my gang of niggers turned tail a party of the 24th, under Major Black, who supported me, was to fire a volley and! charge. This was pleasant for me! All the way up the kopje, in pitch darkness, stumbling over dead men, black and white, 1 could hear Black's voice ringing out, "Steady the 24th. Be reads to lire a volley and charge. Thus" urged on in the rear, the natives pushed ahead. How- we won the position there is no space to tell here. That night we saw a. great glow over Rorke's Drift, and. thought the base hospital, stores, and all supplies were in the hands of the enemy. We did not then know the fine defence Chard was making, and we felt by no means cheerful. At daybreak I paraded my men, and then rode over to the recaptured camp to try and save some papers, medals, etc., from my tent. 'What a sight the place was! In their mad rush the Zulus had killed everything. Horses had been stabbed at their picket lines. Splendid spans of oxen were lying dead in their yokes. Mules lay dead m their harness, and even dogs were stabbed among the tents. Sacks of rice, flour, and meal had been ripped open and lay everywhere.

LIVES SOLD DEARLY. Singly, in heaps, or rather in groups of two or three, lay the mutilated bodies of the gallant 24th, showing how, when their formation was broken, they had fought back to back in groups until they had been run over and destroyed. That they had fought to the last gasp could be seen by the number of dead Zulus who lay everywhere amongst them, the bayonet wounds on their bodies telling of the fierce, though short, combat that had taken place alter the right horn of the Zulus had swept round the hill. Two of my officers lay dead with heaps of empty cartridge cases by their sides. Both had been splendid shots, and 1 knew. They had done their share. To the left and left front of the camp were heaps and heaps of Zulu dead, where the volleys of the 24th had checked them. Surely the 24th had died game. I had no 'time: to dismount, as I heard the bugle sound, the advance, I galloped back to my men as fast as I could, without trampling on the bodies of my poor comrades. On my way I reined up my horse sharply, for there lay the body of my old friend, Colonel Pulleine. I could do nothing for him, so I saluted the poor remains, and passed on".

Volume XIIC, Issue 13865, 30 March 1909, Page 3
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:56 pm

Has anyone else heard about the capture of the Native Boy Question 
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PostSubject: Commandant George Hamilton - Browne   Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:06 pm

I've heard of the zulu being captured but it may have been in ' Maori's ' book .
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:12 pm

90th wrote:
I've heard of the zulu being captured but it may have been in ' Maori's ' book .
90th
Yup. There were multiple captures. He lets it be known, in his way, that he beat them to get the information he wanted.
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PostSubject: Cmdt G.Hamilton - Browne    Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:19 pm

Hi 6pdr .
Yes , Maori does hint that some he captured were beaten to gain information , but from memory this occurred after Isandlwana while they were patroling the RD area ? . Happy to be corrected .
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:37 pm

90th agree, it was after Isandlwana.

"I at once sent a mounted officer to the
General with the note: "10 a.m. —I have just captured a Zulu scout, who informs-me the Zulu army is behind the range of hills on the left flank of the camp."


Did LC receive this message! What time was Gardner dispatch to the camp to inform Pulleine to pack up camp.
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PostSubject: Cmdt G. Hamilton - Browne    Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:12 pm

Littlehand .
Maori from memory states in his book that he sent multiple messages back to the good LC , I cant remember the exact number but I think it was 4 ! . LC only confirms also from memory that he only received 1 message on the day and that message was from Pulleine ! . Not sure what time Gardner arrived but I seem to think it was about 9.30 - 10 , not 100 % sure on that without looking it up , which I'm not home so unable to do so .
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PostSubject: Re: Commandant George Hamilton-Brown   Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:59 pm

I thought Gardner arrived around 12:30 ?
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PostSubject: Cmdt G.Hamilton - Browne    Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:21 am

John
Ian Knight's ' Zulu Rising ' states Gardner and the others arrived at Isandlwana around Noon .
90th.
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