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 Sergeant Robert Maxfield. (Rorkes Drift)

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Join date: 2009-09-21

PostSubject: Sergeant Robert Maxfield. (Rorkes Drift)   Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:44 pm

Looking for information relating to Sergeant Robert Maxfield. (Rorkes Drift). When he enlisted, Military Career, how and when he became ill. I'm not asking because I can't be bother to look, is just that the only information available is that he died in the Hospital fire at R.D.

Thanks In advance...
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Join date: 2009-04-24
Age: 47
Location: Down South.

PostSubject: Re: Sergeant Robert Maxfield. (Rorkes Drift)   Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:00 pm

Dave hope this helps.

"Robert Maxfield attested at Newport on 30 July, 1875, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot the following month. Promoted Lance Corporal on 25 May, 1875, and Corporal on 11 November, 1876, he became Sergeant on 1 February, 1878. He was awarded a ‘Good Shooting’ prize in the latter year. At the start of the Zulu War in January 1879, Maxfield, having been laid low by some unspecified fever during the march up through Natal with ‘G’ Company 2/24th Foot to the Zululand border, was admitted to the forward hospital set up in the dwelling house of the Rev. Otto Witt at Rorke’s Drift. Accordingly he was left behind at the commandeered post when his company advanced across the Buffalo River with the column accompanied by the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Chelmsford, on the 11th.

Most accounts agree that there were about thirty patients in the hospital shortly before the mission station was attacked by some 4,000 Zulus on the 22nd. The majority were capable of bearing arms to some degree and some took post on the hastily prepared ramparts, but Sergeant Maxfield and Private James Jenkins, being the most serious cases, were essentially bedridden.

Following the repulse of the opening Zulu onslaughts, the garrison commander, Lieutenant John Chard, was compelled to concentrate his meagre force within a retrenchment some thirty yards from the hospital. The Zulus then surrounded the building and, giving no quarter, attempted to set fire to the thatched roof and slaughter the occupants. Private Harry Hook, one of the ‘B’ Company V.C.’s, remembered Maxfield’s violent death in his account of the Defence of Rorke’s Drift written in February 1905. Having related his escape through the partition walls from his original post at the western end of the hospital with 1395 Private Williams, Hook continues: ‘We (Williams and Robert Jones and William Jones and myself) were the last men to leave the hospital, after most of the sick and wounded had been carried through the small window and away from the burning building; but it was impossible to save a few of them, and they were butchered. Privates William Jones and Robert Jones during all this time were doing magnificent work in another ward which faced the hill. They kept at it with bullet and bayonet until six of the seven patients had been removed. They would have got the seventh, Sergeant Maxfield, out safely, but he was delirious with fever and, although they managed to dress him, he refused to move. Robert Jones made a last rush to try and get him away like the rest, but when he got back into the room he saw that Maxfield was being stabbed by the Zulus as he lay on his bed.’ Lieutenant Chard likewise mentioned the death in action of the 24th Foot’s most senior ranking casualty in his account written for Queen Victoria in January 1880, ‘... He was assegaied before our men’s eyes’.

Sergeant Maxfield is buried in the cemetery at Rorke’s Drift and his name inscribed on the memorial to the fifteen men killed in the post’s defence on 22/23 January 1879."

His Zulu War Medal was sold on 11th Jun 96 - Hammer Price: £7200

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