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 Wilcox, William. Private. 25B/1187, B Company

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Wilcox, William. Private. 25B/1187, B Company    Mon May 09, 2011 9:30 pm

Came across this. Not seen it before so guessing this information has come to light since the Redication.

From tranquil North Devon to battle in the Zulu Wars

"WILLIAM Wilcox was born on August 17, 1860, to farm worker Richard and wife Ann at a cottage in Nallcot Lane, Hartland.

By his 17th birthday, his mother and two of his eight siblings were dead, a third had been left deaf and dumb by fever, and William was drifting from farm to farm as a labourer.

It was against this background of casual employment that he joined the army in Cardiff on February 19, 1877.

The illiterate Roman Catholic made his mark, and was posted to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24 Regiment of Foot, based in Brecon.

The regiment embarked at Portsmouth for South Africa on February 1, 1878, docking there five weeks later.

B Company fought through the Kaffir War of 1878, and then marched with the regiment to Rorke's Drift.

The company was left to guard the hospital and stores and on January 22,1879, fought off repeated attacks by thousands of Zulus, the Battle of Rorke's Drift, made famous in the film Zulu.

Afterwards William was granted good conduct pay, but on November 1, 1879, he went missing for three days.

He was found guilty of desertion and theft of his uniform and sentenced to five weeks in army prison and his good conduct pay and pension entitlements revoked.

By January, 1880, he was in trouble again, sentenced to 21 months for disgraceful behaviour, of which details aren't recorded.

He was shipped back to England and entered Forton Military Prison near Portsmouth in Hampshire.

On September 27, 1881, he returned to his unit at Cross Lane Barracks, Manchester, and 11 months later left and returned to Devon.

His South Africa Medal was apparently forfeit because of the troubled end to his army career, but is listed in his effects when he was discharged.

Once again farm labouring, he developed a passion for steam engines and in 1891 was driving a traction engine at Docton Farm, in Hartland, owned by Daniel Newton.

Living in his childhood village, and now able to sign his name, William married Lily Vanstone on February 27, 1892.

On August 4, 1892, the couple celebrated the birth of their only child, Maud Mary.

Meanwhile, William's passion for engines had made him well known across the Hartland Peninsula.

So well known that by 1915 he was operating the winch used for hauling goods up Milford Cliff and across the valley.

Two years later Lily died, aged 49, and the death affected William so badly he just abandoned his home and moved into a caravan.

He had moved to Dolton and eight years later he died, aged 64, at Newbridge in Dolton and was buried in an unmarked grave in St Edmund's churchyard"


Research courtesy author of Heroes of Rorke's Drift, Kris Wheatley, South Wales Borderers Museum, The Barracks, Brecon,Powys.
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PostSubject: Re: Wilcox, William. Private. 25B/1187, B Company    Mon May 09, 2011 9:48 pm

Littlehand. You can find all this information and more in Volume 4 Legacy Hero's Of Rorkes Drift. Page 56
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PostSubject: Re: Wilcox, William. Private. 25B/1187, B Company    Tue May 10, 2011 6:23 pm

Don't think it matters what happen after R.D. William did his bit for Queen & Country on the 22nd-23rd Jan 1879.
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