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 228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: 228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot   Sat May 16, 2009 10:44 am

228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Foot; 2nd South Staffordshire (1881), Staffordshire (1959).
In August 1878 the 80th Foot were in the Transvaal, on the Northern Zululand border at Luneburg but would have to remain there to protect that area and keep an eye on the Boers. By 1879 men drawn from several regiments, including the 80th Foot, served as mounted infantry under Lord Chelmsford. For the invasion of Zululand in 1879 the 80th Regiment served Number 5 Column under Colonel Rowlands. The men of this battalion also manned two 6-pounders and one 4-pounder field gun.Later Rowlands was ordered to turn over Number 5 Column over to Wood's command where Major Tucker's five companies of the 80th Foot were much needed. Although the 80th Foot had now been in South Africa since 1876 and had been engaged against Sekukuni, it had so far seen nothing of the war. It was about to encounter its realities in earnest. On 7 March 1879, Tucker sent out Captain Moriarty's H Company with a wagon-load of materials for building a raft to bring a convoy of 20 wagons containing ammunition and rations. Moriarty found that the wagon were having problems crossing the drift due to heavy rains. On the night of the 11th he formed a laager and intended to cross the drift in the morning. That night Tucker rode up from Lundberg to see what was happening. He did not think much of Moriarty's laager, for the wagons were not locked up tightly with their poles run under one another, and there were gaps between the ends of the wagons of the V and the river, owing to the water having fallen slightly since they were pushed into place. Tucker appreciated Moriarty's difficulties in maneuvering the wagons into position owing to the state of the ground and so he didn't press the point, in any case the possibility of an enemy attack so close to Luneburg seemed remote. Tucker rode home leaving Moriarty to make his own arrangements. Despite the thick bush Moriarty posted no outlying pickets, contenting himself with single sentries on either side of the laager. A detachment of the 80th Foot under the command of Captain Moriarty was surprised and overwhelmed at Meyer’s Drift on the Intombi River in March of 1879. . It was an action in which Colour-Sergerant Booth covered the retreat of 50 soldiers for a distance of three miles and was awarded the VC. (more info) Towards the end of the campaign the 80th Foot served with distinction at Ulundi where they formed the leading, shorter face of the square. On their left flank (in the corner) they had several guns of N/6 Battery (9 pounders) and on their right flank (in the other corner) they had several guns of 11/7 Battery (7 pounders). In the middle of their line they had a few guns of 10/7 Battery (Gatlings). 228 Private Thomas Westwood Born: Parish Birmingham Town: Birmingham Warks Enlisted at Birmingham on 20/02/1874 Aged 19 years 6 months Ht 5ft 7 1/4 inches Complexion: Sallow, eyes dark brown Hair dark brown, Trade screw maker Joined Regt 23/02/1876 at Singapore Transferred to Army Reserve 25/06/1880
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: 228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot   Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:13 pm

"228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot served in Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel H. B. Pulleine’s No. 3 Column, which force was decimated at Isandhlwana on 22 January 1879. He had earlier seen active service in Perak 1875-76, and in operations against the Sekukini in 1878.

At which point Westwood decided to make his escape from Isandhlwana remains unknown, but presumably shortly after midday on the 22nd, when the right flank gave way - hot on his tail was Private Samuel Wassall, also of the 80th Foot, attached Mounted Infantry, riding a Basuto pony. Unbeknown to either of them was that subsequent events at “Fugitive’s Drift” on the River Buffalo were to be witnessed by Captain William Barton of the Natal Native Horse, who, on learning of their survival, submitted the following statement:

‘As I approached the river, a man of the Mounted Infantry [Wassall] was riding in front of me, and I also saw at the same time another man of the Mounted Infantry [Westwood] struggling in the river and he called out his comrade’s name; he was apparently drowning. The Zulus were at this time firing at our people from above us, others were down on the bank of the river stabbing others of our people on both sides of where I was. The man from the Mounted Infantry, who rode down in front of me, dismounted, left his horse on the Zulu side and sprang into the river to save his comrade. I consider this man performed a most gallant and courageous act, in trying to save his comrade at almost certain risk of his own life. I crossed the river myself about the same time and did not think it was possible that either of these two men could have escaped alive; indeed I spoke some days afterwards to Lieutenant Walsh of the Mounted Infantry, of circumstances which I had witnessed and spoke of it to him as evidence of my having seen two of his men lost at the Buffalo River.’

How Barton came to learn of Mounted Infantrymen’s survival was a remarkable story in itself. A few days after Isandhlwana, while visiting the hospital at Helpmekaar, he described to a fellow officer the act of gallantry he had witnessed at Fugitive’s Drift, an account that was overheard by a soldier lying in a nearby bed - none other than Westwood, who was happy to identify his rescuer as Private Samuel Wassall. Barton’s subsequent submission, as cited above, in addition to a sworn statement made by Westwood before the District Magistrate at Pietermaritzburg in April 1879, resulted in the gallant Wassall being gazetted for the Victoria Cross, the only such distinction won by an Isandhlwana survivor.

‘For his gallant conduct in having, at the imminent risk of his own life, saved that of Private Westwood of the same regiment. On 22 January 1879, when the camp at Isandhlwana was taken by the enemy, Private Wassall retreated towards the Buffalo River, in which he saw a comrade struggling and apparently drowning. He rode to the bank, dismounted, leaving his horse on the Zulu side, rescued the man from the stream and again mounted his horse, dragging Private Westwood across the river under a heavy shower of bullets’ (London Gazette 17 June 1879 refers).

That October, an issue of the children’s magazine Aunt Judy included a story entitled Jackanapes, written by Juliana Horatia Ewing, an army officer’s wife, a tale said to have been inspired by real events in the Zulu War. Indeed the rescue of the character Tony by his friend Jackanapes, after he falls from his horse, is believed to be based on Westwood’s rescue by Wassall - “Leave you? To save my skin? No, Tony, not to save my soul!”; moreover, the same story inspired Rolf Harris’ song Two Little Boys, which went to No. 1 in the charts 90 years after events at Fugitive’s Drift on the River Buffalo."

Source: Dixnoonan Medals
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90th

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PostSubject: T.Westwood 80th Regt.   Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:59 am

Hi all .
Truly remarkable story because if Westwood was out of earshot nothing would have become of it . As Barton didnt
know any of those involved .
cheers 90th.
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scaryb



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PostSubject: Re: 228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot   Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:58 am

Good morning all,
I am an ancestor of Thomas Westwood & without your information I wouldn't be able to state to the rest of the family that this brave man was rescued by another very brave Pte Wassell. We were aware that a family member had served but no idea rescued & was part of history in the frame of Rolf Harris' song!
I'm wondering if anyone knows where the medals went after being sold in 2010? Are they in a museum as we thought they were still in the family, would now be nice to see the medals & take photos to pass along

Cheers
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johann engelbrecht



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PostSubject: Re: 228 Pte T. Westwood 80th Foot   Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:27 pm

scratch scratch How old are you?
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