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 Charles Sparks - any information available?

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Claire D



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PostSubject: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:58 am

I am new to this forum, and would very much appreciate any information and/or images provided on Trooper Charles Sparks, known survivor of Isandlwana. Many thanks in advance. (His great great great niece)
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PostSubject: Charles Sparks    Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:25 am

Hi Claire .
Welcome to the Forum , I found the following on page 384 - 385 of ' The Washing Of The Spears ' by Donald Morris .
'' Troopers Pearce and Sparks of the Natal Mtd Police started to leave the camp together , but Pearce suddenly turned back to get his bit , which was in his tent . Sparks tried to stop him , but failed. ''What a choking off I'll get if the sergeant major sees me riding with a snaffle instead of a regulation bit ! '' he called back , and disappeared into the fight raging through the camp . Sparks got to the buffalo river safely , but lost his horse in the water when he crashed into a rock . He swam to the Natal Shore and pulled himself out with the help of some reeds . The inDlu-yengwe were spearing survivors along the bank , but to Spark's amazement he came across a fellow trooper named Kincaid , completely blown , sitting on the bank and calmly draining the water out of his boots , Sparks was unable to rouse him until he caught 2 saddled horses , and he then prodded his comrade up . Both men reached Helpmakaar .
This from page 435 ......
Stafford and Newnham - Davis reached Pietermaritzburg at 7 on thursday evening , the 24th of Jan. Utterly exhausted and semi hysterical , they sought out Sir Bartle Frere , who had already received an unconfirmed report . Trooper Charlie Sparks of the NMP -
he who had stopped at Rorke's Drift - had ridden cross country past Helpmakaar before swinging into the Border road . Stafford and Newnham - Davis were ahead of him , but Sparks had encountered an officer of the 2 / 4 th who , with a fresh horse , had beatem them all into town , alerting Bulwer and Frere before he left to rejoin his regiment .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:44 am

Very Happy Thank you very much, very informative.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:00 pm

[quote="Claire D"] Very Happy Thank you very much, very informative.[

Bonjour Claire,

There is a photo of a group of NMP's troopers in the "silver book" of Ian KNIGHT (zulu; Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift 22/01/1879).
I think that SPARKS is on the photo (I am not sure : I haven't my books at hand).


Regards

Frédéric
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Claire D



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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:15 pm

Merci, I will try to find that book.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:52 pm

There is a picture of Sparks in the "silver" book. It is on page 13.

Steve
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Claire D



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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:34 pm

great, thanks
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PostSubject: Charles Sparks    Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:41 pm

Hi Claire .
Do you have the book ?? Salute
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:05 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]Trooper Charles Montague Sparks
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PostSubject: Charles Sparks    Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:30 am

The picture in Ian Knight's '' Silver '' Zulu Book does include Sparks , the caption reads .......
Sub - Inspector Phillips and a detachment of the Natal Mtd Police who furnished Shepstone's escort during the annexation of the Transvaal, 1877 . Of this formidable looking group of frontier constabulary Trooper C.N.Sparks ( fifth from left , back row ) survived
Isandlwana ; Trooper Pleydell ( fourth from right , back row ) did not . ( Natal Archives Department ) . If I knew how to scan it and post I would ! .
Cheers 90th.
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Claire D



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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:02 am

Fantastic, Thank you so much for posting this, I was going to rummage through my late grandfathers library to see if he had the book. You have all been very helpful, now to find encourage the family to find the medal in the farm in Natal...
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:39 am

Hi Claire .
Truly hope you find the Medal as it's a cracker ! , it's worth a fair bit of money I can tell you . Shocked . That should be enough encouragement required one would think ! . Drop me a line if you find it . Hhahahahahahahhaahahaha
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Charles Sparkes    Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:30 am

In a reply to my earlier post of today at 11.30 am regarding the picture in the ' Big Silver Book ' of Sparks , the same photo is in
' The Glamour And The Tragedy Of The Zulu War ' by W.H.Clements on Page 9 , the caption names all of those in the photo.
Cheers 90th. Salute
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PostSubject: Charles Sparks    Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:09 am

Claire a bit more info for you , W.H.Clements says that Sparks and Kincaid were still alive when his book was published which was in 1936 , They died within only weeks of each other , Sparks passed away in Durban , sorry I dont know the date .
Cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:06 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:02 pm

SURVIVOR'S TALE OF FIFTY YEARS AGO BY Mr. C. M. F. Sparks
How he carried Lord Chelmsford's official dispatch of the Battle of lsandhlwana to Maritzburg to Sir Bartle Frere after having been in the actual battle itself is related by Mr. Charles Montagu Fitzroy Sparks, affectionately known in the old Natal Mounted Rifles as "Dear old Charles Montagu." Mr. Sparks, a familiar figure in Durban and well-known in Verulam, where for years he was Gaoler, and afterwards Deputy-Sheriff and Court Messenger, was in the Natal Mounted Police, under Major (after-wards General) Jack Dartnell. He is a Londoner by birth and came to South Africa in 1876 and joined the Police.
During the Great War at the age of63, he gave his age as 35, and went to France as a sergeant-major in the South African Native Labour Corps. "It cost me 16s. to have my hair dyed and the wrinkles taken out," he said naively, "but it was worth it," he added.
On the morning of January 22, he said, Lord Chelmsford, the General Commanding, moved out of the camp with a large body of troops to attack a Zulu force at a kraal 10 miles away, known as Matyanas. This, as it was proved afterwards, was only a ruse on the part of Dabulamanzi, the Zulu General, to draw the main body of troops from the camp. Soon after the General left the camp I was detailed with several Police and Carbineers for vidette duty on one of the kopjes facing the camp.
After being there for some considerable time we could see the Zulu swarming down the hillsides in thousands, and soon they were advancing across our front until the whole plain seemed to be covered as far as the eye could see with the hordes of warriors, and although they were some distance off, we could hear their war cries, the stamp of their feet like thunder, and the rattle of assegais on their war shields.
It was an impressive sight, and one that I shall never forget. However, knowing its deadly import, and realising that our position was untenable, we retired into camp, where we found everything in a state of confusion, and we had much difficulty in finding out who was in command. However, while looking round to see in what way we could help, we were ordered to proceed to a ravine in front of the camp, where we dismounted and opened fire on the enemy. We were armed with the Martini- Henry carbine, not a very effective weapon, although I managed to bowl over a few of the dusky warriors. I got my distance from Trooper Blaikie, who was killed. He told me that he had bowled over quite a few sighted at 200 yards. Colonel Durnford, Royal Engineers, was in command. His bravery is undoubted, as he stood on the top of the ravine, where there was no cover whatever, and urged on his men. I never saw him again after we vacated the ravine. We stayed there until our ammunition was exhausted and then fell back on the camp. I would like to say here that when we dismounted at the ravine we handed our horses to Trumpeter Stevens, of the Natal Mounted Police, and when the order was given to retire, mounting his horse he let all the others loose. Fortunately, although the din caused by the yells from the Zulus and sound of "pot-legs" fired from elephant guns by the enemy was terrific, my horse started quickly to nibble the grass, so I had no difficulty in catching him. Trumpeter Stevens was killed, I believe, on his way back to the camp. On our return to camp there seemed to be still a great deal of confusion, no kind of formation being made for the defence of the camp, and it was only after some considerable time that we were able to procure any ammunition, as the boxes in which it was packed were all screwed down, and we had no tools to open them. I noticed Quartermaster London, of the Natal Carbineers, opening one of these boxes, and was killed by a bullet wound in the head while doing so. By this time the Zulu Army had thrown out wings on our flanks, so that we were hemmed in on three sides and in a very short time the camp was invaded by vast numbers of Zulus, and owing to every one of us being more or less in skirmishing order it was impossible to make any effective defence. Just then a detachment of Natal Native Cavalry (the Edendale Horse) galloped up, and I joined in with them. It was certain death to remain, for we were fearfully outnumbered.
As we passed through the nek I observed the Zulus dragging the gunners from the two guns and assegaiing them. After many hairbreadth escapes with assegais, "pot-legs" and bullets flying around us and occasional hand-to-hand scraps with parties of Zulus; we arrived at Fugitive's Drift at the Buffalo River. The river was in full flood at the time -and when I got there it was full of fugitives endeavouring to cross, but owing to the swiftness of the current were nearly all drowned in the attempt. I got across all right with the exception of a slight assegai wound, which I received from a Zulu in the river, but which I returned with interest by killing him with a thrust of my short bayonet. On reaching the Natal side I found Trumpeter Kincaid sitting on the river bank with his boots off emptying the water out of them. As the Zulus were firing volley after volley at us from the opposite bank, and the bullets were falling thick around us. I persuaded him to put on his boots and join with me in our retreat to Helpmakaar .On our arrival a laager was speedily formed with wagons. I believe I am right in saying that only 37 Europeans, all told, escaped that day, and seven of these were members of the Natal Mounted Police. Trumpeter Kincaid, Trooper Darehill, and myself (afterwards Inspector) are the only three now living of the seven. There, however, are others living in and about Durban who, although not actually in the Isandhlwana Battle, fought in the Zulu War of 1879 - namely, Trooper Ben Cooper, Sergeant (afterwards Inspector), Jack Masson, and Inspector Freddie Phillips. These three are all well and hearty , and I often have a chat with them, especially the latter, as I was first associated with him in 1877, when he was the Officer Commanding, myself a trooper, of the bodyguard that accompanied Sir Theophilus Shepstone, on the occasion of the annexation of the Transvaal.
On the afternoon of January 23, I rode from Helpmakaar to Maritzburg a distance, I believe, of about 115 miles, with the official dispatch from Lord Chelmsford reporting the results of the battle.
(It should be noted that Mr .Sparks was recalling his escape, some fifty years on, and some inaccuracies have crept into his statement.)
Source The Natal Mercury, Tuesday, 22nd January, 1929.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:02 pm

90th wrote:
In a reply to my earlier post of today at 11.30 am regarding the picture in the ' Big Silver Book ' of Sparks , the same photo is in
' The Glamour And The Tragedy Of The Zulu War ' by W.H.Clements on Page 9 , the caption names all of those in the photo.
Cheers 90th. Salute

Hello 90th

Can you give me the names all of those in the photo?
Thank you very much

Frédéric
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PostSubject: Charles Montague Sparks   Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:07 am

Hi Clare D,

The head and shoulders picture of CMS posted a few posts back by Admin was the one I was going to send you. Re my PM.

CMS's account also posted earlier on this thread is interesting as he confirms the following problems much debated on this forum , ie ;

the ammuntion supply running out causing collapses of the line, and ,
a general problem with actually opening the ammunition boxes fast enough (as verified by another two NMP, Tprs Doig and Shannon), if at all.,

The account contained some inaccuracies as Tpr Stevens , NMP, was very much a survivor
and Darehill was misspelt, it should be Dorehill. Cooper was never a Sub Inspector, but Masson was. Many more that 37 troopers escaped the carnage on 22/01/1879.

regards

barry

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PostSubject: Charles Montague Sparks    Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:06 am

Hi Ymob.
I assume you have the picture of Shepstone's NMP Escort during the Annexation of the Transvaal ?.
Back Row - Left to Right - Lce Corp Champ , Lce Corp Macqueen , Tpr Holmes , Sergt Abbott , Tpr C.N.Sparks , Sub Insp F.L Phillips
, Troopers Meyers , Barkley , Pleydel ( KIA Isandlwana ) , Hubbard , Owen and T. Ward .
Front Row - Left to Right - Corp Faddy , Troopers Rafter and Sharp , Trumpeter '' Dickie '' Knott , Troopers Gressair and Jenkins ,
Corp Cushion and Troopers Mcdonald , Whitwell , Allison , Bradshaw and Mathie .
Cheers 90th. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:37 am

Hi 90th,
Thank YOU very much.
I have thé photo (lan knight book's)
Regard

Frederic
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PostSubject: Charles Sparks any info available    Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:41 am

Hi Frederic .
No worries , happy to be of service . Salute
90th. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:09 pm

Claire D wrote:
I am new to this forum, and would very much appreciate any information and/or images provided on Trooper Charles Sparks, known survivor of Isandlwana. Many thanks in advance. (His great great great niece)
Hello there Claire,
I am a great granddaughter of a Charles Sparks who rode several horses under him from Currys Post to London to deliver the news of the slaughter at Rouke's Drift. As it happened, without my knowledge when I was young, I was offered a job in Natal on a farm in Currys Post and rode around the area completely oblivious to my family history until my father later told me the stories. The people I worked for there also filled me in on the history and could not believe the family connection. I have never followed this up until I told my daughter, his great great granddaughter, the family stories handed down to me.

I am not entirely sure if we are talking about the same Charles Sparks, but I would be interested to get in contact with any family members I may possibly have.
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:48 pm

Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW : 1881 - 1940), Friday 19 April 1929, page 1
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PostSubject: Re: Charles Sparks - any information available?   Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:14 pm

Just in case it's of any interest to anyone, I think I've managed to track down the grave of Charles Montague Fitzroy Sparks in Stellawood cemetery, Durban with the help of the excellent EGGSA website (link to grave below):

http://www.eggsa.org/library/main.php?g2_itemId=1896701

It looks like the inscription has been mistranscribed as belonging to a 'Rees' Montague Fitzroy Sparks, however it certainly looks like 'Charles' underneath the growth spots; also, you can just make out '1935' which I believe is the confirmed year of his death in Durban.

Regards,

Tim


Last edited by Tim Needham on Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:38 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : bad English!)
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PostSubject: Charles Sparkes - any information available    Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:36 am

Great stuff Tim.
90th Shocked
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