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Lt. Melvill: Well done, Sir! Did you see that Noggs? Deceived him with the up and took him with the down. Norris-Newman: Well well, this one's a grandfather at least. If he'd been a Zulu in his prime I'd have given odds against your lancer, Mr.Melvill.
 
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Lt. (Brevet Major) J.R.M. Chard, 5th Field Company, Royal Engineers--Rorke's Drift and Ulundi
(Mac and Shad) Isandula Collection)
Rededication Rorke's Drift Defender William Wilcox. 8th May 2011 Dolton Devon.
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 Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.   Thu May 30, 2013 10:21 pm

"Private John Smith Born In Wigan, a labourer by trade, he had enlisted in the army three years earlier on Christmas Eve 1876, aged 25 years. He was slightly taller than his fellow townsman, at 5’ 7”, fresh complexion, blue eyes and brownhair. He was wounded at Rorke’s Drift, and probably never fully recovered; he was discharged from the army in 1882 and spent his later years in Bury".
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.   Wed May 09, 2018 9:23 pm

I've come across some information relating to burials in Ashby de la Zouch cemetery in Leicestershire which states the following:

'Rorke's Drift - John Smith was one of the heroes of the battle of Rorke's Drift (1879) of B company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot when 139 British soldiers defended the mission station when attacked by 4,500 Zulus. The battle was made famous in the film 'Zulu' starring Michael Caine.

John Smith took his own life at Heather railway station aged 53. He is buried in an unmarked grave in cemetery 2, grave no. 0763'

As far as I'm aware, very little is known about John Smith after he left the army and his place of burial is/was unknown - I've emailed the Ashby Town Clerk to see what information they have to confirm that this is indeed the same individual.

If anyone has any further info in the meantime, I'm sure we'd all be interested!

Regards,

Tim
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.   Thu May 10, 2018 10:35 am

Hi Tim

Yes he is listed in the Cemetery as a Hero of Rorke's Drift.

http://www.ashbydelazouch.info/controls/DownloadDocument.ashx?docID=by3635WCUEPFLPVWJD6963oYiv&aID=5586

Entry No. 3236.
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PostSubject: Re: Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.   Thu May 10, 2018 11:03 am

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Leicester Chronicle 15 July 1899
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Smith, John. Private. 25B/1005, B Company RD Defender.   Thu May 10, 2018 8:19 pm

Andy,

Excellent find - I couldn't find anything on the newspaper archive when I looked....

Although it doesn't categorically prove it's the RD John Smith (it seems there were four other 24th Regiment men by the same name not including the rank killed at Isandlwana), the article certainly provides some interesting leads for further research i.e. widow's name etc.

It would certainly be good to confirm it is him!

Regards,

Tim
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