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 George Henry Emmett

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Posts : 3
Join date : 2013-07-31
Location : North Herts

PostSubject: George Henry Emmett   Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:16 am

Greetings, my first post here.

My Gt Gt grandfather, George Henry Emmett, was born in London in 1861. At some stage he moved to Ayr in Scotland and was a member of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

His epitaph in the local paper said that he enlisted in the RSF in 1878 and the following year went to South Africa where he fought with his regiment in the First Zulu War at the battle of Ulundi. (I have read that 2 companies of the 2nd battalion RSF formed one side of the British square)

The report goes on to say that he took his discharge from the Army in 1890. It says that he served in the Merchant Navy on war service during the Great war and says "he was probably unique in that he held two medals for maritime service in addition to the army medal for the Zulu campaign."

It goes on to say "A soldierly old man to the last, he was proud of his connection with the R.S.F, and recalled that two companies of the regiment fought at Ulundii under Major Hazelrigg, a fact which he has duly noted in a book, the author of which had failed to mention the part taken by the Fusiliers".

So if the paper is to believed it appears he did fight at Ulundi.

I would be interested to know how I can confirm this and how I can go about getting more information on his military service. I have no idea where his medals ended up but can only assume they found their way down a different branch of the family tree.

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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:40 am

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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Thu Aug 01, 2013 1:53 am

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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:20 am


"I think by now we all know what occurred at Isandlwana on Jan 22nd 1879, the British army lost a lot of men that day, the Zulu nation even more of course. Something had to be done to fill the many gaps as a result of this huge loss in man-power on the British side. The call went out, leave was cancelled, regiments mobilised and volunteers came forth, out of a sense of duty or revenge?, perhaps a piece of both?. One of these regiments was the 21st or as it was known, Royal Scot Fusiliers. This fine old regiment was also known as The 21st Royal North British Fusiliers. They lined up beside the 58th regiment at Ulundi but I am getting ahead of myself as usual.

Before I relate as to what the 21st did in South Africa a little on the regiment itself. The 2nd Battalion who participated in South Africa was formed in Paisley, Scotland in April 1858, the first Commanding Officer was Col Last who had been in the 99th before this appointment.

By December 1858 the 2nd Battalion was in Newport, Wales, moves to Aldershot, Dover, Ireland followed. Foreign service began in 1863 to Madras then Burma and Rangoon. On the 1st May 1872 the Fusiliers were caught up in a severe cyclone at Madras, thanks to the efforts of the 21st ships and their crews and many passengers owed their lives to these men. And the people of Madras as a thanks gave the Officers Mess a large silver vase.

By 1873 the regiment was back in Scotland when in 1874 it again moved to Aldershot and then to Portsmouth, back to Scotland in Nov 1877. By 1878 the regiment moved to Ireland when a call went out in 1879 after news of the losses reached these shores, the regiment was put on active service conditions. From the depot in Ayr, volunteers from regiments serving in Ireland, the 2nd Battalion left Curragh Camp under the command of Col W Pole Collingwood for Cork. On the 20th Feb 1879 they boarded the 'City Of Paris' and set sail for South Africa. On the 21st March they were in sight of Table Mountain in the face of a severe gale, hoping to make Simon`s Bay before nightfall. At about 8 pm the ship ran onto Roman Rock.

The 'Ayr Advertiser' reported, It was very dark, it was blowing a gale, and there were 1100 men on deck. The Captain gave his orders, with coolness and courage from the bridge; the boats were made ready for lowering, signals of distress were sent up, and all were prepared for the worst. The Scots Fusiliers behaved with admiral coolness, nothing could have been better, the young fellows vying with their older comrades in their apparent contempt of danger. Happily for all on board, the gale, now increasing, catching the ship on the port side, at the same time as the reversed engines pulled her back, pushed her off the rocks; and putting on full steam we now went ahead, and passing through forbidden water, over sunken rocks, we got in into Simon's Bay with no water to speak of in the hold. An episode is worth reporting of the good behaviour of the men. The instance the ship struck the rock, the quartermaster at the wheel uttered an exclamation of horror, and crying, "all is lost!" made a rush to the nearest boat. Two or three young soldiers at once seized the wheel, and did their best to steer the ship until another quartermaster could be got hold of.

The battalion was transferred to the HMS Tamar for the trip to Durban, where it arrived on the 31st March 1879. At Durban bandsmen were issued rifles but the pipers and bugle players retained their instruments. By the 3rd April the Fusiliers left Durban and on the 5th April arrived at Pietermaritzburg and received a warm welcome from the locals. Fort Newdigate was constructed and two companies of the Scots Fusiliers, along with two Gatling guns, a company of Basutos, and a troop of the 1st Dragoon Guards made up the little garrison. A march ensued to the Upoko River where a skirmish had taken place on the 5th June 1879. Waiting there for supply wagons. Fort Marshall was constructed, with two companies of Fusiliers along with a squadron of the 17th Lancers. In overall command was Brigadier General Collingwood. On the 18th June the remainder of the battalion resumed its march. By the time of Ulundi on July 4th the 2/21st were lined up with the 58th regiment, Regimental Colours were unfurled and bands began to play. Under the command of Lord Chelmsford they headed north-easterly between the kraals at NDABAKAOMBE and UNODWENGO. Chelmsford got his troops in a favourable position with his front facing Ulundi about a mile to his east. The first Zulu were seen at about 8:30 am on July 4th. After the savage defeat of the Zulu at Ulundi, Chelmsford received orders from Sir Garnet Wolseley on July 8th to bring the sick and wounded to Fort Newdigate. Chelmsford was camped at EULONGANENI and had decided there to resign his command and leave for home. In closing his parting speech he said the following, "For the courage, coolness, and devotion you have all displayed wherever I have been with you, my best and warmest thanks are due. For the unselfish devotion, untiring energy, and good humour with which you have encountered hardship, fatigue, and privation I find it hard to express my gratitude sufficiently. In all senses you have done your duty as British soldiers!."

The withdrawal started on the 10th July, and four days later they had passed Fort Marshall; with wounded and sick men being escorted to Ladysmith by two companies of the Scots Fusiliers and Bengough's natives. The regiment had started to break up on July 26th on the banks of the Upoko river, with various elements going to different locations. Other engagements took place in South Africa for the 21st but that is a different story. The Zulu nation had been broken at Ulundi and later the then British Prime Minister ( Gladstone ) had commented on the loss of 10,000 Zulu and for what reason when in the cold light of dawn the historians and record keepers gave the post-mortem on the Anglo Zulu War of 1879."

Graham Mason
Anglo-Zulu War Researcher
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PostSubject: George Henry Emmet    Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:19 am

Hi Cathus .
Welcome to the forum , I can confirm that your gt gt grandfather is on the medal roll for the 2 / 21st Regt , he is also entitled to the South African General Service Medal ( SAGS ) with the 1879 Clasp , which means he did cross the river ( Border ) and was certainly in Zululand . Not to sure how you can find out if he was at Ulundi , as the records unfortunately may not be so precise . If you can find his service papers online they may be of help . If our fellow member '' Graves1879 '' see's this he may work his magic and post his papers here for you You need to study mo .
Cheers 90th. Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:39 pm

Thanks very much Dave & 90th.

Lots of info to have a look at there
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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:40 pm

Hi Cathus

A warm welcome to the forum.

Sorry I do not have his service record to show you. I will keep looking.

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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:49 pm

OK, thanks for checking

sorry for delay in replying, been away on summer holiday
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PostSubject: Re: George Henry Emmett   Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:33 pm

When searching for RAF records for my father I came across your post about your Gt Gt Grandfather and I was interested to join this website.

My father [adopted] was Ft. Lt. George Henry Emmett born in Ayr Scotland in 1913 which would make your Gt Gt Grandfather possible my dad's grandfather or I suppose an older father at age 52. Since Emmett is a very uncommon name in Ayrshire we were the only Emmett family in the old phone book. I may try and get on Scotlands people .org to see if I can trace the names of his parents / grandparents but if you have any info or want to investigate with me please let me know. Would love to find out if we had family fighting in the Zulu war.

Please send me a message and I can give you my email.

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