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 Hugh Cotesworth, Acting Sub-Lieutenant serving on H.M.S. ‘Boadicea’

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PostSubject: Hugh Cotesworth, Acting Sub-Lieutenant serving on H.M.S. ‘Boadicea’    Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:22 am

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"Hugh Cotesworth, was a 19 year old Acting Sub-Lieutenant serving on H.M.S. ‘Boadicea’ in 1879. ‘Boadicea’ arrived in South Arica shortly after the start of the Zulu War to take over as Flag Ship of the ‘Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa’ squadron, replacing H.M.S. ‘Active’. The ‘Boadicea’s’ arrival was delayed by an outbreak of smallpox among her crew which required the ship to be quarantined at Simon’s Bay until the outbreak was under control.

‘Boadicea’ arrived at Natal and put her naval brigade, including Sub-Lt. Hugh Cotesworth, ashore at Durban. The correspondent, Charles L. Norris-Newman described the event in his book. “Thursday saw the departure of the naval brigade of HMS ‘Boadicea’ in a pouring rain. It numbered 238 men, who had a Gatling gun, one field piece, the men being armed with Martini Henry rifles. They were, as most men of all the naval brigades are, a fine sturdy lot of fellows, and left in the highest of spirits.”

The brigade would have had a train ride for approximately 12 miles, and then would have had to march on foot the remaining 52 miles to Fort Pearson on the lower Tugela River. This is where Lord Chelmsford was assembling a large force to effect the relief of Fort Eshowe where Colonel Pearson and his troops, which included a naval brigade from HMS ‘Active’, had been held up since the 23rd of January.

Sub-Lieutenant Cotesworth assisted Lieutenant T. Abbott (HMS ‘Shah’) with the transporting of troops across the Tugela. This entailed about 5,000 men, an immense train of wagons, and hundreds of tons of commissariat and ordinance stores.

Sub-Lieutenant Cotesworth remained with Lt. Abbott at the Tugela crossing, and did not accompany the relief column. Thus, he did not participate in the Battle of Gingindlovu, 2nd April, 1879. It was during this time that Cotesworth saved a sailor’s life for which he was later awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Bronze Medal. Cotesworth “jumped overboard and saved W. Lock, Stoker, who was in danger of drowning in the Tugela River, 4th April, 1879.” The Tugela River at this location is about 200 yards in width, very rapid, and inhabited by crocodiles.

In late May, 1879, Sub-Lieutenant Cotesworth was listed as being in the hospital, sick. His condition reported as “doing well.”

When the 2nd Invasion of Zululand began, the naval brigades of HMS ‘Active’, ‘Boadicea’ and ‘Shah’ accompanied the Coastal Column commanded by General Crealock. Cotesworth was assigned as the Naval A.D.C. to the General. This column march to Port Durnford and established a landing area for supplies being brought in by ship. The landing of these supplies fell to the naval brigade.

As the war came to a close, the naval brigades were released to return to their ships. The men of ‘Boadicea’ were the last to depart.

Sub-Lieutenant Hugh Cotesworth is listed on the Medal Roll as entitled to the South Africa Medal with clasp “1879”. He was also awarded the Royal Humane Society Bronze Medal (#20632), and was Mentioned in Despatches.

Time ashore 20 March 1879 to 21 July 1879."
Information from Petty Officer Tom.

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PostSubject: Re: Hugh Cotesworth, Acting Sub-Lieutenant serving on H.M.S. ‘Boadicea’    Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:39 am

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