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The Death of Lt. Frith, 17th Lancers.
Ernest Alfred Martin Screenshot-20190305-200950-Gallery-181x240 At eZungeni, Zulu War of 1879" original painting by Hermanus Willem Koekkoek (1869-1929) (Isandula Collection)
Isandlwana & Rorke's Drift 22nd January 2019
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 Ernest Alfred Martin

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John Carl



Posts : 6
Join date : 2015-01-27

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptyFri Jan 30, 2015 10:24 pm

Hello I have just discovered this excellent forum and i am very much hoping there is someone who can help me research my great grandfather's military life in South Africa or at least point me towards possible sources of information. I am more or less starting from scratch with this quest having just one document, a medal and a few tidbits passed down through the family. I have however begun to read about the events at Isandlwana. This is what I have so far:
- his name was Ernest Alfred Martin from Kilburn, London
- I have his discharge document dated 29th April 1882 showing that he joined the Royal Artillery at Aldershot on 12 November 1874 aged 14. He was therefore around 22 when he was discharged "in consequence of his own request on payment of £24...." At the top of the document is written N Battery 4th Brigade (late N Battery 5th Brigade). Ernest is described as a Driver. Of his 7 years and 140 days service, he spent 2 years and 363 days abroad.
- From what I have read up so far including other posts on this forum, N battery 5th Brigade was very much involved in the events around Isandlwana. It seems to be a result of some luck that my great grandfather survived. I am guessing from what I have read so far that when his battery was divided, he and his gun detail among other soldiers were selected to join Lord Chelmsford (?) to search for the Zulu armies while other of his fellow gunners were left to their fate at the Isandlwana camp. I am making this guess based only on deduction because the accounts say that the two gun details which fled the camp had their drivers pulled from their horses and killed.

I would therefore appreciate any help to enable me to confirm my understanding or indeed to correct it. I am further intrigued to understand whether and how Ernest and N5 was involved in any way in the following battle of Ulundi. Once again my reading tells me that only part of, possible only 2 of their 6 guns, took part at Ulundi, the other details being stationed at each of two other locations. Is this correct? Can anyone throw any light on where Ernest was during these later events or guide me to likely sources.

I hope someone in this forum will be able to help me. Many thanks.

John Carl Martin
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90th

90th

Posts : 9956
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 63
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: New Members Welcome . E.A.Martin R.A.   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptyFri Jan 30, 2015 11:06 pm

Hi John
I don't wish to be the bearer of possibly bad news , but I've checked the Medal Roll and found the following ..
Driver A.E. Martin 4180 N Battery 5th Brigade , Entitled to the Medal with No Clasp . A No Clasp Medal means the recipient didn't cross the Border into Zululand , if the Roll is correct your forbear served only in Natal . Does the Medal have a Clasp ? , if so , it would be showing one of the following dates ..... 1877-78 , 1877-78-79 , 1879 , or if no clasp , there were 6 of these issued .
Hope this isn't bad news ? Salute
90th
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John Carl



Posts : 6
Join date : 2015-01-27

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySat Jan 31, 2015 12:57 pm

90th thank you so much for your prompt response and it's detail which sent me scurrying to the glass frame which holds great grandfather's South Africa medal, another one which also appears to belong to him plus my grandfather's and father's medals. Three generations of Royal Artillery men and 15 medals. I think I disappointed my father and grandfather by not following in their footsteps, and hence my slight sense of guilt at not having done so is feeding my great curiosity to find out more about what they did and where. Also to document it all for the next generation. Anyway back to Ernest's medal. This does have a horizontal clasp showing 1879. I have not really examined this closely before but there is an inscription around the edge of the medal which reads "4180 Driv A E Martin 5 B R A" . Without opening the sealed mounting frame I can't examine it more closely or turn it over. The mystery deepens because I have always understood great grandfather to be Ernest Alfred Martin and indeed his discharge document describes him as such. It sounds like an error somewhere along the line but at least 4180 on the medal matches your record! Are you able to take the story any further for me please or to show me where to go to look further. Thank you once again. John
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rusteze

rusteze

Posts : 2845
Join date : 2010-06-02

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySat Jan 31, 2015 1:19 pm

John

This is from the official medal roll for the 5th Brigade RA in the Zulu War held at the National Archives at Kew.

It is the basis for the information posted by 90th, and I am afraid it confirms what he has said. You will see 4180 Dvr. Alfred Ernest Martin is listed and then a string of No's and Yes's. If he had crossed into Zululand, as the 1879 bar would suggest, it should say "Yes" in the fifth column (as some on the page do). His "Yes" is in the final column only which denotes a medal without a bar.

So, is it a mistake? It could be, but there would usually be an amendment made to the list. Is there any mention of the medal in his discharge papers - what is his other medal? The only way I can think of to perhaps find out more is to take a look at the RA Pay and Muster Books at Kew for this period. They just might show where your GGGrandfather was. You will have to go to Kew to see them though.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Regards
Steve
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John Carl



Posts : 6
Join date : 2015-01-27

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 4:08 pm

Steve thank you for your post and the extract from the medal roll. The plot thickens! What are the column headings you refer to. I could see Great Grandads number and name albeit called Alfred rather than Ernest and the yes and no entries but what do these mean please. I am very impressed that you have this information at your fingertips. The other medal I am currently trying to identify but without success so far. It has george V on the front side and great Grandads name etched around the rim. The ribbon has three vertical stripes each exactly a half inch width. A light grey centre stripe has a pink stripe either side. Is it possible to upload photos to this website, if so I have a photo of both the South Africa medal with clasp and this second medal. Many thanks to you and 90th for your help. I may well take your advice and go to Kew. In my first post I referred to tidbits about great grandad passed down through the family. The first was his "Zulu war medal" and the second was a related story. One his sons was later based at Woolwich and on Great Grandads visit to him on one occasion he took himself off to tour the RA artefacts held in what I believe was known as the Rotunda. Apparently he came back to my uncles quarter ashen faced that he had seen "his" field gun from his service in South Africa. No idea how he would have known unless the guns had serial numbers and he could remember his! I might also go down to the Firepower museum at Woolwich and see what I can find out there. Thanks once again and good luck to all with your continuing interest and research. Regards John
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 4:51 pm

Hi John

Here are the headings on the Medal Roll. I cannot immediately find a George V medal with the ribbon colours you describe - it would have to be after about 1910. The back of it would no doubt say what it was for. You can post photos here if you first upload them to a host site like Photobucket and then use copy and paste to put it into your post. Interesting about the field gun.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Steve
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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Age : 72
Location : Cape Town South Africa

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 5:07 pm

Steve
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The imperial service order was an award for minimum of 16 years civil service, only one I can find with pink and grey equal stripes.

I have a feeling that as it was early 1900s it could be more Edwards reign.
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 5:28 pm

Hi Frank

The ribbon looks right but the ISO was a star with crown and initials. Could be the Imp. Service Medal (ISM) which was also a star to start with but became a disc with bust in 1920 - so George V would be OK for that. The only other similar ribbon I have just come across is the Rocket Apparatus Volunteer Long Service Medal, also George V - but doesn't seem very likely!

Regards
Steve
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John Carl



Posts : 6
Join date : 2015-01-27

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 9:16 pm

Thanks both Steve and Frank, Imperial Service looks like the one and following your prompts I have found an identical medal and ribbon through googling. Thanks also Rusteze for the medal roll headings. I certainly have a mystery to solve. The South African medal has a 1879 clasp so it seems there was either a mistake when the medal roll was completed for my great grandad or he received the clasp by mistake! I need to examine the RA pay and muster books at Kew as Steve suggested earlier. Whatever I find out I will share with the forum as there maybe wider interest. I am also puzzled by the Imperial Service medal if that was issued in 1910 or thereabouts because great grandad left the RA in 1882 and I believe went straight into the prison service! Regards John
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rusteze

rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 9:36 pm

John

The ISM is a civilian medal and would be for his time with the Prison Service.

Steve
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90th

90th

Posts : 9956
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Age : 63
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: Ernest Alfred Martin   Ernest Alfred Martin EmptySun Feb 01, 2015 10:02 pm

Excellent stuff Steve and Springy , good luck John , you certainly have some interesting facts to hopefully unearth , and share with us on here later , once you have done so ! , we all like to put an end to a mystery if we can ! Very Happy
90th Salute
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