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 Date & Details of E.S. Browne's V.C. Presentation.

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John Young


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Join date : 2013-09-08
Age : 62
Location : Lower Sheering, Essex

PostSubject: Date & Details of E.S. Browne's V.C. Presentation.   Wed May 17, 2017 10:27 am

I was asked by a South African Battlefield Guide to establish where Lt. Edward Browne was presented with his Victoria Cross for his actions at Khambula, and who made the presentation.

A seemingly easy task thought I, or is it?

The Noble 24th by Norman Holme records: VC presented at Pinetown, Natal 22/8/1879.

The Zulu War VCs by James Bancroft states: He received the medal from Lord Wolseley at Pine Tree Camp on 22 August 1879, at the same presentation as Major Bromhead.

The Boiling Cauldron by Huw Jones, starts to question things as he writes: The records show that Browne was decorated by General Sir Garnet Wolseley at Pine Tree Camp on 18 August 1879; during August Wolseley was in Zululand waiting for the capture of Cetshwayo, but, despite the completeness of his diary, Wolseley mentions neither Browne nor Pine Tree Camp.

For Queen and Country - the Zulu War diary of Lieutenant Wilfred Heaton 24th Regiment of Foot by Rodney Ashwood, provides us with an eyewitness as Heaton records: Tuesday 26 August
Parade at 7.30 for the presentation of VCs to Browne and Reynolds.

I have little doubt in my mind that Pine Tree Camp is actually the camp at Pinetown, where a number of photographs of the 24th were taken, and as recorded by Norman Holme.

But the problem is the dates don't gel.  Nor do the presentations.

Bromhead received his V. C. from Wolseley, at the sometime as Robert Jones whilst based in Utrecht on 22nd August 1879.  Which would obviously discount Wolseley from being the officer that decorated Browne in Pinetown.  

Can we believe Heaton as an eyewitness?  As he states that the presentation was for Browne and Surgeon Major Reynolds, yet fellow forum member Lee Stevenson records that Reynolds received his V. C. from Wolseley - at the same time as John Chard - on 16th July 1879 at St. Paul's Mission Station.

Can anyone assist me with this conundrum?


John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Date & Details of E.S. Browne's V.C. Presentation.   Thu May 18, 2017 8:43 am


The record of service ledger of 1/24th states:

17th August 1879 The Battalion encamped at Pinetown, 14 miles from Durban.
20th August 1879 H Company (Captain Harrisson) rejoined the Battalion from St. John’s River.
24th August 1879 Lieutenant ES Browne VC and mounted infantrymen from 1/24th rejoined the Battalion.
26th August 1879 A Brigade parade assembled to witness the presentation of Colonel Richard Glyn of the Victoria Cross to Surgeon Major Reynolds and Lieutenant ES Browne. The former for his gallant actions at Rorke’s Drift; the latter for conspicuous bravery in the saving the life of a mounted infantry soldier in the action at Khambula (29th March 1879).
27th August 1879 The Battalion – strength 24 officers and 860 men - under command of Colonel Richard Glyn CB, embarked at Durban on board the hired transport Egypt for England.
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PostSubject: Re: Date & Details of E.S. Browne's V.C. Presentation.   Thu May 18, 2017 8:47 am


Similarly 2/24 record gives:

6th October 1879 F and H Companies marched via Helpmakaar and Greytown to Pietermaritzburg, where they arrived on 6th October, to await the Battalion Headquarters. Sir Garnet Wolseley had selected the 2nd Battalion 24th for an expedition against Sekukuni, but on his arrival at Utrecht, on 9th September 1879, he brought the news that the Battalion was ordered to Gibraltar. Sir Garnet took the opportunity presenting their Victoria Crosses to Brevet Major Gonville Bromhead and Private Robert Jones. He had already given one to Private Henry Hook at Rorke’s Drift.
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John Young


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PostSubject: Re: Date & Details of E.S. Browne's V.C. Presentation.   Thu May 18, 2017 9:00 am


Thanks I knew I could rely on you to provide the accurate information.

Are you involved in any of the August events in Brecon & Cardiff? If so I will see you then.

Best wishes,

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