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 Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?

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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:27 pm

I've come across a couple of death notices supposedly relating to men killed in action at Isandlwana, and wondered if anyone else has further information - I can't find either in any of the casualty lists;

The Cornishman, 03 Apr 1879:
NICHOLLS, Jan 22, killed at Isandula, South Africa, Mr. Phillip William Nicholls, 2-24th Regiment, of Poole, Dorset (formerly of Redruth,) grandson of the late Mr. Phillip Williams, of Treneer(?) Cottage, Penzance, aged 28 years.

Western Times, 26 May 1879:
PERRING.-Jan. 22, killed at the battle of Isanhlwana, Mr. J.H.C. Perring, of Stokefleming, aged 29.

Either/both could have of course enlisted under false names, but I'd be interested to know whether anyone has come across these individuals before.

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:41 pm

Hi Tim

With regards to Nicholls, he could have been the following:

NAME Nicholas Walter
RANK Private
REGIMENT 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot 1st Battalion
He was killed in action at the Battle of Isandhlwana on 22nd January 1879. He attested at Newport, Monmouthshire on 4th October 1875, aged 18 years. His effects were claimed by next of kin. Medal and Clasp ‘1879’. His regimental service number was 648.

Just a thought.


Last edited by 1879graves on Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:09 pm

Hello Andy,

The suggestion is certainly as good as any other, however as neither the surname, first name or even battalion seem to match up the chances are it's a bit of a stab in the dark....

If he was indeed killed at Isandlwana with the 24th, the chances are that his enlisted name was an alias as it doesn't seem to feature in the medal roll.

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:02 pm

Hi Tim

It was just a stab in the dark....

I will keep looking and keep you updated.

Andy
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:14 pm

Thanks Andy,

Regarding Perring, I've emailed the village website of Stoke Fleming (near Dartmouth), hopefully they'll have a resident historian who may be able to shed more light on this individual.

Regards,

Tim
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:39 pm

There is something of a lead to follow with Nicholls based on his grandfather Phillip Williams of Treneer. Treneer is part of Penzance and a Reverend Anthony Williams was vicar. He died in 1816. I would guess that the "Nicholls" name comes in a couple of generations later. So I reckon the report is correct - but what name he used in the army is another thing!

Steve
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Petty Officer Tom

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:48 pm

Tim,

I spent a large part of yesterday going through old newspapers searching for “Phillip William Nicholls” and found the following notice of death.  “NICHOLLS – Killed at Isandula South Africa, Jan. 22, Mr. Philip William Nicholls, 24th Regiment, of Poole, Dorset (formerly of Redruth), grandson of the late Mr. Phillip Williams of Treneer Cottage, Penzance, aged 28.” (Source:  “The Royal Cornwall Gazette”, Friday, April 4, 1879)  The notice is identical to the one you posted except the battalion number was left out.

On February 6th, 1879 W. Bellairs, Colonel, Deputy-Adjutant-General released a full list of the killed at the Isandula disaster.  Among those of the 1/24th were “F. Nicholas (Rorke’s Drift) and “Wm. Nicholas” (Source:  The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday March 18, 1879)

Another list of those killed at Isandula names the two men from the 1/24th as “F. Nicholls” and the other as “Nicholls”. (Source:  The Belfast News-Letter, Friday, March 7, 1879)  No first initial was given in the article.)

The Lieutenant Chard’s muster roll of the defenders lists among those killed of the 1/24th was a private named “Nicholls.”  Source:  http://www.soldiersofthequeen.com/ChardRoll.html

The Rorke’sdriftvc.com website has a roll of those present at Rorke’s Drift 22/23 January, 1879 compiled by Julian Whybra and Norman Holme.  On the list for the 1st Battalion, 24th is “Nicholas, Edward. Private. 25B/625, killed in action 22 January 1879”

I have checked the Medal Rolls for the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 24th, and found there were no “Nicholls” in either battalion.  The closest names to Nicholls in the 1st/24th are “625 Nicholas, E.” and “648 Nicholas, W.” (This is the Walter Nicholas posted by 1879graves.)  The closed name to Nicholls in the 2nd/24th is “Nicholson, B.”

A lot of records were lost at Isandula which delayed the releasing of the names of those killed.  The changes in the spelling of names could possibly have occurred as a result.  Looking at a couple of genealogy sites I found that the names of Nichols, Nicholls, Nicholas and Nicholson are all variants of the same name.

1879graves, do you have the service record for 625 E. Nicholas?  They might provide a lead.

I also checked on the name “J.H.C. Perring” in the medal rolls and could not find him in either battalion of the 24th or in any of the European colonial forces that were present at Isandula.

Tom
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:04 pm

Petty Officer Tom wrote:
 "On the list for the 1st Battalion, 24th is “Nicholas, Edward. Private. 25B/625, killed in action 22 January 1879”

1879graves, do you have the service record for 625 E. Nicholas?  They might provide a lead.

Hi Petty Officer Tom

As private 25B/625 Edward Nicholas was killed in action, there would be no service record for him.

Salute
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:34 pm

Just to confuse things a bit more, I've come across an article in the Aberdeen Press & Journal (6 March 1879) with the heading 'Official List of Killed at Isandula'; amongst the names are two men with the surname Nicholls (one with an initial of 'F', the other without any initial) - similar to PO Tom, above.

I've also had a look at my photos of the regimental campaign memorial in Brecon Cathedral and can just make out a 'Nicholls' (with what looks like an initial of 'E') in the 1st Battalion section; this may be a miss-spelling of 'Nicholas' as there was a Pte E. Nicholas (25B/625) killed at Rorke's Drift.

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:33 pm

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Western Times 27 May 1879

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Births Sep 1849

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1861 Census

Could this be our man?
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:19 pm

Andy,

Good finds - the dates seem to tie in with his age of 29, and the middle name 'Cole' obviously seems to explain the second middle initial in the death notice; I'll try to get to the churchyard at Stoke Fleming just to see if there are any family headstones there at some point.

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:14 pm

Hi again Andy,

Just found this link to baptisms at Stoke Fleming church - if you scroll down to the Perrings you'll find a James Cole Perring being baptised 24 June 1849 - parents Thomas and Hannah Tuckerman?

http://www.our4bears.net/parishes/Stoke_Fleming/SFleming_bap.htm

Also, just found an email address for someone who researches the Perring families of south Devon, so fingers crossed he'll have some information!

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:41 am

Hi Tim

If you find anything or get any replies, please do keep us all informed.

Andy
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:46 am

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1851 Census
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:49 pm



Andy/Tom/Steve,

I've had an email back from Mike Perring with some interesting (although confusing!) developments:

Hi Tim
 
I’d say that J H C Perring was indeed James Cole Perring baptised 24/06/1849 at Stoke Fleming of parents Thomas Perring (labourer, born 1824) & Hannah Tuckerman Cole. The ‘H’ may be a typing error?
 
James is living with his parents in Stoke Fleming at the time of the 1851 census. In the 1861 census, he is a farm servant living at Ash Farm, Stoke Fleming and in the 1871 census – and of interest to you – he is a Royal Marine private living at Royal Marine Barracks, Forton, Gosport, Hampshire.
 
I have no evidence of James Cole after the 1871 census, which ties in nicely with his death at Isandlwana in 1879. Out of curiosity I looked up this battle online and the part the Royal Marines played in it. What I found suggested they arrived in South Africa and were immediately sent back to Britain – so how could James have died at Isandlwana? Obviously there’s a story here but I’ll leave that for you to investigate.


As Mike says, the fact that James was serving with the Royal Marines doesn't seem to fit with him being killed at Isandlwana. I did check the medal roll and could find no Royal Marine with the surname Perring, so there doesn't seem to be any corroborating evidence that James Perring served in Zululand, let alone died in battle - which begs the question, who put the death notice in the paper (presumably a family member?) and on what grounds did they believe that he had been killed?

If the newspaper notice is accurate, the only thing I can think of is that he perhaps deserted from the Royal Marines prior to the Zulu War and re-joined another ill-fated unit under an assumed name and was killed (total speculation on my part!)

Tom- do you happen to have access to records of RM desertions around this time?

Regards,

Tim
 
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Fri Jul 14, 2017 11:30 pm

Tim,

I looked up the 1871 census records for James Perring.  The man listed as a Private Royal Marine from Devon, Stoke Fleming was “James Pering” of the Portsmouth Division.  There was no middle name, or initial, on the record.

The marines that Mike Perring referred to as having arrived in South Africa and immediately sent back were the Marine Battalion.  The Marine Battalion arrived at Simon’s Town, South Africa aboard HMS Jumna on 7 July 1879 and departed for England on 24 July 1879. (six months after Isandlwana.)  They had one man who died on arrival at Simon’s Bay.  He was Private James Harris of the Chatham Division.  I, unfortunately, do not have a roll of the marines who formed the battalion.

I also checked the medal rolls for the marines who were serving aboard ship, or with the Naval Brigade, during the war.  As you, I was not able to find him there.

I could not find any record of a James Perring having deserted.

Tom
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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:42 am

Thanks Tom - I would imagine a Royal Marine's service record would contain the details of any desertion?

Regards,

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:46 am

From Mike Perring.

James is living with his parents in Stoke Fleming at the time of the 1851 census [attached 1851-UK-042]. In the 1861 census, he is a farm servant living at Ash Farm, Stoke Fleming [attached 1861-UK-068] and in the 1871 census – and of interest to you – he is a Royal Marine private living at Royal Marine Barracks, Forton, Gosport, Hampshire [attached 1871-UK-151 & HAMRG10_1150_1153-0571].

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1851-UK-042

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1861-UK-068

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HAMRG10_1150_1153-0571

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1871-UK-151

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James Cole Perring baptised 24/06/1849
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:56 am

A few more pieces of circumstantial evidence.

1. Back in Stoke Fleming in 1871 the census shows that James' parents have a visitor, Dianah Cole, a widow aged 79. I would guess that is where the Cole name comes from (his grandmother?).

2. Another Perring family tree (see below) shows a James Cole Perring Bullen born in 1883 the son of Edward Bullen and Susan Haddy Perring. Named in memory of James Cole Perring perhaps? All of these are Stoke Fleming Perrings.

3. I too found the Royal Marine in the 1851 census but could not tie him in with Isandhlwana (although it does look like our man) - there does not appear to be a RM service record for that name either.

Just a thought, is Isandhlwana the red herring, could we have a Royal Marine killed in Zululand in early 1879 with another column and the newspaper has just assumed it was at Isandhlwana?
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:10 pm

Steve,

Here is a list of all the Royal Marines that that died while serving with the Naval Brigade.

William Seddon, Gunner (RMA), Pneumonia, 2 Jan ’79. Lower Tugela
W. J. Lumar, Private (RMLI), Sunstroke, 31 Jan ’79, Lower Tugela
William Stagg, Private (RMLI), Pneumonia, 16 Mar ’79, Fort Eshowe
Phillip Crompton, Gunner (RMA), Dysentery, 1 May ’79, Durban
Patrick O’Brinns, Private (RMLI), Enteric Fever, 21 Jun ’79, Herwin Hospital

I, also, was not able to find a service record for a marine with the name James Cole Perring – nor any record of his attestation.

Tim,

The “Police Gazette” contained a list of all deserters.  There was no James Perring listed.

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: Unidentified Isandlwana Casualties?   Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:14 pm

Hi Tom
Have sent you an email on a related matter.
Steve
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