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Lieutenant John Chard: What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead: Seven officers including surgeon, commissaries and so on; Adendorff now I suppose; wounded and sick 36, fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies. Not much of an army for you.
 
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 John Palmer and the Prince Imperial

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jkirkby




Posts : 3
Join date : 2022-09-26

John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial   John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 10:03 am

When my Great Grandfather, John Palmer, died in 1915 his obituary stated that "Mr Palmer, who was in the army for 7 years, went through the first Boer War under General Colley and Lord Wolesly (as spelt) and during the Zulu war was a member of the bodyguard of the Empress Eugene and her son, the Prince Imperial of France, and was present at the death of the latter.   Since leaving the army .....

I have researched the death of the Prince Imperial, and looked at newspaper transcripts of Lieutenant Carey's court martial,  but I cannot see John Palmer mentioned as being one of the troopers present at the death of Prince Louis Napoleon in June 1879 in Ulundi.  So,  I'm looking for more information about the newspaper statement and what role John Palmer was playing in the Zulu Wars.  Was he in the bodyguard that was not waited for, was he in the same encampment? What is behind this story?

I have had trouble finding the right John Palmer, born 1856 Collingbourne Kingston. Wiltshire,  but think the following records may be him?   But am not sure.  

There is a Deserters record published 12 May 1875 for a John Palmer born abt 1855, Collingbourne Wiltshire.   He is in the 60th Rifles, Regimental Number 50.   Military date 26 April 1875.   I do not know why he is on a deserters list.
Following the lead of 60th Rifles/Foot,  I have the Muster list which shows Regimental Number 50 John Palmer served in the 3rd battalion
1879 Zulu Muster
1881 First Boer War Muster
1882 Tel El Kabir Muster Notes To General Depot 18th November 1881
Then there is a UK Military Campaign Medals Record 1793 - 1949.  J Palmer, 3rd Battalion 60th Rifles,  Reg no 50, Zulu 1879

Does anyone have information that would add to the story in the Newspaper,  or any other record of the above John Palmer that may identify him as my Great Grandfather?  Help would be greatly appreciated as I am not familiar with military records.


Last edited by jkirkby on Mon Sep 26, 2022 2:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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90th

90th


Posts : 10621
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John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial    John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 2:01 pm

Hi jkirby
Certainly no-one named Palmer was in the escort with the Prince Imperial when he was killed , they were all Colonial troops with the exception of Lt Carey , Eugenie wasn't in Sth Africa until 1880 a year after Louis was killed , I doubt Palmer was was in her escort as they were mostly Natal Mtd Police , and some Imperial Officers that were friends of the Prince Imperial ; Bigge & Slade from memory ? , along with Col Wood . I see Private John Palmer ; Regimental Number 50 ; 3/60th Regt was entitled to the ' Zulu War Medal with 1879 Clasp '. Checked the indexes of the 7 or so books I have on the Prince Imperial , no-one named Palmer is listed.
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jkirkby




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Join date : 2022-09-26

John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: Re: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial   John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 2:21 pm

Thank you 90th. I am beginning to think that perhaps the newspaper reference means that he was maybe in the Itelezi camp at the time the Prince Imperial was killed? My great grandfather is not relaying this himself, it is someone relaying it after he had died - and family stories can get enhanced. I think I need to try and find whether the 3/60th was in the camp or had anything to do with the return of the body to England.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any army records for him other than the muster roll and the medal award - I can only identify it as likely to be him from the deserters record of 1875.
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John Young

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John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: Re: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial   John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 2:43 pm

jkirkby,

The only issue is that the 3rd/60th Rifles were part of Major-General H. H. Crealock’s 1st Division, a.k.a. “Crealock’s Crawlers”, which were slowly advancing parallel to Indian Ocean coast of Zululand. Whereas the Prince Imperial was scouting the advance of Major-General E Newdigate’s 2nd Division, which were progressing into KwaZulu from much further inland, having started their advance from Dundee in Natal.

I will see if the Prince cortège was ever escorted by any members of 3rd/60th in the vicinity of Durban and let you know.

JY
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90th

90th


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John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial    John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 3:02 pm

Hi jkirby
without looking it up I'm fairly certain the 3/60th Rifles Regt were down on the Coast , not at Conference Hill .
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jkirkby




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John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: Re: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial   John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyMon Sep 26, 2022 9:12 pm

Thank you all for answers so far. I note in the Colchester Gazette of 5 March 1789, it says that the Prince Imperial left Southampton for South Africa on the Danube on 27 February 1879. On the same ship was the head quarters detachment of the 60th Rifles. on their way to South Africa, with Colonel Pemberton and 200 men. (They'd left the two companies of the 3/60th in Colchester.)

I also note from other papers that Colonel Leigh Pemberton who had taken command of the 3/60th Rifles in the Spring of 1879 was charged with bringing the Prince Imperial's body back from Durban to London later that year. No mention of any other ordinary soldiers from the 60th.

At least it puts the Prince Imperial and some of the 60th rifles in the same place.
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90th

90th


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John Palmer and the Prince Imperial Empty
PostSubject: John Palmer and the Prince Imperial    John Palmer and the Prince Imperial EmptyTue Sep 27, 2022 2:14 am

Hi jkirkby
Yes the Prince Imp was on the same ship as some of the 3/60th Rifles , the Prince once arriving at Durban headed off to Dundee , the 60th were ordered elsewhere to join Pearson , some of the 60th Officers for example Grenfell were sent here there and everywhere , Bvt - Major F.W. Grenfell recounts a story of when the Prince decided to ride off after Zulu's that were seen in the distance , he rode of brandishing his sword according to Grenfell , Grenfell said to the Prince once they either caught up with him , or he reigned in and returned that ' you'll get yourself shot one day if you do that '' ! , Grenfell did believe the Prince was a tragedy waiting to unfold ! . Grenfell was on the Head Qtrs staff beginningn the war as a Bvt- Major D.A.A.G. ( Deputy Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster General ) at wars end he was a Bvt - Lt Col .
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