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"What follows is a much abridged incident concerning two gallant Freemasons: Teignmouth Melvill, V.C., Lieutenant (Adjutant) 1st Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot (2nd Warwickshires), St John and St Paul Lodge No 349, Malta. Melita Conclave of Knights Templar No 37, and Nevill Josiah Aylmer Coghill, V.C., Lieutenant, 24th Regiment, The South Wales Borderers. Leinster Lodge No 387 (Irish Constitution), Malta. Teignmouth Melvill was born in London on 8 September 1842, the younger son of Philip Melvill, late Secretary in the Military Department to the East India Company, by his marriage to Eliza, daughter of Col. Sandy, of Helston. Teignmouth was educated at Harrow, Cheltenham and Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in February 1865. Nevill JA Coghill was born in Dublin, 25 January 1852, the son of Sir Joscelyn Coghill, Baronet. His mother, Lady Katherine Coghill was the sister of Lord Plunket. Nevill was educated at Haileybury. He was commissioned in the 24th Regiment and served as Aide-de-Camp to Sir Arthur Cunyinghame in the Galeka Campaign of 1877. On 22 January 1879, the day of the fatal attack on the camp at Isandhlwana, South Africa, Lieutenant Teignmouth Melvill departed from the camp on horseback, carrying the Colour of the 24th Regiment with him, in the hope of being able to save it. The only road to Rorke’s Drift already being in possession of the enemy, Lieutenant Melvill and a few others who still remained alive struck across country for the Buffalo River, which it was necessary to cross to each a point of safety. During this distance of about six miles of rugged and precipitous country, a large number of the enemy managed to keep a constant fire on them and sometimes even got close enough to assegai the men and horses. When Lieutenant Melvill reached the bank of the Buffalo, he at once plunged in with his horse but became separated from it about half way across, the river being full and running rapidly. However, he held resolutely to the Colour and was being carried downstream when he was washed against a large rock in the middle of the river. Lieutenant Higginson, of the Natal Native Contingent, who had also lost his horse in the river, was climbing onto this rock, and Lieutenant Melvill called to him to lay hold of the Colour. This Lieutenant Higginson did, but the current was so strong that both officers and the Colour were again washed away. In the meantime, Lieutenant Coghill, who had been left in the camp that morning, owing to a severe injury to his knee which rendered him unable to move without assistance, had also succeeded in gaining the river bank in company with Lieutenant Melvill. He too had plunged at once into the river, only his horse had carried him safely across. But on looking round for Lieutenant Melvill, and seeing him struggling to save the Colour, he at once turned his horse and rode back into the stream to give assistance. By this time, the enemy had assembled in considerable force along their own banks, and had opened a heavy fire, directing it more especially on Lieutenant Melvill, who wore a red patrol jacket; so that when Lieutenant Coghill got into the river again his horse was almost immediately killed by a bullet. Lieutenant Coghill was then cast loose in the stream also, and notwithstanding the exertions of both these valiant officers, the Colour was carried off from them by the current, and they themselves gained the bank in a state of extreme exhaustion. One can only imagine their feelings having lost the Colour after so much effort. It would appear that they now attempted to move up the hill from the river bank towards Helpmakas, but must have been too exhausted to go on, as they were seen to sit down and rest. This was the last time that these two gallant men were seen alive. Later a search for any trace of them that could be found was made and both bodies were found where they were last seen. Several dead bodies of the enemy were found about them, so they must have sold their lives dearly at the last."
Click here The Death of Lts. Melvill and Coghill at Isandlwana
Source: Private E-Mail..
Last edited by Admin on Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:18 pm; edited 5 times in total
Posts : 3178 Join date : 2009-03-03 Location : Devon
Subject: Re: Teignmouth Melvill, V.C., and Nevill JA Coghill Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:34 pm
For everyone interest. A few Memorials to Lieutenant Melvill
Posts : 7077 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
Subject: Re: Teignmouth Melvill, V.C., and Nevill JA Coghill Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:09 pm
Came across this while surfing the web. (Not sure if any members have seen this image of saving the colours) It shows three mounted soldiers saving the colours.
In Zulu Dawn it portrayed VEREKER has being with Melville & Coghill. As the book was first published July 1913 & reprinted October 1914. I was wondering if this image gave the directors of Zulu Dawn the idea that there were three involved in saving the colours. (If not, who would the third person in this image have been based on.)
(Bearing in mind that some of the survivors of the battle of isandlwana would have still be alive in 1913-1914)
This is Just a thought.
The Boy’s Book of Battles First Published July 1913. Reprinted October 1914 [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Teignmouth Melvill, V.C., and Nevill JA Coghill Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:06 am
Not seen that image before. (Thanks for posting) Can anyone make out the name of the artist? And the date showed in the bottom right hand corner. To me the date looks like 18??
Posts : 7077 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
Subject: Re: Teignmouth Melvill, V.C., and Nevill JA Coghill Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:31 pm
War Office, London, S.W., 6th February,1907 "Sir, His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the Decoration of the Victoria Cross being delivered to the representatives of those who fell in the performance of acts of valour, and with reference to whomit was officially notified that they would have been recommended to Her late Majesty for that distinctionnhad they survived. I have therefore to transmit to you a Victoria Cross engraved with the name of your late brother Lieutenant N. J.A. Coghill, 24th Foot, who was killed whilst endeavouring to save the life of Lieutenant Melvill, after the disaster at Isandhlawana, on 22nd January, 1879, and I am convinced that it would have afforded Her late Majesty the greatest satisfaction to have personally decorated Lieutenant Coghill had it pleased Providence to spare his life . An extract from the 'London Gazette', recording the act of courage, for which the distinguished honour has been awarded, is forwarded herewith. You are requested to acknowledge receipt of this communication and its enclosures." lam, Sir, Your obedient servant, R.B.Haldane.