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Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004
Posts : 4347
Join date : 2008-11-01
Age : 64
Location : KENT
|Subject: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:15 pm
Band of the Prince of Wales Division forming up on The Green, Ruddington, 2004
Prince of Wales Choir.
Lone bugler at grave of Robert Tongue.
1879 Firing Party preparing to fire the salute.
Band of Prince of Wales Div. arriving in cemetery after marching through the village.
Service of dedication.
Service of dedication.
Service of dedication.
Caleb’s headstone with his medal.
1879 Group Colour Party.
Caled’s Cottage as 2 Asher Lane.
Colours and firing party marching to the graves.
Small section of Neil’s memorabilia table.
Members of Prince of Wales Band enjoying the buffet.
Photo's kindly supplied by Kris Wheatley.
Posts : 10880
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 67
Location : Melbourne, Australia
|Subject: rededication ceremony Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:06 am
A big thanks to Kris Wheatley . Hope you can pass that on for us Pete. :)
Posts : 7076
Join date : 2009-04-24
Age : 55
Location : Down South.
|Subject: Re: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:03 pm
THE REDEDICATION OF THE GRAVES OF
CALEB WOOD AND ROBERT TONGUE
By David-Glynne Fox BA (Hons)
"Sunday July 18th 2004 marked a milestone in my life. That day saw the culmination of almost three years of research into the lives and times of two Private soldiers who fought together on 22nd/23rd January 1879 at the famous battle of Rorke’s Drift, Natal, South Africa. Much of this research has already been covered in Journal number Fifteen of the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society, but the research into and actual day of the rededication itself has turned out to be a story in its own right.
As mentioned in that article, I have long held an interest in the memorials to those who fought in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and equally concerned that many of these, particularly Private soldiers, have not even a headstone to mark their passing. Such was the case of Privates Caleb Wood and Robert Tongue, B Company, 2nd Battalion 24th Foot. I have already covered as much as I could glean from descendents such as the great granddaughter of Caleb Wood in the previous article and this research is ongoing. This article is concerned with the trials and tribulations encountered during the organization of this event and offered in the hope that it may be of use to others pursuing a similar goal.
Very few such events are the work of one person alone and the rededication of these two graves was no exception. I have to say at this point that had I known in advance of the workload, not to mention letter writing involved, I may well have had second thoughts. However, now that the event is over and was a paramount success, all the hard work was worthwhile. As mentioned in the previous article, merely finding the grave locations was only the first rung on the ladder. Obviously, it is just not permissible to place headstones on graves without going through the proper channels. Relatives or borough councils might object for instance. This was why I decided to test the water by penning an article for the Nottingham Evening Post. This had the result of bringing me into direct contact with relatives and also Nottingham Co-Op Funeral Care, the latter offering to place suitably inscribed headstones free of charge. This in itself was a major hurdle overcome, for headstones do not come cheap, hence the large number of British soldiers, and others, who still lie in unmarked graves in cemeteries and churchyards worldwide.
Consultations between descendents and Co-Op Funeral Care began to take place, either by e-mail, personal visits, or both, and out of this a plan began to emerge. This was in October 2003. My original desire was for the rededication to take place on the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, but it soon became apparent that the timescale would extend far beyond 22nd/23rd January 2004. It was even suggested that late spring might be better as many of the expected descendents were elderly and the thought of them standing around for prolonged periods in cold weather began to give cause for concern. As we all now know, spring turned into July, so the problem of cold effects on the elderly and infirm abated. However, there were other concerns. For example, who do we invite? How many? Where were we to hold the venue? In a way, the newspaper article itself and successive write-ups tended to provide the catalyst for the foregoing.
Obviously, descendents of the two soldiers were an absolute priority and Caleb Wood’s great granddaughter helped enormously on this front. Already being a family descendent and being actively involved in researching Rorke’s Drift men in her own right for a number of years, she had made several useful contacts, not least amongst other descendents. I also felt that a notification on the ‘rorkesdriftvc’ website would not come amiss. My other aim was to invite fellow Zulu War enthusiasts whom I already knew. On the other hand, my other concern was that the ceremony should proceed with the utmost respect and dignity and the prospect of inviting too many people would, I feared, run the risk of turning the whole event into a fiasco.
Rather surprisingly, there was little response from the ‘rorkesdriftvc’ website, so a more direct written approach regarding invites was undertaken. Initially, I expected just a handful of family descendents and thought we were doing well when the numbers attending rose to around twenty-five. However, we needed to know exactly how many people would be inclined to attend because we planned to lay on a buffet. We knew that several were travelling long distances and as aforementioned, others were elderly and infirm, so a venue was required whereby invited guests could relax after the ceremony. Caleb Wood’s great granddaughter printed a number of charming invitation cards depicting portrait photographs of Caleb and Robert Tongue. The idea of this was to gain an insight as to how many invited guests we had to cater for. The number of cards issued corresponded directly to the number of invited guests. It worked very well too, because we just couldn’t afford to feed all of Ruddington and everyone else who turned up on the day. As it was, over four hundred invites were issued and well over six hundred attended the ceremony. Fortunately for us, the numbers increased very gradually over the months, but I have to admit that there came a time when we thought that just too many would make the pilgrimage.
We also required a venue of a suitable size. I decided on St. Peter’s Rooms in Ruddington for the event for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was literally just round the corner from the cemetery. It was also just about large enough and possessed catering facilities and areas for re-enactors to change in. It was also well within our price budget, for everything was paid for out of the pockets of my family and Caleb’s family. As the numbers grew, we knew we would need every table and chair in St. Peter’s Rooms and the thought of all that catering, again performed entirely by a handful of family members was rather daunting.
In the meantime, several events important to the day occurred. To begin with, the 1879 Group agreed to attend in full dress period uniform and firing parties were also requested. John Young of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society also contacted me to ask if their Royal Highnesses Prince Shange and Prince Mhlongo could attend. It goes without saying that this was the cherry on the cake, for not only would guests of the Zulu Royal House be in attendance, but it also marked a day when former enemies could meet as friends and also to have two Zulu Princes attending a ceremony for ordinary Private soldiers demonstrated the reconciliation between the two sides admirably. Of course, with Zulu Royalty now on the guest list, the profile of the event was raised several notches and the media became even more interested. Other interested parties followed. The Keynsham Light Horse, namely Tim Day and Ian Woodason (Rai England unfortunately had to be elsewhere) were very enthusiastic and offered to be there from day one, as did my degree tutor and editor of this Journal, Dr Adrian Greaves. Martin Everett of the Royal Regiment of Wales Museum also agreed to attend to represent the 24th Regiment. As word spread, more and more descendents came forward, wishing to add to this already spiralling event. Roger Lane, great grandson of Sgt. Henry Gallagher expressed an early desire to be present and I am very pleased that he came, not least for considerably swelling my exhibit of Zulu and British weaponry, which I had planned for the interest of invited guests. He and John Roberts, great-great grandson of William Jones VC attended in uniform and asked to lay wreaths as descendents of Rorke’s Drift men. The families granted this wish without question. Other descendents included Joan Wallace, a local writer and broadcaster who lived just round the corner from me and was a descendent of J. Scanlon, killed in action at Rorke’s Drift. Maureen Jones, great-great granddaughter of Henry Hook VC and another great-great granddaughter of Fred Hitch VC also asked to attend. A descendent of Gunner Lewis of Rorke’s Drift fame also attended, as did Ron Booth, great grandson of Anthony Clark Booth VC, South Staffordshire Regiment, who won his cross at the action of Myer’s Drift on the Ntombe River. It was rapidly becoming a ‘who’s who’ of the Anglo Zulu War. And all this time e-mails and letters were flying back and forth in all directions. We had never attempted anything like this before and were constantly breaking new ground.
It was pointed out to me that if we were inviting Zulu Royalty, then we had also better invite local civic dignitaries too. I hadn’t really thought this part through at all, so invites were fired off to the Lord Mayor of Nottingham and the Mayor of Rushcliffe, both of whom were delighted to accept. Other worries crept in too. Fire regulations stated that St. Peter’s Rooms could legally hold only 150 at any one time. Four times that total were known to be present on the day and so I prayed it would be a sunny day and that people could spill outside. Even the sun put its face on for us on the day, which, although the crowd may not have realized it, it was an enormous relief to me for the foregoing reason.
Another twist in the tale, and one which proved to be one of the greatest highlights of the event was the request from the band of the Prince of Wales Division, also known as the Clive Band, to play at the rededication. I contacted Major Barnwell who informed me that the band would be in Germany the week before our event but would be prepared to fly back a day early in order to be present. I could scarcely believe this wonderful gesture. A real military band would be playing in scarlet tunics. This event was going far beyond any original expectations. Zulu Royalty, British military, hosts of actual descendents, Zulu War enthusiasts and all from a humble Saturday afternoon’s grovelling around in Shaw Street cemetery three years earlier in search of the graves of Caleb Wood and Robert Tongue. It was scarcely believable.
The next problem to be overcome was the order of service and to find a member of the religious body who would be prepared to officiate at the ceremony. Help here came from an unexpected quarter. One of my colleague’s at Nottingham University, Dr. Tom Hartman, just happened to have as a friend, a Methodist minister who, believe it or not, was also a keen Zulu War enthusiast. Divine luck or what? Enter the Reverend Simon Copley. Simon was delighted to be asked and agreed immediately, so now we had the religious aspect covered. I sent Simon a copy of my previous AZWHS article in order to familiarize himself with the lives of the two soldiers that we had uncovered thus far. I left Simon to work out his service and returned to firing off yet more voluminous correspondence.
A tannoy system was also suggested and as this was primarily an outdoor event, it made good sense. Enquiries in this direction revealed the cheapest system to be around £150 which on top of the cost of the buffet, was too expensive for me. Dr. Tom Hartman came to the rescue yet again by offering his daughter’s karaoke machine, which was battery operated and therefore negated the necessity of electricity supplies. A generator would have been out of the question from the noise factor alone. The karaoke machine, as it turned out, did good service.
In these days of litigation, a whole host of potential prosecutions raised their ugly heads. These ranged from possible food poisoning from the buffet to someone becoming permanently deaf through volley firing of Martini-Henry rifles. Suddenly everything became rather frightening. However, it was too late to begin worrying about what might and might not happen, for I received a ‘phone call from Daniel Sales of Nottingham Co-Op Funeral care to inform me that the headstones were ready and would I accompany him to Worksop in north Nottinghamshire to ensure that the lettering was all correct. I had had to reduce the amount of lettering because of cost, but it still needed to be right. We arrived at the stonemasons in Worksop one sunny afternoon where I saw the labours of all our hard work for the first time. What a proud moment that was. Both stones were propped up for inspection and subsequent photography. Resplendent in York stone with contrasting black lettering, something tangible was at last before my eyes. They were everything I could have wished for and more. From the moment I saw them I knew that not only the descendents, but everyone who attended the rededication would find them most pleasing to the eye. The project had become a reality and soon they would be in their final positions at the gravesites of Caleb Wood and Robert Tongue in Ruddington’s Shaw Street cemetery.
Shortly before the actual rededication, I called in to Shaw Street cemetery as I had just moved to nearby Tollerton and was amazed and delighted to find the headstones already in place. I was also surprised to find that Robert Tongue’s grave was not exactly where I thought it was, although Caleb’s was virtually spot on. There had been a discrepancy over Robert’s grave because the original burial papers had been mislaid, but fortunately, they miraculously reappeared in time for the rededication.
Then we had a setback. John Young e-mailed to inform me that he couldn’t make the rededication because his wife had been taken ill. Of course, family comes first and John’s decision was perfectly understandable and he confirmed that he would arrange transport if possible for the Zulu Princes and hoped that Dr. Paul Matawele would be able to bring Prince Shange. I had met Paul and Prince Shange the previous year at a Zulu War event held at the Royal Engineers museum in Chatham, Kent, and was looking forward to meeting them again. Also, John was trying to arrange for Prince Mhlongo to attend. Prince Mhlongo is a descendent of Nandi, the mother of King Shaka, the formidable warrior King responsible for the meteoric rise of the Zulu nation
Shortly afterwards, John Young informed me of a second setback. Prince Shange would also be unable to attend the rededication as his daughter had contracted Meningitis. Again, family matters were paramount, but I did begin to wonder how I was going to explain the non-appearance of the Zulu Princes. Everyone was expecting at least Prince Shange and looking forward to meeting him, not least the media, but we all wished Prince Shange’s daughter a rapid recovery. The questions now being asked of me were how many, if any Zulu Princes were to attend? As far as I was concerned, it seemed increasingly unlikely that we would see any at the rededication because Prince Shange was actually the only one of three possible who had actually accepted the invitation, Prince Joseph being the third option. Again, I had met Prince Joseph at Chatham and I know John Young tried his best to contact him, but to no avail. Right up to the opening speech of the rededication at 1pm on July 18th 2004, I hoped and prayed that at least one member of the Zulu Royal House would be able to make an appearance, but alas, it was not to be. Another reason that I hoped the Princes could make it was that a local jeweller, David Richards, had specially made two beautiful Zulu shield brooches from silver and gold. These had attached to them, little spears and knobkerries and they had been specially made as gifts for the two Princes, but were of course redundant in view of the unforeseen events. My wife bought one for me as a present and the other was obtained for Caleb Wood’s great granddaughter.
Other problems that arose included parking, which took quite a bit of resolving, but with the help of PC Dave Walters of Ruddington Police and the Borough Council, a playing field adjacent to the cemetery was specially opened and which would take two hundred cars. This was a welcome relief and I made several signs to give directions on the day. Also we heard from the 1879 Group that a previous ceremony for Private Ashley Goatham of Rorke’s Drift fame gave rise to a problem regarding fixed bayonets. Apparently, these were classed as an offensive weapon in public places and the local police refused permission at that ceremony. I brought this up with PC Walters who checked it out with his superiors and they seemed quite happy for the 1879 Group to march with fixed bayonets at our rededication. Again, this was something I hadn’t expected, but again the local police were wonderful.
Apart from the uncertainty of the Zulu Royalty, everything else went rather better than expected. During the run-up week, the media were busy preparing interviews etc, but apart from me, only Neil Aspinshaw, another Zulu War enthusiast and a friend of mine was local enough to attend any of the television interviews. Neil had put together a very interesting Power Point presentation covering the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift. This was primarily for the descendents, some of who were not as fully conversant as others with the doings of their illustrious forebears and so this presentation was to be kept continuously running throughout the afternoon, complete with its soundtrack. It was to prove a great attraction and I am grateful to Neil for his hard work and perseverance. Afterwards, Neil kindly made a CD copy for my personal library. Also, Neil and I spent a whole wet evening with a BBC cameraman, messing about with Zulu shields, spears and Martini-Henry rifles, discussing the forthcoming event. Actually, the planned filming session was supposed to have been conducted at the gravesides, but the torrential rain precluded such and my front room and garden had to make do. I just hoped the rain would subside before the great day.
Many who actually attended on the day would perhaps be surprised to learn that much of the order of service and actual timing of the rededication was not fully finalized until the morning of the event. This was primarily because the band, Simon Copley, the 1879 Group and others, had not met previously and the terrain was also unknown to them. This was a worrying thought and I spent the days leading up to the event hoping that I could collect them all together during the morning for long enough to thrash out the correct sequencing prior to my welcome address. As this was the very first time I had organized an event such as this, I was not entirely sure of the military and religious protocol that may have to be followed and this information could only come from the aforementioned quarters. We had everything worked out the way we required, it was just the order that was the problem. In this again, I was to be very fortunate. The other nagging aspect of course was the food for the buffet. This had to be purchased freshly and the afternoon before the day was spent at the local Asda supermarket filling up three trolley loads of groceries, followed by hours of preparation. I have never placed so many cubes of cheese and pickled onions on sticks in my life. My family slaved away until the small hours, as also did the family of Caleb Wood.
D-Day. Sunday July 18th 2004. By this time my nerves were shot to pieces. I had barely slept the night before, worrying that all would not go according to plan, but as it turned out, my fears were groundless. At 8am, I dropped off my wife Gill, daughter Joanne and a friend, Kate, off at St. Peter’s Rooms to begin setting up the buffet. This was a mammoth task, despite all the hard work the day before and I could only help for a short while because, of all things, I had to go in to work for an hour or so. Fortunately, I was back in time before everyone began to arrive and proceeded to place the car parking notices at strategic points. Caleb Wood’s great granddaughter arrived with her family to help out with the buffet, bringing even more food with them. It was beginning to look very impressive as the prepared food began to fill up the many tables. Roger Lane, the great grandson of Sgt. Henry Gallagher arrived with a lovely collection of Zulu War artefacts and pictures and he combined his display with mine to give all present a first hand view of British and Zulu weaponry. Neil Aspinshaw arrived with his PowerPoint presentation and the hall and surrounding environs began to fill as more and more people turned up. I tried to help my family by filling sandwiches and suchlike but soon became engrossed in welcoming everyone as they arrived. Scarlet tunics began to dot the scene as the 1879 Group donned their smart uniforms, followed by a large coach heralding the arrival of the band of The Prince of Wales Division. I was particularly pleased to see our Journal editor Dr Adrian Greaves and together we walked along Vicarage Lane to view the new headstones. In order to help eke out the cost of the buffet, which had spiralled out of all expectation, it had been suggested that we had a voluntary donations box. I personally was very unhappy with this idea but felt more comfortable when we decided to send any surplus to the communities at Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. As it transpired, we decided to send the whole lot, a total of £80, through Adrian Greaves for the communities in KwaZulu Natal. I felt that the money would go a lot further and be of much more use in South Africa than funding the buffet, so I handed the cheque over to Dr Greaves at the Firepower Zulu Day at Woolwich Arsenal in August and I have to say I feel much more comfortable for doing so.
Whilst in the cemetery, I learned that the Reverend Simon Copley had arrived. I had never met him before but soon found my old friend Tom Hartman, so knew Simon would not be far away. In fact he was being interviewed by a television crew, but soon joined me to discuss the service. Major Barnwell and several band members also joined the discussion, which provided the opportunity I was looking for to go over the ground prior to the service. I had previously placed two markers on the cemetery green, which consisted of the Prince of Wales’ feathers and the emblem of the band. These had been taken off the website by Caleb Wood’s great granddaughter and sent to me for the purpose. I had them laminated and then attached them to two metal spikes. These would mark the spot where the band would ultimately halt after their planned march from the village green, along Church Street, down Vicarage Lane and into the cemetery. The order of march and service was agreed upon with very few minor changes. The volley firing was deemed most suitable to be conducted last of all for fear it might start all the local canines barking.
The morning was becoming more manic by the minute with people trying to speak to me in droves. Film crews, radio and newspaper teams all wanted interviews, which was fine, but my prime concern was that all the key players were au fait with everything. Ian Woodason and Tim Day, as good as their word, arrived on cue. They had photographed a few memorials on the way. It was good to see them again. Another special friend also arrived with his wife. He is the owner of Caleb Wood’s South Africa Campaign medal and I especially asked him if he would bring it to the rededication ceremony. The value of these medals has rocketed over the last few years and for the sake of security (although it is kept in a bank vault) I cannot name him, but suffice it to say, the arrival of that medal was a poignant moment in the ceremony, where at one stage it was placed on the grave of Caleb Wood for photography.
It was approaching 12.45pm. My nerves were still unsteady and still no sign of the Zulu Princes. The cemetery was filling up and for the first time I began to realize the sheer level of the interest being shown. Seating had been arranged on the cemetery green for the infirm and the elderly and these were soon taken up, many by ex-soldiers with chests gleaming with medals. I spoke to a few of these proud men, several from the British Legion and amazingly they all told me how privileged they felt to be present at such an important function. How humbling is that? I had prepared no notes for my welcoming speech as I always lecture without notes, but as I waited, clutching a large white Zulu shield and two genuine 1879 battlefield stabbing spears, I began to run through a few thoughts in my mind. If the Zulu Royal House did not attend, then I planned to represent them, hence the Zulu weaponry. I felt it very important that the Zulu people should be remembered on this day. After all, they WERE being invaded and lost something in the region of 10,000 very brave men because of the Anglo-Zulu War. Had it not been for the Zulu War, Caleb and Robert would not have had their moment of glory and would no doubt have remained in obscurity for all time. It is strange how events in one’s life can impinge on others. Without the Zulu War, I would not have stumbled on Caleb and Robert and a great day in my life, not to mention all those who also attended, would also have been lost.
With these thoughts deep in my mind, I suddenly became aware of the band of the Prince of Wales’ Division. I couldn’t see them but their music wafted across the cemetery as I stood with Simon Copley. The ground shook with the sound of drums and marching feet. People with cameras began to run through the cemetery gates as the strains of All Through the Night played on our ears. Then I saw the replica Colours of the 1879 Group fluttering above the bushes lining the cemetery fencing. I knew the group were marching behind the band and was pondering this when in a flash, everywhere seemed a blaze of scarlet as the band entered the gates and advanced to my markers where they halted in perfect order. As long as I live, I will never forget that moment. I had a lump in my throat the size of a football and a tear or two was beginning to well up in the corner of my eyes. I have seldom felt so proud. What a spectacle! What a sound! What magnificence! My late father, an RSM and holder of the Burma Star would dearly have loved this, I thought. I was so choked with emotion that I feared that I would be unable to present my welcome address. The Zulu Princes hadn’t turned up but such was the splendour of this wonderful military band that I suspected that most soon forgot about the possible Royal presence. I still hoped they would come though.
The 1879 Group who had formed up on the village green behind the band, now marched in two parties, one to each graveside to my rear. When everyone was in position, I took a few moments to view the incredible scene before my eyes. Around six hundred people had somehow packed into that small cemetery, ranging from young children to the elderly, all formed up in a great horse-shoe before me, not unlike the impondo formation of the Zulu army I thought. The point of keeping as many people as possible on the cemetery green was to prevent everyone walking across unmarked graves, which of course, are not always apparent. It also allowed for ease of delivery with the sermon. My mind went momentarily blank as I suddenly wished I had written a welcoming speech. Too late now for all that, so I just began with a few facts about the Zulu War and why we were all gathered in that lovely little cemetery. Before the Zulu Princes had become an option, I had planned to represent the Zulu nation at this rededication, but as time elapsed, I hoped the Zulu Princes would perform that function. However, with their non-arrival, I was relieved to have taken my shield and spears along, just in case. The crowd did not seem to mind me taking this liberty although I am sure most would rather have seen the real thing. I kept my welcome speech deliberately short as I was well aware that there were many possessed of advancing years and the day was gearing up to be the hottest of the year so far. I then handed the microphone over to the Reverend Simon Copley, who gave a wonderful sermon befitting these two sons of the Empire. A short reading was also performed by our mutual friend Dr. Tom Hartman.
The band laid down their instruments and marched splendidly to the grave of Caleb Wood, where the Regimental Collect of the 24th was read by Major Martin Everett, curator of the Royal Regiment of Wales Museum in Brecon. The Last Post, performed by a lone bugler from the band brought another lump to my throat and made the hairs on the back of my neck erect. This was really some emotional roller coaster. Two minutes silence was impeccably observed by all, followed by Reveille, again from the lone bugler who had been stationed by the grave of Robert Tongue. Then came the laying of the wreaths, two from Caleb and Robert’s families and two from Rorke’s Drift descendents John Roberts and Roger Lane, followed by what for many was the highlight of the day; the band formed choir and sang Men of Harlech. Although the regimental march of the 24th Regiment had been Warwickshire Lad, the band’s rendition of Men of Harlech, made famous of course by that classic 1964 film Zulu, was absolutely unforgettable. It was most definitely one of those occasions where one just had to be there. I looked around the crowd and observed many wiping a tear from their eyes, myself included. Whatever else happened, I knew at that moment that the day had been a resounding success. Finally, the firing parties of the 1879 Group presented arms and fired three volley’s over each grave simultaneously, using Martini-Henry rifles, wreathing everywhere in smoke from the black powder blanks. This must have created a scent and sound so familiar to the two Rorke’s Drift men we were honouring. What a finale! I shall be eternally grateful to the 1879 Group for their part on this day. As the band marched off to the strains of Men of Harlech, followed by the 1879 Group carrying their wonderful replica Colours aloft, I couldn’t help but reflect on the day so far. Roger Lane and I were among the last to leave the cemetery. He showed me the swagger stick that his great grandfather, Sgt. Henry Gallagher carried at Rorke’s Drift and promptly rapped it against my hide shield. I shall never dust that part of my shield again!
To be perfectly truthful, I was on such a high that I couldn’t eat a thing at the buffet. This was a shame as it was a magnificent spread and was enjoyed by all. Many sat enthralled by Neil Aspinshaw’s presentation, which was a resounding success. Literally thousands of photographs had been taken throughout the day and were still being taken at the buffet. I was asked to stay in a certain area and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the families of Caleb Wood and Robert Tongue were to present me with a beautiful pocket watch in an engraved box and my wife Gill was presented with a superb bouquet of flowers as a thank-you for getting their forbears recognized at long last. By this time, all the days’ exertions were beginning to kick in and I was feeling the effects. No food all day and all the excitement was telling on me, but there was no time still for reflection as people were still queuing up to talk about the day, including descendents and well known Zulu War enthusiasts alike.
It was a day I will never forget and it seemed a shame for it all to come to a close. It was certainly an anti-climax when I returned home and sat about with suddenly nothing to do. The day had been like a dream and I had to return to Shaw Street cemetery a couple of evenings later just to convince myself that the stones were actually there, still bedecked with their wreaths. What a difference from the 18th! All was quiet, nothing to break the sound other than gentle birdsong. I used the opportunity to photograph the graves, which was something I certainly didn’t have time for on the day. It had been a lot of hard work but something really worthwhile had been achieved. I am proud to have been a part of that and I give my personal thanks to all who helped to make it the day it was."
Posts : 10
Join date : 2012-08-28
|Subject: Re: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:31 pm
what a fantastic account you have given on the re-dedications of ptes. caleb wood and robert tongue, congratulations to everyone that was involved in bringing this all together! i will be visiting ruddington very soon!!
Posts : 1603
Join date : 2009-09-21
|Subject: Re: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:36 pm
A trip to Ruddinton, is well worth a visit. 3 defenders in one cemetery, and a Great pub, where I guess they would meet up for drink and a chat.
Posts : 10
Join date : 2012-08-28
|Subject: Re: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:55 pm
thanks for that dave, i'am planning on going in the next two weeks and incorporating philips park cemetery at the same time!
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Join date : 2021-11-09
|Subject: Re: Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004 Sat Oct 21, 2023 9:14 pm
Evening all, well where to start with this!! Couple of yrs ago my uncle passed away and after having to go through paperwork I came across the little orange booklet for the re dedication to Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue.
I read through it and thought it was so lovely for someone to spend the time putting all this together and organising something so big really. Anyhow I’m back onto looking into this now (been a hard last 2 years), and I believe that Robert could actually be my Great or Great great uncle, I think his brother Thomas is my direct blood line as I know they were half brothers but I believe he was my Grandmas father! So my sister and myself are trying to organise a day to visit Robert’s grave and lay some flowers. Also if anyone has any emails for anyone else that’s related to Robert it would be of interest. Thanks all
Rededication service for Pte. Caleb Wood & Robert Tongue 2004