Sub-Lieutenant Robert Bourchier Sherard Wrey, HMS "Forester", was actively employed at Port Durnford and other places on the coast during the Zulu War, 1879; mentioned in despatches; promoted. Entitled to 1879 Medal with clasp "1879".
His report of an engagement with Zulus while surveying:
Enclosure to Letter from " Forester," April 27, 1879.
REPORT of PROCEEDINGS of BOATS.
H.M.S. "Forester," Cape St. Lucia, SIR, April 25, 1879.
I HAVE the honour to report the proceedings of the boats of H.M.S. "Forester" detached for service under my command on April 24th.
First. The gig in charge of Sub-lieutenant J. H. W. Theed proceeded to ascertain depth of soundings on a line parallel to the coast, distant about three quarters of a mile, whilst I in the whaler took an inner line, distant about a quarter of a mile.
Secondly. Just before the time alloted for the men's dinner the boats closed for the purpose of comparing notes, and whilst in that position a well directed fire was opened upon us from natives in charge of a drove of a cattle proceeding along the shore to the northward, some of the shots falling within an oar's length of the boats. The boats then separated and returned the fire, forcing the escort to quit their charge and take to the cliffs. Shortly after, a body of natives was observed advancing along the beach to the southward of our position; they also occupied the high ground, and commenced a dropping fire on us. Suspecting a ruse on their part to withdraw our fire from the vicinity of the cattle, I requested Sub-lieutenant Theed to remain in his present position, whilst I proceeded to return the fire. The natives then continued to advance along the cliffs with the apparent object of joining the cattle party. Having arrived there, the fire temporarily ceased. We then proceeded to destroy the cattle.
Thirdly. At 2.30 p.m., I observed the recall flying on board the ship. The boats then proceeded on board, the natives re-opening their fire as we retired. In pursuance of further instructions, the boats again went towards the beach, opened fire on the drove, and succeeded in destroying 36 head out of an estimated number of 40, during which time the natives kept up a fire, both from the rocks at the foot of the cliffs and the brushwood at their summit. At 4 p.m. the recall was again observed, in accordance with which the boats returned to ship.
I have, &c.
(Signed) ROBERT BOURCHIER SHERARD WREY, Sub-Lieutenant, H.M.S. "Forester."
Petty Officer Tom