Robert Grant was the Surgeon on HMS Flora, Guardship at Simon's Bay. In February 1879 he tirelessly tended to the smallpox patients of HMS Boadicea, for which he was later specially promoted to Staff Surgeon.
He was one of two officers from Flora who volunteered for service in the Zulu War. He was seconded to Boadicea and served ashore with her naval brigade from 20 April to 27 July, 1879. He was not at the Battle of Gingindlovu (2 April, 79), but did accompany the naval brigade with General Crealock's column that advanced to Port Durnford.
A report in "The London Times" stated: "Dr. Grant, who fought so bravely against the smallpox on board the Flora, is laid low in Zululand. It is thought that he threw himself into the excitement too hurriiedly."
The Medal Roll shows him entitled to the clasp "1879", but since he participated in wars at the Cape he would be entitled to the clasp "1877-8-9". (I assume an error on the part of clerk who filled at the Medal Roll for Boadicea.) He was also Mentioned in Despatches.
Petty Officer Tom