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Lord Chelmsford Said .Buller is ‘one of the finest soldiers of the century’, so modest and reticent –that it was difficult to say for what individual deed he had got the Victoria Cross as he had been doing acts worthy of it all along the line
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Subject: Melvill & Coghill friends before or not. Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:42 pm
I was wondering if Melvill and Coghill knew each other as good friends before going to South Africa, or did they make each others acquaintance while in South Africa. If Coghill hadn’t injured his knee he would have been with Chelmsford’s column. Which makes me think there was no friendship before Isandlwana.
Posts : 10077 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: melvill - coghill Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:02 pm
Hi Dave . Without searching through any books I'm certain they were friends as they were both members of I think the Masonic Lodge ( Masons ) . That was most likely why Coghill decided to go back into the river to try and save Melvill . Coghill would have been out with Chelmsford if he hadnt injured his knee the evening before when attempting to catch a fowl at a kraal. cheers 90th.
Posts : 1261 Join date : 2010-04-12
Subject: Re: Melvill & Coghill friends before or not. Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:16 pm
Coghill and Melville were initiated in Malta.
The Zulu War
"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."
Posts : 1261 Join date : 2010-04-12
Subject: Re: Melvill & Coghill friends before or not. Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:06 pm
The Victoria Cross and the Royal Lodge of Friendship No. 278
"After the Crimean War the Lodge of Friendship continued to attract many Officers and Gentlemen from visiting Battalions to its ranks. This was primarily due to the falling off in the number of Military Lodges, by 1886 only sixteen Field Lodges remained in the British Army. One Officer in particular, a young Irish Sub-Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers by the name of Nevill Joseph Aylmer Coghill aged 22 years, applied for and was accepted a member of the Lodge of Friendship No. 278. In the Masonic Register of members of our District he is recorded as having been initiated on the 2nd September 1874, passed on the 17th of the same month, and raised just a few weeks later, on the 7th October. Bro. Coghill’s rapid initiation into the three degrees in such a short space of time, (including the holding of an emergency meeting for such a purpose) was due to the Battalion’s imminent departure from the Garrison early in November.
Only a few months earlier another Lieutenant from the same Regiment had become a joining member of the Friendship Lodge on the 1st April 1874. Lt. Teignmouth Melville initiated into Glittering Star Lodge No. 322 I.C had like his fellow Officer and Brother Mason Lt. Coghill joined the popular Friendship Lodge as was traditional amongst the Officers and Gentlemen serving in Gibraltar at the time. Both men called off from Friendship Lodge on the 31st December 1874 prior to their departure from the Garrison. The Scottish Borderers headed for South Africa where on the 1st November 1876, Coghill became a joining member of Southern Cross Lodge No. 398 Scottish Constitution, and on joining he stated that his Mother Lodge was the Lodge of Friendship, Gibraltar.
Three years later, on the 22nd January 1879, the thin red line of the Scottish Borderers were no match for the thousands of well disciplined Zulu warriors who overwhelmed them at Isandhlwana. All the officers of the 24th and all but two of the men were killed. In what was later to be immortalized by the film ‘Zulu Dawn’, Lt. Coghill joined another officer who was trying to save the Queen’s Colours, that Officer was none other than his fellow Brother Lt. Melville. Zulu warriors relentlessly pursued the two Officers and whilst crossing the swollen Buffalo River, Lt. Coghill went to the rescue of his brother officer, who had lost his horse and was in mortal danger without heed to his own safety. His gallant effort proved futile as they were overtaken by their pursuers and after a short struggle both men were killed.
A memorandum published on the London Gazette stated that:
‘…they would have been recommended to Her Majesty for the Victoria Cross had they survived.’
It would be twenty-eight years later before another London Gazette would officially announce the award of posthumous Victoria Crosses to Coghill and Melville.
The heroic actions of brothers Nevill Joseph Aylmer Coghill and Teignmouth Melville brought the total of Victoria Cross bearers from Friendship Lodge to four, a record for the number of Victoria Cross held by members in a particular Lodge.
As for the Regimental Colours, although briefly lost they were later recovered and restored to the 24th. The following year Queen Victoria decorated them with a wreath of immortelles, and to this day the Queen’s Colour Staff of the successor regiment carries a silver wreath of immortelles in memory of the Regiments valour and sacrifice at Isandhlwana.
It is also of local interest that the Battle of Isandhlwana was witnessed by the future General and later Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, then a Lieutenant with the 95th Regiment. That same afternoon another detachment of the 24th stationed at Rorke’s Drift was attacked by a Zulu impi of 4,500 warriors. The 140 men of the 24th held out against all odds for over 12 hours before the Zulus withdrew. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the defenders, including Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead, both Freemasons. Amongst the other ranks awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions at Rorke’s Drift was Pte. John Williams who received his VC from Major General Anderson in Gibraltar at a ceremony held at Grand Parade in 1880. The only V.C ever awarded in Gibraltar.
The history of the Royal Lodge of Friendship includes many other illustrious and distinguished brethren within its ranks, but I am sure brethren that we all agree that none deserve more recognition as those who fought with valour in defence of the British Empire."
Posts : 7488 Join date : 2009-09-21 Age : 73 Location : Cape Town South Africa
Subject: Re: Melvill & Coghill friends before or not. Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:54 pm
Scottish Borderers? Interesting .All those men called Mac Williams I supose?
Subject: Re: Melvill & Coghill friends before or not.