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Zulu: Lieutenant John Chard:What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead:Seven officers including surgeon, commissaries and so on; Adendorff now I suppose; wounded and sick 36, fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies. Not much of an army for you
 
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 Mr H. Garland

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littlehand

littlehand

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Mr H. Garland  Empty
PostSubject: Mr H. Garland    Mr H. Garland  EmptyWed Dec 22, 2010 10:45 am

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"Identified on the reverse by a period inscription as Mr H. Garland this cabinet photograph depicts an officer or senior
NCO of the Natal Mounted Rifles. He is in all likelihood the same H. Garland who as a trooper in the Victoria
Mounted Rifles was mentioned in Despatches for actions at Eshowe during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 (The London
Gazette, 16 May, 1879).

He wears the 1877-79 South Africa Medal (which is often referred to as the Zulu War Medal) with the single clasp
awarded for that war. The Natal Mounted Rifles were formed in 1888 from several Zulu War-era volunteer units
including the Victoria Mounted Rifles (VMR), the Stanger Mounted Rifles, the Alexandra Mounted Rifles and the
Durban Mounted Rifles.

I believe that H. Garland is the same person as Alpheus Howe Garland who enlisted in the Victoria Mounted Rifles in
1877. Nowhere can I find reference to two different troopers by the name Garland serving with the VMR during the
period of the Anglo-Zulu War. The son of a prominent Natal resident Thomas William Garland of Kent and his wife
Henrietta, Garland was born at Verulam, Natal on 24 September 1854.

He enlisted as a trooper in the VMR in 1877 and served as previously stated in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, receiving
a Mention in Despatches for actions around the mission station at Eshowe. After the war he continued with the Natal
volunteers serving for some 18 years total and eventually rising to the rank of Quarter-Master (30 October, 1885).
This photograph probably shows him while holding that rank. He does not seem to have done any active service during
the Anglo-Boer War.

He was active in several other organizations including the Kearsney Rifle Association and the Zulu Border Rifle
Association. He made his living in civilian life as an auctioneer. On 7 May, 1881 he married Miss Elizabeth Stanley of
Chatham, Kent.

Garland became something of a celebrity in Stanger in his later years being referred to as "Old Alph" by the locals.
In Carel Kirkby’s 1937 book Zulu Journey the author describes having a billiards game with Old Alph as he recounts
his memories of early Natal and his part in the Anglo-Zulu War. One interesting event took place at Eshowe. While on
vedette duty he slipped off to have a swim and was almost caught by the Zulus. In the book he also laments the fact
that as a boy he did not buy the section of land in Durban for the then asking price of £1 per acre. By the time Alph
was playing his billiard game the same land was selling for £7 per square foot! In the book the author describes
Garland as roaming "around the hot town with a smile and a joke and a challenge to billiards for everyone." Birkby
also stated a game of billiards with Garland was like "a cross between a literature lesson and a music-hall turn.”
These descriptions are somewhat at odds with the formidably stoic looking figure in the above photo.

In Zulu Journey Old Alph make no mention of serving during the Anglo-Boer War. Perhaps the subject never came up
but it could also imply as I surmised above that by the turn of the century his soldiering days were behind him.

He lived to the ripe old age of 85 years, dying on 16 October 1939 and was buried at the cemetery at Stanger.

A special thanks to Mr. Cameron Simpson for providing additional biographical details on A. H. Garland."


Cabinet Photograph
William Laws Caney - Photographer
Late of D'Urban & Kimberly, South Africa
c. 1890

Source Soldiers of the queen
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