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Film Zulu quote: Reverend Otto Witt: One thousand British soldiers have been massacred. While I stood here talking peace, a war has started.
 
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 Major Marter 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards.

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PostSubject: Re: Major Marter 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards.   Major Marter 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards. EmptyThu Jun 30, 2011 8:53 pm


 
23rd June 1852
Cornet Marters first march was to Newbridge under Captain Carew and on the 23rd June : Capt Meeks Troop 'B' with Cornets Hancock and Marter. 2 Serjts. 1 Farrier 39 Rank & File 5 Officers and 33 Troop Horses marched from Dundalk to Belfast on the 23rd June and arrived there on the 25th June 1852



3rd July 1852
Capt Meeks Troop 'B' with Cornets Hancock and Marter 2 Sergts. 33 Rank & File 3 Officers and 33 Troop Horses marched from Belfast to Warringstown arriving the same day in aid of Civil Power. This Troop returned to Belfast on the 4th July 1852.



2nd August 1852
Capt Meeks Troop 'B' with Cornet Marter 2 Sgt's. 1 Farrier 36 Rank & File 5 Officers Horses and 37 Troop Horses arrived at Head Quarters from Belfast. The following Troops stationed at the Royal Barracks and Arbor Hill Dublin: Captn. Briggs 'A' Meeks 'B' Hamiltons 'C' Carew 'D' Peachs 'E' Stuarts 'F' Thomsons 'G'



21st October 1852
Capt Carews Troop 'A' with Lieut Peach Cornet Marter Captain Surgeon Peile. 3 Sergts. 3 Corpls. and 57 Rank & File 7 Officers Horses and 55 Troop Horses marched from Dublin en route for Carlow arriving there on the 22nd Oct. Here Cornet Marter remained for some spending the christmas of 1852 alone in the barracks



29th April 1853
Capt Peareths Troop 'D' with Lieutant Donovan, Cornet Marter 3 Sergts. 4 Corpls. 57 Rank and File marched from Carlow 29th April to Newbridge arriving there 30th April – 8 Officers Horses 55 Troop Horses.



20th August 1853
8 Troops consisting of 2 Field Officers 8 Captns. 8 Subalterns 3 Staff 23 Sergts. 307 Rank & File 33 Officers Horses and 300 Troop Horses under Captain Sayer marched to Dublin there to be stationed during the visit of Her Majesty. The weather was persistantly wet-the streets and roads deep in slush which was whirled off the wheels of the Queen's carriage upon the 'Reveiw Order' uniforms of the officers riding by it. The difficulty of turning out day after day smartly under those circumstances may be imagined. Returned to Newbridge 3rd September 1853.



30th May 1854
'C' & 'G' Troops under the command of Capt Sayer marched from Newbridge to Royal Barracks Dublin there to be stationed – 79 Troop Horses. At his own request Marter was sent on detachment to Monaghan, Dundalk and Belfast. The Troops were for 6 weeks constantly on duty in Belfast and the neighbourhood during the disturbances between Protestants and Roman Catholics. The call for them to turn out usually came about dinner time, and it was not uncommon for them to have to forego the meal, and patrol the streets until midnight, or later, much firing taking place between the rioters



6th June 1854
Head Quarters under command of Lt Col. Spottiswode marched from Newbridge to Dublin Portobello Barracks. 66 Troop Horses, prior to leaving for Scotland, whilst there several men died from of e very bad type of 'cow fever'. Marter was also attacked and when the regiment left for Piershill Barracks. Edinburgh, he accompanied quite as an invalid. After arrival he became much worse and seemed near to death, when Major George Briggs, having consulted with Colonel Spottiswood, called in doctor Malcolm, one of the leading physicians of Edinburgh, a kind good man who utterly condemned the treatment which had been followed by the Regimental Surgeon, and saved Marters life. Malcolm said afterwards that he had been called just in time.



23rd July 1855
The stablishment was to be raised to ten Troops, and a Depot of six Troops was to be stationed at Exeter. Marter who had been home for some months on Medical Certificate begged to be allowed to go with the service Troops, but, was still far from strong, Colonel Spottiswood said ''No i am not going to commit murder, he promised however that he could come out with the first draft, and nominated him Adjutant of the Depot. The regiment marched from Piershill barracks Edinburgh for the Crimea.



25th July 1855
At this time an officer was required to take from Edinburgh to Dublin for embarkation for the Crimea a draft of 41 recruits and 80 horses of the Scots Greys, which had been attached to the King's Dragoon Guards. These lads were only partly trained Glasgow Boys with small ideas of disipline, or of anything bar drinking whisky wherever and whenever they could get it. Marter was detailed for this duty, and one Sergeant only could be spared to assist him. Nearly every man had to lead as well as to ride a horse, and after proceeding by rail as far as Preston, the mob, for it was nothing else, had to be driven along the road on the two days march thence to Liverpool-hunted out of public houses to look after their horses after arrival in billets-pulled out of bed in the morning and made to saddle up and turn out. On arrival in Liverpool, the party embarked on HMS 'Assistance', which sailed immediately, but did not reach Dublin until the third day, as something went wrong in the machinery. It was a very rough and cold passage many of the men were helpless, and all ignorant of the care of the horses on board ship. The detachment was ultimately handed over complete to the officer appointed to receive it in Dublin. Marter said it was the roughest piece of work that he had ever had in time of piece. Colonel Spotttiswood remarked when he made his report to him that he deserved a medal.



27th August 1855
Marter left Edinburgh with remount horses by train-was billeted in Preston that night-reached Exeter late the next morning and marched to the town barracks. Marter received his appointment as Adjutant of the 6 Troop Depot. He spent a happy time in Exeter having plenty of work, and people in the neighbourhood being friendly and hospitable.



7th September 1855
Marter received his appointment as Adjutantof the six Troop Depot. He spent a happy time in Exeter having plenty of work, and people in the neighbourhood being friendly and hospitable.



27th January 1856
Moved to Topsham Barracks



19th February 1856
Received an order of readiness to embark with a draft for the Crimea.



3rd March 1856
Left Exeter with 60 men for Brighton where he was to take over horses of the 4th Dragoon Guards, and 17th Lancers for embarkation as soon as the ship could be ready. The detachment were quartered in the Pavillion Barracks and remained there some weeks, before the ship was forthcoming, negotiations with the Russians began, and peace concluded, the party, much disappointed, was sent back to Exeter, where Headquarters and Troops from the Crimea soon arrived. Before long the entire regiment moved to Aldershot and was quartered in North Camp.



26th July 1857
The Indian Mutiny having broken out, and unexpected order for the regiment to go to India was received on the 26th July and accordingly it marched to Canterbury.



24th August 1857
Embarked at Gravesend on the steam ship 'City of Manchester' a long narrow four-masted vessel built for trade in cold regions and very unfit to be sent to India crowded with troops.



26th August 1857
The anchour was weighed on this night



6th September 1857
Reached St Vincent, Cape Verde Islands for coal. The ship coaled again at Cape Town and whilst this was going on Marter took to quarters at Parke's Hotel, for, being a bad sailor he had lost strength on the voyage, and change from the ship was welcome. There he heard terrible news, his sister Emily was with her husband and children in Cawnpore, and in a report in a Cape newspaper it appeared the place had been taken by the mutineers, and the garrison, women and children had been massacred. Still no names were given, and there was an illusion to some few having been saved , he clung to hope.



7th November 1857
The mouth of the Hooughly was reached and the regimnet rejoiced to hear from the pilot that the war was still going on. There were horses for only one cavalry regiment in Calcutta, and none of the other Cavalry Corps dispatched from England had arrived. Deep was the disappointment when on reaching Calcutta, it was found that Colonel Campbell of The Queen's Bays, a cousin of the Governer General, had come out overland in advance of his regiment, and obtained promise of the horses. The Bays did not arrive for another two weeks, and then in a sickly state, and so when cavalry was urgently needed up-country, the KDG were ordered to Madras



11th November 1857
The greater part of the regiment sailed for Madras, but Marter was left in command of a party on a ''thatched'' flat on the river, a craft quite unfit for Europeans to remain upon. The men fresh and full blooded from England were so devoured by the mosquitoes that some had to be removed to a hospital on the shore. Floating corpses were stayed by the bows and anchor chains during the night and had to be eased off in the morning. The men became so unhealthy that Marters urgent representations were attended to, and they were landed and put up in the Presidency Native College. After landing the detachment, marching to the college, and seeing to the wants of his men, he and his junior subaltern finding themselves sorely in need of breakfast, he sallied forth, and having, after a long delay, as he knew neither town or language, secured some bottles of beer and light provisions, was bringing them back in a palanquin, when having nearly reached the gates his comrades were eagerly awaiting him, the palanquin lurched, the bottles smashed together, and the much coveted beer ran away through the cane work. There was no accommodation for the officers in the college but a Mr Mackay who had known his sister, very kindly called and asked him to dinner at Garden Reach, and through him he was introduced to a Mr Sutcliffe, one of the Merchant Princes of those days, who put him up in his house and treated him most hospitably. Marter left no stone unturned in the endeavour to be sent up country in the hope of being able to search out any traces that might remain of his sisters family. Subaltern as he was he went to the highest officials telling his story and earnestly begging to be sent forward. At length one of the Chief Staff Officers told him that if his Colonel would agree to his going he would be sent in command of a party of 9th Lancers. The Colonel (Lt Colonel Charles Foster) who had joined the regiment on its embarkation from England, coldly replied he would only allow him to go on condition that he pledged himself as an officer and a gentleman to rejoin the regiment in Madras within 60 days. As the railway then only extended 50 miles from Calcutta and the Troops engaged in suppressing the Mutiny were of course sent hither and thither as occasion required regardless of lines of communication. After consulting with officials best qualified to judge Marter realised that it was impossible to give the guarantee demanded, and, with heavy heart, to accept the backward movement to Madras With a brother subaltern named Marsland he made the voyage in a small ship of the Honourable East Indian Company’s Navy, commonly called the rolling ‘’Auckland’’, and a good example of the decadence of the local service. The wife and family of the Captain resided on board. To one side of the huge swivel gun on the quarter deck was tied a cow to supply them with milk, and on the other two mangy dogs. The food was barely eatable, and the biscuits so tenanted by weevils as to be repulsive, whilst innumerable cockroaches, grown portly in their undisputed occupation of the cabins rendered them quite uninhabitable. The two subalterns lay at night each alongside a gun on deck and one morning Marsland had hardly risen from his lair when the gun turned over onto his blankets, and there was no sea that could have caused such an accident had the gun been secured. Amid such surroundings a week was spent. The roadstead opposite Madras being reached on evening of the 27th November. The ship aught to have arrived in the morning, but owing the nautical inability of the captain Madras could not be found. Observations at noon proved that it had been passed and a considerable distance had to be traversed back again. This was a man who had spent his working life on the Indian seas. The red and white flag forbidding attempts to land was flying, so another wretched night had to be spent on board with the ship rolling heavily. There was no pier then, landing having to be affected in surf boats. The detachment was marched to the railway station and ordered to make itself comfortable for the night in an engine shed with some straw. When some progress had been made carrying out the command, they were suddenly hustled into a train and sent to Arcot 80 miles away-detrained at 6:30 the next morning and marched 4 miles to the cantonment, where they were put into barracks. This though called a fair specimen of an Indian Quarter is as wretched a place as I could have imagined-a few ruinous looking bungalows. The duty of the detachment was to watch the 8th Madras Light Cavalry, there quartered, which had been dismissed on suspicion of inclination to Mutiny. A few days after this Marter left Arcot in command of the last detachment of the regiment for Bangalore, travelling by train to Vellore and thence by bullock cart for two nights and a day. After about a week spent in settling down he set to work hard at Hindustani in view of qualifying as an interpreter. He was at that time senior Subaltern, and usually had command of a Troop



23rd November 1858
A Squadron was ordered to Bellasy to join a movable column hovering on the outskirts of the Mutiny and intended to go to Darwar. For this Marter volunteered-was refused- but afterwards suddenly accepted-he had to overtake the squadron in a bullock transit cart. The intention was that the Sqn should join in capturing some in the Dawar and Belguim jungles, but on reaching Bellasy (190 miles from Bangalore) it was halted and detained. The countryside was in a disordered state, followers were frequently attacked and beaten, tents were cut and looted at night without sleeping inmates being wakened. One morning a small party which had been left to clear the camping ground was attacked by such a mob, the men had to draw their swords, and one native was killed. After considerable delay in expectation of being sent on the squadron was ordered back to Bangalore and marched on the 11th February 1859. After returning Marter again set to work on Hindustani and at the end of April 1859 passed for ‘General Staff’ examination, about corresponding to the more recent ‘Higher Standard’. The Riding Master having gone to England, Marter was appointed Riding Master. Although continuing to work at Hindustani in view of qualifying as an interpreter, he applied for Staff employment.



5th July 1859
The Judge Advocate General came to Marter’s room and told him he had been ordered by the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Patrick Grant, to nominate him Acting Deputy Judge General, so he went to Madras and took up his abode at the club. On the 31st July he passed as an Interpreter.



9th December 1862
Gazetted Captain in the Regiment



14th March 1866
Marter, his wife two children and an Ayah, embarked at Madras for England in the P and O Steam Ship ‘Nemesis’. They stayed 5 days in Cairo in Shepheard’s Hotel- a night or two in Alexandria and embarked in an Italian steamer for Ancona-halted in Bologna and Milan-crossed Mont St Cenis in a sledge-and so to Paris, where they stayed a few days-then on to London where Marter’s father had bought a house and settled. As soon as he could he provided himself with new uniform and horses. He joined at Devonport, with wife and children following later. They were obliged to live in Devonport in order to be close to Government house, and settled into No 45 George Street, and remained there until they left in 1869



2nd February 1869
The Marter’s left Devonport for good, and went into lodgings at Blackheath



27th February 1869
Moved into lodgings in London and remained there until March



12th March 1869
Marter rejoins the regiment at Sheffield and having been on the Staff for many years he determined to go through Riding School again, as well as sword and carbine drill, until regularly dismissed, that he might be in no way behind others in such respects



1st April 1869
The regiment moved from Sheffield to Manchester, Marter giving over the barracks and taking the dismounted party by rail the next day. Having been told he must shortly join a detachment under Major Gunter at Coventry, he obtained a few days leave, went to Repton, and took his family to Coventry on the 7th April.



28th April 1869
Received an order directing him to take command of ‘A’ Squadron who were at Birmingham. During his sojourn in Birmingham he worked hard to render his Squadron efficient in every way. The drill field was however four miles from barracks.



23rd June 1869
‘A’ Squadron was inspected by Colonel Slade who was much pleased with the turnout and working of the men, condition of the horses, and the state of the barracks and quarters, and he thanked Marter for it.



28th August 1869
‘A’ Squadron marched to join Headquarters via Litchfield, Uttoxeter, Leek, Macclesfield



7th October 1869
On the 7th and 8th October, Lord George Paget, Inspector of Cavalry, inspected the regiment and he said that the Officers ride was the best he had ever seen (Marter led)



9th December 1869
At two day notice the Regiment was ordered to march for embarkation for Ireland, the ordinary service in England being cut short by nearly two years. With Marter’s family going to London, the regiment marched on this day via Warrington, and embarked at Liverpool, and arrived Dublin on the 11th. Marter was in command in one ship, Headquarters in another. They had a fearful night-a gale came on-everyone was ill-horses struggling, seas drenching all. The Headquarters ship had to put back to Holyhead.



11th December 1869
Disembarked and Marter in command of ‘A’ Troop marched to Blessington (19 Miles) and via Baltinglass, Carlow, Thomastown to Waterford. The weather on the march was very bad-rain, hail, and storms of wind.



20th July 1870
20th July 1870 Marched for Newbridge via Thomastown, Bagnalstown, and Athy.



5th October 1870
An order was received for Marter’s Troop (‘A’ Troop) to march to Carlow which it did (28 Miles)



2nd February 1871
The detachment was inspected by Colonel Slade who made a very complimentary speech. The smartness, exemplary conduct and popularity of ‘A’ Troop were long remembered in Carlow.



5th February 1871
Early in May the Brigade Major of Cavalry in Ireland, Captain Gonne, asked Marter to act for him during his absence on leave .



12th May 1871
Left Carlow for Dublin to take over as Brigade Major of Cavalry in Ireland



7th July 1871
Captain Gonne returned, but Marter was appointed Assistant Brigade Major for the season.



4th August 1871
Marter acted as Brigade Major of Cavalry at a field day in the Pheonix Park before the Prince of Wales



8th November 1871
Marter received a letter from the Deputy Quarter Master General in Ireland informing him that he was going on leave for two months, and Lord Sandhurst, the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland had authorised the employment of an officer in his absence, and had named Marter as that officer.



13th November 1871
Joined the department in Dublin and took up work as the Deputy Assistant Quatermaster General in Ireland



16th April 1872
For many years he has seen younger men outstripping him on all sides. At length however, an opening was made for him in the King’s Dragoon Guards. He was promoted to the Majority, and leaving Aldershot with much regret rejoined his regiment in Manchester on this day.



17th April 1872
Appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant General in Ireland, and joined the Royal Hospital



19th May 1872
Left Ireland to become the Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, the most coveted Captain’s appointment in England, and joined at Aldershot.



16th April 1877
For many years he has seen younger men outstripping him on all sides. At length however, an opening was made for him in the King’s Dragoon Guards. He was promoted to the Majority, and leaving Aldershot with much regret rejoined his regiment in Manchester on this day.



1st June 1877
My first Field Day in commanded of the King’s Dragoon Guards



11th August 1877
A Grand Volunteer Review in Heaton Park to which we had to take the regiment, and stables were not over until 10pm. There was a scrimmaging between parts of the opposing forces and some men were injured. I carried off a Colour Sergeants rifle, which had been deliberately thrown away, and brought it home



2nd February 1878
Marter was employed to buy horses for the Government, there being a scare as to war with Russia. He had the counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, and Lancashire set apart for him to buy in. He bought 69 in the required time, 5 year olds and upwards-some for transport and some for cavalry, at an average price of £50 apiece. They were highly approved by the Inspector General of Cavalry



10th May 1878
The regiment about to move Marter left Manchester for Aldershot on the 10th May with the dismounted men, and was quartered in North Camp. No house was to be had for his family, but after along delay Colonel Pemberton, Commanding the 3rd Battalion 60th Rifles kindly gave him a hut in his Battalion lines and in this they took up residence in June



2nd August 1878
Marter wrote ‘I command a Brigade for the first time, The Kings Dragoon Guards and 17th Lancers against the Royals, 16th Lancers and a wing of the 8th Hussars, we had the best of it.



11th February 1879
An unexpected order was received for the regiment to go to South Africa for the Zulu War



26th February 1879
Marter marched in command of the Left Wing, consisting of 311 men, 15 officers, with 240 Troop and 28 Officers horses, snow was on the ground and falling. All entrained at Farnborough, and embarked the same day at Southampton in S S ‘Spain’ and sailed but on account of the fog did not leave Southampton water until March 1st.



8th March 1879
Reached St Vincent. There were in the harbour the ‘England’ with the right wing of the 17th Lancers, the ‘France’ with the left wing, the ‘China’ with the 94th Regiment, the ‘Russia with the 58th Regiment, the ‘Palmyra with the Royal Engineers, and the ‘Egypt with the right wing of the KDG arrived a few hours later. All ships were waiting for coal. The Consul being the contractor there was no one the pressure on, and the means employed were quite inadequate. The ‘Spain and ‘Egypt were detained until the 16th March, and then sailed for Table Bay. In Cape Town (where he had been with the regiment in 1857) Marter bought a good colonial horse as an addition to the three English ones he had brought with him. The regiment proceeded to Durban and disembarked. On account of the disaster at Isandhlwana, the colonists were found to be in a great state of abject panic. Although months had passed no attempt had been made to visit the field to bury the dead. The idea was that the Zulus were in force in the neighbourhood but nothing certain was known. The colonists admired the fine English horses, but said they would never get over the country, only Colonials could do that, the result being that before the war was over, English Dragoons and horses went where the Colonials had feared to go.



20th May 1879
After a delay of several days in camp in tall grass near Durban, during which men and horses were tormented by ticks, Marter marched his wing independently to Pietermaritzberg, where the two wings were joined. After marching on to Dundee, General Marshall, commanding the Cavalry Brigade, decided on making a reconnaissance over the Isandhlwana battlefield, and breaking the spell that seemed to hang over it. This was well planned and carried out, a forced march was made, the King’s Dragoon Guards and the 17th Lancers arriving at Rorke’s Drift after dark and bivouacking. Before daylight next morning they forded Buffalo River and made their way along a track between hills covered with scrub jungle, in which it was very difficult to keep a look out. As daylight broke the wagons of the ill-fated force could be clearly seen in the distance against the sky. They were ranged across the Isandhlwana neck, having a weird appearance, for it was well known that some 1200 Englishmen lay dead about them. On arrival there was the camp, the oxen inspanned in the wagons, the horse at their picket posts, the officers mess and their baggage, the Quartermasters Stores and supplies, and officers and men lying about in their uniforms-dead-but singularly lifelike, as from the state of the climate the bodies had only dried. Many were recognisable, they had not been mutilated. Birds and beasts seem not to have molested them, and the Zulus had removed nothing but arms and ammunition, and part of the canvas of the tents. With such light tools as they had the Cavalry Brigade buried some of the bodies, Colonel Durnford among them, and having brought every spare horse and tackle, dragged about 40 wagons back to Rorke’s Drift It was now decided that the King’s Dragoon Guards should remain on the frontier, whilst the 17th Lancers accompany the column advancing into Zululand. In vain did General Marshall remonstrate, but he was not on good terms with Lord Chelmsford and his argument were disregarded. In vain did Marter endeavour to persuade his colonel to make a stand against the heart of the regiment being thus broken. At length almost beside himself he went to Lord Chelmsford’s tent, and not withstanding repeated rebuffs, did not leave until he had brought him reluctantly to agree the he with one Squadron should accompany the column.



1st June 1879
With the Colonels permission he picked Officers, Men and horses, about 186 of all ranks and on the 1st June in high spirits crossed the Blood River with the column into Zululand. That day the Prince Imperial was killed, and early next morning Marter and his squadron with some 17th Lancers was sent out to find the body



6th June 1879
Two Squadrons of the 17th Lancers along with my two marched at 4:30am for the Upoka River, Buller’s Horse accompanying. The enemy were strongly posted in a wood intersected with dongas behind four kraals. Buller’s men managed to set fire to the kraals, but having had several horse shot, and men wounded from the fire of natives concealed in the wood found it necessary to retire. Colonel Lowe then, against General Marshall’s orders advanced with the 17th Lancers to within 150yds of the woods, and dismounted some men. I supported him placing a Squadron in echelon on either flank, and we were potted at for about twenty minutes. Frith, the Adjutant of the 17th was shot dead, and Martini Henry bullets flew high, and others were more dangerous.



16th June 1879
I was ordered on the 16th June with my Squadron to Fort Newdigate, a fort which had been formed a few miles back, and the command was given to me with an engagement that no one senior to me would be sent there. I still longed for the front and begged and begged to go on



17th June 1879
The 17th was a most wearisome day, and I tried to the last to get off going back to Fort Newdigate, trudging backwards and forwards form one staff officer to another. We marched at 3:30 and took up my new command. The garrison was two companies of the 21st Fusiliers, my Sqn, two Gatlin guns, a company of Bengough’s Contingent, and four mounted Kaffir’s and Basutos. The fact is that Lord Chelmsford and General Marshall did not agree. The former therefore decided to break up the Cavalry Brigade, and General Marshall was relegated to the lines of communication. Marter escorted him back to the Frontier, about 25 miles, bivouacked, and returned to Fort Newdigate. His duties from the fort were to meet and pass all convoys between the frontier and the next fort, a stage further on towards Ulundi., and on intervening days to raid as far as possible, more especially on the left rear of Lord Chelmsford Column, burning kraals and devastating the country, so as to clear the Zulus out. The duties were heavy. The Zulus had burnt most of the grass, there was hardly enough for the horses, and corn was unduly restricted by Chelmsford’s orders. Many of the horses died of sheer inefficiency of food under harsh work conditions. When at Fort Newdigate Marter and two of his men built a memorial tomb on the spot where the Prince Imperial was killed, bring white stones 7 miles on an ox cart for the purpose. Marter made a sketch of this which he sent to the Empress Eugenie. When the Queen sent out a cross she desired that the work of her soldiers should not be disturbed, but the cross should be placed at the head. Whilst bring forward a convoy Marter heard that the Battle of Ulundi had been fought, and thus to his bitter grief he and his men were out of the longed for fight. Danger they had plenty of it bringing up heavy convoys with a handful of Dragoons, and it was harder work that any of the other troops in Zululand, the Infantry in Fort Newdigate were not allowed to be taken out on escort duty. When the war was over some of the Zulu warriors on being asked why they never attacked the slenderly guarded convoys said the scouting was so good that they could never get near enough to see what troops was guarding them. Before leaving England Marter had put his Troops through a special course of instruction in scouting, and they never failed him in the field, no matter how broken the ground may be. General Marshall said that he had never seen such scouting, and specially reported that effect to H. R. H. The Commander-in-Chief.



28th July 1879
Sir Garnet Wolseley, having taken command the forces were reorganised. Marter and his men, with the 58th, two Companies of the 24th, two Gatling guns and about 150 ox wagons, commenced marching for Ulundi



7th August 1879
As they settled into camp a terrific storm of wind and rain came on, sweeping away the tents, and rendering shelter and cooking impossible. Marter and the others lay on the ground in the open with water freely circulating between their skin and their clothes. The deluge continued with unabated fury throughout the night, and it was not until 11am the next morning that they could see around them, and then what a sight presented itself. 236 of their transport bullocks lay dead, many others had broken away and were found dead in the bush afterwards. The force could not advance for lack of transport animals, the troops were formed into burial parties, so that this, the only road of approach on the capital, should not become pestilential.



13th August 1879
Marter and his men encamped with the Headquarters camp in Ulundi. The main Zulu army had been beaten by the forces under Lord Chelmsford, but had not been followed up, the British Troops retiring immediately after the battle, as if they had met with a reverse. It was not therefore known whether the Zulus had reunited to any extent, and all events peace could not be made, or any arrangement for settling the country effected until the King either surrendered or was captured. Surrender he evidently did not mean to, and the scouts who best knew the country could obtain no real clue as to his whereabouts. As Marter was senior to all Officers of Cavalry and Mounted Infantry with the Division, and searching for the King was entirely a business for mounted men, he urged his claim to be sent in pursuit, but was put off by a variety of excuses-his horses too valuable-his men too heavy-ect ect. Party after party of Mounted Infantry and Colonial Horse was organised and dispatched under command of one or other of Sir Garnett’s staff. The capture of the King being the ‘’PLUM’’ yet to be gathered in the war, such credit as was to be gained thereby was to be reserved, not for the Regimental Soldier who had borne the toil and hardships of the campaign with little chance of distinction, but for members of that illustrious body, the ‘’Mutual Admiration Society’’ recently arrived from England. Party after party returned however only to tell of the difficulties of the country, the impenetrable thorn jungles, the loss of horses, and that as the transport available could not follow, and there were no supplies to be had of any kind, it was impossible to keep men out when such rations as each man could carry had been exhausted. The only party which remained out (to his credit be spoken) was that under Lord Gifford. That officer was very sanguine, often sending in news that he was on the point of effecting the capture, and as often finding that he had been mislead by emissaries of the King, who cleverly pretended to assist him, whilst putting him off the track. Marter continued to urge his claim, so to get him out of the way he was sent on a useless errand over a very rough country to communicate with a flying column under Lt Colonel Baker Russell, who’s general whereabouts was quite well known. He had also attempted to capture the King, and having killed some of his horses declared the country impracticable. Again Marter was sent to establish a line of outposts along a chain of grassy hills in another direction, that least likely to be taken by the King.



15th August 1879
11th August marched from Ulundi 7:30am-thick fog-settled down for the night about three hours march beyond Inhlazatye-a very rough place. Marched at 6:60am and reached Bakers Column-Fort George at 12:30-men and horse dined and we marched for 2 hours on our homeward way towards Ingoby’s Kraal-Total distance to Fort George by ‘’supposed’’ wagon road and direct from Inhlazatye 45 miles



16th August 1879
Marched at 6:15 am and reached Ulundi at 9:20pm via Ishalo-about 35 miles in the day. Parts of this track were every bad, but on the whole better that the other. Total distance from Fort George to Ulundi 50 miles.



17th August 1879
17 August In camp wrote a long report and prepared for a fresh start the next day



18th August 1879
Marched from Ulundi at 6:30am to place a line of outposts from Fort Victoria to St Paul’s. I took a Squadron of KDG and one Company of the Native Contingent from Ulundi, and one from Fort Victoria, picking up Captain Whalley’s Troop and some more Native Contingent at Kwamagasa crossroads, where we arrived long after dark-wet through-thick fog and mule transport broken down in the rear-a very miserable night



18th August 1879
Marched from Ulundi at 6:30am to place a line of outposts from Fort Victoria to St Paul’s. I took a Squadron of KDG and one Company of the Native Contingent from Ulundi, and one from Fort Victoria, picking up Captain Whalley’s Troop and some more Native Contingent at Kwamagasa crossroads, where we arrived long after dark-wet through-thick fog and mule transport broken down in the rear-a very miserable night



19th August 1879
Rode nearly to Fort Albert in the morning and then to St Paul’s, and back with Captain Whalley-Total 46 miles completed-disposition of outposts-begging a Company of the 90th to complete. On arrival at bivouac late at night, I found I had been ‘’given up’’ and another officer who had no work had eaten my ration.



20th August 1879
Rode to Fort Albert in the morning about rations ect, and met Robertson the Missionary. The church and house near it were destroyed by the Zulus, he said the church had held 200, and that it was always full. He had sent some of his flock to Natal for safety. Rode about 12 miles along the outpost in the evening



21st August 1879
At Kwamagusa crossroads all day. Just as it was getting dark, and I was thinking of having my supper and going to bed, an order came for me to roll up all the parties fo my men and Native contingent, and, marching through the night , bring them to Fort Victoria early in the morning in readiness to go on to Ulundi if required. Marched at 9:15pm



22nd August 1879
Arrived at Fort Victoria at 4:30am and fed the horses. Two hours sleep on the ground in Stubbs tent, whilst having my breakfast had the order for Ulundi. Marched there accordingly-35 miles from Kwamagusa crossroads. Sir Garnet had been at Ulundi for a fortnight, and the probability of capturing the King seemed as remote as ever. He became anxious, for the clouds gathered day by day, and he was told that if the rainy season set in he would have difficulty in leaving the country by the route he desired to do so. A report came in that the King had gone to the Ngombe Forest, and the Colonists who best knew the country said that if he had gone to Ngombe, the chase might be given up as they could not follow him there.



23rd August 1879
Marter was sent with his Squadron to join Colonel Clarke, who was in command of the 3/60th Rifles, some mounted Infantry and Native Contingent, and was in bivouac on the Black Umvolosi River, 25 miles north east of Ulundi. The next three days were spent in marching into Nsibabu’s country, and bringing in that chief



27th August 1879
Early in the morning of the 27th Marter was sent forward through the thorn bush for the purpose of testing the report that the King had gone to the Ngombe forest, and ascertain if the country was practicable for troops. The events of the next few days have been written by command of the Queen, it is necessary to recount them here. (See also printed pamphlet ‘’Capture of Cetewayo, King of the Zulus’’, Available from QDG on-line shop) With reference to the account it may be stated that as Lord Gifford, by his own shewing, had not been nearer to the Kraal in which the King was taken, to say the least of it, 11 miles, he could not have been watching it as he said, and at such a distance, in a very difficult country he might, in view of immediate capture, nearly as well as been in Ulundi. Cetewayo himself disposed of the question of any advance from the open side. On arrival of the King at Ulundi, it was found that Lord Gifford had generally stated in camp that Marter had obtained the information, which enabled him to take the King from the note alluded to in the account-had in fact taken him out of his almost closed hand. On this Marter went to Maurice and found he had not received the note. Then, taking with him one of his officers, who had heard it read, found Lord Gifford and told him plainly he had no right to make the statements he had made, as in his note he had given no clue whatsoever to the King’s whereabouts, to which the whole of his (Marter’s Officers) could testify. Gifford said ‘I thought I had’. Marter replied, ‘’if only you thought you had, you should not have made positive statements calculated to damage another officer, but in order to clear the matter up, I will send out scouts to find the man entrusted, who may still have it’’. Gifford replied ‘’You need not do that’’. But on Marter’s expressing his determination to do so , added after some hesitation, ‘’The note was brought back to me’’. Marter said ‘’then produce it to see which one of us is in the right’’. Gifford replied ‘’I destroyed it’’. On hearing this Marter said, ‘’As you have destroyed the note, and endeavoured to make capital out of it, I have only to say Good Morning my Lord, and he turned his back on him. Never the less Gifford was one of the ‘’Society’’, Sir Garnet inclined to his statements, selected him to carry the despatches to England, that he might receive the £300 customarily paid for the duty, and so worded his despatch as to convey the idea that Gifford had almost affected the capture. Later on he was told the truth by a young officer who had been with Gifford’s party, but he never amended the despatch or evinced ant friendship towards Marter. He rejoiced that the King was captured, but wrong had done the business. Extract from the Army & Navy Gazette of the 6th September 1879; ‘’1st Dragoon Guards’’ The most satisfactory accounts reach us from Natal as to the general behaviour of the regiment and its efficiency. Our correspondent says, ‘’Notwithstanding the serious disappointment suffered by the officers and men at finding themselves deprived of the honour of marching on Ulundi, all ranks have worked in a spirit which does them no little credit to maintain the character of an old and most distinguished regiment, and General Marshall’s eulogiums passed upon them have been fully well deserved. Though some have never tired of maligning this regiment, it had since its arrival in Natal shown that it is not behind-hand when work is to be done; and Colonel Alexander may well feel proud of his command’’. From a telegram dated Durban, August 19th, we learn that ‘’A Squadron of the Dragoon Guards, under Major Marter, has been brought up from Fort Victoria,



3rd September 1879
Army Headquarters, Camp Ulundi, Zululand ‘’Sir I have the honour to report that after a well sustained pursuit through most difficult country, extending over 16 days, Ketchwayo, the ex-King of Zululand, was captured on the 20th ultimo by a patrol under command of Major Marter, King’s Dragoon Guards, to whom every praise is due for the skilful manner in which the capture was effected. Ketrchwayo is now on his way to Capetown, accompanied by some of his wives and servants. He will be detained as a state prisoner at large in the Cape Colony, under the authority of an Act to be passed for that purpose by the Cape Parliament. Marter marched with his and other troops, Sir Garnet and his staff, via Conference Hill for Utrecht in the Transvaal, which was reached in nine days. There he found Colonel Alexander and Regimental Headquarters which he joined. For several days dreadful weather was experienced, dust storms, thunder and lightening, rain, tremendous wind, carrying away many tents, the mess tent included.



21st September 1879
Marter was sent across the hills to Wesselstroom (about 40 miles) to see if there was camping ground for the regiment, and grazing for the horses in that district. Including half an hour’s halt the ride took 10 hours, as there was thick fog and rain nearly the whole way, and often much uncertainty as to which track to follow. When about half way on the journey Marter and his two orderlies came to a Boer farm, and asked for a drink of water, it was refused. On arrival after dark he found that his tent and kit, sent on in a mule cart by road had not arrived. ‘’Slept as best I could, in a tent with Laurell, Byng and Willett who lent m cloaks-cold enough’’ The three officers had come out with a draft from England, and marched straight to Wesselstroom.



22nd September 1879
Next day, after obtaining information as to the best grass and camping ground, ‘’dined with the 80th in camp about a mile away, and tried to borrow a blanket but failed. Curling, Royal Artillery, took me into his tent, and had no blanket to lend, but furnished a waterproof sheet and a coat. The ground was very wet, and I shall not soon forget the cold which struck through that thin waterproof. The temperature went, the doctor said, to freezing, kit still had not come



23rd September 1879
Very much the worse. I began to find that this could not go on, so went to the doctor and asked if he could shelter me in the hospital camp, which he, doctor Jennings, kindly agreed to do so, lending me a stretcher and two blankets. My kit came late at night, too late to do anything with it. My servant Puddick was three days on the road with it on one days ration. (Puddick died shortly afterwards)



6th October 1879
The Headquarters of the regiment arrived and camped on the ground chosen. Colonel Alexander being then appointed to command the district, Marter took command of the regiment. He suffered much from the cold in camp, his clothes having become this through wear. There was very little game in the neighbourhood, but he did get two bushbuck one day



29th October 1879
Left Wesselstroom for Utrecht as President of a Board to investigate claims preffered by the Boers for damages stated to have been done by troops passing through their country-to houses, farm buildings, orchards, crops ect ect. Enormous sums were demanded in compensation



1st November 1879
The Board worked every day (Sundays excepted) and all day to December 20th inclusive, with the result that although the Boers lied stoutly, it was found that mountains had been made out of molehills, and in some cases the demands had been made out of pure fabrications, so that the total cash to be found by the Government was very moderate. While in Utrecht he found that he had been promoted to Lt Colonel in recognition of his service in capturing the King, a special Gazette having been published for the purpose on Tuesday October 14th. Life in a tent being intolerable in the prevailing weather he lived in a small room in an old hospital, and for exercise had a short ride in the evening on one of the Cape ponies he had with him, his half starved horses having been left with the regiment for grazing. The Garrison consisted when he arrived, of one Company of the 58th, left to guard the Commissariat stores, which had been collected for the war. The place became exceedingly unhealthy. Close to it was large swamp, into which numbers of wretched worn out bullocks, which had dragged the wagons out form Zululand, had wandered for water, and there laid down and died. To get them out and bury them was impossible, they rotted and the air became pestilential. Fever became general amongst the Boers, but the company mad rapid progress in dying out. Strong representations were repeatedly made that the stores should be moved or abandoned but without avail. There was no transport for the stores and they were considered of more value than the lives of the men. It was sad to see young soldiers nominally ‘’fit for duty’’ slouching and staggering from weakness even when on sentry duty. At last Marter became ill he stuck to his work as long as he could to try and get it finished, and succeeded except as regards to some final formalities.



20th December 1879
The Doctor (Mally) who thought it necessary to telegraph the Adjutant General at Pietermaritzberg recommended that Marter should be removed to Newcastle.



22nd December 1879
My last day at Utrecht, and I felt very seedy



23rd December 1879
We left Utrecht for Newcastle in a bullock ambulance. Got to the Buffalo River 20 miles and rested for the night, which was a very wearisome journey.



24th December 1879
Arrived at Newcastle and was put in the Officers Hospital, a very third class loose box with mud on the floor.



25th December 1879
25,26th,27th December 1879 Was very ill on these days, and don’t know much about them. There were no hospital diets to be had, only the ordinary ration of ‘trek’ ox, and my soldier servant could in no way make this into an acceptable broth, nor was there anything to be bought in place. Marter sunk very low, and when so weak he could hardly speak in an audible whisper, a ‘’Stafford House’’ Sister arrived and borrowed one of his horses, and rode around Kaffir Kraals and returned with an egg which she beat up with some whiskey and gave it to him. This was the turning point the Sister was equal even to trek ox beef, and produced soup and other things, which enabled him to gain his strength. There were several doctors in the camp, each about as inefficient and indifferent to the welfare of his patients as the other. The real or imaginary grievances of the of their Department seemed to be the only matters they could fully attend to, and they were never weary of discussing them. Marter found they had plenty of Champagne amongst the ‘’medical comforts’’, but although he needed it badly enough, they refused to allow him any until he threatened to report them to the Secretary of State for War. They had made their own minds up that the case was hopeless, and demurred at wasting the wine.



25th January 1880
Weeks passed and although better, he was still pretty much of a wreck and seemed to make no further progress. It happened that Doctor Mally, who sent him from Utrecht, came to Newcastle, and on enquiring what steps had been taken with regard to him, was astonished to find that nothing had been done, although he had sent him there for the express purpose of his being passed on to England, as soon as well enough to travel. Mally immediately set to work, luckily he found a covered conveyance with springs, which had been brought upcountry for Lord Chelmsford, together with a team of mules. He made a bed up in the cart and kindly accompanied him to Durban, where he carried through the arrangements with a Medical Board, and put him on board ship with 6 months leave.



8th March 1880
He arrived in March 1880 and landing at Plymouth, Joined his family at No 35 Canynge Road, Clifton. After his return to England, Sir Frederick Haines informed him that the Commander in Chief in India had applied for him to be appointed his Military Secretary, the Duke had said he could not be spared from his regiment in the Transvaal. The fact was that he was nobody’s child. General Marshall who had started in command of the cavalry, had quarrelled with Lord Chelmsford and had been sent back to the Lines of Communication and then gone home. Marter was never put under Colonel Drury Lowe. Lord Chelmsford scuttled out of the country immediately after the Battle of Ulundi without seeing him, and forgot all about him, so that he was not brought to notice in the ‘scrappy’ reports on the war that were sent before Wolseley’s arrival. Wolseley of course had no interest in anything that had been done previous to his assuming command. Among all soldiers other than those in the Wolseley clique, there was general rejoicing that the capture of the King had been made by a regimental soldier not belonging to that body, and a strong opinion that Lord Gifford had wrongly endeavoured to detract from any credit which might be attached to the act, and that Lord Wolseley had to some extent accepted his version without enquiry. Somehow the Queen seemed to have taken to the idea of getting at the rights of the case. She was abroad when Marter arrived home but immediately on her return, she invited him to dine and sleep at Windsor, and talked to him for a long time about the King, the war and the settlement of the country. Before he went to bed she sent him a command through Sir Henry Ponsonby to write an account of the capture. Moreover he was required to write his name in the Queen’s birthday book, and to send his photograph. In the course of conversation with her, he told Her Majesty little anecdotes about the King, which amused her exceedingly. Sir Henry Ponsonby told him afterwards that he had not known when he had seen her laugh so heartily. In obedience to the Queen command Marter wrote a narrative of the capture passing over the Gifford matter as lightly as he felt he could in justice to himself and sent it to Windsor for submission. In the account he mentioned that when the King was taken, a bugle of the 24th Regiment, slaughtered at Isandhlwana, was found in his possession, and one day he received a telegram from John Cowell telling him to come to lunch and bring the bugle. This he did, had luncheon with the household, and was then summoned to meet the Queen in the Long Corridor. She came attended by Princess Beatrice and Prince Leopold. After mournfully regarding the bugle, and making some remarks regarding it she noticed upon a table a number of little things which Marter had brought to show Sir John Cowell, amongst others a pair of heavy ‘’Royal’’ brass bracelets found by Marter himself in the Queen Mothers deserted Kraal in Ulundi. Also a 24th button pierced by the point of an assegai, cut by Marter from one of the dead at Isandhlwana. A gigantic thorn which he taken off as he rode through the bush as a specimen of those that goaded the horses, and rent the clothes of his party, and a plan of the Kraal in which the King was captured. After trying vainly to get her hand through the bracelet, and trying the sharpness of the thorn point, she became interested in the plan of the Kraal, asking many questions-where had Marter got in-when he got to the hut in which the King was, he was in an enclosed corner from which he could neither return or be supported by the fire of his men, she said ‘’That was very dangerous for him, was it not Beatrice’’? Among the things sent to the Queen was a brabed assegai taken from the King. A sketch of the capture painted by Miss Mackworth from Marter’s description was also submitted to the Queen, who ordered De Neuville to paint a picture from it, agreeing to pay £600. Subsequently Protais was employed to paint the bringing in of the Prince Imperial’s body, in which Marter appears, for which he got £1,200

15th July 1880
Came the joyful news that the Queen had appointed him one of her Aide-de-Camp, with the rank of Colonel in the Army.

Source: Lt Colonel R J C Marter - 1st Kings Dragoon Guards
Richard Marter.
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Major Marter 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards.
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