Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.
Film Zulu Dawn quote: “Excuse me, my Lord, there's something I must convey to you. I rode along the track down to Rorke's Drift. The sky above is red with fire. Your orders my Lord? Do we move to the drift?”
Fair use notice.
This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner.
We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website.
If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Subject: Hired Transports of The Anglo - Zulu War 1879 Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:16 pm
Hired Transports, Part One
I have noticed some interest in the hired transports here on the forum, so I thought I would compile what information that I had gathered on them. The hired transport played an important support roll in the Zulu War, but their officers and men did not receive the South Africa Medal for their service. In fact they were specifically excluded by the War Office. The transports travelled long distances to deliver the troops and supplies needed to sustain the war, and then turned around and transport wounded soldiers and blue jackets, and the widows and children of those who died, back to England. The trip took most ships over 30 days to complete from England to Natal, but one managed the voyage in a record 24 days and 8 hours. In the early stages of the war, when there was no telegraph from South Africa to England, the hired transport would be relied upon to deliver reports to the War Office or Admiralty, from the Cape to St. Vincent where they could be sent by telegraph. The “Danube” had to skip a routine stop for coal at St. Helena because the Captain wanted to avoid any feelings of discomfort to his passenger, The Prince Imperial, due to the fact Napoleon had been imprisoned there. Two ships were wrecked on the rocks at the Cape. One was a total loss to the ship and cargo, but crew and the troops on board got off safely and were later conveyed to Durban.
Among the food supplies brought to the soldiers in South Africa was one called Kopf Erbwurst Food. I checked and found out that it was a prepared food from Germany. The favorite among the British soldiers was the pea soup.
I have begun listing the hired transports that were employed by the Admiralty during the Zulu War. It is a work in progress, so I am sure it does not represent every ship that was involved, nor every trip they made. It is more inclusive than any other list I have seen. I do hope that it will be of use to someone, or at least answer some questions.
African (Coastal Steamer) Union Steamship Company Captain William Caius Crutchley, R. N. R. In Jan 1879, after the Zulu victory at Isandlwana, she carried troop reinforcements (300 men of 4th Regiment) from Cape Town to Durban. She put a 12 pounder gun ashore for the defense of the Pinetown laager.
American Union Steam Ship Company In Sep 1879, along with the Dunrobin Castle, she arrived at Plymouth with Generals Marshall and Crealock, Colonel Eustace, Captain Whaley and others from the war.
Andean East India and Pacific / from Woolwich Captain J. Miller On 11 Mar 1879 Conveyed Ammunition Column and part of N Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery from England to South Africa. Also 6,208 lbs of canned corned beef. On 8 May 1879 transported the departing Naval Brigade of HMS Tenedos from Durban to Simon’s Bay to rejoin their ship.
Arab Departed England on 22 May 1879, for South Africa, with a cargo of Hospital Supplies, 177,304 lbs of canned corned beef and 9,000 rations of Kopf Erbwurst Food.
Asiatic Union Steam Ship Company Conveyed Regimental Headquarters and 2 Companies of the 99th Regiment in Dec 1878, arriving in Durban 10 Jan 1879. She brought news of the Isandlwana disaster to St. Helena which in turn caused Captain Bradshaw to take HMS Shah to Durban with reinforcements of 150 men of the 88th Foot.
Borussia Dominion Line / from Portsmouth On 1 Apr 1879 Conveyed half of ‘C’ Troop Royal Engineers, plus cargo of 4,968 lbs of canned corned beef.
China Cunard Line / from Southampton Conveyed the 94th Foot and drafts for the 57th Foot and stores consisting of 21,006 lbs of canned corned beef and 7,080 lbs of canned beef, from England on 26 Feb, arriving in Natal on 2 Apr 1879.
City of Paris Inman Steamship Company / from Queenstown Conveyed 2nd Battalion, 21st Foot plus cargo of 9,765 lbs of canned corned beef and 18,360 lbs of canned boiled beef. Ship ran aground while entering Simon’s Bay on 23 Mar 1879. Troops were transferred to HMS Tamar for transport to Natal, arriving 31 Mar.
City of Venice George Smith & Sons / City Line / from Kingstown Conveyed part of Army Service Corps (3rd & 4th companies)and a cargo of 2,124 lbs of canned corned beef and 3,600 lbs of canned boiled beef, on 25 Feb 1879, arriving in Natal on 30 Mar. In Jul 1879 she transported the Naval Brigade of HMS Boadicea from Port Durnford.
Clyde 2,288 tons British Colonial Steamship Company / Temprerley Line / from Woowich Captain Luckhurst Chief Officer Abbott Conveyed drafts for the 1 Battalion, 24th Foot, and stores consisting of 67,906 lbs of canned corned beef, from England to South Africa on 1 Mar. Wrecked on Dyer’s Island near Simon’s Bay on 3 Apr with loss of cargo. Troops transferred to HMS Tamar for transport to Natal, arriving 11 Apr 1879.
D’Urban Departed England on 8 May 1879, for South Africa, with a cargo of Hospital supplies, 9,600 lbs of canned corned beef, and 43,000 rations of Kopf’s Erbwurst Food.
Danube Union, Castle and Union Castle Line / from Southampton On 27 Feb conveyed the Prince Imperial to Natal, along with 2 companies of 3rd Battalion, 60th, a total of 219 officers and men. She arrived in Natal 1 Apr 1879.
Duart Castle Donald Currie & Company / from Gravesend Transported several guns and ammunition from England to Natal in Feb 1879.
Dublin Castle Donald Currie & Company / from Gravesend Captain Penfold, R.N.R. On 19 Feb Brought Ms. Jane Deeble and six nurses to Cape Town along with troop reinforcements (6 companies, 3rd Battalion, 60th foot) and stores consisting of 7,239 lbs of canned corned beef and 14,400 lbs of canned boiled beef. She arrived in Durban on 20 Mar 1879.
Dunkeld Donald Currie & Company South African coastal steamer. Conveyed Sir Garnet Wolseley and his staff from Cape of Good Hope to Natal in Jun 1879.
Dunrobin Castle Donald Currie & Company Captain Winchester Along with “Teuton”, transported the 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment to South Africa. “Dunobin Castle” departed England 10 Dec 1878. In early Jan 1879 both ships arrived at Cape Town where 3 companies were left. “Dunrobin Castle” proceeded to from Cape Town and landed 3 companies. On 27 Jan 1879 she brought first news of the disaster at Isandlwana from Table Bay to St. Vincent where the news was cabled to London. On 22 Apr 1879 departed Simon’s Bay for England, with Admiral Sullivan aboard after he turned over command of the Cape of Good Hope and West Coast of Africa squadron to Commodore Richards. On 25 Jun 1879 she departed England for South Africa with a cargo of Hospital supplies and 43,714 rations of Kopf’s Erbwurst Food.
Edinburgh Castle Donald Currie & Company Brought Sir Garnet Wolseley and staff from England to the Cape of Good Hope.
Egypt National Line / from Southampton Conveyed ½ of 1st Dragoon Guards and cargo consisting of 3,801 lbs of canned corned beef and 5,904 lbs of canned boiled beef on 28 Feb, arriving in Natal on 9 April. On 30 May she departed with a cargo of 17,760 lbs of canned corned beef. On 4 Jun she took on and conveyed members of the Army Service Corps and a number of cavalry horses to Natal. On 2 Oct 1879 she arrived at Portsmouth with the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment under command of Colonel Glynn. Among the passengers on board were Major Chard and Surgeon Major Reynolds.
Petty Officer Tom
Subject: Re: Hired Transports of The Anglo - Zulu War 1879 Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:19 pm
Hired Transports, Part Two
England National Line / from Southampton Conveyed ½ of the 17th Lancers and stores consisting of 3,801 lbs of canned corned beef and 6,120 lbs of canned boiled beef on 26 Feb, arriving in Natal on 6 Apr 1879.
Florence From South West India Docks Conveyed part of Army Hospital Corps in 20 Feb, arriving in Durban on 6 Apr 1879.
France National Line / from Victoria Docks, London Conveyed ½ of the 17th Lancers from England to Natal on 24 Feb, arriving in Natal on 11 Apr 1879. Also carried cargo of 3,339 lbs of canned corned beef and 6,480 lbs of canned boiled beef.
Galatea 1,477 tons Port of Liverpool Depart England on 3 Apr 1879 with supplies for the military in South Africa. In her cargo were 202,632 lbs of canned corned beef.
German Union Steam Ship Company On 5 Oct 1879 she conveyed Lord Chelmsford to England after he was relieved of command. He was accompanied by Lt. A. B. Milne, RN and Lt. C. Legh, RN. Lt. John Benett, RN was invalided to England on the same ship.
Loanda British and African S.S. Company Conveyed Military Stores and field telegraph to Natal. Transported the two surf boats from Port Elizabeth to Durban for use at Port Durnford for the landing of supplies.
Manora 3,200 tons British India Steam Navigation Company / from Victoria Docks, London On 21 Feb she departed England with M Battery 6th Brigade Royal Artillery, and part of N Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery (along with 4 Gatling guns) and stores consisting of 1,816 lbs of canned corned beef and 3,456 lbs of canned boiled beef. Arrived in Natal on 22 Mar 1879.
Natal Union Steam Ship Company Transported supplies to Port Durnford. Conveyed King Cetewayo from Port Durnford to Cape Town.
Nubia On 10 Jan 1879 sailed for South Africa with a cargo of 50,010 lbs of canned corned beef.
Nyanza Union, Castle and Union Castle Line / Southampton Conveyed drafts for the 90th Foot on 10 Apr 1879. She then evacuated 150 women and children from Pinetown
Olympus Cunard Line/ from Southampton Captain Henry Walker Conveyed N Battery, 6th Brigade, Royal Artillery and drafts for the 11th Battalion, 7th Brigade Royal Artillery plus stores consisting of 5,040 lbs of canned corned beef from England on 24 Feb. Arrived in Natal 0n 31 Mar 1879. Arrived at Portsmouth in Aug 1879 with invalids from the war, among them was Boatswain Killbery of HMS Boadicea.
Ontario Captain John Roberts, First Officer Mr. Hunter, and Mr. Langton, Brigend and Stumbles Departed New York in May brining 400 mules from the United States to South Africa for use in transport. On 9 June Ontario departed Cape Town for Natal. She was designated #19 by the Admiralty.
Palmyra Cunard Line / from Portsmouth Conveyed 30th company, Royal Engineers and part of Army Hospital Corps, plus cargo of 6,216 lbs of canned corned beef, on 27 Feb from England, arriving in Natal 5 Apr 1879.
Pretoria Union, Castle and Union Castle Line / from Southampton Captain George Larmer On 20 Feb 1879 she conveyed the 91st Highlanders, and stores consisting of 14,115 lbs of canned corned beef and 13,968 lbs of canned boiled beef, to Natal. Arrived at Durban 16 Mar. A record trip of 24 days. Also on board were the following Naval Officers for Transport Service: Capt. G. O. Twiss, Lt. Caffin, Lt. Pelly and Paymaster Ramsey.
Queen Margaret Queen Line / from Victoria Docks, London On 22 Feb Conveyed part of Army Service Corps (5th company) and a cargo of 4,392 lbs of canned corned beef and 2,277 lbs of canned boiled beef. She arrived in Natal on 29 Mar 1879. On 29 May she made a second trip to South Africa with a cargo of Hospital supplies, 172,812 lbs of canned corned beef and 139,000 rations of Kopf Erbwurst Food.
Roman Union, Castle and Union Castle Line 12 Jun 1879 left England for South Africa with a large quantity of military stores. The government availed itself of the same opportunity to send out a number officers and men of the Royal Navy who had been urgently demanded by the Commodore.
Russia Cunard Line / from Portsmouth Conveyed the 58th Regiment and stores consisting of 35,086 lbs of canned corned beef from England on 26 Feb, arriving in Natal on 4 Apr 1879. On 10 Jun 1879 she arrived back at Portsmouth. Among her passengers were 8 invalided or wounded blue jackets. (‘Boadicea’ Phillip Conday & John Hinchley; ‘Shah’ John Hewitt, Robert Colwell, George Perkins, James Bulgar, Edward Bird & Frank Parfitt)
Spain National Line / from Southampton Conveyed ½ of 1st Dragoon Guards and stores consisting of 3,801 lbs of canned corned beef and 6,120 lbs of canned boiled beef on 27 Feb, arriving in Natal on 9 Apr 1879.
Taymouth Castle Donald Currie & Company Conveyed clothing and military supplies to Natal to replace those lost in the wreck of the Clyde. Included cargo of 55,056 lbs of canned corned beef.
Teuton Union steam Ship Company Along with “Dunrobin Castle”, transported the 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment to South Africa. “Teuton” departed England with 605 officers and men on 13 Dec 1878. In early Jan both ships arrived at Cape Town where 3 companies were left. “Teuton” proceeded to from Cape Town and landed 3 companies.
Tom Morton 1,402 tons Christian Salvesen & Company On 4 Mar 1879 Transported supplies, including cargo of 104,514 lbs of canned corned beef, plus mules to South Africa. Afterwards she transported supplies to Port Durnford. Later she took the bodies of Lieutenant-Colonel Northey, 60th Rifles, and Captain the Hon. E.V. Wyatt Edgell, 17th Lancers back to England, along with the two field guns that had been lost at Isandlwana and later recovered.
Umvoti From Mauritius Conveyed 1 company of 88th Foot and No 10 Battery, 7th Brigade, Royal Artillery from Mauritius to Natal on 26 Mar 1879.
Warwick Castle Donald Currie & Company Arrived at Plymouth in Mar 1879 with additional detail of the disaster at Isandlwana. On board her was the Rev. Otto Witt.
Narrative of the Field Operations Connected With the Zulu War of 1879 Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons: 1878-9, Second Volume The Graphic The London Times