William Thomas Plastine was born 5 January 1856 in Kew, Middlesex. He entered the Navy on 6 October 1871. In 1879 he was serving as Leading Seaman on HMS Boadicea. On 19 March 1879 he was landed as part of the ship’s contingent to the Naval Brigade for the Zulu War. “Boadicea’s” men served with the Eshowe Relief Column and fought at the Battle of Gingindlovu. They, afterwards, served with Crealock’s Column to Port Durnford, where, on 27 July 1879, they were the last of the Naval Brigade to leave. Plasting was entitled to the South Africa Medal with clasp “1879.”
On 6 January 1881, the day after his 25 birthday, Plastine landed with “Boadicea’s” Naval Brigade for the 1st Boer War. He was with the part of the brigade serving at Majuba when the position was overrun by the Boer. In the fighting Plastine was severely wounded. The Naval Brigade’s doctor, Surgeon Mahon, listed Plastine having a “dangerous wound of buttock, perforating abdomen.” After the battle Plastine was taken, along with other wounded, to the camp at Mount Pleasant. On 4 March 1881 Mahon, in a dispatch to Commodore Richards, wrote “William Plastine, L.S., is severely wounded in the abdomen, and I have little hope of his recovery." On 11 March 1881 William Plastine succumbed to his wounds and died.
On 12 October 1881 Plastine’s South Africa Medal with clasp was sent to his brother, J. H. Plastine.
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