DEATH OF MR SAMUEL WASSALL.
THE PASSING OF A NOTABLE FIGURE.
Mr Samuel Wassall, Barrow's veteran V.C.; passed away in the North Lonsdale Hospital on Monday in his 70th Year.
The deceased won his coveted decoration in the Zulu war in 1879 for gallant conduct in rescuing a comrade at the risk of his own life, when the camp at Isandhlwana on the Tufela River, about 10 miles from Rorke's Drift was surprised and attacked.
Private Wassall who was attached to the 80th Regiment, during a retreat towards Buffalo River, saw a comrade struggling in the water, and in great peril of being either drowned or killed by the advancing enemy. He at once galloped to the riverside, dismounted, and under a hail of bullets entered the water and succeeded with great daring in dragging his comrade to the bank, and afterwards effecting his escape.
In that action, which was fought on January 22nd, 1879, Private Wassall was one of a small number of British soldiers who were assailed by an overwhelming force of Zulus whom they succeeded in eventually driving off. Private Wassall was only 21 years of age, and had the distinction of being the youngest man in the British Army at that time to win the V.C., for which honour he was gazetted on July 17th, 1879.
Private Wassall was always proud to take his place with ex-Service men on ceremonial occasions at which the military were present. He attended the unveiling of the cenotaph in Barrow Public Park by General Sir W. Robertson, who shook hands with Private Wassall and congratulated him. On this and subsequent Armistice Days Private Wassall was invariably asked to place the ex-Service men's laurel wreath on the memorial. He was one of several other Barrow members who were introduced to the King at Furness Abbey station when his Majesty, with the Queen, visited Barrow on May 17th, 1917.
In July 1920, he was present at a reception by the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace, which, he afterwards declared; was one of the greatest experiences of his life. It was his first visit to London, but the third time on which he had shaken hands with the King.
Private Wassall, lived at 34, Lyon street, having resided in Barrow for 46 years. He is survived by his widow, four sons and three daughters.
The News, Saturday, February 5, 1927.