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|Subject: M. Fleming, 1st Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire ) Regiment of Foot. Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:35 pm|| |
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]"Michael Fleming was born in Portsea, Hampshire and worked as a labourer before enlisting at Portsmouth into the British Army when aged 14 years and 2 months on 29th July 1861, and after Boy service joined as a Private (No.607) the 24th (2nd Warwickshire ) Regiment of Foot. He was initially posted to Gosport, before being transferred to barracks in Portsmouth, followed by Aldershot, and then Shorncliffe from 28th April 1864, and Curragh, Ireland from 31st March 1865. Following this he was then barracked in Dublin from 3rd August 1865, followed by a posting back to Curragh from 22nd February 1866 where he contracted syphilis, before being posted overseas to garrison duty in Malta from 13th October 1866, followed by Gibraltar from 5th March 1872.
Fleming was posted to Cape Town, South Africa from 2nd January 1875, by which time he had gained two Good Conduct Badges, and was shortly afterwards promoted to Lance Corporal from 1st April 1876, and to Corporal from 21st May 1876, and with the beginning of the rebellion in South Africa was posted to King's William Town from 8th August 1877, being afterwards involved in the operations against the Galekas and Gaikas during 1877 to 1878. In October 1877, a force of 500 police, 1000 colonials, and 6000 native levies swept into Galekaland, scattering the inhabitants but doing little real harm. Believing that the disturbances were now over, most of the Militia went home but a mounted patrol was attacked in dense bush on 2nd December. Riding for their lives they fell back to a trading store called Holland's shop where 225 police and volunteers joined some artillerymen with two guns and successfully held off all attacks until the dispirited Galekas slipped away.
General Sir Arthur Cunynghame, Commander-in-Chief Imperial Troops in South Africa, was now instructed to take control. He had few imperial troops at his immediate disposal, just 1/24th and 88th Foot but, as he was intent upon settling matters quickly, he soon had a mixed force moving through Galekaland. However, the Gaikas also decided to move against the British and attacked posts between the Kei River and King William's Town. The Tambookies too became involved but were soon suppressed by the Frontier Armed and Mounted Police and the Fingo Levies. Running short of food and ammunition, the dissident tribes combined to try to capture a supply depot at Centane Mountain, defended by the 1/24th, a body of Fingoes, and two guns. It came under attack on 6th February 1878, but every assault was crushed and the Galekas suffered such heavy losses they never fought again.
The Gaikas now crossed the Kei and sought refuge in the Amatola Mountains, Government forces had been reinforced by 90th Foot and two batteries of Royal Artillery, and in March, 2/24th Foot landed at the Cape. Early the same month, Lieutenant General The Honourable Frederick Thesiger took over command from Cunynghame and was soon organising limited operations in the bush. These met with indifferent success until, at the end of April, 4000 Imperial and Colonial troops went into the Ntaba ke Ndoda region. A company of 90th Foot ran up against the heaviest resistance and lost 15 men before the enemy was flushed from the valleys and dispersed in small groups. During May, Thesiger was relentless in clearing the Pirie bush, and Fish River Valley and the Waterkloof, capturing cattle and destroying Gaika food supplies. Chiefs Sandile and Seyolo were killed and local groups were ruthlessly hunted down until protests in the Cape Town House of Assembly led the way to an amnesty on 2nd July.
British annexation of the Boer Transvaal during 1877, brought the British and Zulu Empires face to face. The British thereby inherited the Boer border disputes with the Zulus and it was inevitable that conflicting interests would lead to military conflict. Using minor border incidents as a catalyst to issue King Cetshwayo with an ultimatum so worded as to lead to inevitable rejection, the High Commissioner Sir Bartle Frere achieved his aim of direct confrontation with the formidable Zulu army. On 11th January 1879, British forces moved into Zululand. Three columns were intended to effect a junction at the royal capital Ulundi, while two other bodies were positioned to prevent Zulu incursions into Natal and the Transvaal. Under Thesiger, now Lord Chelmsford, the main force crossed the Buffalo River from the camp at Rorke's Drift. A short sharp action then cleared the way to Isandhlwana where camp was established.
In the belief that the main Zulu army was located a few hours march away, Chelmsford moved out of camp before dawn on 22nd January, with a force principally composed of 2/24th Foot with four guns of the Royal Artillery. Contact was made with the enemy and some casualties inflicted but the Zulus melted away. Messages then came that the camp at Isandhlwana was under attack and orders were given to return immediately. It was already too late. At the camp, Chelmsford had left two Royal Artillery guns, A, C, E, F, and H Companies plus Band 1/24th Foot, G Company 2/24th Foot, which was supplemented by others from the same regiment who did not, for a variety of reasons, join Chelmsford (that is, 606 men of the 24th, of whom 10 survived, all from the 1st Battalion), 110 mounted men from the Mounted Infantry and Colonial units, and 420 men from the Natal Native Contingent. At breakfast vedettes reported Zulus in the vicinity, and the men fell under arms. At the same time they were reinforced by men of the Natal Native Horse, the Natal Native Contingent, and a rocket battery, but the Zulu army now bearing down on the entrenched camp was overwhelming. The Natal Native Contingent withdrew in disorder, and it was impossible to form an unbroken defensive perimeter. Short of ammunition, outflanked and surrounded, the defenders fought hand to hand and died hard. As the camp was overrun, some managed to escape the slaughter on horseback, but 850 Europeans, and 471 of the Natal Native Contingent were killed.
Fleming was serving as a Sergeant at the time, and had been lucky to miss the massacre at Isandhlwana, having been taken ill whilst in Natal on the march into Zululand, the medical report stating 'noticed servere spitting of blood for first time, had to leave the march, due entirely to military service'. Fleming was invalided home and a subsequent report made at Gosport detailed him as suffering from bronchitis, however a further report taken at Colchester on 14th August 1881 detailed him as follows: 'at present he is very weak having reduced from 9 st 3 kgs to 7 st 2 kgs and quite unable to do any work.' Fleming was deemed to be suffering from 'wasting of the body and the lungs are breaking up', and he was deemed 'quite unable to do any work, yes permanent, and in consequence he will not be able to contribute anything towards earning a livelihood.' Fleming was suffering from 'phthisis pulmonalis' otherwise known as tuberculosis and Fleming was invalided from the service at Colchester on 24th September 1881, being discharged after 20 years and 58 days service and was 34 years and 3 months old when he left the service, being discharged from the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers as the 1 / 24th Foot had now been retitled."
Source: London Medals
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|Subject: Michael Fleming 1-24 / 607 Sgt Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:14 am|| |
Some more info on Fleming from The Noble 24th By Norman Holme .
Born at Portsea , Hampshire , Trade - None . Description ; age at discharge 34 yrs , height 5 ' 6 '', Hair brown , grey eyes , sallow complexion , served 20 yrs 2 mths , including 3 yrs 10 mths under age . Served in Sth Africa 4 yrs 10 mths , Promoted Corp from Lce Corp 21 / 5 / 76 , Sgt 13 / 10 / 81. Service Continued in Sth Wales Bords 1 / 7 / 81 , Discharged 13 / 10 / 81 . Character very good ,
in possession of 3 Good Conduct Badges . An injury assessment board held at the Royal Hospital , Chelsea 18 / 10 / 81 confirmed he was suffering from Phthisis Pulmonalis - due to service , first noticed in zululand . He is unable to earn .Awarded a permanent pension of 15 pence per Diem ( reference A91777 , WO 116 ) Intended place of residence 23 Lower St Westminster Bridge road , London . South Africa Medal 77-78-79 Clasp .