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 Lt F.J.C. Frith

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PostSubject: Lt F.J.C. Frith   Lt F.J.C. Frith EmptySat Jul 04, 2009 3:56 pm

Lt F.J.C. Frith of the 17th Lancers

Killed In Action near the Upoko River  On 5th June 1879

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Last edited by ADMIN on Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Lt F.J.C. Frith   Lt F.J.C. Frith EmptyFri Aug 14, 2009 12:57 pm

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Lieutenant & Adjt Fredrick John Cokayne Frith

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Grave, Fort Newdigate, kwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Memorial Tablet. Buckland Parish Church, Dover, Kent, England

He is also commemorated on the Regimental Memorial, Garrison Church, Aldershot, Hampshire, England and at his old school, Haileybury College.


Lt Frederick John Cokayne Frith was born at Oban, Argyllshire on 22nd September, 1858, the son of an army major and at the age of 17 passed out in the first class at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He was gazetted on 16th February, 1876, to the 17th Lancers, and was appointed adjutant of the regiment on 12 February, 1879. The 17th Lancers landed at Durban on 6 April, 1879, as part of the reinforcements sent out to South Africa after the disaster at Isandlwana, and joined the forces under Lord Chelmsford and advanced into Zululand with General Edward Newdigate.

On 5th June 1879, a portion of the regiment under Col D.C. Drury-Lowe was engaged in their first skirmish with the enemy near the Upoko River when Lt Frith was shot through the heart. His body was brought into the camp on the Nondweni River and buried that same evening. He was followed to the grave by all his brother officers, and by most of the officers in camp, including Lord Chelmsford, General Newdigate, and staff.

Lt Cokayne Frith was a young officer of much promise, active, hard-working, genial and kind hearted. He was a general favourite, not only with his brother officers, but with all who knew him.

It is recorded that two troopers were wounded in the same engagement and nearly all the accounts of his burial make no mention of anyone being buried with him that same evening, although Private Edward D. McToy in his delightful brief history of the 13th Regiment in South Africa in 1877/1879 mentions that two troopers were killed with Lt Frith. This is probably erroneous. There is little doubt, however, that the area of Frith's grave demarcated by stones provides for three graves, and it would be interesting to ascertain the identity of the other two men. So far I have not been able to trace them, but they are probably two men who died of disease subsequently at Fort Newdigate and were buried on either side of Lt Frith.

On the 5th June 1879 the Regiment came in contact with the Zulus for the first time at a place called Erzungayan Hill. In a trifling Skirmish which ensued the Adjutant, Lieutenant Frith was shot dead by the Colonel's side.
Source 'The History of the 17th Lancers' by Fortescue
On the 5th June 1879, Lieutenant Frith was with a Company of Lancers under the guidance of Colonel Drury Lowe, who was trotting his squadron back and forth through the mealie patches flushing out stray warriors, of which they found none, since they had all taken to the slopes for cover and began firing at the Dragoons. Drury Lowe dismounted a troop to return the fire, and the unnecessary skirmish cost the life of Adjutant Lieutenant Frith. He suddenly threw up his arms and fell forward on his saddlebow. Drury Lowe spurred up to him, but he was already dead, shot through the heart by a Martini-Henry rifle.
They buried Frith at Fort Newdigate, by the river that night, all the officers turned out for the funeral.
All this happened during the burning of the kraals on the eastern bank of the uPoko River.
Source 'The Washing of the Spears' by Donald R Morris
Lieutenant Frederick John Cokayne Frith, who was killed at the Erzungayan Hill, near the uPoko River, Zululand, on the 5th June 1879, was the second son of Major Cokayne Frith, of Dover, by his marriage with Amelia, daughter of Christopher Kane, M. D., Surgeon-Genaral in the Honourable East India Company's Service, the widow of John S. Denis deVitre, of the Bombay Civil Service.
He was born at Oban, Argullshire, on 22nd September 1858, and was educated at Mr Harrison's School at Dunchurch, near Rugby, Warwickshire; and afterwards at Haileybury College, until 1874, when he was prepared for the examination for the army by Mr John Le Fleming, of Tonbridge.
At the examination in December, 1875, he passed twelfth in the list of successful candidates; and, joining the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as Sub-Lieutenant, at the age of Seventeen, he passed out in the first class in the following year, and was gazetted on the 16th of February to the 17th Lancers. He had previously received a commission as Sub-Lieutenant in the Argyll and Bute Artillery Militia in November 1875, which regiment, however, he never joined, owing to his having passed the army examination direct for Sandhurst in the following month. On succeeding to a Lieutenancy in his regiment in 1878, his commission was antedated two years in consequence of his having obtained a first-class certificate at Sandhurst.
In May 1878, he joined the school of Musketry at Hythe, and there obtained a first-class certificate. On the 12th of February 1879, within two years after joining, he was appointed Adjutant of his regiment.
On reinforcements being sent out to South Africa, when the news of the disaster at Isandhlwana was received, Lieutenant Cokayne Frith embarked with his regiment at Southampton. In s.s. 'England,' on the 26th February 1879, for Natal, landing at Durban, the 17th Lancers joined forces under Lord Chelmsford, and advanced into Zululand with General Newdigate's Column.
On the 5th June a portion of the regiment, under Colonel Drury-Lowe, was engaged in their first skirmish with the enemy at the Erzungayan Hill, near the uPoko River, during which, while in the act of turning his horse at the side of his Colonel, Lieutenant Cokayne Frith was shot through the heart. His body was taken into camp on the Nodwini River, and buried the same evening, followed to the grave 'by all his brother officers, and by most of the officers in camp, Lord Chelmsford, General Newdigate, and staff included.'
Lieutenant Cokayne Frith was a young officer of much promise; active, hard working, genial, and kind-hearted; he was a general favourite, not only with his brother officers, but with all who knew him; whilst to his own family the loss of so exemplary a son and brother is irremediable.
It states that he was shot through the heart at the Itelezi Hill.
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PostSubject: Re: Lt F.J.C. Frith   Lt F.J.C. Frith EmptySat Oct 24, 2009 12:45 am

Three troops of the 17th Lancers advanced and, coming under fire, dismounted and engaged the enemy without much effect, as the Zulus were well concealed in the long grass. Marshall moved the KDG forward in support and ordered the Lancers to withdraw. As they fell back their Adjutant, a Zulu bullet killed Captain Frith.

Marter described the action:
"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 several horses shot and men wounded, found it necessary to retire. Colonel Lowe (17th Lancers) then, against General Marshall's orders, advanced with the 17th to within 150 yards of the wood, and dismounted some men. I supported him, placing a Squadron in echelon on either flank, and we were potted at for about 20 minutes. Frith the Adjutant of the 17th was shot dead and the Martini-Henry bullets flew high, and others were more dangerous."

Source: 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards
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PostSubject: Re: Lt F.J.C. Frith   Lt F.J.C. Frith EmptySun Jan 08, 2012 8:14 pm

FREDERICK JOHN COKAYNE FRITH

- Lieutenant - 17th Lancers

Killed at Ezunganyan Hill, 5th June 1879 Aged 20.

Hailey 1868.2 - 1971.2 Born 26 November 1854. Son of Major Cokayne Fith and Amelia Kane. Born in Oban, Argyllshire. He was shot through the heart. He was Sub-Lieutenant 24th regiment 1874 Zulu medal with clasp for Gaika & Galeka campaigns ADC to Sir Bartle Frere 1875 - 1878

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