I was asked by a South African Battlefield Guide to establish where Lt. Edward Browne was presented with his Victoria Cross for his actions at Khambula, and who made the presentation.
A seemingly easy task thought I, or is it?
The Noble 24th by Norman Holme records: VC presented at Pinetown, Natal 22/8/1879.
The Zulu War VCs by James Bancroft states: He received the medal from Lord Wolseley at Pine Tree Camp on 22 August 1879, at the same presentation as Major Bromhead.
The Boiling Cauldron by Huw Jones, starts to question things as he writes: The records show that Browne was decorated by General Sir Garnet Wolseley at Pine Tree Camp on 18 August 1879; during August Wolseley was in Zululand waiting for the capture of Cetshwayo, but, despite the completeness of his diary, Wolseley mentions neither Browne nor Pine Tree Camp.
For Queen and Country - the Zulu War diary of Lieutenant Wilfred Heaton 24th Regiment of Foot by Rodney Ashwood, provides us with an eyewitness as Heaton records: Tuesday 26 August
Parade at 7.30 for the presentation of VCs to Browne and Reynolds.
I have little doubt in my mind that Pine Tree Camp is actually the camp at Pinetown, where a number of photographs of the 24th were taken, and as recorded by Norman Holme.
But the problem is the dates don't gel. Nor do the presentations.
Bromhead received his V. C. from Wolseley, at the sometime as Robert Jones whilst based in Utrecht on 22nd August 1879. Which would obviously discount Wolseley from being the officer that decorated Browne in Pinetown.
Can we believe Heaton as an eyewitness? As he states that the presentation was for Browne and Surgeon Major Reynolds, yet fellow forum member Lee Stevenson records that Reynolds received his V. C. from Wolseley - at the same time as John Chard - on 16th July 1879 at St. Paul's Mission Station.
Can anyone assist me with this conundrum?