BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA COMPANY MEDAL 1890-7, REVERSE RHODESIA 1896, NO CLASP ‘TROOPR. B. MUNZBERG, “H” TROOP B.F.F.’
Berthold Munzberg acquired a Prospector’s Licence from the Mining Commissioner, Bulawayo, on 28 November 1894, and after staking a claim, sold out on 10 June 1895. He served during the Matabeleland campaign of 1896 as a member of the famed Captain Frederick Courteney Selous’s ‘H’ Troop, Bulawayo Field Force. Trooper Munzberg was wounded in action whilst on patrol with Captain Selous on 28 March 1896 (London Gazette 5 April 1898 refers). A contemporary report by Captain J. Nicholson states:
‘‘Captain Selous with 35 men left Wednesday 25th March  at 7:30 p.m. for Wessexvale and the Malungwani Hills where natives were said to be in arms. He met with little opposition till after crossing the Tuli road and 8 miles south west of Spiro’s store he came into contact with a considerable body of the rebels and had to withdraw. Casualties were Troopers Stracey and Muntzberg wounded. One horse shot. They returned on 30th March.’
Captain Frederick Courteney Selous who lead ‘H’ Troop was a famed hunter, soldier and explorer, who was Rider Haggard’s inspiration for his fiction character; Allan Quatermain;
After the campaign was over, Captain Selous wrote a book on the Bulawayo Field Force’s activities during the campaign; ‘Sunshine and Storm in Rhodesia ’ (copy of the book on CD included). Munzberg is mentioned a number of times, as are the circumstances of his being wounded, a brief extract is as follows:
‘…With a great deal of trouble we got them down to the broken ground above the stream, but farther than this we could not drive them, as they scattered in all directions, but would not go down the rocks. Over and over again we rounded them up and tried to force them to go the way we wanted them to take, but without success, and I was once more thinking of shooting them all when some shots were fired at us from the broken ground to our left front. By a mistake the sentinels had left their posts on the top of the rocks and rejoined the rest of our party, and the Kafirs, now heavily reinforced, had got back to positions amongst the wooded cliffs above us without being observed. I at once sent Mr. Blocker and a few men who were good shots to take up a position beyond the stream, from which they could check the enemy's fire, whilst the rest of the men were crossing. I myself with Mr. Claude Grenfell and a few more men protected the rear. However, before we got down into the open ground, we had four horses killed and two men wounded, Mr. Stracey and Mr. Munzberg. How it was that more men were not hit, I don't know, as the bullets were pinging about pretty freely. Everyone, I think, although I spread the men out as much as possible, had some narrow shaves, and my Sergeant-Major got two bullets through his gaiter, and one through his trousers between his legs, yet he was not touched…’
‘..Mr. Munzberg, a young German, was hit in the small of the back, and had a wonderful escape, as the bullet struck a kind of chain belt he was wearing round his waist. It went through this, but being much flattened out lost its velocity, and only inflicted a deep flesh wound…’
Additionally, a very good website on the Matabele campaign can be found:
Munzberg has had his medal ribbon mounted in the style of German Army for wear, suggesting he may have had prior or later service with the German Army itself. Medal is 100% as issued with its standard suspension which clips onto this attractive ribbon arrangement but is fully removable.
Approximately 135 men killed and wounded, many of whom would not have claimed a medal.
Condition EF, mounted as worn ‘German’ style, Ex DNW 2004. Lovely looking medal and a scarce casualty medal for the Matabele with a direct connection to a famous character in South African history.