medal code J2396

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SOUTH AFRICA 1877-9, CLASP 1879 TO ROYAL NAVY

SOUTH AFRICA 1877-9, clasp 1879 "'SHAH' J. H. MITCHELL .A.B. H.M.S."

James H Mitchell is confirmed on the medal roll as having received the South Africa medal and clasp, thus serving as part of the Naval Brigade in Zululand, 1879.

Whilst returning from the Pacific in 1879, HMS Shah called in at St. Helena. It was here that her crew learnt of the defeat at Isandhlwana and taking on board troops from the garrison (one company of the 88th foot the Connaught Rangers and a field artillery battalion) provided by the island's Governor, she sailed for the Cape Colony Arriving on 7th March 1879, she disembarked 16 officers and 378 men of her crew at Durban, led by Commander John Brackenbury to join the newly formed Naval Brigade.

On 18th March 1879, the force heading to relieve Eshowe was joined by 10 officers and 218 seamen from HMS Boadicea, led by Commander Francis Romilly They fought at the Battle of Gingindhlovo on 2nd April when the officers and ratings of the Naval Brigade manned, two deep, the waist-high rampart behind the shelter trench in Lord Chelmsford's laager, with rocket and Gatling gun detachments posted in the corners:
'In this engagement, which consisted of a gallant attempt by the Zulus to capture the laager in which our troops entrenched themselves on the previous night, a detachment of seaman and marines took a prominent part. The British force consisted of 2,500 Natives and 3,400 Europeans, including the 57th, 3rd Battalion 60th, 91st and some companies of the Buffs and 99th Regiment, and a Naval Brigade drawn from H.M.S. Shah, Tenedos and Boadicea - with 2 guns, 2 Gatlings and 2 rocket-tubes, the seamen being led by Commander Brackenbury, and the marines by Captain Phillips, both of the Shah. The Naval Brigade, with the guns, defended the four angles of the laager, and though the Zulu army, about 12,000 strong, under Dabulamanzi, attacked with their accustomed intrepidity, the fire from the guns and Martini-Henrys was so deadly that they were beaten back and dispersed with a loss of 1,200 men, 470 dead Zulus being buried close to the laager. In this action the British loss was 1 officer and 3 men killed, and 5 officers, including Lieutenant Milne, R.N., and 25 men, including 6 of the Naval Brigade, wounded.'

During the second invasion of Zululand Mitchell most probably served with that part of the naval brigade that accompanied General Crealock’s column to Port Durnford.

Condition, small EK or better than VF.

Code J2396        Price £