re; Captain Redvers Henry Buller, 60th Rifles.
THE Zulu War of 1879 was responsible for terrible loss of life. The disaster at Isandlwana was terrible enough, that at Intombi followed soon after, and the affair at the Inhlobane Mountain narrowly escaped equalling the first-named in appalling consequences. Hearing that vast herds of cattle were on the top of the Mountain, a raid upon them was arranged, and, on March 28, 500 mounted men set off to bring them down. The ascent of the side approached was so steep, that it was hardly passable for horses, but they succeeded in gaining the summit, and had commenced to drive the herds together, when Sir Redvers Buller saw, about 6 miles away, a force of 20,000 Zulus advancing upon him. There was now nothing for the men but a hasty retreat, and down the precipitous paths they had ascended (the easier road on the other side, which they had intended to use being now blocked by the enemy) men and horses struggled, fell, and crowded together. The advanced Zulus promptly fell upon them, assagaied the horses, and speared every man they could reach, and it was during this terrible time that Captain Buller performed the many heroic acts for which he was deservedly awarded the Cross.
Captain D'Arcy, Lieutenant Everitt, and A TROOPER OF THE FRONTIER LIGHT HORSE, were all, one after another, rescued by him from the ferocious Zulus, when their horses had been shot or stabbed to death. Rallying his men, he rode, time after time, at the hordes of the infuriated enemy, and by his personal courage, cool behaviour, and undaunted resolution, held them in check and covered the retreat. Captain Thomasson, in his work on the Zulu Campaign, says that Buller is known to have saved six men that day, but it would be impossible to tell how many more owed their lives to his orders and example.
My great-grandfather, Corporal George ASHBY was that trooper of the Frontier Light Horse, and received the medal with bar. There was an article in our South Australian newspaper "The Advertiser" on 25 May 1914, the short extract reads :
"Other Veterans. In addition to those he had mentioned they had there that day warriors equally brave, and with records of service which they might all envy. They had among them Corporal George Ashby, who fought in the Kaffir and Zulu wars of the seventies and who owed his life to the late Sir Redvere Buller."
Another was "The Advertiser" 4 July 1939.
"Big Battle Anniversary.
Today will be the anniversary of the Battle of Ulundi and the end of the power of Cetewavo, writes Corporal George Ashby of Murray street, Rosewater, veteran of the Kaffir and Zulu Wars.
The Frontier Light Horse crossed the Umvolosi and engaged the Zulus while the square was being formed. The engagement (Lord Chelmsford officer commanding) became general.
One Gatling gun was being used and choked after a short time, but the fire from the infantry was deadly. As the Zulus charged en masse, the mounted men charged from the square.
In less than an hour after firing commenced, the victory was complete by midday, and the columns recrossed the river to camp. That was the end of the Zulu War."