Lot Archive


№ 197


27 September 1994

Hammer Price:

SOUTH AFRICA 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1878-9(176 Pte. W. Flyfield, 80th Foot) toned, good very fine and rare

Ex. Jack Wadey Collection.

Killed in action at Intombe River, 12 March 1879. The Intombe River massacre was not a disaster of the scale which befell the 1st Battalion 24th Foot at Isandhlwana but, nevertheless, the same qualities of fortitude and courage were required by the participants, Captain David Moriarty and his men of A Company, 80th Foot, who had been sent out from Luneberg to escort a column of supply waggons travelling from Derby. Some miles before the rendezvous with the train, the troops had to wait for three days at the little Intombe River while flood water abated sufficiently for the men to cross. But, by the time the crossing had been made, the train had been attacked and wiped out. Returning to their base, the men of the 80th Foot were caught on the wrong side of the Intombe River by a powerful force of 4,000 Zulus. Sixty of the men, including the Commanding Officer died or were lost in close hand to hand fighting. Most of the deaths were either through assagai or spear wounds, or by drowning. The forty-four survivors who managed to swim the river safely made their own way back to headquarters. There were approximately 150 casualties amongst Imperial Regiments during the Zulu Wars, killed or mortally wounded, at actions other than Isandhlwana where some 850 European officers and men were slaughtered. The comparative rarity of casualties at actions such as Ulundi, Inhlobane and Intombe River thus becomes apparent.