Lot Archive


№ 167


6 May 1992

Hammer Price:

A good Rorke's Drift medal awarded to Private Michael Minehan, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers SOUTH AFRICA 1877-9, 1 clasp, 1877-8-9 (B/l 1527 Pte., 2/24th Foot) minor edge knock, otherwise good very fine

Michael Minehan was born at Castlehaven, Co. Cork, in 1845. He attested on 14th October, 1864, at Bandon, but was found to have already joined the West Coast Artillery Militia earlier in that year. Nevertheless, he was allowed to continue in the 2nd 24th Foot, and saw service in India, South Africa and the Mediterranean. He engaged for further service at Secunderabad on 7th October 1871. Colonel Penn-Symons wrote: ‘Minehan was a great pal of mine; he was right-hand man, front rank of B Company, who knew his drill well and had often kept me straight.’ At one stage of the battle at Rorke's Drift, Minehan had been posted in the kraal. The day after the fight he was unable to speak as a result of exhaustion, but had taken Penn-Symons to the corner of the kraal at which he had been stationed. By means of gesticulation he indicated the body of a Zulu, partly hidden under the straw. It appeared that during the battle the Zulu had crawled under the straw and grabbed Minehan by the leg. Minehan had 'prodded the straw with his bayonet' and one such thrust had penetrated the Zulu's body, killing him instantly. Minehan was highly regarded by his officers and received several testimonials of good character from them, including one written by Bromhead and dated 24th March 1884. After his service in South Aftica, Minehan was again posted to India on 12th August, 1880, and whilst there contracted cholera on 15th April 1884. He was invalided to England at the end of the same month and, following his examination by a medical board at Netley Hospital, was found unfit for further service and discharged on 2nd September, 1884. Private Minehan's presence at the Defence of Rorke's Drift is confirmed on all four of the accepted roll's and furthermore by the anecdote related above.