The Jack Webb Collection of Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 20th August 2020

Estimate: £18,000 - £22,000

Saleroom Notice

The photograph of the recipient in the catalogue is incorrect, and shows another officer; the correct image is online.

The Zulu War medal to Captain G. V. Wardell, 1/24th foot, who was killed in action at the battle of Isandhlwana, 22 January 1879; during the battle he made a most desperate and gallant stand, and when the dead were buried five months later it was reported that his remains, together with two other Officers who could not be identified, were found in one spot with the bodies of 60 men of his regiment

South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1877-8-9 (Capt. G. V. Wardell. 1-24th Foot.) extremely fine £18,000-£22,000

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The Zulu War medal to Captain G. V. Wardell, 1/24th foot, who was killed in action at the battle of Isandhlwana, 22 January 1879; during the battle he made a most desperate and gallant stand, and when the dead were buried five months later it was reported that his remains, together with two other Officers who could not be identified, were found in one spot with the bodies of 60 men of his regiment

South Africa 1877-79, 1 clasp, 1877-8-9 (Capt. G. V. Wardell. 1-24th Foot.) extremely fine £18,000-£22,000
George Vaughan Wardell, who was killed at Isandhlwana on January the 22nd, 1879, was the second son of Major Wardell, who served for forty-three years in the 66th Regiment, the 93rd Highlanders, and the Royal Canadian Rifles. He was born at Toronto, Canada, on February the 21st, 1840, and was educated in that country and in England, passing the direct examination for a commission in the line from Kensington School. Gazetted to an ensigncy in the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, on May the 14th, 1858, he joined that corps at Bury, and, after serving at Sheffield and Aldershot, embarked with it for Mauritius in March, 1860. He there became a lieutenant by purchase, on July the 23rd, 1861, and there being a scarcity of officers of the Commissariat Department in the island, he acted for nearly two years as Deputy Assistant Commissary-General. In 1865 the battalion proceeded to Burmah, where he remained with it until the middle of 1867, when he proceeded to England on leave, and was afterwards attached to the depot at Sheffield and Preston.

In 1870 Captain Wardell exchanged into the 1st Battalion of his regiment, and served with it for three years at Malta and Gibraltar, obtaining his company on January the 10th, 1872. After being two years at the Brigade Depot at Brecon, he embarked, in May, 1875, in charge of drafts, to rejoin the head-quarters of his regiment, which had been sent to the Cape of Good Hope. In 1876 he went in command of a detachment to St Helena, where he was quartered more than a year; on his being recalled to the Cape, the governor of the island issued a general order expressing warm approval of the exemplary behaviour of the non-commissioned officers and men, against whom no single complaint had been made, and stating that by the departure of Captain Wardell he lost a valued friend. Rejoining his regiment in 1877, he accompanied it up the country to King William’s Town, and, on the Galeka outbreak taking place, was again detached with 100 men of the 24th, with about three hundred Burghers, Mounted Police, and Natives, to guard the drift, or ford, across the Great Kei River at Impetu. He there constructed a redoubt named by him Fort Warwick (in allusion to the county of his regiment), which afforded shelter to the neighbouring farmers and their families. After holding this post for three or four months, much harassed and more or less surrounded by the Kaffirs, his communications were at last entirely cut, and he had to be relieved early in January, 1878, by a strong force under Colonel Lambert, 88th Regiment. A sketch of this relief appeared in the Illustrated London News. For this service Captain Wardell received commendation from Sir Arthur Cunynghame, the Lieutenant-General Commanding, who appointed him commandant of the Kei Road and Kabousie stations, with a force of five hundred colonial troops under him. Besides keeping open the communications, he was there incessantly employed in forwarding supplies to the front. Upon the arrival of Lord Chelmsford to take command, he was superseded by a field-officer of another regiment, and rejoined his own corps in the Trans-Kei, where he served against the Galekas until they were completely subjugated.

In November, 1878, the 24th Regiment was ordered to Natal, to join the force being prepared to act against the Zulus in the event of their refusing to comply with the terms of Sir Bartle Frere’s ultimatum. Disembarking at Durban, Captain Wardell marched with his company through Maritzburg to Helpmakaar, where he was encamped for a month. Upon the expiration of the period of grace allowed to the Zulus, he was advanced, in command of two companies, to Rorke’s Drift, in order to cover the working parties employed in making the ford practicable for artillery and heavy ox-waggons, and in constructing pontoons for conveying the infantry across. On January the 11th, 1879, Colonel Glyn’s column, to which both battalions of the 24th Regiment belonged, crossed the Buffalo River into Zululand, and on the following day Captain Wardell, whose company had been the first to pass over, was engaged in a skirmish with outlying parties of the enemy. After being encamped at the Bashee Valley, the column advanced on January the 20th to a new position at the foot of Isandhlwana Hill. In the attack on the camp at that place on the 22nd, Captain Wardell was slain. Some Natal Carabineers who escaped from the massacre, reported that they saw him, surrounded by his company, making a most desperate stand against the savage foe; and in Lieut.-Colonel Black’s description of the field as he found it when he buried the dead five months afterwards, it is stated that over sixty men of the 24th Regiment were found in one spot, together with the remains of Captain Wardell and two other officers who could not be recognised.

Captain Wardell was a thorough soldier; strong, active, and fearless; beloved by his men, and of high repute amongst his brother officers. He married in 1867, at Mauritius, Lucy Anne Charlotte, daughter of Captain Russell, R.N. His father, Major Wardell, served for five years in the Royal Navy before entering the army, and was present at the capture of Java (medal and clasp) in 1811; he also lost his right arm in 1820, from the effects of a wound received whilst in the naval service.

(The South African Campaign of 1879, by J. P. Mackinnon & S. H. Shadbolt, refers).