Medals to the Natal Police for the Defense of Ladysmith are special. Thank you for showing them.
If I remember rightly there is a wonderful photograph of policemen holding the ram rod taken from one of Boer guns damaged during the night attack on Gun Hill early in the siege. Is there any way of naming those who appear in the photograph or obtaining a list of those who participated in that action?
I do not know the photograph you refer to, but in my experience it is very difficult to identify the men in such photographs. Early volumes of 'The Nongqai', when it was exclusively the NP's magazine, contain named group photographs and other pics of identified men. These might help in identifying men in other pictures.
As far as I know, there is not a list of the NP's who participated in the Gun Hill action. They had a supporting role to the small attacking force on the summit, so no individuals are identified.
I have had an interest in the Gun Hill Raid ever since I first read of it - and interest quickened when I found that the recipient of a medal group in my current custody was on the Raid. The whole Raid was very well planned and executed; there were several such raids and probes to keep the besiegers jumpy - some went well, some did not.
One of the best accounts of the Gun Hill Raid may be found in Griffith's "Thank God We Kept the Flag Flying". This even though I find Griffiths' editorialising throughout the book distinctly irritating. He says that General Hunter took with him 100 men of the ILH (under Lt.Col.Edwards) and 500 of the Natal Volunteers (under Col.Royston); plus eighteen men of the Corps of Guides commanded by Maj. Henderson of the Intelligence Branch. There were also "a few military engineers and artillerists, survivors of the ill-fated No.10 Mountain Battery". Between you and I, Peter, that was a pretty formidable bunch of chaps!
Some time ago, I did a trawl through the South African Colonial section of the "Boer War Services of British Officers" and found quite a few names where their entries included a presence on the Gun Hill Raid. Could have been as members of the assault group or on the flank guards. Clearly, these names were of men who had later applied for - and were granted - a commission. Unfortunately, the task of checking the names against the rolls of the units involved and digging deeper was quite beyond my ability or resources.
It is even difficult to identify the eighteen CofG chaps; the Buxton book on the FID tells me that sixty-one "Defence of Ladysmith" clasps were awarded to the Natal Corps of Guides. So there you are. Unless a chap was a casualty, became commissioned and mentioned it on his CV, or otherwise came to notice - we just won't know. I would be very happy if it were otherwise.
I realise this post is rather off-topic - but I thought it would be best to leave it here.