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Messages - David Griffiths

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Dumfriesshire / Re: Jardine Hall photos?
« on: Wednesday 23 October 13 21:05 BST (UK)  »
Here is a photo of Jardine Hall, regretfully blown up in 1964.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Wednesday 14 August 13 17:32 BST (UK)  »
Goodbye all...

I have completed my task as per my remit.

To the people who care...Please continue the fight to have this suicide verdict overturned and have my Great Grandfathers headstone turned the correct way around.
Here is a photo of me in 1964 when I served in the Royal Navy and an up to date one when aged 68.
Sorry for the double post.

David Griffiths.

Great Grandson of Pte Robert Jones VC.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Tuesday 13 August 13 11:24 BST (UK)  »
Goodbye all...

I have completed my task as per my remit.

To the people who care...Please continue the fight to have this suicide verdict overturned and have my Great Grandfathers headstone turned the correct way around.
Here is a photo of me in 1962 when I served in the Royal Navy and an up to date one when aged 68.

David Griffiths.

Great Grandson of Pte Robert Jones VC.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Wednesday 15 February 12 15:40 GMT (UK)  »
Goodbye all...

I have completed my task as per my remit.

To the people who care...Please continue the fight to have this suicide verdict overturned and have my Great Grandfathers headstone turned the correct way around.

David Griffiths.

Great Grandson of Pte Robert Jones VC.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Friday 10 February 12 19:28 GMT (UK)  »
At long last and thanks to this Forum I have been sent infomation as to who sold my Great Grandfathers Victoria Cross to Lord Ashford for £80,000 in 1996.

An article in the Independent newspaper dated Wed. 12th June 1996 says the following......

''A Victoria Cross won at the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War was auctioned for pounds 80,000 yesterday and hopes were high that it will find its way to a regimental museum.
The medal, one of 11 awarded in the clash, was bought by an unidentified buyer at the sale at Westbury Hotel, Conduit Street, central London, for less than expected. It was awarded to Private Robert Jones, 21, of a regiment which later became the South Wales Borderers. He played a crucial part in the stand of 153 soldiers against 4,000 Zulu warriors in January 1879''.

Family members including grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great- great-grandchildren were at the auction. Michael Naxton, representing the buyer, refused to give any details other than that he or she was British but not Welsh. Asked if the medal could be loaned to the regimental museum in Brecon, Powys, Mr Naxton said: "It may be it will be loaned to the museum. It's not for me to say."

Jones's medal was one of seven won by the 24th Regiment of Foot. The other six are kept at the museum, which would have liked to have bid for it but did not have the funds.

Jones's great-granddaughter, Bronwen Bufton, of Presteigne, Powys, said the family was "very proud" to be able to see the medal, which had been bought by an unnamed investor for pounds 98 in 1950. "We would very much like to have it back ... at the museum in Brecon; that is the family's aim. We are hoping whoever has bought it is on our side. If he would be very kind and lend it to the museum that would be wonderful.

Thankyou to the person who sent this information to me and although I do not know which member of the Family sold my Great Grandfathers Victoria Cross to the unnamed invester in 1950 for £98 which was a lot of money then, about £3,000 to £5,000 now, but I do know that Lord Ashcroft was the buyer, and I can now put this behind me, as the member of my family who sold it is of no interest to me as it is too long ago. Suffice to say that they let the family down.
I would like the case of his alleged suicide to be reversed as soon as possible.
David Griffiths.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Friday 10 February 12 10:37 GMT (UK)  »
Rourkes Drift...
A single company of infantry garrisoned the mission station at Rorke’s Drift, B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot. Although the 24th was designated the South Warwickshire Regiment, this company was manned largely by Welshmen, in January 1879.
The British garrison set to fortifying the mission station. Tents were struck and stored and the buildings loopholed for defence. The store (church) and building (Witt’s house) were linked by walls of mealie bags.
A party of Durnford’s unit arrived and was posted forward to hold the Zulu advance as long as possible.
At 4.20pm firing was heard from the hill and the men of Durnford’s unit returned to the mission station and then left for Helpmakaar, the nearest Natal town. The company of Natal Native Infantry also left, leaving the regular British troops and some Natal irregulars.
The garrison hurriedly built a shorter perimeter line of biscuit boxes to accommodate the greatly reduced numbers of soldiers.
500 Zulus appeared around the hill to the South, running towards the mission station. They were met by a heavy fire from the garrison and at some 50 yards from the wall veered around the hospital to attack from the North West. They were driven back by the fire from the garrison and went to ground in the undergrowth, uncleared due the shortage of time.
The main body of Zulus came up and opened a heavy fire on the British from cover around the West and North West of the mission station.
The hospital at the western end of the fortifications became the focus for the fighting. Set on fire and stormed by the Zulus, it became untenable. As many men were extracted as possible, the remaining patients perishing in the flames. Privates John Williams, Henry Hook, Robert Jones, William Jones, Frederick Hitch and Corporal William Allen all received the Victoria Cross for their defence of the hospital building, fighting with bayonets once their ammunition was expended, as they contested every room with the attacking warriors.
The fighting now concentrated on the wall of biscuit barrels linking the mission house with the mealie wall. As night fell the British withdrew to the centre of the station where a final bastion had been hastily assembled. The light from the burning hospital assisted the British in their fire. The savage Zulu attacks were resisted until around midnight when unexpectedly the ferocity of the assault fell away. Firing continued until around 4am when the Zulus withdrew. By then the British held only the area around the storehouse.
At 7am a body of Zulus appeared on the hill, but no attack followed. It became apparent that the Zulus could see Chelmsford’s column approaching from the direction of Isandlwana. The Zulus turned and left.
Soon afterwards the column arrived at the drift and crossed the Tugela, marching up to the mission station. Chelmsford’s delight at finding the garrison alive and still resisting was heavily tempered by his despair at finding that no survivors from Isandlwana had escaped to Rorke’s Drift.
Casualties: Zulu casualties are thought to have been around 500 dead of the 4,000 Zulu's. The garrison of the mission station comprised 8 officers and 131 non-commissioned ranks. Of these 17 were killed and 10 wounded.
The defeat at Isandlwana brought Lord Chelmsford’s Centre Column back to the Tugela. Chelmsford had then to ensure that the Zulu Armies did not invade Natal. He called for substantial reinforcements and got them. In March 1879 Colonel Evelyn Wood’s Northern Column inflicted a heavy defeat on the Zulus at Khambula. In April 1879 Chelmsford relieved Colonel Pearson’s Southern Column, entrenched for some months at Eshowe, and later renewed the advance from the Tugela. On 4th July 1879 Cetshwayo’s Zulu Army was utterly defeated at the Battle of Ulundi. Fighting continued in a desultory form until Cetshwayo’s capture on 28th August 1879 and the end of the war.
Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead were each awarded the Victoria Cross for the defence of the Rorke’s Drift mission station and promoted major.
In addition to the soldiers of the 24th who distinguished themselves in the defence of the hospital,  Victoria Crosses were awarded to Surgeon Reynolds, Commissary Dalton and Corporal Schiess of the NNC. Colour Sergeant Bourne and Private William Roy of the 24th Foot, Gunner Cantwell of the Royal Artillery and Corporal Attwood of the Army Service Corps were awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
The medical consequences of the battle: It seems likely that a number of the defenders of Rorke’s Drift subsequently suffered from what is now classified as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Corporal Schiess fell “on hard times” and died in 1884 aged 28 years; Pte John Fielding’s hair is said to have turned white shortly after the battle; William Jones in old age suffered from nightmares that the Zulus were about to attack; Robert Jones allegedly shot himself in 1898, but this is hotly contested by the family and a report by ''Sapper'' Graham Mason...Anglo-Zulu War Researcher gives the following account of his death......
''The death of Robert in 1898 was a result of an accident I believe whilst Robert's mind was not on his job, whilst carrying a loaded shotgun along a rocky path, I believe he tripped , dropped the gun and one barrel took him under the chin whilst the other went off as the gun fell over.''
I received this opinion from ''Sapper'' last week.
David Griffiths.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Tuesday 17 January 12 11:49 GMT (UK)  »
JONES, Private Robert (24th Foot)
  Auction Date: 11 Jun 96
Lot Number: 468
Estimate: £80000-£120000
Hammer Price: £80000

The Zulu War Victoria Cross Pair Awarded to Private Robert Jones, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot, for his Gallantry in Saving the Lives of Six Patients from the Hospital during the Historic Defence of the Mission Station at Rorke’s Drift on 22nd and 23rd January 1879

Victoria Cross, the reverse of the suspension bar officially inscribed (Private Robert Jones, 2-24th Regt.), the reverse centre of the Cross officially dated ‘22. 23. Jany. 1879.’
South Africa 1877-79, clasp, 1877-8-9 (V.C. 716 Pte. R. Jones, 2-24th Foot)

Old repair to the ribbon slot on the upper part of the suspension bar of the Victoria Cross, contact marks and pitting to both medals, a fine and historic pair (2)
Victoria Cross (jointly with 804 Private William Jones) London Gazette 2 May, 1879: ‘Robert Jones, Private, 2nd Battn. 24th Regt. At the hospital, in a ward facing the hill, Private William Jones and Private Robert Jones defended the post to the last, until six out of the seven patients it contained had been removed. The seventh, Sergt. Maxfield, was delirious through fever. Although they had previously dressed him, they were unable to induce him to move. When Private Robert Jones returned to endeavour to carry him away, he found him being stabbed by Zulus as he lay in his bed.’

The news of the epic defence, in early 1879, of the remote outpost at Rorke’s Drift against some 4,000 Zulu warriors, flushed with victory following the annihilation of the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot at Isandhlwana, thrilled Victorian Britain and has been hallowed ever since as one of the most heroic stands in military history. The backbone of the Rorke’s Drift garrison consisted of ninety-five men belonging to ‘B’ Company of the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot. Acts of gallantry performed during the defence resulted in the awards of eleven Victoria Crosses - the highest number ever conferred for a single action - with seven of them going to members of ‘B’ Company. Of those seven, only Robert Jones’s Cross has failed down the years to find its way into the Regimental museum of the South Wales Borderers. The action has inspired numerous artists and, as a recipient of the Victoria Cross, Robert Jones’s heroism has been celebrated in every major work from Lady Elizabeth Butler’s painting The Defence of Rorke’s Drift, January 22nd 1879, to the 1964 cinema classic Zulu, in which Jones’s part was played by actor Denys Graham. It has been said that Robert Jones never really escaped from the traumatic events at Rorke’s Drift and continued to be haunted by visions of the lethal contest between thrusting bayonet and the vicious stab and slash of the assegai until he met his tragic end at the age of forty-one. However, at the time, the performance of Jones and his kind did much to restore public morale after the Isandhlwana disaster, and has been seen ever since as epitomising the stalwart and disciplined fighting qualities of the British infantryman.

Robert Jones, a farm worker’s son, was born into the agricultural community of Tynewydd, Clytha, near Raglan, Monmouthshire, on 19 August, 1857. Described as ‘a typical Welsh country boy’, he worked alongside his father on the land until he was eighteen when, against his family’s wishes, he went off to Monmouth to enlist into the 24th Regiment of Foot on 10 January, 1876. On the 28th of that month, 716 Jones, as he was now known among the proliferation of other Joneses in the regiment, was posted to the 2nd Battalion at Dover. Recorded on enlistment as being five feet seven and a half inches tall, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, he embarked for South Africa in February 1878 for service in the Cape Frontier War.

RIP Great Grandad. I wouldn't be here if you hadn't have made it.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Tuesday 10 January 12 17:05 GMT (UK)  »
Still live in Barnsley on the Wakefield/Barnsley border. These are the actual pictures of Great Grandfather Pte Robert Jones VC's medals, with VC and South Africa 1877-79 medal. Its just a pity that we only have pictures of them and that as family we dont know who sold them in 1996. It must have been legal and I understand that my greatgrandfathers widow Elizabeth remarried after his death and his VC may have gone down that road or was sold or pawned and left the family. But it really is a pity that they are in a private collection and were not even donated to his old regiment although I understand that his regimental museum made a bid for them but lost out to the private buyer Lord Ashcroft. The other thing is of course his supposed suicide in is well known that the gun he used for shooting crows and rabbits etc had a hair trigger that could go off at anytime if you were not very careful, but suicide was the verdict and they only buried my greatgrandfather in the churchyard with great reluctance. In fact it was only because that he had won the VC that permission was given, but he was buried the opposite way round to everyone else and his coffin had to come into the churchyard over the wall and not the main entrance. A total disgrace! My greatgrandfather had a young family at the time, five children under twelve years old including Grandma Lillian Rose who was born in 1890 and was only eight years old at the time. I dont think he would have commited suicide with a young family to bring up. Obviously the gun went off accidentally with fatal results.
Research into the accident was done by Graham Mason who is an Anglo-Zulu War Researcher entitled ''WHAT HAPPENED AFTER''......
''Research has proven that nearly all who took part in the campaign on Jan 22/23 1879 were affected in a mental capacity. To a man, any mention of those terrible 12 hours brings out anger or denial if mentioned in later years. Pte William COOPER who was over eighty gassed himself in the 1940's because, coupled with his physical condition and memories, his mind could take no more. Pte William JONES VC was seen towards the end of his life wandering the streets of Manchester with his granddaughter in his arms to protect her from the Zulu, quite obviously suffering from the pangs of that terrible day. Another VC winner (Pte Robert JONES VC) allegedly shot himself with a shotgun while the balance of his mind was disturbed. Quite how he managed to shoot himself twice is a fact I find difficult to accept. What is true is that the gun he was carrying was known to have a hair trigger, that the area where the accident took place was uneven and that Robert was not concentrating on his business at the time as it was proven that he was "disturbed" about events back in 1879 and this fatal combination resulted in him losing his life. To add insult to injury his coffin was taken over the cemetery wall and when buried, the headstone faced the other way round from the others as he was a 'supposed' suicide!!  I feel a campaign is in order to investigate the true causes of his death and to reverse the suicide verdict raised against him.''
Graham ''Sapper'' Mason.

Herefordshire / Re: robert jones vc
« on: Tuesday 10 January 12 17:04 GMT (UK)  »
Am sorry to hear that Chris. Uncle Dai was my favourite Uncle and used to join in with us as kids playing outside in the street at Carlton, games such as tig and hide and seek and sticks... then again he was only in his twenties and young himself. I had two uncles and three aunties from my mothers side. My mother was called Jennie Griffiths nee Brindley and she had two brothers and three sisters. (Amended)

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