Anthony Clarke Booth

80th Regiment

12th March 1879
Anthony Clarke Booth VC
Sergeant Anthony Booth 80th Regiment

(Zulu War 1879)

   AFTER the appalling disaster of Isandlwana seven weeks previously, it was inconceivable that any body of our men should have formed a laager at any place in Zululand without adequate precaution against surprise. Yet such actually happened on March 11 and 12, 1879, when about twenty wagons, carrying provisions for the garrison at Luneberg, were laagered up on the Intombi River, only a solitary sentry being placed on watch during the night, and in spite of the fact that Urnbelini, a notoriously evil-disposed Zulu chief, was close at hand in his kraal. Besides the convoy-guard, there was only a company of the Both Regiment under Captain David B. Moriarty, as a protection, this officer having taken the handful of men out of Luneberg to meet the wagons a day or so earlier. In the middle of the night the sentry was set upon, but contrived to fire a shot and warn the camp. Four thousand Zulus were, however, upon them, and a general massacre ensued. A few survivors on the opposite bank of the Intombi River opened fire, but 200 of the enemy got across. The lieutenant in command of this small party of survivors rode off to Luneberg for assistance, leaving them without any commanding officer, but Booth rallied his men, ten only in number, and showed so bold a front, that, though the enemy followed for three miles, he was able to bring his little party back to Luneberg and even secure the safety of a few more who escaped from the slaughter on the left bank. His resolute valour was the means of saving the lives of any who eventually reached Luneberg, for had he not acted with such presence of mind and conspicuous courage in the face of terrible odds, not one man would have lived to tell the tale.



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