Private William Roy DCM

Private Roy was a patient in the hospital and was in the 1st Battalion 24th. He was in a room with another patient described as an old soldier. When the Zulus got into this room he had to get out fast: " rifle got disabled so I fixed my bayonet and charged out of the house. While we were charging out the old soldier got wounded in the ear. There were about 30 Zulus chasing us but the men inside the fort shot them before they could harm us." He was awarded the Silver medal for Distinguished Conduct along with four others. Colour Sergeant Bourne was the only other soldier of the 24th to be awarded the DCM at Rorke's Drift.

William Roy was from Scotland, born in Nov 1853 , and he joined the army at the age of 17 in 1870. He was an undisciplined man who was often in trouble. He suffered several drink-related injuries and contracted syphilis. He also suffered bouts of malaria. The photo shows him in full dress as a corporal, the rank he achieved in Nov 1879. On 9th Dec 1879 he was presented with his DCM by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle and a year later he was discharged as being unfit. In 1883 he emigrated to Australia where his health deteriorated so that by 1887 he was described as almost blind and helpless. He died in Australia on 30th may 1890 at the age of 36.

Regimental details | Soldiers at Rorke's Drift


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by Stephen Luscombe