“A Zulu Dawn-13 Days in January 1879”
A talk and presentation by Mr Dave Sutcliffe
Thursday 26th November 2015 6-9pm
The Senate Rooms, Trent Building, University of Nottingham Campus NG7 2RD

The Museum of the Mercian Regiment (WFR) collection is to host a talk and presentation by Mr Dave Sutcliffe a registered tour guide for the battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal and a founder member of the Provincial Tourist Guides Association of KwaZulu-Natal, Battlefields Region. Dave has recently returned from South Africa to live in the UK.  He has spent the last 15 years conducting tours of some of the many battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal  giving talks and presentations on them.

Dave’s talk will cover the fate of Number 3 Central Column of the Natal Field force from its arrival on the 11th of January 1879 to its doomed action at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22 January 1879 where a third of its numbers were wiped out by a Zulu Army under the command of Chief Ntshingwayo kaMahole.

 As part of the talk the Museum will be exhibiting some of the original watercolours painted during the Zulu War by Major John Crealock. These watercolours are rarely on public display.  John Crealock was a 95th Derbyshire Regiment officer who was serving as the Military Secretary on the Cape during the war. Also on display will be Zulu weapons brought home by another famous 95th Derbyshire Regiment officer, Lieutenant (later Major General )  Horace Smith –Dorrien, who was present at Isandlwana and recommended for the Victoria Cross for his actions in trying to save  soldiers’ lives on the 22 January 1879.

The talk will be held on Thursday 26th November from 1800- 2100 hours in the Senate Rooms in the Trent Building of the University of Nottingham. Tickets cost £10 each with the money raised going towards  the future preservation of  Museum  which is a registered charity. Parking on the University campus is free after 1645 hours. Tea and Coffee will be available from 1800 hours.

If you wish to attend this fascinating talk by a practicing guide please email your request to attend to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  You will be sent an email confirmation of a place with payment details and a map of the University Campus.     

Every year the annual Crich Pilgrimage is held on the first weekend in July, this year it took place on Sunday 5th July. Both old and new members of the Regiment attended with their Families for what was a good day, even if the end was a bit soggy. The event  was attended by local dignitires, cadets and the Regimental Family.

A service is held to remember those who have been killed in action since the First World War. This includes those killed fighting in the Sherwood Foresters, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters and the Mercian Regiment. 

1914 FIRST BLOOD by John Hughes-Wilson

The book is titled “1914 First Blood” and the author is Colonel (Retd) John Hughes-Wilson who served for many years as a Sherwood Forester, prior to moving to the Intelligence Corps. The book which is the first of a series all about a young infantry lieutenant T. O. M. Gunn, a Sherwood Forester in the Great War, and the series over the next four years, will follow his exploits through the war year by year. The setting for the book fits extremely well with the movements of the Foresters and although the book is fiction it has a definite ring of truth as to places, movements, actions etc. It is excellent and well worth reading.  The book can be obtained from Museum of The Mercian Regiment (WFR Collection) at £9.95.  Contact the Curator on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to obtain your copy.

Tom Gunn

The Museum recived a new donation this week, the medals of Brigadier Charles Morris C.B.E were presented to the Museum by his two children. 

Brigadier Morris began is career in the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry back in 1938 and went on to join the Sherwood Foresters in August 1940 shortly after his commission. Brigadier Morris went on to serve iin Africa and Italy during the Second World War, it was during the war that he rose to temporary Captain in 1943. Once the War had eneded in 1945, Brigadier Morris was stationed in the Far East in Singapore from July 1945 and then Malaya August 1946.After serving in Britain, Austria and the Brigadier served in Germany with the 1st Battalion from 1955-1958. In 1958 he was appointed Brigadier and Commanding Officer of the 1st Malay Regiment. The Brigadier returned to North Africa and in 1966 Birgadier Morris was awarded a C.B.E for his military service. For a time the Brigadier worked with the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller in Twickenham.

50 years ago in 1965 the state funeral for Sir Winston Churchill took place and the following item recently came to light:

POPHAM   Robert Home Stewart  (P/41241):

2nd Lieutenant The Sherwood Foresters, 31/01/1929: Lieutenant 31/01/1932: Seconded for Service with the Sudan Defence Force, 15/01/1937: Captain 01/08/1938: Acting Major, 01/09/1940: Temporary Major 01/12/1940: War Service Major 10/09/1942: Temporary Lieutenant Colonel 03/05/1943: Major 31/01/1946: Lieutenant Colonel 09/09/1951: Commanded 1st Battalion September 1951 to June 1954: Temporary Brigadier 27/02/1956: ADC to District Commander, India 08/11/1933 to 14/01/1937: Special Employed 15/01/1937 to 22/05/1942: Commander Sub Area Middle East 01/03/1943 to 17/04/1943: Deputy Assistant Adjutant General HQ Burma 09/01/1947 to 25/11/1947: Deputy Assistant Adjutant General HQ 2nd Echelon FARELF 30/12/1947 to 09/05/1948: Croup Commander 11/05/1948 to 23/06/1949: General Staff Officer 1 War Office, 26/08/1954: OBE, CBE other Medals not known: Died, 01/08/1993.

The following is from his son M Popham

“One evening early in 1998, I received an excited call from my sister who said: " Mike, turn on the television, there is a picture of father on BBC 1". I did, and sure enough a photograph came up on the screen of my father, a photo I had never seen before .It turned out that Omnibus, the main BBC arts programme of the day, was devoted that week to the work of the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, the subject of four major exhibitions in London in 1998, the year he celebrated his 90th birthday.



It turned out that my father was one of the subjects in a Cartier Bresson exhibition called "Europeans" at the Hayward Gallery on the South Bank. Then working for the BBC World Service, I was going abroad the next day to make some programmes but, realising I would miss the exhibition if I didn't go at once, I arrived at the Hayward early the next morning, paid my admission fee, dashed up the stairs, found a large photograph of my father on a wall and gazed in admiration, along with some other patrons, at Cartier-Bresson's skill in capturing a lasting image in a split second.

A short while later, I dashed back down the stairs, pausing only to buy the hefty book of photographs in the exhibition and made my way home to pick up my luggage and leave for the airport.
On the train back I studied the photograph. It was a close-up taken of my father on the steps of St Paul's at the final rehearsal on the morning of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on January 30th 1965 . A retired Brigadier, he was then Swordbearer to the Lord Mayor of London. You can see why Cartier-Bresson is a genius when you look at the photo.

My brother-in-law has more initiative than me. Some years later he wrote to Magnum in Paris explaining that his wife was the daughter of the subject of the photograph, captioned 'Winston Churchill's funeral London England 1965',  who had died in 1993, never having known he had been photographed. Cartier-Bresson famously did not sign photographs. One day, however, my sister and brother-in-law returned home find a brown paper packet lying outside their front door. Postmarked Paris, inside was a print of the photo of my father inscribed "For Miss Popham      Henri Cartier-Bresson " .      A few weeks later, the great man died, just short of his 96th birthday.