top of page
Godwin Austen.png

Lieutenant Frederick Godwin-Austen of the 1st Battalion, 24th Foot who was killed in action at Isandlwana on 22 January 1879.

Carte de Visite sized mounted Photograph
Unknown  Photographer/Copiest
Original Photograph c. 1877.  Copied c. 1880

Below is a biographical sketch of Godwin-Austen that appeared in The South African Campaign of 1879.

LIEUTENANT FREDERICK GODWIN-AUSTEN, who was killed at Isandhlwana on the 22nd of January, 1879, was the fourth surviving son of Robert Alfred Cloyne Godwin-Austen, Esq., D.L., J.P., F.R.S., of Shalford House, Surrey, and MariaElizabeth, his wife, only daughter of the late General Sir HenryThomas Godwin, K.C.B. (Peninsula, Waterloo), of the 9thand 41st Regiments, commanding-in -chief in both the first and second Burmese wars. He was born on the 3rd of August, 1853, at Chilworth Manor, Surrey, and was therefore in his twenty-sixth year at the time of his death. He entered the army in February 1875; and was first posted to the 2nd WestIndia Regiment, with which he served in the West Indies and on the Gold Coast. Exchanging into the2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot in 1877, he joined that corps at Chatham, proceeded with it to South Africa, and served through the Kaffir. war of 1878.

Lieutenant Godwin -Austen proceeded with the 24th Regiment to Natal, to join the force being prepared to act against the Zulus in the event of their refusing to comply with the terms of Sir Bartle Frere's ultimatum. He took part with the regiment in the subsequent advance of Colonel Glyn's column, in January 1879, into the enemy's country, and was present at the storming of Sirayo's stronghold in the Bashee Valley. An induna who was present at the massacre at Isandhlwana on the 22nd, subsequently gave a minute description of the deaths of two officers, since ascertained to have been Lieutenants Godwin -Austen and Pope, who fell on that fatal day. The Zulu stated that when surrounding the 24th Regiment at the Neck at Isandhlwana, two officers with pieces of glass in their eye came forward, shooting at him with their revolvers. One fell dead from a gunshot, and the other kept firing his revolver at the induna, grazing the right side of his neck with one bullet, the left side with another and wounding him in the leg with a third. The induna then flung an assegai, which entered the officer's breast. The officer, with a supreme effort, almost succeeded in pulling out the weapon (at this point in his statement the Zulu writhed his body in a pantomime of the movements of the officer); but the induna fell on him, and finished his work with another assegai.

Lieutenant F. Godwin-Austen was the third of his name who has served in the 24th Regiment, his two elder brothers being Lieutenant-Colonel H. H. Godwin-Austen, who served in it from 1852 to 1861, and Captain A. G. Godwin-Austen, at present serving, who was with it through the last Kaffir war, in which he was wounded.

bottom of page