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Paymaster Whlite.png

Paymaster and Major Francis Freeman White of the 1st Battalion/24th Foot 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 short biography of White that accompanied a similar photograph of him in The South African Campaign of 1879.


MAJOR FRANCIS FREEMAN WHITE, who was killed at Isandlwana on the 22nd of January, 1879, was the second son of Benjamin Finch White, Esquire, of Rath Cahill, King's County, Ireland. He was born on the 5th of February, 1829, and was educated by the Rev. H. Tyrrel, curate of Shinrone, King'sCounty. He obtained a direct commission by purchase in February 1850, being gazetted to an ensigncy in the 1st Battalion of the 24th Regiment, and proceeded to the depôt of the corps at Chatham in the following April; shortly afterward he embarked for India to join the headquarters of the regiment, then in Bengal. In May 1854, he became Lieutenant by purchase, and in July 1856, Paymaster. He served with the regiment through the Indian mutiny, performing many arduous and important duties, and subsequently obtained the medal. In 1859 he returned from India to England, where he remained until 1866 when he again proceeded abroad with the regiment; he was stationed with it for four years at Malta and Gibraltar, and embarked with it, at the latter end of 1874 for the Cape.

Major White served with his battalion in South Africa through the Gaika andGaleka campaign of 1877, from the commencement of the outbreak until its suppression. In November 1878, he proceeded with the 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'sstronghold in the Bashee Valley. He then accompanied the regiment to Isandhlwana, and in the disastrous encounter with the enemy at that position on the 22nd of January, shared the fate of the bulk of his gallant corps: he fell in harness doing his duty in the fighting line of skirmishers and much aiding in the defense by bringing ammunition to replenish the exhausted pouches.


In the death of Major White, the country lost a gallant and able servant. He was the oldest officer in his battalion, having served with it without intermission, from the 15th of February, 1850, till the day of his death, and he was justly beloved not only by his brother officers and the men of the regiment, but by all who knew him. Major White married, in 1874, Agnes, daughter of the late Captain Tracey, R.A.

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