Points of View
Odd? Defiantly a novelty, this photograph shows Acting Corporal Bugler W. E. Govier of the 4th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, standing next to his commanding officer Lt. Col. the Honorable M. Curzon. Govier stood four feet, nine inches tall while Curzon stood six-foot, four inches. The photograph was cut from an album.
Walter Edward Govier was quite an interesting character. His apparent lack of physical height does not seem to have been much of a hindrance to him during his military career or afterward. The 1901 book The Rifle Brigade Chronicle by Lieut.-Colonel Willoughby Verner mentions Govier several times. He seemed to have had a certain theatrical bent to his nature as he is mentioned as regularly taking part in regimental stage productions one of which included his role as Sergeant Pipo-de-Clayo. He is listed along with his brother as "Sons of the Regiment", their father Edward Govier having served as a Rifleman in the 3rd Battalion.
Govier is pictured above as an acting corporal but when The Rifle Brigade Chronicle was published in 1907 he is listed as having been promoted to band-sergeant and well as being granted the Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in 1897.
Like Samurai They Fought
This lithographed postcard must be the most unusual depiction of the Battle of Isandlwana that I have come across. While neither the battle or the 24th Regiment of Foot are mentioned by name in the Japanese text, there can be little doubt as to the action that is being depicted. The green facings on the British uniforms, the fallen African warrior, the Zulu-style shield next to him and the Martini-Henry rifle all point to the greatest defeat suffered by the British during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
The text is in an old style Japanese that is hard to translate. Basically the story mentions the British troops marching bravely into hostile territory and being attacked by the native warriors. The British soldiers are then overwhelmed by showers of spears while the steadfast drummer boy stays at his post until the very end.
The original source of the painting used on this post card was something of a mystery until I was contacted by Mr. Dave Shorter of Western Australia. Mr. Shorter who is a veteran of both the British and Australian armies came across a copy of the book that the image originated in.