Wearing his recently presented 1877-79 South Africa Medal, this private or possibly corporal was a member of the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot. His collar badges
clearly bear this out.
The 58th arrived in South Africa directly from England as part of the reinforcements requested by Lord Chelmsford after the abortive first invasion of Zululand in early 1879.
A single battalion regiment, the 58th left two detached companies in Natal under Major General Clifford as part of the lines of communications guard. Aside from a few men who served with the mounted infantry the rest of the battalion was assigned to Lord Chelmsford's Ulundi Column which was to spearhead the second invasion. As the
column advanced into Zululand two additional companies were detailed as the garrison of the newly built Fort Evelyn. The remaining companies were present during Chelmsford's final victory at Ulundi on 4 July 1879.
The 58th remained in Natal after the end of the Anglo-Zulu War and took part in the Transvaal War against the Boers in 1880-81. It was during this campaign that the 58th became the 2nd battalion of the newly organized Northamptonshire Regiment. During the Transvaal War, the 58th gained the distinction of being the last British battalion to carry its colours into battle.
The photo was probably taken soon after this soldier's receipt of his medal to commemorate the event.
Although he is unidentified he may well have been Irish since this photograph was found in Ireland.
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Durban Photo Company - Photographer
West Street, West End, Durban, Natal Colony,