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Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Redvers Henry Buller CB



Born:
7 December 1839 - Downes House, Crediton Devon.

Died:
2 June 1908 at Downes House.

Buried:
5 June 1908 at Holy Cross Churchyard, Crediton, Family Plot. Headstone.

Commissioned:
23 May 1858.

CITATION

For his gallant conduct at the retreat at Inhlobana, Zululand, on the 28th March 1879, in having assisted, whilst hotly pursued by Zulus in rescuing Captain C D'Arcy, of the Frontier Light Horse, who was retiring on foot, and carrying him on his horse until he overtook the rearguard. Also for having on the same date and under the same circumstances conveyed Lieutenant C Everitt, of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse had been killed under him, to a place of safety. Later on Colonel Buller, in the same manner, saved a trooper of the Frontier Light Horse, whose horse was completely exhausted, and who otherwise would have been killed by the Zulus, who were within 80 yards of him.

Gazetted: 11 June 1879.

Investiture: 11 June 1879, Balmoral.

Other Decorations GCB, CB, KCB, GCMG, CMG, KCMG.

Other Medals: Jubilee 1887 (silver), China with clasps Pekin 1860
and Taku Forts, Canada with clasps Fenian Raid
1866, Fenian Raid 1870 and Red River 1870, Africa
with clasp Coomassie, Africa 1878-79, Egypt with
clasps Tel El Kebir, Suakin 1884, El Tab Tamar, The
Nile 1884-85. QSA with clasps Cape Colony, Tugela
Heights, Orange Free State, Relief of Ladysmith,
Laings Nek and Belfast. Order of Osmanieh 3rd
Class, Khedives Bronze Starr.

Location of Medals: RGJ Museum.

Personal:
Was born at Downes, Devon, 1839; the son of John Wentworth Buller and Charlotte, daughter of Lord Henry Howard. He was educated at Eton. On 23 May 1858, Redvers Buller was gazetted Ensign in the 60th Rifles (2nd Battn), and thus began an exceptionally brilliant military career. In 1860 he served in the China Campaign and was present at the taking of the Taku Forts and at the advance upon Pekin. He received the Chinese Medal with two clasps. In 1870 he took part in the Red River Expedition, being gazetted Captain, and recommended for promotion to Brevet Major by Lord Wolseley, who once declared him to be the bravest man he had ever known. In 1873, he sailed with the Expeditionary Force to Ashanti as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General. He was frequently mentioned in Lord Wolseley's Despatches. On his return he was appointed Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General at Headquarters. In 1878 Major Buller served through the Kaffir War. Commanded Frontier Light Horse. After Tabaka-Udoda recommended for repeated acts of gallantry by Lord Chelmsford. Received the Brevet of Lieut-Colonel. In 1879 he served in the Zulu War, and won the Victoria Cross at Inhlobana. Sir Evelyn Wood said he had "recommended him for the VC for having saved three lives, but he really won it a dozen times." Sir Evelyn Wood gives the following account of how Colonel Buller won his VC. "When the last of his troops had left the plateau, Buller was heard to say to Commandant Piet Uys, who was in command of thirty Dutchmen, "You go down, Piet; I'll stop here. And when you get to the bottom, halt some men to cover us as we come down." Turning then to Lieut. Everitt, of the Frontier Light Horse, he ordered him to halt ten men, who, as a covering party, were to descent last of all. Mr Everitt could only collect seven men, but these kept the Zulus back for some time, descending later with the enemy close upon them. Four of the little party were almost immediately killed, and Lieut. Everitt's horse was assegaied. Buller, now seizing Mr Everitt, who was exhausted, by the collar of the coat pulled him out of the way of the pursuing Zulus, who were themselves greatly impeded by the rugged nature of the cliffs, and standing over his breathless lieutenant, received from him a carbine and ammunition. Then, with the three men remaining alive out of the rear-guard seven, Buller covered the retreat of the last of those descending the cliff. Buller was ubiquitous, and to my knowledge rescued four men that day, three of whom lived for years afterwards; the fourth man whom he pulled out of the middle of a struggling crowd of Zulus, and carried, holding on to his stirrup, down the hill, was eventually wounded much lower down, and lost his life. Trooper Randal, Frontier Light Horse, told me, five days later, that in the retreat his horse was completely exhausted, when he was overtaken by Colonel Buller, who was falling back with the rearmost men, and that the colonel put him upon his own horse and carried him for some distance; then dropping him, returned again to the fight, this time picking up Capt D'Arcy, also of the Frontier Light Horse. This officer had lost both his horses, and when panting along on foot, with the Zulus less than a hundred yards behind him, was rescued by Colonel Buller, who took him up on his horse." In 1885 he was in command of the Desert Column. He was created a KCMG (Medal and clasp). In 1886 Major-General Sir R. Buller was sent to Ireland to reorganize the Constabulary. From 1887 to 1890 he was Quartermaster General of the Forces. In 1890 he was appointed Adjutant General in succession to Lord Wolseley. In 1891 he became Lieut-General and was created GCB. In 1898 he was in command at Aldershot and on the outbreak of the Boer War was appointed Commander-in-Chief in South Africa. In 1890 he won the Battle of Colenso and occupied Spion Kop.

In 1901 Sir Redvers Buller resumed the command at Aldershot. He died at his home, Downes near Crediton, on the 2 June 1908. At Exeter a beautiful equestrian statue of him was erected by his admirers at home and abroad, and there is a magnificent recumbent effigy of Sir Redvers Buller in Winchester Cathedral, also a very fine Memorial in Crediton Church. At Winchester the words of the memorial are: "A great leader - Beloved of his men".

Commemoration:
1.  Headstone.
2.  Tomb-type Memorial in North Transept, Winchester Cathedral.
3.  Equestrian statue in Queen Street, Exeter, Devon.
4.  Plaque in Exeter Cathedral.
5.  Arch-type Memorial at Holy Cross Church, Crediton.

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