Before we get into the next instalment I have a question. Can you spray varnish metal miniatures once they’ve been based (flocked)? Cheers. 👍🏼
This poor chap was the first VC recipient from Rorke’s Drift to pass away at the young age of 28, just five years after the battle.
This next pic was a little out of focus but note the bandaged foot.
Christian Ferdinand Schiess was born in Burgdorf, Switzerland on 7 April 1856, and spent time in an orphanage after his parents died. In 1870 he joined the French Army and fought in the Franco-Prussian War.
He went to South Africa in 1877 and volunteered for the last Xhosa War. When the Anglo-Zulu War began the 22-year-old veteran was made a Corporal in the Natal Native Contingent of the British army in South Africa.
Despite suffering with problems to his feet, and being in the hospital, he displayed great gallantry when the garrison had retired to the inner line when the Zulus were upon the mealie bags. He crept along the wall to dislodge them, killing three before returning to the inner defences. He was 22 at the time of the defence.
In 1880 he was awarded the Victoria Cross by General Sir Garnet Wolseley for his services at Rorke’s Drift. Schiess was the first man serving with a locally raised native unit to receive the Victoria Cross, the “British-only” rule being broken under political pressure, also being the first Swiss national to do so.
He died in poverty on board ‘Serapis’ on route to England and he was buried at sea. He had been unable to find employment in South Africa, even from the British Army.
Despite his poverty and reports of him living on the streets a lot of the time he died with the Victoria Cross medal in his possession. He could’ve sold it I guess but it says to me that he was very proud of his achievement.