House Colour: Navy / dark blue
Named after the Founders of the School
House Colour: Green
Named after Sir Robert Clarkson Tredgold CMG; born 2nd June 1899 | died 8 April 1977
Sir Robert was a barrister and judge who held a number of political posts in Rhodesia.
He was born in Bulawayo to Clarkson Henry Tredgold, the Attorney-General of Rhodesia, and Emily Ruth (née Moffat), and was the grandson of the missionary John Moffat. He attended Rondebosch Boys’ School in Cape Town, South Africa.
He held the posts of Minister of Defence in Rhodesia during World War II, Federal Chief Justice, acting Governor-General of Rhodesia from 21 November 1953 to 26 November 1954, and acting Governor-General of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 24 January 1957 to February 1957. He later resigned in protest from his Central African Federation (CAF) position, criticizing the repressive actions authorized by Sir Edgar Whitehead against black nationalist opposition to minority white rule in Nyasaland, Lusaka and Northern Rhodesia.
He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1943 New Year Honours, Knight Bachelor in the 1951 New Year’s Honours and Privy Counsellor in 1957. He retired to Marandellas with his second wife, Lady Margaret Tredgold. He published the book, “The Rhodesia That Was My Life” in 1968.
A widower in 1974, Tredgold married his second wife, Mrs Margaret Helen Phear (née Baines; 1910-2012), a widow and mother of three children, originally from Aliwal North, South Africa. Together, Robert and Margaret researched the folklore of Southern Rhodesia and published children’s books based on them. They also researched edible plants, culminating in Food Plants of Zimbabwe, which she completed after his death and published in 1986.
Robert Clarkson Tredgold was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1943 New Year Honours. He was appointed Knight Bachelor in the 1951 New Year’s Honours.
House Colour: Maroon
Born on 6th April, 1840, near Leeds, Yorkshire, Francis Oates was the middle of the three sons of Edward and Susan Oates. He studied Natural Sciences at Christ Church, Oxford. Unfortunately, his studies were disrupted by a serious chest infection in his first year there, which meant that he had to take a break from university until the middle of 1862 and when he left in 1864, it was without a degree.
After leaving Oxford, Frank suffered from reduced lung capacity – a result of the chest infection – and was not able to lead an active life. Instead, he continued to study natural sciences, enhancing his learning with a series of rambles around Ireland, Wales and the Lake District, documenting his observations on each occasion.
After some years, Frank’s health improved and in 1871 he was able to travel on a year’s expedition to Central and North America, documenting and collecting many birds and insects, including some that are now extinct. He followed this up with an expedition to Africa in 1873, travelling through the Transvaal and through to Matabeleland. He was the first European to see Victoria Falls in full flood since David Livingstone had done so in 1855.
His plan for Africa was to trek as far as the Zambesi River and then explore beyond this point, collecting as many plant and animal specimens as possible to take back to England. Sadly, many of his specimens were lost, but Frank was instrumental in discovering hitherto unknown species of fauna and flora, and documented precise locations where they could be found. His discoveries were significant enough that many of his specimens were given the ‘Oatesii’ classification, including the heather “Erica Oatesii” and the snake, “Dryiophis Oatesii”.
His recollections of the expedition are recorded in his book, “Matabele Land and The Victoria Falls: A Naturalist’s Wanderings in the Interior of Africa (1881)”, which was published by his brother Charles. On 25th September, 1873, having just visited Bulawayo, he wrote of having met Lobengula:
“The day I first saw him he was nearly naked, and lying on a skin inside his hut, to enter which you have to crawl in on your hands and knees through a little aperture in the front; in fact it is like a beehive entrance. He took me by the hand, and placed meat before me, and asked a few questions about my journey. I told him I should come again next day. Of course I had to make him a present, and I knew he would expect it next day, after which I should ask his leave and assistance to go through his country to the Victoria Falls if possible. I gave him a gun and ammunition, which pleased him very much, and he has done everything he could for me.
It appeared that I was still in time to reach the Falls by going on foot, after leaving my waggon at the place marked on the map as Inyati. The King said it was possible to get to the Falls in ten days, and I suppose at my rate of travelling it ought to be done in a fortnight or three weeks at most, and the King says I have still two months of favourable weather, but so anxious is he that no white man should come to grief in his country, that he has been urging on me all possible haste from the moment the subject was first mentioned. He has given me two excellent men as guides; these two, having the King’s authority, will carry all before them.
I left GuBulawayo last Night, and came on as far as here, the house of Mr Thomson the missionary, for my first trek. Mr Thomson has kindly interested himself in me, and done all he could to assist me. He has a nice wife and children, and this morning I have had the luxury of a civilized breakfast, including tablecloth, bread and butter and eggs, and milk to one’s coffee – things that I don’t often see now.”
Five months later, on 24th February, 1874, he wrote this to his brother, William, from Tati:
“I took my waggon fifty miles on the way, as far as Inyati, and then put all out for fifteen carriers to take. It was a fortnight’s walk through ‘the fly’ to the Falls. After waiting nearly a week, it transpired that no boys were forthcoming as promised. Partly, I think, they were afraid of fever, and partly of the natives, with whom they are at war; partly also they wanted to get in time to cultivate their gardens. However, I believe I could have got them myself easily, had I not trusted to the man given me by the King.”
Frank finally reached Victoria Falls on 31st December, 1874, having aborted three previous attempts due to bad weather and opposition from native people along the route. On his way back from Victoria Falls he fell ill with a fever, possibly malaria, and, after 12 days, died on 5th February, 1875 some 80 miles north the Tati River near Makalaka Kraal. He was buried the next morning.
Frank Oates’ nephew was the Antarctic explorer, Captain Lawrence Oates (1880-1912). Gilbert White’s House and Garden Museum in Selborne, Hampshire, contains a unique range of exhibits known as The Oates Collection. The Collection reflects both Lawrence and Frank’s interest in the natural world as well as background information on their respective overseas expeditions.
House Colour: Light Blue
Hubert Hervey, the youngest son of Lord and Lady Alfred Hervey arrived in Rhodesia well-educated, but was described as having a delicate physique. Time spent in the saddle as a trooper in the 1893 Matabele War and on various missions for Jameson in Gazaland and Mocambique soon led to his transformation into muscular health.
His death at the battle of Tshingengoma at the young age of 37 cut short a life of promise and potential. He had just been appointed by the British South Africa Company as Deputy Administrator in Barotseland; a position he never lived to fill.
He is buried at Umlugulu Cemetery along with other soldiers and volunteers on the edge of the Matobo Hills, a few kilometres from the battlefield.
As well as providing the inspiration for one of the houses at Falcon, there are memorial plaques to him at Eton, Sandringham Church and the Memorial Hospital, Bulawayo.
Eton and Cambridge (1859 – 1881)
Hubert Hervey was born on 19 May 1859 at Eaton Place, London, the youngest son of Lord and Lady Alfred Hervey. His father represented Brighton in Parliament from 1841 to 1857 and represented Bury St Edmunds from 1859 to 1865. He was appointed Lord of the Bedchamber in the Prince of Wales’ household and then Receiver-General of Inland Revenue under Gladstone. He died in April 1875.
After attending Mr Darch’s Preparatory School in Brighton, Hubert entered Eton in September 1871 at twelve years old. He was remembered affectionately by his masters, one of whom, his housemaster Mr Luxmoore, recalled him clearly 25 years later, as related in Earl Grey’s memoir:
“Hubert Hervey came to me in September, 1871. He was small and delicate-looking when he came, and very attractive, partly for that reason. You would know at once that he had ability and a refined nature. He was fair and light in colour, with rather bright hair; he spoke with a soft voice in rather a finished manner. He had humour and something I might call ‘style’ or distinction. He had intelligent interests too, and read more than other boys, not spending perhaps more time on books, but reading better literature than they. He was certainly a boy of promise, and I can recollect building many hopes on him and wishing to do my very best for him. . . . Whatever drawbacks there were, they never to my knowledge harmed Hubert. He was a good and high-minded boy, who seemed, I think, to carry his own atmosphere with him. He worked well, and he played with interest if not with distinction, and he always had the character of a good and able boy, with remarkable critical faculty, while not without facility in original production. This critical faculty was combined with humour, and his rather finished grace of style made his talk ready and his answers pointed. He was tenacious of his opinions, and I can recollect once or twice being a little disappointed at not finding him more willing to adopt my view. The disappointment was not from his fault but from my strong wish to be friends with, and to make the most of, the few really promising boys that I then had. He was specially good at French. In 1872 he got the Junior Prince Consort’s Prize, being in the same half ‘sent up’ by so good a judge as Mr. Thackeray ; while in 1874 he was, when little over fifteen years of age, in the Senior Prince Consort’s Prize List, bracketed second with Lord Curzon, the present Viceroy of India.”
He left Eton, to Mr Luxmoore’s great regret, at the end of 1874, and went to Dresden. After six months’ study with a tutor he had mastered German so thoroughly as to enable him to enter the Neustadt Gymnasium. This was in preparation for an army career. However when his father died in 1875, his mother decided he should go to university rather than the army.
He thus entered Trinity College, Cambridge in October 1877. Earl Grey’s memoir continues:
“The boy who at Eton had impressed even his elders with the distinction of his personality, carrying as it seemed his ‘own atmosphere’ with him, was not less remarkable at Cambridge for that originality of mind and character which belongs to his race, and gave rise to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s famous division of the human species into men, women and Herveys.
One illustration is sufficient to show his almost Quixotic sense of honour.
Just before the examination was held for a Trinity Scholarship, young Hervey, whose success was anticipated as certain, suddenly left Cambridge, and only returned when the examination was concluded. His disappearance on the eve of the examination caused the greatest astonishment in high quarters. Mr Munro, the well-known editor of Lucretius, on meeting Hubert’s eldest brother, the Rev. F. A. J. Hervey , who happened to be in Cambridge, rushed excitedly across the street, exclaiming,
‘What in the world can have induced your brother to leave Cambridge just as that examination was coming on? It was a dead certainty for him. There was not another man in, who could approach him.’
On being pressed for an explanation of his conduct, Hubert admitted that some friend had given him some trifling information, intending it to be of use to him in the examination. Imagining this might give him an unfair advantage over his rivals, his chivalrous sense of honour forbade him to compete, and he quietly went away. No wonder that Mr Oscar Browning, who was a lecturer at King’s during Hervey’s residence at Cambridge, writes of him that his chief characteristics were directness, straightforwardness, and uprightness of character, coupled with a moral courage which never flinched, and that his personality was one which was not easily forgotten by those who knew him. In the opinion of Mr Oscar Browning, Hervey’s knowledge of modern languages, his clear business habits, and his unfailing courtesy qualified him in an exceptional degree for posts of high responsibility and importance.
At one time Hervey hesitated whether to read for the History Tripos or the Classical. He had always taken a deep interest in history; but he chose the weightier task and determined to seek Honours in Classics. The eye-trouble, however, which had originated in the close work of the Dresden Gymnasium, now seriously interfered with his studies and during the greater part of his residence at Cambridge, he could only work by being read aloud to. The strain told seriously on his health and, for a time, his eyes were so troublesome that he had to abandon all study and go abroad with his mother and sister. But, with characteristic courage, he determined to persist to the end, and obtained a Second Class in the Classical Tripos of 1881. That he should have been able, working under these serious disadvantages, to obtain so good a degree, illustrates alike his ability and his perseverance.”
London (1882 – 1890)
He worked in London on a number of exhibitions; the International Health Exhibition of 1884, the Inventions Exhibition of 1885 and finally the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 which awakened his interest in political and imperial subjects.
On 8 Feb 1885 Hubert wrote in a letter:
“There is something inspiriting in being one of a great nation…do you ever feel a desire for adventure? I feel an attraction to an adventurous career like Gordon’s [General Charles George; soldier and administrator, killed at Khartoum] and I should delight in explorations like Livingstone’s into mid-Africa.”
Here he developed his central philosophy that a man can have no greater privilege than to devote his energies, his health and his life to the extension of the British Empire.
British South Africa Company (1891 – 1896)
In January 1891 he joined the British South Africa Company (BSAC) probably because he identified with the wide-reaching and imperial goals that the Charter Company had set for itself. For nearly two years he worked in the share transfer department of the BSAC. One of his companions said of this time:
“the expansion of the Empire was the idea for which he lived and for which he gave his life.”
He would probably have traveled to Africa long before he did, but for his Mother’s failing health which kept him in London, but with her death in September 1892 he made plans to leave for South Africa.
His great friend, later Sir Eyre Crewe KCMG, wrote that Hervey
“believed in the boundless capacities of the English race. With her ever-growing healthy population, her superfluity of energetic young men, full of resource and the spirit of enterprise, gifted with the power to rule honestly and justly, ready to go anywhere, and yet dearly attached to their national ideas; he could see no reason why England should not provide governors and administrators for the whole as yet uncivilized world, just as she was doing for India, Egypt and the various African territories.”
En route to Rhodesia 1892
Hervey volunteered to work unpaid in Mashonaland if a post could be found for him. Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a fellow passenger on the Union Line’s SS Scot wrote:
“there was something peculiarly noble and high-minded about him, besides his great gentleness and sympathy, he was the most delightful companion and the truest of friends.”
He sailed to Durban and then by coach to Johannesburg, Pretoria to Pietersburg and then by Cape cart and mules to the Limpopo River and on to Fort Tuli and BSAC territory. He left from Tuli to Fort Victoria in a Scotch cart drawn by oxen with a Dutch driver and African voorloper. He wrote:
“There are some stores along the road, but one generally sleeps on the veld, with a mackintosh sheet underneath and blankets are discretionary. There is a great deal of fever in the wet season between Tuli and Victoria, as it lies low. Little game is seen on the roads and the journey is tedious and monotonous… Victoria is a small township, a few brick buildings, mud huts and some gold mines in the neighbourhood. Thence onto Salisbury in six days still by ox cart.”
Hervey arrived in Salisbury on 26 March 1893 and was appointed Secretary to the Law department under the Public Prosecutor. Salisbury he described as:
“the best and pleasantest place in Mashonaland to live in; we have brick Government buildings; a brick club, and altogether there are many brick buildings, which are rapidly supplanting mud huts. There are chapels and churches of various denominations, stores, golf, a tennis court, a hospital and a very pleasant set of people, though naturally a rowdy and disreputable element as well, but this is the case in all new countries. The town is practically divided into two geographical sections, the ‘Koppi’ where most of the business buildings at present are, and the ‘Causeway’ or Government side, which is a much pleasanter and quiet place to live in, and has the government buildings, club, post and telegraph office, bank and hospital.”
The Matabele War 1893 – 1894
As the inevitably of a fight with the amaNdebele became obvious, Hervey volunteered as a Trooper under Captain Heany and served in the same four man mess and became firm fiends with George Grey; a fellow trooper, who wrote:
“physically he was not well suited for the severe ‘roughing it’ and long monotonous duties which he had to go through; he was quite inexperienced in the management of horses and arms, and had practically never before camped out in the veldt. He set himself however to learn everything that was required of him, and soon knew his drill, and was as well up in all the duties of a Trooper as any other of the recruits, and such was his spirit and determination that he never allowed lack of strength and physical weariness to hinder him from doing his full share of the work of the troop.”
He fought with his troop at the battles of Shangani and Bembesi, called Bonko and Egodade by the amaNdebele. George Grey continues:
“The hardest time we had on this campaign came after the occupation of Bulawayo. Food was short and we had to live partly on what could be obtained from the natives, such as corn and mealies. During the latter part of November and December we had to patrol in almost constant rain, and endured no little hardship in consequence. Perhaps the hardest physical test that Hervey went through was on the relief expedition sent to bring in Forbes’ Shangani patrol.
With others he rode out some twenty-five miles from Inyati to the relief of Forbes and his men, and giving up his horse to one of the patrol, himself walked back the twenty-five miles in the rain and mud.”
Major Robert Coryndon, later Sir RT Coryndon KCMG Resident Commissioner in Swaziland and then Basutoland, Governor of Uganda and then Kenya, was a Sergeant in Captain Heany’s troop and knew Hubert Hervey well and wrote:
“This troop was made up of ordinary police and volunteer forces in Rhodesia, and I presume in other new countries, of all sorts and conditions of men, and of the forty-five men know, no one would strike an observer as less qualified by nature and training to make a success of the rough work, and of what must have often been, to his exceedingly refined nature, very uncongenial society.
Yet the very first man to offer for a ‘fatigue,’ or to volunteer for a guard, the very last to come with complaints to the non-coms, the nicest mannered, and the most pleasant to work with, was the essentially gentlemanly, Hubert Hervey. Never a word of grumbling during the longest and most exhausting night-rides, never sulky or bad-tempered, always willing to make some dry, witty remark, and always ready to do another man’s turn; he got to be known before the troops were disbanded as one of the best, as he was the most conscientious of the troop.”
Working under Jameson (1894 – 1895)
In Bulawayo, Hervey was personally congratulated by Rhodes for his efforts and given overall charge of a new BSAC Department in Salisbury, that of Records and Statistics, which he led until the outbreak of the Matabele Rebellion or First Umvukela. He undertook a number of missions for Jameson. One was to Gazaland and included Umtali and Melsetter.
In June 1894 Jameson sent him down to Chimoio in Manica Province of Mozambique to bring up materials for the Africa Trans-Continental telegraph line from the railhead of the Beira-Mashonaland railway.
On 16 June Hervey wrote:
“I am off to Beira, and all that country, for about three months…on Company’s business, connected with railway matters. I travel as follows: Here to Umtali, post-cart, three days; Umtali to Chimoio, donkeys and ‘boys’ (native carriers) seventy-five miles; Chimoio to seventy-five mile peg (on railway); thirty-five mile walk (‘fly’ country); seventy-five mile peg to Fontesvilla (on railway) Fontesvilla to Beira, forty miles, by river steamer.”
He was back in Salisbury by mid-September and I October 1894 took over the duties of Civil Commissioner in Salisbury when Marshall Hole, one of his closest friends, went on leave and took on his duties until Marshall Hole returned in July 1895. In addition to being Acting Civil Commissioner, Hervey was still in charge of Records and Statistics, as well as acting Registrar of Deeds and later to be Acting Magistrate of Salisbury.
He made a second visit to Gazaland and wrote from Melsetter on 4 December 1894:
“the evening is the pleasantest time travelling, it is cool, the fire is cheerful, and one has not got to be thinking of going on again, so one quietly eats one’s supper (much the same as breakfast…bread, tea or coffee, tinned meats and jam) and smokes one’s cigarette or cigar afterwards, reclining on blankets (with a waterproof sheet underneath one) and looking up at the wonderful stars. Then to sleep about nine. You will see it is a thoroughly healthy, frugal, and altogether pastoral, or Arcadian, or what-so-ever-the right word is life!”
He first met Jesser Coope; one of his greatest friends, in early 1894 when Coope was laid up in Salisbury hospital with a severe bout of malaria. He came every day to talk, and when Coope was too ill to talk, Hervey would read aloud for hours, mainly Shelley. Coope wrote:
“He always had a great longing to explore the country, and absolutely loved the free gipsy-like life we led on the veldt; and was never so happy as when, after a hard day’s work, we lay beside our campfire, our horses and native attendants forming a picturesque background.”
Hugh Marshall Hole, who wrote the Mashonaland Rebellion section of the British South Africa Company’s Reports on the Native Disturbances in Rhodesia 1896-7, wrote of Hervey:
“No one who had once gained his friendship ever willingly forfeited it, and those who were his friend will cherish his memory with an affection that will always remain.”
Lady Henry Paulet wrote:
“my recollections are chiefly of those peaceful days at Salisbury. I knew him best as the kindest and most hospitable of neighbours…we had many and long conversations on the subject always nearest his heart and uppermost in his mind – the Empire and its expansion. To this his whole life and energies were devoted, and for this no journey was too long, no hardship or privation too severe.”
Lady Paulet reveals that his nickname was “John” Hervey as he was very much like his ancestor, the memoir writer, John, Lord Hervey.
He was worried by his brother Algernon’s health and arrived in England in November 1895 after three year’s absence. All his family were amazed that the open air life of the veldt had transformed him…his former look of delicacy had been replaced by one of wiry health and activity.
Shortly after arriving in England he was told by the BSAC that he had been selected to be their first Deputy Administrator of Barotseland. This region between Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola is the homeland of the Malozi people, or Barotse. He was ordered to proceed there once his leave was finished and make the best arrangement with King Lewanika to ensure that the area fell under British control.
He spent Christmas 1895 with his brother Algernon and his sister Mary; but the disastrous Jameson raid over the New Year weekend of 1895-6 cut short his holiday and he arrived back in Cape Town in January making his way by coach to Bulawayo and arriving on 8 March 1896.
The Matabele Rebellion or First Umvukela (1896 – 1897)
Early in 1896 he rode from Bulawayo to meet Cecil Rhodes who had travelled inland from Beira. He had just arrived in Salisbury when the Matabele Rebellion (First Umvukela) broke out. Hervey was Intelligence Officer for the Rhodesia Horse and volunteered for active service being commissioned into Col. Beal’s force and joining the Scouts under Capt. Arthur Eyre.
On 10 April Col. Beal’s force and Rhodes left Salisbury and Hervey wrote to his sister from Gwelo where they put down resistance at Maven, a hotbed of resistance to the northwest, although Hervey complained light-heartedly that he had not yet heard a shot fired in anger.
Col Beal’s column met up with Col. Napier’s column from Bulawayo near the Shangani River and the combined column moved south as far as Filabusi before turning back and reaching Bulawayo by 1 June. In a letter to his sister he notes it was still unsafe to travel in small parties, the mail route to Salisbury was still closed, although the main centres of Salisbury, Bulawayo, Fort Victoria and Gwelo were safe, the countryside was still dangerous.
“The great difficulty is that they won’t stay to fight in any large force, so that the whole thing is being gradually reduced to tedious guerrilla warfare.”
Earl Grey had arrived shortly before and appointed Hervey as Paymaster of the active forces; a position he only reluctantly accepted as he preferred active service to remaining in Bulawayo and only accepted when Earl Grey explained he wanted the best man for the job. Writing to his sister on 16 June:
“you need not be anxious now that I am paymaster; I am not campaigning, and Bulawayo itself is as safe as Piccadilly.”
Bulawayo 19 June:
“We now hear of the murder of white people by natives in Mashonaland…this means that Mashonaland too is unsafe in the outlying districts for prospectors, miners and farmers. The country is indeed having a trying time of it. The towns are always, however, perfectly safe. I am very well.”
Bulawayo 6 July:
“It is just possible we may get news today or tomorrow that Col. Plumer’s force that have gone north to Thamas Imambi may have a fight, but I doubt it, I think the Matabele will clear. The next move will probably be against the Matoppo Hills”
“I am confident that sooner or later the whole of South Africa will be federated under British protection.”
“In this present business I have not seen a shot fired, but after all, why is a bullet going within a yard or two more dangerous than a hansom cab nearly running one over as it passes a corner?”
Earl Grey then released Hervey from his duties as Paymaster, appointing Major Everett in his position, and released him on active duties.
“I am going tomorrow to the Matoppos, where General Carrington and Colonel Plumer are in command. I have lots of friends there…I am so pleased to get to active service again…all this was only settled today.”
Colonel Plumer gave Hervey a commission as a Lieutenant and command of a detachment of about fifty men; some from the Bulawayo Field Force, but most from Major Robertson’s Cape Volunteers.
“We are moving on next Friday, but you need not be anxious about me. Of course, we may have a little fighting, but that will be over long before you get this letter, so that if I were at all hurt, you would hear about this by cable long before you get this. [This letter and six others, reached his sister after the news of his death] Lovely weather. This is quite a picnic.”
On 1 August Col. Plumer’s column marched from Usher’s Farm and had a small engagement with the amaNdebele at the head of the Umchabaze Valley before moving up the Tuli road to Dawson’s Store where they camped. The next day the column rested and it was from here that Hervey wrote the last letter to his sister.
“We shelled some kopjes yesterday, but there was very little firing otherwise, and only one man slightly wounded on our side. I have not much news for you…the Matoppos are a difficult country; rocky kopjes, with caves in them, in which the Matabele can hide. We generally get up about 5:30; breakfast about 8; (early cocoa at 6) lunch 12; dinner 7; bed 8:30, or 9. It is very pretty country all about the hills, and day after day comes with certainty of a cloudless sky and a brilliant sun.”
On 4 August the column marched to the Fort Umlugulu site, then called Sugar-bush Camp, on a ridge overlooking the Nsezi River.
Next day a force of 760 left before daybreak to attack Chief’s Umlugulu and Sikombo’s strongholds on the east of the Matobo Hills. At 6:15 the force was in a space between two bald kopjes opening into a valley in front of Tshingengoma Hill. Colonel Plumer ordered all the dismounted men, including Hervey’s detachment forward under Capt. Beresford with the seven-pounder guns to take up a position on a hill to the west of Sikombo’s main position, subsequently called “case-shot kopje,” which when captured would enable the guns to shell most of the surrounding area.
About an hour into their climb up the right-hand side of the valley, Beresford’s force was surprised by a large number of amaNdebele who had crept up on them unobserved and surrounded them and began to fire at short range from the cover of caves and boulders. The seven-pounders had been positioned without an advance guard and this nearly ended in disaster as they were rushed by the amaNdebele and the Artillery Troop only just managed to limber up the guns and fire case shot at point-blank range to halt their progress.
Battery Sgt-Major Ainslie was killed here. To the left of the seven-pounders on the hill slope Captain Hoël Llewelyn operated the Maxim gun single-handed and stopped a further charge; Tpr Holmes seeing Llewellyn unsupported ran to his assistance and was mortally wounded in the thigh and died four days later.
To the right of the seven-pounders Lieutenant Hervey was ordered to attack and as he stood on a rock waving his men forward was shot and mortally wounded. He was laid on a stretcher in the shelter of two large boulders, telling his men to continue on fighting. The engagement became more general, Capt. Jesser Coope with his scouts was unable to reach Beresford who had managed to signal that he was being heavily pressed, with Hervey severely wounded.
It took an hour for reinforcements to push back the amaNdebele and then Coope spent a few minutes with Hervey who was calm and collected and did not appear to be in pain. He commented to Weston Jarvis that although he was shot in the abdomen, he only felt an aching in his legs.
All the regiments of Chief’s Umlugulu and Sikombo were now engaged and the rocky ground favoured the amaNdebele who inflicted further heavy casualties. Major Kershaw led an attack at 11am to the left of the Tshingengoma Hill and was shot dead, Major Robertson’s Cape Volunteers attacked at 12am; Baden-Powell led an attack half an hour later and the AmaNdebele slowly began to retreat.
AmaNdebele losses were estimated at around 200; Plumer’s forces lost five killed and fifteen wounded, of which two subsequently died of wounds.
After the fight was over, Colonel Plumer spoke to Hervey and wrote:
“He asked me all about the details of the fight and when I told him we had inflicted a pretty severe defeat on the rebels, he said: “oh, that is alright, I don’t mind a bit now.”
He knew quite well he was dying and the way he faced death is a lesson to us all.
When Jesser Coope again talked to Hervey at 6pm, he looked so well that it was hard to believe he was dying. His men carried him back to camp to save him the pain from the jarring of the wagon on uneven ground. To one he said:
“who knows but that I may soon be pegging out claims for England in Jupiter!”
and when they reached Fort Umlugulu in the dark he said;
“Well, it is a grand thing to die for the expansion of the Empire.”
His great friend Captain Jesser Coope stayed all night with him in the hospital tent as he dictated messages to his family. On the morning of 6 August he was visited by Rhodes, Major-General Carrington and Colonel Plumer and Rhodes promised that his pension would be paid to his sister.
He passed away so quietly that Coope who sat by his side noticed nothing and had to be told by Dr Lunan that it was all over.
He was carried to his grave just before sundown on the same evening of 6 August 1896 by Captains Beresford, Garden, Whitaker, Coope and the two Llewellyn’s. Captain Scott Turner was in charge of volley firing and salutes, Colonel Plumer read the service, Carrington and Rhodes and all officers and men attended the burial.
His memorial plaque at Ford Umlugulu states:
To the Memory
Honoured and much loved of
Hubert John Antony Hervey
Youngest son of Lord and Lady Alfred Hervey
And grandson of Frederick William
First Marquess of Bristol
Born May 19 – 1859
Died August 6 – 1896
Having been mortally wounded in action
August 5, in the Matoppo Hills
When gallantly serving as a volunteer
In the Matabele War
His deeply sorrowing brothers,
Sister, and sister-in-law erected
The GPS reference for the cemetery, for any who are interested, is 20⁰24′40.59″S 28⁰53′07.94″E
Fort Umlugulu cemetery where Hervey and his comrades lie is on the western side of the old Bulawayo – Tuli road and near to Fort Umlugulu in a beautiful spot in the shadow of the Matobo
Military casualties of the Matabele Rebellion or First Umvukela
What is very noticeable is the high number of officers and NCO’s that were casualties of the battle of Tshingengoma, or Sikombo’s stronghold. The amaNdebele had certainly learned from their experiences and adapted their military strategy following their decisive defeats at the battles of Shangani (Bonko) and Bembezi (Egodade) in 1893. No longer would they make mass charges on strongly defended positions protected by Maxim guns and seven pounders, but would themselves defend the rocky fastness of the Matobo and Ntaba zika Mambo hills.
The heroic action of Captain Hoël Llewelyn who single-handedly swept his front with a Maxim gun forced the amaNdebele into retiring under cover and changing from an offensive into a defensive strategy, but it had been very touch and go. The amaNdebele had employed their tactics of firing from cover and then charging at short range extremely effectively.
In counterattacking the amaNdebele, Officers and NCO’s took the initiative and led the charge. Both Major Kershaw and Lieutenant Hervey and their NCO’s are described as leading their men on and were shot down in situations very similar to those experienced in the early days of WWI when officers and NCO’s suffered heavy casualties in infantry charges against opposition under cover and making effective use of their rifles. Many native police had deserted to the amaNdebele cause in 1896 with their rifles and were well trained in their use.
Grey. Hubert Hervey, Student and Imperialist; A Memoir. Edward Arnold, London 1899.
Waters in Heritage No 35 for 2016 Page 123 that the above book was ghost written by Hugh Marshall Hole.
The ’96 Rebellions. Books of Rhodesia, Bulawayo 1972.
F.W. Sykes. With Plumer in Matabeleland. Books of Rhodesia, Bulawayo 1972
www.zimfieldguide.com – maintained my Mike Tucker, a Falcon Old Boy, who was in Hervey from 1963 to 1968
House Colour: Gold (note, if you thought it was yellow or bright orange, ex-staff Paul Cannon says this is because the official clothing suppliers, McCullagh & Bothwell in Bulawayo, sometimes produced vests that varied considerably in terms of colour fidelity!)
George Grey was not one of the original houses. Its creation was announced by Sir Robert Tredgold in the prize-giving speech of 1960. He introduced the choice of name as follows (slightly edited):
The Board of Governors has decided that the New House is to be called the George Grey House.
Now, the ‘George’ is important because there are other Grey Houses in Rhodesia, but I don’t think there is one that is specifically associated with George Grey. And George Grey used to be one of the most romantic figures in the story of Rhodesia and one who might easily be named a schoolboy hero.
He had all the qualities that go with high adventure and belonged to a remarkable family, being one of three brothers, one of whom was the Foreign Secretary for England at the beginning of the 1914 War; he was the author of the famous phrase that some of you may have heard – about the lights going out all over Europe and which they would not see lit again in their lifetime. He was also a most attractive character, but I am not here to talk about him; I am here to talk about George.
Various memorials to the name of Grey exist in the country and people do not quite know to which Grey they are intended to apply. The other two brothers were George and Charles. George played a great part in the history of Rhodesia and Charles played a great part in the history of Nyasaland, till George was killed by a lion and Charles was killed by a buffalo. That might sound a remarkable coincidence – two animal casualties in one family – excepting for the fact that they looked for trouble! That was part of their code.
Now George Grey came here as an original pioneer – he was a little man with a stutter and no outward attributes to make him attractive, and yet, he had a strange personality which established an ascendancy over everybody about him, and he was one of the most loved and honoured men in the early days in Southern Rhodesia. He then passed on to play a great part in Northern Rhodesia. Some of you go to St John’s in Bulawayo; next time you go, look to the right hand of what ought to be the western door – but i think it is the southern door, because st. John’s is not set the right way round – and you will see a very fine memorial to George.
He raised Grey’s Scouts in the Rebellion and that attracted all the most dashing men and it played a most extraordinary and brilliant part in all the operations. When you come to read about it, you will find that Grey’s Scouts were always to the fore when things were difficult and when other people were retiring hastily.
From there he went up North – he was one of the pioneers of the Copperbelt and he opened up the Katanga: I cannot give you any more of his history, but I just I would like to say one or two things about him. I think I have said them to the boys before – but they will pardon me repeating myself because they just illustrate that he was a man indeed. He opened up the mines in the Katanga at the time when, to get there, you had to go to the mouth of the Zambesi; you went up the Zambesi in a boat; you went up the Shire in a boat until you came to the Murchison Falls; you walked round the Falls and you got into another boat and you went up the rest of the Shire and you went up Lake Nyasa and then, having got to Karonga, you walked 800 miles to the place where you were going to mine, and you had to mine there and get your machinery there and get your copper out. When the Railway reached the Falls. George Grey thought that that would probably be I better way out, so he got on a pushbike – you must remember there were no road, just Native paths – he got on a pushbike and took a revolver and one blanket and he rode from near where Ndola is today to the Falls in ten days – and I’d like to see any boy trying to do that now along the relatively good roads that exist there at the present time.
I don’t want to give you a complete biography, but he was a romantic figure, a gallant figure, in his living and in his dying, and I think that this name associated with a House of this School will give the boys of that House something real and something true to live up to.
House Colour: Brown
Named after Geoffrey Chubb, who died the same year in which Chubb House was built. The following extract from The Falcon Magazine of 1982 is his obituary:
MR GEOFFREY WALTER ASHTON CHUBB
Mr. Geoffrey Chubb, a former Springbok cricketer and president of the South African Cricket Association, died in the Mater Dei Hospital, East London, on Saturday, the 28th August 1982. He had been ill for the past two and a half years. Mr Chubb was 71.
After matriculating at Grey High school in Port Elizabeth, he served articles and qualified as a chartered accountant with a local firm. He then went to Johannesburg in 1933, where he practiced as a chartered accountant. After World War II, he became a partner in a leading firm of accountants in Johannesburg. When he moved to Rhodesia in 1953, he worked for African Associated Mines as a financial director. In 1974 he became chairman of African Associated Mines. He resigned this position in 1980.
Mr. Chubb was among the first to join up on the outbreak of World War II – he held the rank of lieutenant with the Imperial Light Horse brigade – and was captured at Tobruk. He spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps in Italy and Germany.
Mr. Chubb made his mark at both cricket and rugby in East London. He was a member of the Bohemian Cricket Club when he was chosen to play for Border as a batsman in 1931-32. As a rugby player, he was known for his outstanding versatility, representing the Buffalo Football Club at centre, fullback and loose forward. It was during the period he was associated with the Buffalo Club that Border rugby reached its greatest heights by sharing the Currie Cup with Western Province – 1932 and 1934. When Mr Chubb left East London for Johannesburg, he played one season for Wanderers before hanging up his rugby boots to concentrate on cricket – his first love.
In the seasons leading up to World War II, Mr Chubb was a prominent member of Wanderers’ senior cricket side and made a few appearances for Transvaal. It was during this period that his bowling developed at the expense of his batting. It was not until several seasons after the war, however, that he reached his peak, which ended in his selection for the Springbok tour of England under the captaincy of the late Dudley Nourse in 1951 at the age of 40. In achieving this feat, he became the oldest player ever to win his Springbok colours for cricket. He ended the tour with 76 wickets in 800 overs. In the five tests he claimed 21 wickets and his best performances were at Lord’s (5 for 77), and Old Trafford (6 for 5 l ). In all he took 160 wickets in first-class cricket for an average of 23.9 runs. Mr Chubb also had an impressive record as a batsman in first-class cricket, totaling 855 runs for an average of 18.1 runs. His highest score was 71 not out
Mr Chubb retired as a player at the end of the tour, but made an equally big impact on the game as an administrator. He was president of the national body on two occasions – 1955 to 1957, and 1959 to 1960. He gave evidence of his tremendous determination and courage after receiving multiple injuries in a motor accident in 1971. Within a few months he was back on the golf course but, to his regret, he had to give up squash. He also served on the Red Cross committee for many years. He was interested in education, and was the chairman of Falcon College in Zimbabwe.
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