The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Captain Francis Vernon Northey

Captain Francis Vernon Northey

A carte-de-visite portrait of Captain Francis Vernon Northey (1836-1879), later Lieutenant-Colonel Northey, who was killed during the Anglo-Zulu War.

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Vernon Northey of the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps was wounded at Ginghilovo on 2nd April 1879 and died of his wounds four days later, at the age of 42.

The following paragraphs are taken from Mackinnon and Shadbolt’s The South African Campaign of 1879 (first published in 1880):

'Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Vernon Northey, whose death on the 6th of April, 1879, was caused by a bullet-wound received in the battle of Ginghilovo, was the youngest surving son of Edward Richard Northey, Esquire, of Woodcote House, Epsom, Surrey, by his marriage with Charlotte Isabella, second daughter of the late General Sir George Anson….first cousin of the Earl of Lichfield. He was born in 1836, and was educated at Eton. Entering the army in March, 1855, he was gazetted to an ensigncy in the 60th Rifles; and, after serving at various stations in Great Britain, embarked with that regiment for India. He served throughout the Oude campaign of 1858, being present at the capture of Fort Mittowlie and the action of Biswah, for which he was granted a medal. He also served in the Red River expedition of 1870, under Sir Garnet Wolseley, and gained a brevet-majority for the manner in which he performed his arduous and important duties.

'On the news of the disaster at Islandhlwana reaching England, the 3rd Battalion of the 60th Rifles received orders to embark immediately for South Africa. Landing at Durban in the third week in March, 1879, Lieutenant-Colonel Northey at once proceeded with his battalion to the front to join the Etshowe relieving column…and took part in the subsequent advance of that force into Zululand. In the action which ensued on the morning of the 2nd April, at Ginghilovo, the 60th Rifles held the front face of the laager, and bore the brunt of the first desperate onslaught of the enemy. Lieutenant-Colonel Northey fell mortally wounded at the head of his battalion, and, though treated with surgical skill, expired on the fourth day after the battle.

'In the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Northey the country lost a most valuable officer. He was devoted to his profession, and in him were combined in a high degree the best qualities of an English soldier with a thorough knowledge of his work. Throughout the four battalions of his regiment he was loved and respected by officers and men alike. Strict, firm, and exceedingly just in all matters of discipline, he was ever ready with a word of sympathy and encouragement for any one who needed it, and by his gentle courtesy and kindly bearing he endeared himself to all with whom he came in contact. Fond of all manly sports, he was an excellent cricketer, having been captain of the Eton Eleven in 1854; he kept up his play to the last, and was well known in the army as one of the best captains of a team.

'Lieutenant-Colonel Northey married, in 1869, Charlotte, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Gzowski, of Toronto, Canada, now A.D.C. to Her Majesty.'

Photographed on 5 May 1861 by Camille Silvy of London.


Code: 126878
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