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Victoria Cross winner honoured in new painting

Jason Askews dramatic painting shows Nevill Coghill and Teignmouth Melvill. Picture: University of Glasgow/PA

Jason Askews dramatic painting shows Nevill Coghill and Teignmouth Melvill. Picture: University of Glasgow/PA

  • by DAVID MERCER
 

A RELATIVE of one of the first soldiers to be awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously has received a painting depicting his heroic actions in the Anglo-Zulu War.

Nevill Coghill, 26, was killed with fellow officer Teignmouth Melvill as they tried to save their regiment’s colours from capture by Zulu warriors at the Battle of Isandlwana in South Africa in 1879. The battle famously saw the annihilation of a British invasion at the hands of around 25,000 Zulus in the opening stages of the Anglo-Zulu War.

Coghill and Melvill were buried together close to where they fell on the banks of the Buffalo River, which marked the border between Zululand and British Natal. A painting depicting the two soldiers during the battle was presented to Coghill’s great-great-great grandniece, Jane Mann, at the East India Club in central London yesterday.

Ms Mann said: “It’s important for me from a personal perspective that this story is kept alive and it’s something that I try to talk to my sons about and I try and make sure they are aware of him and the family history.”

She added: “I hope that it is showing people that if you do a little digging around in your own family history there are these genuinely remarkable people and it seems a shame not to be talking about them.”

The painting will be passed on to the Victoria Cross Museum, where it will help promote the work of the Victoria Cross Trust in renovating the graves of winners of Britain’s highest military honour. The specially commissioned painting is by military artist Jason Askew.

 

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