Zulu war newspaper article


Lucy’s Commentary:

    I remember this day as if it were yesterday. My poor sister Phyllis had just had her heart broken by that treacherous Mr. Darrell, and I was upstairs lying on my bed. I was engulfed in the letters that Frank had sent to me from Africa. That’s when I heard Gertrude abruptly make her way outside. I now too heard the sounds echoing from the street, “special edition”. I hastily made my way downstairs and when I made it to Gertrude she was in shock. When her eyes met mine I saw the fear in her eyes shift to her hands and they trembled. She tried to calm me but I didn’t know what was coming next. Nothing could have prepared me for what I read next, “terrible slaughter of British troops”. My heart sank, I looked to my sister in disbelief and said, “It is not true”. It couldn’t have been true, we had just been engaged. How could I have lost the love of my life like this, it had to have been another group. Moments later reality set in, Frank was dead and I was alone again. I would like to say that I never gave up hope that Frank would return to me once more, but as time went on I found comfort in accepting his death. I eventually returned to the studio and began to work again, this helped a great deal with the pain. A couple weeks had passed when I first heard the rumor while in town, I heard someone say the name, “Jermyn”. I didn’t react at first, there must be other people with such a name, but then I heard “Frank”. My ears must be playing tricks on me I thought, I rushed home and confronted Gertrude with my hearings. She then told me of the news from Lord Watergate, I cried as I heard this news. I knew then that my heart couldn’t handle such a strain as to lose him again. So I quickly decided to carry this news with little thought, but sometimes the hope was overwhelming and I couldn’t help but smile at the idea of seeing him again. On an eventful day in March I returned home to find my Frank in the sitting room smiling, he looked different but that smile was my Frank’s smile. In that moment all the sadness that had filled my heart disappeared, and all I could do was fall to the ground trembling. Frank like himself ran over and picked me up, holding me in his embrace. That was the moment my love began again, and I was happy.


Editorial Commentary:

    During the Victorian era the British Empire was very active with campaigns through Africa and other parts of the world. It would seem that Lucy’s fiancé was a part of one of these campaigns and things went horribly wrong for the British troops. Women during this time were made dependent on their husbands by society, which would have added to Lucy’s immense sadness. She had not only lost “the love of my life”, but she had also lost a great deal of financial and social stability when she lost her fiancé. British campaigns had a significant impact on women’s lives from disrupting family livelihood to the forceful migration of families. In many of the campaigns men were lost and these men typically had families which were then without a father or husband. This could be very detrimental to families because men were the main source of income for families. This meant that women who did not have inheritable wealth were put at a significant disadvantage. The poorer women would usually have to move to areas to fit their financial situations while they attempted to provide for their children. These issues show why Lucy would have been terrified to have lost her fiancé, for reasons beyond emotional distress.

Citation: “11 February 1879: Entire British Column Lost in Zulu Engagement.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 May 2011, www.theguardian.com/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2011/may/15/guardi....

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