Where were these photos taken?

For general discussions on the British Army of the Victorian era or specific regiments.

Re: Where were these photos taken?

Postby mike snook » 24 Mar 2014 00:16

Josh

According to something in my library which is not of great significance to the Japanese operation, the RMLI battalion consisted of 8 companies drawn from across the Grand Divisions, ie Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth. They sailed from Plymouth in December 1863 aboard HMS Conqueror. Commanding Officer possibly Colonel C. Penrose.

Can't personally vouch for the accuracy of anything which follows.The Simonoseki Battery was allegedly abandoned after naval bombardment so that the subsequent landing of RN, RMLI and Dutch marines was unopposed. They were fired on only in the act of withdrawal from a stockade hidden in a ravine, which they then stormed. [This bit inside the brackets is primary sourced to Major W H Poyntz RMLI, though I am précising not not citing directly: The stockade was approached through brushwood and had strong wooden stakes, barrack buildings inside and a large entrance gate. Most of the Japanese ran out of the back into the woods on the hill directly behind the stockade. Several Japanese were clad in armour.] That doesn't resonate with what I recall you said about VCs and what not, specifically if I recall correctly in connection with the battery, so I'm going to go back through the thread and have a look at that again before deciding whether or not to throw my little book in the bin.

Regards

Mike

PS Right, done that, memory and attention span obviously failing me because you're well onto the stockade thing and evidently the VCs came then. My little book underplays the severity of what went on it seems (as does that bit of Maj Poyntz's account available to me). The photo is the battery Josh, (simply because that's what it plainly is (!!): also its clearly in a commanding position), rather than the stockade, albeit it doesn't seem to have been damaged by the bombardment. There are fires burning at the left rear.

The battalion with the big number of officers (left flank) then is defintely RMLI? Colours of the Plymouth Division perhaps? If so 20 odd officers with 200 men. Curious. Where are the other 0 & 250 I wonder?
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Re: Where were these photos taken?

Postby Josh&Historyland » 24 Mar 2014 03:17

Interesting Mike got to tip my hat to you in thanks for having a root around. :)

You're book isn't so wrong as many other references I've come across though. It's tough because not many people have given the action any deep analysis, and first hand sources are rare.

I've had a look through my notes regarding the affair of the Stockade. These are principally based on what so far has been my best source, that of Ernest Satow, a diplomatic translator who along with Beato actually followed in the wake of the attack on the stockade and secondary sources "Incidents and International Relations: People, Power, and Personalities"
 edited by Greg Kennedy, Keith Neilson, The Victorians at War, 1815-1914: An Encyclopedia of British Military History
 By Harold E. Raugh they reference featherstone 1973, Haythornweight 1995, Padfield 1981, Willmott 1982. (These are via google books, Satow's "A diplomat in Japan" is a free PDF or EPub download).

I think you are right about the photo not being the stockade.
The day after the main bombardment the allied force landed and from 9am to 4pm went on destroying and carrying away artillery so Beato had allot of leisure to take his photograph. I was wondering whether the smoking might be from the town of Maeda Mura which would have been off in that direction, and caught fire during a brief exchange that morning.

As for the actual action itself All happened as you say except that the French and some Americans also landed. According to Satow the Marine battalion was 450 men strong, (Reinforced from the fleet or from China perhaps?) under command of a man named Colonel Suther (no idea who Poyntz is, and so far not heard of Penrose, means nothing as there could be dozens of explanations for the discrepancy). Nevertheless the reason why Poyntz's account underplays the matter is quite clear to me. Satow says that after the initial surprise the Marines drove the Japanese back, then after a conference with Captain Alexander of Euryalus, who had organised a 200 man shore party and was commanding Company 3 Naval Brigade they decided they had enough men to attack.

They agreed that the Marines would attack along the left side of the valley and the Naval Brigade along the right. First they needed to take a hitherto hidden battery guarding the mouth of the ravine. The ravine or valley was on the high ground overlooking the main defences, yet the Japanese did not stand their ground long. The Marines advanced in good and steady order and were soon under cover from a dip in the ground, the Sailors charged up the hill at the battery in open order and took the position. Here Cpt Alexander was wounded by the retreating fire of the Japanese and left there. Because the Marines were moving in an orderly and steady manner, and the Sailors, after a quick reconnaissance, went straight in they actually were entering the stockade as the Marines came in sight, thus they did not have a big part in the fight after initially being fired upon, so when the Major underplays the severity of the action I assume he is doing so because he didn't see any of it happen.

The marines were fired on from the brushwood and stockade was described as strong, with an 8 foot palisade and mounting 7 light guns, it did have a rear exit and a lighted powder trail was found leading to a magazine after it fell. Satow said he saw Japanese wearing black armour and white surcoats, interestingly one Sailor was killed by an arrow. The composition of the Marine battalion seems to be a puzzler, and at the moment my sources aren't giving me the answer to the discrepancy of names or numbers. At any rate this picture (the parade) cannot be any later than December 1864 as some of the units we are talking about left Japan in that month,

Josh.
Adventure's In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 729
Joined: 02 Mar 2013 14:11

Re: Where were these photos taken?

Postby mike snook » 24 Mar 2014 18:45

Hi Josh..Very interesting...thanks. Imminent departure might well explain why some units seem less complete in the photo than they perhaps ought to be. Withdrawals are sometimes phased affairs.

As ever

Mike
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
User avatar
mike snook
Honorary Academic Advisor
 
Posts: 1328
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 09:35

Previous

Return to The Army

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest