Teignmouth Melvill

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Teignmouth Melvill
Photo of Melvill circa 1877
Born 8 September 1842
Marylebone, London
Died 22 January 1879 (aged 36)
Buffalo River, South Africa
Buried at Fugitive's Drift, below Itchiane Hill
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1865–1879 
Rank Lieutenant
Unit 24th Regiment of Foot

Anglo-Zulu War

Awards Victoria Cross
Relations Charles Melvill (son)
Philip Sandys Melvill (brother)

Teignmouth Melvill VC (8 September 1842 – 22 January 1879) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.


Memorial to Mellvill and Coghill

The son of Philip Melvill, he was educated at Harrow School, Cheltenham School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] He was 36 years old, and a lieutenant in the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot (later The South Wales Borderers), British Army during the Anglo-Zulu War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.[2]

On 22 January 1879 after the disaster of the Battle of Isandhlwana, South Africa, Lieutenant Melvill made efforts to save the Queen's Colour of his Regiment. He and Nevill Josiah Aylmer Coghill were pursued by Zulu warriors and after experiencing great difficulty in crossing the swollen Buffalo River, during which time the Colour was lost and carried downstream, the two men were overtaken by the enemy and following a short struggle both were killed. The Colour was retrieved from the river ten days later.[3]

Melvill and Coghill were amongst the first soldiers to receive the VC posthumously in 1907. Initially the London Gazette mentioned that had they survived they would have been awarded the VC.[4]

He was played by James Faulkner in the film Zulu Dawn.[5]

His son, Charles Melvill (1878–1925), also served in the British Army. He later became a major general in the New Zealand Military Forces.[6]

The medal[edit]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the South Wales Borderers Museum in Brecon, Powys, Wales.


  1. ^ Welch, R. Courteney (1911). The Harrow School Register, 1800–1911 2nd edition. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27986. p. 325. 15 January 1907.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24717. p. 3178. 2 May 1879.
  5. ^ IMDB
  6. ^ McGibbon 2000, p. 316.


  • McGibbon, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland, New Zealand: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-558376-0. 

He was also a contributor to Baily's Magazine of Sports and Pastimes under the name 'Green Facings.'

External links[edit]