ARTHUR CLYNTON BASKERVILLE ‘BUNNY’ MYNORS
Picture courtesy of the John Young Collection
Picture courtesy of gettyimages
‘Bunny’ Mynors came to Eton College during January 1870 where he made a name for himself as a good rider and an excellent runner. He left in 1875 to join the Oxford Militia and on 11th May 1878 he obtained his commission in the 60th Rifles. He sailed with the regiment to Natal, ‘Where I hope I shall have more fun’, he wrote to his mother on board the steamship, ‘Dublin Castle’, on 20 February 1879.
He was a 2nd. Lieutenant in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps but only 22 years old when he died of dysentery at Fort Pearson on the south bank of the Thukela River less than one month after he reported for duty. He had been present at the Battle of Gingindlovu on 2 April 1879 and at the relief of the British garrison besieged for 72 days at Eshowe by 4000 Zulu warriors, fresh from their victory over the British at Isandlwana. Fort Pearson had only been built in January of 1879 to protect the river crossing to allow men and supplies to be ferried across into Zululand.
Colonel Edward Hopton, a friend of the family, wrote to inform Arthur’s father, Robert Baskerville, of his son’s death.
“I have to tell you about your poor son Arthur that I know well will break his poor mother’s and your hearts. He died this evening in the hospital, on the Natal side of the River, close to Fort Pearson, of dysentery. When I saw him I did not think he would recover. His servant was very attentive to him. We gave him what medical comforts could be got such as beef tea and champagne. I read and prayed by his stretcher side. He repeated some of the prayers after me. The disease of some days seemed to have taken hold of him. He passed nothing but pure blood. I said, ‘Arthur, I shall write tonight and tell your mother how ill you are’. He said, ‘Yes, please Colonel, write to Mamma’.”
Lieutenant Edward Hutton also wrote to Bunny’s father:
“His servant Starman, got up and was about to smooth his pillow for him, when the boy, with a smile that I will never forget, turned and whispered, ‘Hush, don’t touch me. I am going to heaven’, and so fell asleep.”
Fort Pearson War Cemetery.
Written on the brass Memorial plaque in the chancel of Bosbury Church is:
In memory of
ARTHUR CLYNTON BASKERVILLE MYNORS
60th Rifles, present at the Battle of
Cinchilove at the relief of Ekowe
died of dysentery at Fort Pearson, Natal
April 25th 1879 aged 22
Mark the last words of Arthur to his servant, Starman
who was about to smooth his pillow, he turned to him
& with a smile which said Starman I will never forget,
whispered Hush! don’t touch me I am going to Heaven & so fell asleep
His warfare is accomplished.
His letters and diary were privately published in 1879. There is a copy at Hughenden Manor but I have not been able to buy one from any secondhand bookshop.
However a magazine article by Matthew Arnold includes extensive quotes and an extract can be found here at ‘Bosbury in Books’.
He would have been posthumously awarded the South Africa General Service Medal, 1877-79, with a clasp denoting his year of service.
Sources: Dr J. C. van der Walt Graves of Zululand, December 25, 2015, http://zululandobserver.co.za
April 2017 BSS