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ID:779 William Terrett 1853-1879
Lisa’s 3rd Great Uncle 
Birth    15th March 1853 Merthyr, Wales
Death 22nd January1879  'Rourkes Drift', Isandhlwana
We have been unable to find a birth registry for William yet in Merthyr but a relative who lives near the area has found his christening record which states his birth as 18th March 1853 and his christening at St Illtids, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil on 15th April 1853.

He was the son of James and Elizabeth Terrett, nee Glacken, who moved from Ireland to Merthyr a few years previously during the Irish potato famine. William had an older sister, Mary, who was 2. 
1861 Census for 'Portmorlais Castle Lane, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire'
Relationship   Status       Age     Est YOB Gender   Birth County                    Occupation                  
James Terrett        Head                Married    33        1828       Male       Ireland Furnace Fitter            
Eliza Terrett Wife Married 29 1832 Female Ireland  
Mary Terrett Daughter   10 1851 Female Merthyr, Glams                 
William Terrett Son   8
1853 Male       Merthyr, Glams               
James Terrett Son   6 1855 Male       Merthyr, Glams               
John Terrett Son   4 1857 Male       Merthyr, Glams               
Thomas Terrett Son   1 1860 Male       Merthyr, Glams               
1871 Census for 'Vaughan Street, Caedraw, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire'
Relationship   Status       Age     Est YOB Gender   Birth County                    Occupation                  
James Terrett        Head                Married    42        1829       Male       Ireland Labourer                     
Eliza Terrett Wife Married 38 1833 Female Ireland  
William Terrett Son   18 1853 Male       Merthyr, Glams                Labourer  
James Terrett Son   16 1855 Male       Merthyr, Glams                Labourer  
John Terrett Son   14 1857 Male       Merthyr, Glams                Labourer  
Thomas Terrett Son   12 1859 Male       Merthyr, Glams                Labourer  
Patrick Terrett Son   10 1861 Male       Merthyr, Glams                 
Edward Terrett
Son   8 1863 Male       Merthyr, Glams                 
Richard Terrett Son   6 1865 Male       Merthyr, Glams                 
Mary Terrett Daughter   20 1851 Female
Merthyr, Glams                General Servant
We know that before 1877 William had joined the army, and was a private in the  2nd Battlion 24th Regiment of Foot which was the  -  (they didn't change their title to the South Wales Borderers until 1st July 1881 - almost exactly two years after the Rorkes Drift battle had ended). The Regimental Depot had been established at Brecon, in South Wales, in 1873.The 24th consisted of men from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. William served in the South Africa during the Rorkes Drift Battle (the battle that the famous film 'Zulu' is based on) from 1877 up until he was killed on 22nd January 1879 at Isandhlwana.
William, and his subsequent death was mentioned in letters to home written by Merthyr soldiers and published in local papers.

The following letter was written by Private L. Cummings, whose mother lives at Middle Taff-street :— Grey Town, Feb. 5,1879. Dear Mother,—I write these few lines to you hoping you are quite well, as it leaves me at pre- sent. I am sorry to relate to you of the terrible fight that has taken place in this war. After our crossing into the enemy's country we pitched camp on the 18th of January, and on the 22nd of January General Thesiger took half our column out to meet the enemy, but instead of U8 meeting them the half column that was left in camp had to meet their fatal death. Perhaps you have seen it in the papers, but the eye can relate more than reading can tell. About 25,000 of them took up another position that we knew nothing at all about, so that they out every man from off the face of the camp, and not even one left to tell of the fatal day. We were about 12 miles from camp, and saw the firing, when the general rode towards the oamp, and saw what had happened, then our half- column was sent for, and against we arrived within three miles from camp the general told us what had happened, and that we had to take it back again with the point of the bayonet. So we charged up to the top of a hill, but they had retired away, so we were not able to go any further. We lay down for the night. In the morning we started away for the nearest commissary, and on the road I saw poor little Perkins lying on the ground, and I could see where he had been bandaging his wound, but had not been able to get any further. He laid down and died, and left to the open world. There was John Roach. W. Terrett, from Caedraw, and James Cantlow, but I did not see them. Dear mother, it was a most awful scene. Then we retired to the nearest commissary to get something to eat, but they had attacked that place also. But, with God's will, I expect there were a few soldiers left there, and they managed to keep it until we came, killing about 1,000 men, and losing about 13 on our side. The enemy was not willing or satisfied with killing our poor men they cut them to pieces. Some were burned to ashes. But, thank God, I am alive and well as yet, but none of us knows how soon the day may come. But there is nothing to be done but to trust to God. If we lost this commissary none of us would have been able to write any more, because we would not have been able to get anything to eat. The loss on the enemy's side was considerable, so that our poor men must have fought to the last. They killed about 7,000 altogether, and our losses is about 1,000. Please give my best respects to my sisters and brother-in-law, and please give them this letter after you read it to all the young men. I hope this letter will be a warning to them not to enlist for a soldier. So I have no more at present to say, from you*- affectionate son, L. CUMMINGS. No. 1,124, Private L. Cummings, F. Company, 2 24 Regiment, Grey Town, Natal, or elsewhere. Please let me know whether you received the two ounds from the pay-master by return.

The next letter is from Private James Bell, whose mother resides in Morris's-court, Caedraw :— Rorke's Drift, Feb. 3, 1879. Dear Mother,—I take the pleasure of writing these few lines to you, hoping to find you in good health as it leaves me at present, thank God for it. I am very happy to inform you that I joined my regiment all safe, but I had a very narrow eecape for my life. We had a fearful battle with the Zulu. and there was a lot of men killed, and among them William Terrett and James Cantlan, and Hugh Perkins, who were cut up to pieces by the Kaffirs. Me and Johnny Jones, and Tommy Harding, and James Clarke, and Malike Lyons, and Larry Cummings are all safe so far. Jim Terrett, with the mounted troops, and I know nothing of him. I suppose that you received my blacklead letter, and know that I am all right. I have not had a penny pay since I left Brecon, and so I am a lot in credit now, and as soon as this war is over I will send you some money. I have not had my tools or belts off this last month, but sleeping on the grass and watching for the Kaffirs. We don't know the minute that they will attack us, but you will read the papers at home, and know all about it. Give my kind love to Mike Murphy and Buckley, and to David O'Donovan, and to Tom Clancy, and to all the lads, to Mrs. Howella and family, and Mrs. Louis and family, and to all the old neighbours. Give my kind love to Mary Ann, and Alice, and John, and Agnes, and Robert, and Johnny Jones has been asking about him, and gives him his kind love. Give my kind love to Bill and little Willie and to yourself—and I remain your loving son, JAMES BELL. Jacky Jones sends his kind love to you all, and so does Clarke and Tommy Harding. Tell Mike whatever he dees not to enlist. It is right enough at home, but it is worse than puddling out here. Tell him that I will write to him the first chance. We are in a fort here with about 20,000 Kaffirs around us, but we hope to have revenge on the enemy yet. So no more at present from your affectionate son, JAMES BELL, No. 1,566, B Company, 2.24th Regiment, Natal, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. P.S.—We cannot get a stamp here for love or money.
More letters below naming William.
The letter below is particularly sad as the private asks his mother to quietly inform Williams mother of his death.