By Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell
13th Hussars, Commanding The Native Levy.


Prince Christian Victor Landing



13th December.
AT last we have arrived at the end of our three weeks’ voyage, and Cape Coast Castle has shown itself to our longing eyes much as the books describe it. A large, rambling, whitewashed fort standing on a group of rocks on the surf-washed beach. Behind it lies the dull red native town of earthen flat-roofed houses, interspersed with white­washed bungalows of merchants, and all around the town there rise a mass of small, steep, wooded hills, two or three of which are topped with buildings.

Great open surf-boats take us to the shore, each propelled by a dozen lusty paddlers, sitting side­ways on the gunwale, and timing well the dipping of their three-pronged blades with choruses which at times are quite harmonious. Then, as we near the seething beach, a rush of naked helpers runs the boat well up, and we are landed dry-shod at the castle water-gate. Within the courtyard, with its galleries all round, the bustle and the noise are almost overpowering, as gangs of carriers, both male and female, bring the loads of stores just landed from the ship, to be checked and stored for further use. Perhaps nowhere will you find a more Well-trodden grave than that of L. E. L., the poetess, who lies beneath the flags of this same courtyard.

Here, too, are crowds of natives being enrolled and told off into gangs as carriers, to form the chain Of depots that have to be made in anticipation of the arrival of the troops.

Note: Two members of the Royal Family served in the Ashanti Campaign of 1895-96. Prince Christian Victor, a grandson of Queen Victoria, and Prince Henry of Battenberg, the Queen’s son-in-law.

Prince Christian Victor
Served in the Ashanti Campaign.
Died in Pretoria, 1900
in the South African War

Prince Christian Victor (Major, His Highness Prince Christian Victor Albert Ludwig Ernst Anton, heir of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, G.C.B., G.C.V.O.) was a grandson of Queen Victoria, the son of Princess Helena, daughter of the Queen. He was born at Windsor Castle 14th April 1867 and died of enteric fever at Pretoria (while serving in the South African War) on 29th October 1900. Aged 33.

The Prince was commissioned in the 60th King’s Royal Rifles in 1888 and served later in the 4th King’s Royal Rifle Corps. He served at Hazara 1891 (Medal and Bar, Mentioned in Despatches), Mirzanai 1891 (Bar), Ashanti 1895 (Star, Mentioned in Despatches), Nile 1898 (Medal, 4th class of the Osmanieh, Mentioned in Despatches).

Princess Helena’s first child … was named Christian Victor and was known in the family as "Christle". He was followed by a brother that was born in February 26, 1869, and who was named Albert. Many of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren had Prince Albert’s name but only Princess Helena’s son was called by that name.

"Christle" was the first member of the Royal Family to attend to school instead of being educated by a tutor at home. He studied at Wellington College which made Queen Victoria very happy since Prince Albert had helped to establish  this institution many years before.. At Wellington he played for the college First Eleven in 1883 and was captain of the cricket team in 1885. He also studied at Magdalene College, Oxford and at Sandhurst, where he was captain of the cricket team. "Christle’s" brother, Albert, returned to Germany to inherit the dukedom of Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Augustenburg, since his cousin,  Duke Ernest Gunther, was unlikely to produce a heir.

"Christle" became an army officer in the 60th King’s Royal Rifles in 1888. He fought under Lord Horatio Kitchener in 1898 when the British troops defeated the Dervishes at Omdurman near Khartoum and recovered the Sudan. He participated also in the Ashanti Expedition to Ghana. In 1900 he served in the Boer War under Lord Frederick Roberts. In October while …  in Pretoria, he came down with malaria and died on October 29 after receiving the Holy Communion in the presence of Lord Roberts and Prince Francis of Teck. He was interred in the  Pretoria cemetery on November 1st., 1900. During his funeral a Boer woman commented: "They are burying their Prince in British soil; the English intend to remain in this land". His grave is marked with a granite cross and a cast iron railing.

Adapted from: "Helena of Great Britain, Princess of Schleswig Holstein" in Queen Victoria: Grandmother of Europe, her Children and Grandchildren.


Prince Henry of Battenberg
Died of malaria at the
conclusion of the Ashanti Campaign

Prince Henry of Battenberg was the husband of Beatrice of Great Britain, Princess of Battenberg and a daughter of Queen Victoria.

In 1895, in the African territory of Ashanti, in Ghana, under the rule of King Prempeh, human sacrifice had become a usual activity and raids were made among the native tribes that lived along the Golden Coast border, in order to get people to be sold as slaves. The British Government demanded Prempeh to adhere to 1874 Treaty for peace and order in Africa. As the African King refused, it was decided to send an expedition to Ashanti to restore order, under the command of Sir Francis Scott. One day, when Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry were finishing breakfast, Prince Henry suddenly asked his mother-in-law for her permission to join  the Ashanti Expedition. The Queen said that such matter was out of question. Beatrice supported her husband and told her mother that he had set his heart upon going, that he was tired of his inactivity and wanted to do something for England. When Prince Henry wrote to the Queen, "I hope, by volunteering in a national case, to prove my devotion to my adopted country." She finally accepted.

Before sailing, Prince Henry told to Lord Harris: "I am an Englishman and I want to show the people of England that I am ready to take the rough with smooth. I know there is no glory out of it and I know of the dangers of subsequent ill-health and perhaps death from malaria, which I know is so great in that country". (Duff).

On December 6, he came to the Queen’s presence to say good bye. He knelt before her and kissed her hand; she embraced him. The next day, December 7 1895,  he sailed on board HMS Coramandel form the Royal Albert Dock on his way to Africa. Once in Ghana, Prince Henry started his way, with the main column of the Expeditionary Force, to Kumassi, capital of Ashanti. When they reached the River Pra on January 4th, some cases of fever had sprang out among the troop. At Prashu, Prince Henry and  Mayor Ferguson went for an evening stroll and the Prince noticed the Mayor had begun with signs of fever. Two days later he was dead. Prince Henry and the rest of the troop continued their way to Kwisu, forty miles from Kumassi. They reached the place on January 10th. Here Prince Henry fell ill with malaria and the doctor ordered him to return to Cape Coast. Despite his protests he was put on board HMS Blonde and sent back to England, but as the ship passed the coast of Sierra Leone, on the evening of Monday 20th, January, 1896, Prince Henry died. That same day, at Kumassi, King Prempeh submitted to the Governor of Cape Coast.

Adapted from: "Beatrice of Great Britain, Princess of Battenberg" in Queen Victoria: Grandmother of Europe, her Children and Grandchildren.


    The Authors Apology to the Reader.
    Sketch Map of the March to Kumassi
I.   Reasons For The Ashanti Expedition of 1895-96.
II.   Preliminaries To The Expedition
III.   Local Preparations.
IV.    At Cape Coast Castle (with a note on the British Royal Family).
V.   The Levy Starts
VI.   In the Bush
VII.   Pioneer Work
VIII.   The Scouts
IX.   The Bekwai Column
X.   Forward Movements
XI.   In Kumassi
XII.   Preparing the "Coup"

The Downfall

XIV.   After Events
XV.   The Coastward March
XVI.   Homeward Bound
XVII.   The Formation of the Native Levy
    Sir George Baden-Powell, "Policy And Wealth In Ashanti, 1895"

Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell.
The Downfall of Prempeh, 1895-96.
Chapter V. The Levy Starts.
Major R. S. S. Baden-Powell.
The Downfall of Prempeh, 1895-96.
Sketch Map of the March to Kumassi
Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering
"With a Native Levy in Ashanti"
Eileen K. Wade,
The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924
Chapter VIII. Ashanti.
The Baden-Powell Library. A Selection of excerpts from the works of Lord Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career.
Return to the Baden-Powell Home Page

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