The Military Sale - A Fresh Format 2012 saw three major players in the UK fine art and collectibles industry (Apex, Baldwin’s and Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions) combine to create the UK’s newest ‘top 5’ generalist auctioneer under th
Francis Louis Secretan’s official death notice records his final age as 22, leaving behind personal effects of ‘about £10’. A letter from his father addressed to the NMP on the 30th of July 1879 names Archer Jeston Secretan to settle his brother’s accounts and to receive
all funds and other bank savings, totalling around £40. His name is recorded on the memorial by the City Hall at Pietermaritzburg, with the rather inexcusable spelling error of ‘F Secreton’. The name of his brother ‘A Secretan’ appears in Tavender’s ‘Casualty Roll for the Zulu and Basuto Wars, South Africa 1877-79’ - apparently confusing the two names, and this is then repeated erroneously in Roy Dutton’s
‘Forgotten Heroes: Zulu & Basuto Wars’ (Secretan A [F] KIA 1879) although there appears to be little doubt who was the true casualty. Whilst portions of the above extract are often misquoted as written by an ‘Arthur J Secretan’ - there is no doubt that it is written (as seen in print) by Archer Jeston Secretan. It appears that the link between the two serving brothers in the NMP and the above article has not been made prior to this sale, particularly the fact that the author names his brother as ‘Louis’ - according to his middle name, owing to the fact that their father went by the name Francis and would have been the only one called such in their household - and no such details are to be found in the suggested references for this campaign.
Sold with a file of documentation, including copy roll mentions as detailed above, a full typed copy of the letter written to his