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 Nyoni Ridge

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:18 am

When the cairns were rebuilt by George Chadwick he commented on cairns on the ridge. These have since disapeared, I believe Neil mentioned that he and Mike Snook had spent time searching for them. Ive just come across a reference attricuted to Chadwick, " These cairns include those out on the ridge where the British Companies were stationed and along the Fugitives trail and marked ON A MAP, in view of recent atatements that very few British were killed at the advanced positions, it is interesting to note that buttons, boot protectors and bones were found when the neglected cairns were dismantled and documented.
Has anyone heard of this map?
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:12 pm

I'm sure someone has posted a map complied by someone who was commissioned to rebuilding the cairns and show the location on the map. But i think his name was Boast.

G
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:57 pm

hi Mr G

The original mapping was done by Boast. In 1928, ready for the 50th anniversary the battlefield was fenced. The cairns outside that area were either misshandled or ignored. George Chadwick in his capacity as chairman of the SA Military History Society was commisioned in 1958 to rebuild the cairns as some had degenerated to the point that remains were visible. When he did that he drew a map indicating the position of all the renovated cairns, both on the ridge and also on the Trail. Thats the map Ive just found reference to and would love to get my hands on.
George allways maintained that there was a considerable loss of life on the ridge before the withdrawl to the main firing line. Most modern day authors dissagree.
Personally I think George was'nt likely to make that sort of mistake.
So any one out there that can satisfy my curiousity.............................please feel free.

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90th

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PostSubject: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:04 am

hi all.
This from a well known zulu war historian.

George Chadwick published references to the cairn or cairns on the iNyoni ridge several times - in the centenary edition of the Journal of the SA Military History Society he says that post-1958 he restored a number of cairns flattened 'in ignorance' by a graves curator, and that 'these cairns include those out on the ridge where the British companies were stationed and along the route of the fugitives. In view of recent statements that very few British were killed at the advanced positions, it is interesting to note that buttons, boot protectors and bones were found when the neglected cairns were dismantled and documented. This is, of course, not evidence that the casualties at these positions were very heavy.' In my view that last sentence is highly significant. I think it is quite likely that Mostyn and Cavaye's companies had suffered a few casualties from Zulu fire while on the ridge, but in my view it is a mistake to extrapolate from that - as seems to be happening a lot now - that Dyson's section was over-run before it could withdraw. Captain Essex says he personally took the order to Dyson to withdraw, and he makes no mention of the Zulus over-running them, merely remarking that the Zulus rushed forward to occupy their position after it was abandoned. It is also significant in my view that the Zulu amabutho were very jealous of the right to claim who had been first to get to close-quarters and 'stab' the enemy, and after Isandlwana the iNgobamakhosi and uMbonambi vied for this honour, which the king judged in favour of the uMbonambi (note that the Zulu left-of-centre was therefore first into the British positions - the right horn only came up into the camp from the rear afterwards). No claims were made by the amabutho on the ridge to have 'stabbed' the enemy. As to where those cairns are or were, I've spent a lot of hours wandering that ridge over the years, and I can't find them - there are a number of abandoned cattle kraals from old settlements on the slopes of the ridge, and my guess is that stones from the cairns were recycled at some point! George Chadwick apparently kept a lot of maps and detailed paperwork, but could be quite secretive about it; apparently after his death an unsuccesful attempt was made to retrieve his notes and put them in a public collection, but whether that was because the notes had already been destroyed, or whether his family wanted to do something else with them, I don't know. It's possible they are still in existence somewhere.
cheers 90th
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:14 am

Hi 90th

Yes thats the position Im in at present. Ive sent an e mail to Ken Gillings and also a few other people suggested by the samilitary history people. I walked the ridge in the late 60,s with George and heard his theories, he pointed out cairns that he had rebuilt at the same time.
Of course the evidence of a few bones and artifacts is no proof of destruction, however if the positions could be firmly established who knows. Greater minds than mine could debate for the next hundred years.
My object is not really to attempt to re write the history but rather to try and preserve if possible, or re create, that part of the battle.
Also dont forget that much of what we know about the early engagement comes down to "lucky Essex" who probably did much of the observing over his shoulder on a fast moving horse.
I dont know if you have ever read a series of books called the 'Flashman Stories'. Some how I equate Essex and Flashman.
In addition there is that cryptic remark from Chelmsford refering to the Two Companies that didnt come back.
All interesting stuff.

regards
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90th

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PostSubject: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:44 am

hi springbok9.
Yes, you are correct , fascinating subject , Lets hope the Chadwick papers do see the light of day.
Nothing wrong with some speculation it all makes it a little more interesting, not that it isnt interesting
enough :) . Hope you have some luck with K. Gillings , I think it was Ken who steered me in the right
direction to obtain the Alfred Boast Report. Good Luck.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:05 am

90th

Ken is at present up at the Battlefields, gets back this weekend. He does say however that he thinks the papers are with the Cambell Museum. Ive searched their data base and while there are a number of articles associated with Chadwick none that scream, 'look at this'.
Kens going to have a look for the papers at some point, more I think to research another aspect. ie; where the impi spent the prievious night and where they were discovered.

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90th

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PostSubject: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:17 am

hi springbok9.
Thanks for the heads up , keep us informed if anything shows up .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:08 pm

90th / Springbok this is very interesting, but to be honest i don't know much about Nyoni Ridge. See what you think of this its by Keith I Smith.


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You have to download to read.

Let me know if it was usefull.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:53 pm

"Is it really true, for example, that 2nd Lt. ‘Dyson’s section [of the 1/24th] was overwhelmed at a very early stage’ of the battle? This view is based on observations of a particular burial cairn carried out by the late George Chadwick, apparently in the 1970s. Yet the exact position of this cairn cannot now be ascertained – that part of the battlefield having been heavily disturbed – which makes it difficult to locate its context within the broader course of the battle. Moreover, Mr Chadwick himself was clearly wary of drawing too many conclusions from this cairn, for while it did indeed contain remains consistent with British dead, he was careful to note that ‘This does not necessarily indicate heavy casualties at these points’. The only evidence from survivors’ sources is even less ambiguous; Captain Essex, who took the order to Dyson’s section to withdraw from the ridge, merely noted that the Zulus ‘rushed forward as soon as our men disappeared below the crest’ – a phrase which does not suggest any direct conflict. There is, moreover, a complete absence of direct Zulu evidence from any warrior who claimed to have attacked Dyson’s section on the ridge – despite intense rivalry among the Zulu amabutho to claim the honour of being the first to ‘stab’ the white men. Similarly, was a working party from the camp really overwhelmed on the road behind Isandlwana? If so, who were they? All the available evidence suggests that a fatigue party of the 1/24th had been working on the road in front of Isandlwana, not behind, on the morning of the battle, in preparation for the forthcoming advance – but was recalled before the action began. Nor were the column’s scant compliment of Engineers in much of a position to work on the road that day - Lt. MacDowell, No. 3 Column’s Engineer officer, had been at Mangeni with Lord Chelmsford before the battle, and had only returned to Isandlwana as the Zulu attack developed; he was supposedly seen handing out ammunition at the height of the fighting, and his body was found in the camp, not by the road."

Source; Ian Knight.
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90th

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PostSubject: iNyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:53 pm

hi pete .
Very useful , also confusing :lol!: ,
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:39 pm

These maps by Chadwick. Why are they so hard to find.
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90th

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PostSubject: iNyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:42 pm

hi oh2.
I think its because no-one actually knows where they are , but I may be wrong .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:31 pm

"Very useful , also confusing lol! , "

I found that. That's why I passed it on you and Springbok.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:12 am

90th. I found that particular article some what confusing.

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:42 am

Hi All

When I spoke to Ken a few days ago he said he has looked for the papers and is of the opinion that they are in the Campbell Museum. He will be looking for them at some stage.
He was also well acquainted with George Chadwick and opined that he, George, had never mentioned the issue. He, Ken is of the opinion that George was refering to the the cairns at the point on spur where the flank was anchored.
From my own memory I can attest to a few issues. George did point out to me, broadly, the area of a 'few' cairns on the ridge.
In his writings for the SA Military History he specifically says 'the cairns ON THE RIDGE'. And he speaks of the 'ADVANCED POSITIONS"He qualifies his statements about the remains found by saying they do not in there own right prove that the engagement on the ridge did generate large scale casualties.

Admin

Thanks for the link Pete, Ive seen that particular one before. The map we would like to have was produced in the early 60's, at the time of the map being produced photos were taken of the caairns in question and the contents reintered wer catalogued.

Thanks all
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:39 am

I am posting this article by Ian Knight on behalf of 90th

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:02 pm

Who was in command of E Company, 1 /24th. And was this one of the companies that disappeared.
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90th

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PostSubject: iNyoni Ridge   Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:22 am

Hi littlehand.
Cavaye and Dyson were in command of E. Company. Littlehand read the text by I. Knight and then you
can make up your own mind . :) .
I"m not sure I even suscribe to the " missing companies theory ".
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:55 am

Extract from the statement of Private E. WILSON

Quote :
“Soon after which E Company, 1/24th, Lieutenant Cavaye in charge moved out to the left”

Quote :
“while I was on my way to rejoin my Company, I first heard firing on the hills to the left of the Camp. I could not at this time see anything of E Company, 1 /24th, which was out of sight.”

So I take it he is referring to one of the companies presume missing.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:47 pm

Littlehand

Theres quite an exhaustive thread we went through a couple of months ago with all the pros and cons on the missing troops.
I remain open minded about it.
I am convinced though there were casualties on the ridge, more than we have so far thought of.
As a thought, there has been a lot made of the impis not claiming 'first blood' for any action on the ridge. But surely the award made by cetshwayo was to 'first in camp' rather than 'first blood'.
Consider also that a great deal of kills were registered by the zulus with guns, both in the battle and at RD later. Why couldnt the fire on the ridge be just as threatening.

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:27 pm

I’m sure Neill made reference to this sometime ago, and that being no one really knows what happen behind Isandlwana. It’s a pity we can’t get hold of those maps by Chadwick.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:10 pm

Springbok9.
Not sure if you found this on the forum. Its not Chadwick. Its the Boast Maps.

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:51 am

Saul David

Thanks SD Ive got a copy of that report and map. Boast doesnt apear to have gone up on to the ridge. Or maybe he did and found no bodies?
Interesting thing Ive always found about the Boast Map, apart from its strangeness is the small little tick, grave marker, next to the road crossing of the stream.
Thats the mark thats always lent credents to the story of the engineers graves.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:34 pm

Springbok.
Quote :
apart from its strangeness is the small little tick, grave marker, next to the road crossing of the stream.
Can someone point this out. I can't see it.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:20 am

Hi Pete

On his map Boast made small ticks to indicate graves/cairns. If you look carefully where the road crosses the stream , on the left hand side, you will see a single tick. In his report I see to remember he makes reference to, after attending to the grave of Geo Shepstone, working his way down the road to the stream and into the paralllel donga, before going down the Fugitives Trail.

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:56 am

Sorry to drag this old topic back but I have been re reading the suvivors stories. Alan Gardiners is a problem.
Its generallt accepted that the troops were sent up onto the ridge by Pulleine at the instigation of Durnford. This around the time he, Durnford sent Raw and Shepstone onto the heights. However a careful reading of Gardners account says "on our left Colonel Pulleine sent out two companies about half way up the hill."
The interesting things about that statement are that first of all they went only half way up the hill, secondly the timing. Gardner only arrived back at the camp AFTER Durnford had left so the order to go up to the ridge is much later than thought. Also he, Gardner says the Zulu were coming over the hill in force. That also places the troops movement up the hill at a later point. Gardner also talks of meeting up with George Shepstone, again that puts this action well advanced into the Zulu attack.

Any thoughts Guys?
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PostSubject: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:16 am

hi springbok.
Without consulting the library , do we know what time Gardner met up with Shepstone ?. What would have been Shepstone's
movements after meeting Gardner ?. As we know Shepstone was overun with his NNC on the Western Side of Isandlwana in
a vain bid to hold back the right horn from linking up with the left horn behind Isandlwana .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:34 am

90th
Exactly my point. According to Gardner therefore the troops were not sent up to the ridge early in the battle but much later when the battle was well under way. However we know that thats not correct, the fight on the ridge is really well documented as being a precursor to the main Zulu advance. So could we infer that a SECOND advance up the ridge was made. And if so would this possible give rise to the missing troop theory?
As a second point, Alfred Boast reported that he had built 298 graves each covered with a 3 foot high cairn. Have a careful look at his map, its pretty meticulously drawn, for its time. I count only 247 graves, 51 short !
Curious !
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:44 am


Sorry 90th I didnt answer the question.
Gardner states that he left Chelmsford at 10.30 and arrived back at the camp between 12 and 1. Thats when he met Shepstone who had been sent back by Durnford to ask for reinforcements..
This is the time line that really needs exploring because he left the camp not long afterwards, he mentions the guns so that puts him escaping around 1:30, same as most of the mounted men. He also talks of riding down the hill to the right rear. That puts him closer to the road than the traditional fugitives trail, from there it appears that he road along the Manzimyama valley before climbing the hill.

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90th

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PostSubject: nyoni ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:57 am

hi sprinbok.
I have had a thought regarding Shepstone , If he was sent back by Durnford to get re-enforcements why was he on the
Western side of Isandlwana ?. Did he attempt to get re-enforced and realised it was an exercise in futility ? . Having realised all
was lost decided to try and get through to R.D ? . Then was stopped by the right horn , as they had already cut the road to R.D ?.
Therefore with their backs to the Western Face they sold their lives dearly . Hope this makes sense .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:01 am

Yes, makes a lot of sense. Couple of theories there. One is that seeing the right horn coming down of the back of the ridge, Pulleine sent him round to try and cut it of. The problem with that theory is that there wouldnt have been enough firepower. Your scenario would have him making the break then hitting the right horn and having to fight a defensive action. So makes sense. Either that or he was an incredably brave man to try and hold back the impi, that side of the mountain is definitly not horse friendly and his company was a mounted detachment.
Still cant figure out the Gardner story though, just doesnt fit together. There is of course the possibility that when the"officers" got together at Fugitives Drift they swopped snipperts of the battle, in the re telling it then got jumbled. Just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:16 pm

Was it Durnford or Pulliene who sent him to the west face.

"Capt T. Shepstone was sent to the west face of the mountain to face the uDududu and the uNokenke but was overrun. Durnford himself rallied a group of about 70 including some of Pope's company in front of the wagon park. Both the inGobamakhasi and the uMbonambi attacked them and Mehlakazulu described how they held out until their ammunition was exhausted and the Zulus even flung their own dead on the bayonets to break the defence. A group also rallied in the left rear of the lst/24th tents and it seems that Pope and Lt F. Godwin-Austin tried to shoot their way out when this was overrun. Some survivors of the companies rallied just on the western side of the neck. Younghusband's company retreated under the shoulder of the mountain and held out on its south-eastern edge until the end."
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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:27 am

Dave
Interesting quotes. As far as I recall the tradition of Pope and Godwin Austin hasnt been substantiated. It first apeared in TWOTS by Morris.
General consessus is they both died with their company down towards the donga.

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PostSubject: Re: Nyoni Ridge   Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:32 am

90th
Ive got Gardner penned in as moving from the camp a touch earlier than the rest and moving alongside the road rather than the traditional trail. He says very little about the fugitives trail ( compare it to the other suvivors), and the horrors of the chase and killing field. Leads me to the conclusion that he was ahead of the pursuing pack and posssibly travelled a route to the North of the others. He does of course mention the guns.
Potentially another brick in the wall.

regards
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