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 Camp life.

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old historian2

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PostSubject: Camp life.   Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:00 pm

What would camp life for the normal soldier have been like during the Zulu War? We here about officer’s sitting in the mess tents drinking just about whatever they could get hold off (Gin being the most popular) But I understand it was a flogging offence if a Soldier was caught drinking. (Or did this just apply to when Soldiers were on duty) I was read Curling letters where he describes cooking his own food whenever possible, would this have been the same for the normal soldiers or was they restricted to army rations.

Going by the Film Zulu Dawn the soldiers when off duty took part in gambling games such a s cards, was gambling allowed or was in prevented to stop the soldiers getting into dept therefore not being able to send money home.

Apologies fro so many questions.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Camp life.   Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:00 pm

Old H. This gives a small insight into an Sgt Life during the Zulu War. But when he mentioned the flogging, I guest he’s referring to the Private Soldier.

Extract from Sergeant R Smith - 1st Kings Dragoon Guards.

During the week the Sergeants not on duty were allowed to go on shore I happened to be one of the lucky amongst them. So three of us went together and a capital spree we had plenty of dancing and then amusements, the people there are chiefly Spanish or Portugese. Our time back to ship was six o'clock but it was nearer eight when we arrived and very nearly being upset on the way but we landed sound only one mishap and that was on landing on deck one of my mates dropped a bottle of brandy out of his tunic and did not stay to see if it had broken, for the officers were there to see us land but we heard no more about it, only stopped us from going again. The other ship had a boat load coming home and got capsized by the side of the ship, four of them, but they got off with a good ducking. This was the beginning of March and you could buy oranges and grapes very cheap from boats that come by the side of the ships. When we had been there about a week and got out coal away we sailed for Cape Town in Africa and a capital run we had for the weather was warm and could sleep on the top deck and look at the stars. It was hardly safe to sling a hammock or you might get the cord cut and down you went as a great many did. We had on board of our ship half of the band and at night we had singing and the band playing same as a concert every night after it was dark. During the voyage we had a bit of flogging with the cat some got twenty-five for sleeping on their posts on guard and others for stealing a case of wine. I fairly pitied these men but it had to be stopped and we were on service from leaving England, and all had to parade and see it done. We also lost several horses during the voyage but lucky to loose no men. On arriving at Cape Town we had again to stay about a week for coal until the other vessels in front of us had coaled. But we were not allowed to go ashore there on account of our last conduct at St Vincent. 9th April 1879.


Mr G

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