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This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History

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 Sergeant R Smith - 1st Kings Dragoon Guards

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Mr Greaves


Posts : 748
Join date : 2009-10-18

PostSubject: Sergeant R Smith - 1st Kings Dragoon Guards   Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:07 pm

Isandlwana extract.

Such a sight as I saw going over that hill I never shall forget, some of them laying on the ground as if looking up at us, others in other ways but the way they had mutilated their bodies were painful to see and no doubt if we had found them they would have had it in some tune for revenge is sweet. I believe there were about six hundred lay dead on the field tents all torn up and everything left only fighting gear which they took away, for these Zulus don’t use money all barter is with cattle. Rings, money, watches, were found on the dead, and the field were literally strewn with dead bodies and broken utensils besides cattle, mules, horses killed where they stood. The General in command did not keep us long there for the sight was dreadful to see, and I cannot tell all that they had done to our comrades bodies.

As our enemy could not be found we started back to Rorkes Drift on route for Dundee. Our next place was Landsman's Drift and thence to Kop Allien from where a force was to go on for Ulundi the King's headquarters, but on account of us loosing our convoy of provisions we were in the cart and had to stay on the borders and do convoy duty. Two troops of us were at Rorkes Drift where we arrived on Whitsunday as we had to march on Sundays as well as other days, but when in Camp on Sundays we had service as usual in the open air. During our stay in Rorkes Drift we had some very hard days, for our duty there was to keep up communication with Troops marching to Ulundi and had some days to march from 15 to 20 miles out until we could see them. It happened one night that we went to the column which was under General Newdigate and at the time we arrived they were busy shelling a bush which was infested with the enemy, about a mile from their camp but it came on dark, and then retired to camp expecting them to make an attack on us that night but they would not stand our shells this time, and away they went.

There was only one casualty on our side and that was the Adjutant of the 17th Lancers killed besides a few narrow escapes from pot legs which they crammed down their blunderbusses, anything they could get down the gun they put in it. The next morning we went on the track for our camp again which was about 30 miles, and glad we did as it was sky for our ceiling while there with a horse fastened to our foot to keep us from running away from them.

On arriving back in camp on the Sunday our orders was to go to Isandula next morning to commence to bury our comrades of the 24th Royal Artillery and volunteers that was killed there. We marched next morning at 3 o'clock. Half of us had to walk on account of having more men for working and the remainder of men mounted for look out party.

This work lasted about a fortnight. Every day we went, and as only about 40 could be spared from camp and the 24th that lay beside us was not allowed to go for they did not want them to see their comrades and they were left half way between us and our camp on lookout and to help us if wanted to, it was not a very comfortable duty. I for myself did not like it as we had to dig holes by the side of each and the ground rocky to make it worse for us but it must be done, so we had to settle down to it the best we could. On account of us having to dig so close to the bodies was because when they were moved, not only the stench but fell to pieces and would have been worse but their clothes held them together a great deal.

Mr G.

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Sergeant R Smith - 1st Kings Dragoon Guards
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