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 Tpr. A. Blaikie Natal Carbineers,

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PostSubject: Tpr. A. Blaikie Natal Carbineers,   Wed May 19, 2010 8:05 pm

Tpr. A. Blaikie Natal Carbineers, killed in action at Isandlwana (Isandlwana
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Photo By Tim Needham

"The Volunteers were called up in the Zulu War and Jim Blaikie lost his life at Islandhlwana in January, 1879. He was nineteen years old. This short biography comes from A Story of an African City by J. Forsyth Ingram, chapter sixteen and we know too that while in Scotland Jim was looked after by his uncle and aunt, the William Garden Blaikies [William Garden Blaikie 1820 - 1899]. Before going to the Zulu War, Jim had bought himself a narrow silver band which he wore on his wrist. Whether it was the fashion or his own idea I am not sure. His younger brother, Harry [Henry Blaikie 1869 - 1931], had one too. After their victory at Islandhlwana the Zulus disembowelled the dead and left them where they had fallen and in most cases they took nothing from their persons. It was the sad task of relatives, after the war, to find their dead and bury them. Kenneth Hathorn [Kenneth Howard Hathorn 1849 - 1933] who had married Agnes Blaikie [Agnes Elizabeth Blaikiey Blaikie 1853 - 1894] [and thereby in 1890 produced, as their fifth child, the writer from whom I am quoting, Amy Hathorn / Young] went to bury Jim. The Natal Carbineers had fallen next to each other round their leader Colonel A W Durnford. KH identified Jim's body by the silver bracelet and by the size of his head. He had a big head and so had KH who tried his own hat on the poor dead head and found it a firm fit. Kenneth Hathorn went twice to the battle field and I surmise that he went the second time to place the stone on Jim's grave. It had been imported from Aberdeen and is granite of a red brown colour and it lies flat on the ground the length of the grave.

The inscription reads:
"In memory of James Adrian Blaikie, eldest son of the late Anthony Adrian Blaikie, formerly of Aberdeen, a Volunteer Trooper in the Natal Carbineers. Killed here in battle, 22nd January 1879, aged 19 years."

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PostSubject: Re: Tpr. A. Blaikie Natal Carbineers,   Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:55 am

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PostSubject: J. A. Blaikie, Natal Carbineers, In Memoriam   Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:36 pm

The following is taken from the journal of Fettes College, Edinburgh, original spelling and grammar retained, the text is not without error especially in concluding that Trooper Muirhead was the only Carbineer survivor:

Volume No. VII. 1879

All his old friends at Fettes must have read with deep emotion – ‘Killed in action, on 22d January, at Isandhlwana, Zululand, aged nineteen, JAMES ADRIAN BLAIKIE, of the Natal Carbineers (Volunteers), eldest son of the late Anthony Adrian Blaikie, Esquire, formerly of Aberdeen.’

Brought up in the sunny climate of Natal, and in the independence and freedom of an open-air colonial life, young Blaikie came among us a strong, roving, kind-hearted boy, not much in love discipline and regular work of a public school, but with an honest desire to do well.

When he returned to Natal, to join his family, it seemed uncertain for a little how he was to get on in life; but in the mercantile office which he entered a short time ago, - one of the first in the colony, - he took a high place, and gave every promise of usefulness and success.  At the request of his master, Mr. Shepstone, he joined the Carbineers, and went out with Glyn’s column.  His friends remarked that, contrary to his ordinary habit, he spoke very seriously of the risk he knew he was running, and that after he left, he never missed an opportunity of writing home.  His last letter, written to his sister, bids her tell his mother that he was well, and that he was reading his Bible.  Little is known of his end.  Muirhead, the only carbineer who escaped, reported that he died nobly, cool and steady, encouraging the men to the end.  He and Lieutenant Scott were together; they both kept their heads throughout, though some of their comrades fainted.  We may judge of the horrors of the field, when we are told that the greatest comfort his friends had was that he had two gunshot wounds, so that he would probably be dead before the Zulus came to close quarters.

The sympathy of all will flow to his family, and especially to his widowed mother, whose hopes were bound up in her eldest son, and to whom his premature and awful death must have brought a peculiarly bitter sense of desolation.

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