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 Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.

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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.   Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:37 pm

Old. H as promised.

An Account by : Commissioner Dunn. With reference to Arthur Howard

We could not believe that the Zulu would be satisfied with their defeat. Se we set to work repairing the damage done during the struggle as much as possible and prepare ourselves for another attack.
A group proceeded to bring the straw down from the roof of the storeroom, which could have easily have been set alight and other gathered and destroyed the muskets and assegais strewn over the terrain, while a third group had the painful task of placing the dead in a corner of the enclosure. We covered the area all around the battle scene and found dead Zulu all over the place, with the married men’s wedding rings, made from black hair. While we were occupied with this, a white face, as pale as a ghost suddenly appeared from among the small outbuildings where the commissioner’s ovens had been established. “Who are you?” we asked. To our enormous surprise, he turned out to be a Gunner. For some inexplicable reason, he had gone unnoticed among the Zulu who had fought furiously around him.

Another by : Commissioner Dunn with reference to fighting in the Dark.

Zulu reached the barricade attacking it several times, but they were repelled and pushed back with heavy losses; many times they were stopped simply by the bayonet. The men behave with splendid courage and bravery. They were soldiers at battle, each man fighting in his position and they avenged themselves very well for the massacre at Isandlwana. When night fell the attacks slackened off from time to time. All the shooting stopped for a moment and deep silence reigned, which was only broken by the words of Zulu commanders, which sounded strangely familiar. I would have loved to know what they were saying ! The source of ammunition was fortunately highly abundant and arrived where it was needed by the Chaplain reverend George Smith, who was very active helping to distribute it.

According to Hitch:

We were there for about an hour, the whole time between three crossed lines of fire. I saw one of my comrades, soldier Nicholls die from a shot to the head. All his brains were spread over us.
There was a wounded Zulu some yards away from the barricade. We knew he was there and that he was only wounded… When we were too busy dealing with the more active men trying to expel them outside, I saw him at that point with a rifle in position of aiming at one of my comrades. It was too late to prevent it; He fired and poor Nicholls fell with a shot to his head.

At quarter to seven, they hit me with a bullet to the left; the bullet hit me underneath the right shoulder blade and left through my shoulder. I fell to the ground and Mr Bromhead asked me: “Comrade, have they hit you ?” and I said “yes” .
I hadn’t had time to form an opinion about whether the Zulu would take the position or not. My only desire, I think like that of everyman, was to fight with as much determination as I could and that’s just what I did until I was wounded.


A clear sight of Spalding’s force encouraged the soldiers, including Commissioner Dunn. His account.

We were looking outside, in hope that aid would come from Helpmekaar and we noticed a cloud of dust in the trail in the distance, several miles away and few of us thought in might have been the two companies of the 24th that were barracked there, coming to help us; News spread like wildfire around us, encouraging everybody and was received with noisy cheering that must have astounded the Zulu. But the dust was blown away by the wind and help never come.


Account of Joseph Williams

Joseph Williams had been shooting from a small window at the far end of the hospital . The following morning, we found fourteen dead warriors below him, as well as others along his line of fire. When his ammunition ran out, he and his comrades guarded the door with their bayonets, but the Zulu later force an entrance and grabbed their poor comrade with their hands, dragging him outside killing him in front of the others.

S.D
I will post somemore later..
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PostSubject: Re: Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.   Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:42 am

S.D. Wonderful !! Thanks very much. I wonder if you have the one about the Zulu that rose from the dead fired his musket. I only have part of the account.
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90th

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PostSubject: eye witness account rorkes drift   Sun May 10, 2009 7:33 am

hi oh2,
found this in, rorkes drift by those who were there. this account witten by chard to queen victoria. this happened after the zulus had left ..... "one zulu had remained in the kraal and fired a shot among us {without doing any damage} as we stood on the walls.and ran off in the direction of the river, although many shots were fired at him as he ran, i am glad to say the plucky fellow got off". and found another in the book but cant find who described it. a zulu suddenly sprung up from the dead and fired at me or us { not sure of the wording} but he was sent off very quickly !!. cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: clr-sgt bourne rorkes drift   Sun May 10, 2009 7:49 am

found this in "RORKES DRIFT BY THOSE WHO WERE THERE" Bournes 1st radio broadcast in 1934.

" here let me say they were armed with a number of old smooth bore rifles, guns and several martini henry rifles which had come from isandlwana and with ammunition from the boxes found on the dead mules at the camp, the mules having bolted as the camp was attacked. thus preventing any one from getting at the boxes to open them".

now as we now the zulus who attacked R.D. took no part in the isandlwana battle, but they could have killed people who were fleeing along the rorkes drift road, and come across mules who had bolted from the camp, so this could be another reason why the ammunition supply dried up. ?
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PostSubject: Re: Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.   Sun May 10, 2009 10:08 am

Thanks 90th. Bourne’s 1st radio broadcast in 1934. I have heard is going to be reproduced by his Great-Great Grandson. Maybe there’s another Great in there somewhere.

But if anyone knows a web-site where we can hear the original recording let us know.
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PostSubject: reply -bourne   Mon May 11, 2009 1:59 am

hi oh2,
cant remember where i saw it, but the original copy was thrown out when they decided to tidy up the radio station.

cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.   Mon May 11, 2009 11:41 am

Another piece of Histroy down the drain. Mad
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PostSubject: rorkes drift by those who were there.   Thu May 28, 2009 12:20 pm

hi old historian 2.

not sure if you are still interested, but if you want to read about rorkes drift you cant go past RORKES DRIFT by THOSE WHO WERE THERE. by A.B.JONES and L. STEVENSON. go to google, and type in the ISBN 0954196317 (only the niumber is required).
and all the places that have copies will come up. you can get some great in-expensive books, all you need is the book"s ISBN.

good luck 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Eye witness accounts Rorkes Drift.   Fri May 29, 2009 12:44 am

90th Thanks for the link. The books are quite reasonable.
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PostSubject: re - rorkes drift.   Sat May 30, 2009 11:36 am

hi OH 2

how did you go, did you find a cheap copy of RORKES DRIFT by THOSE WHO WERE THERE, I dont want to appear a sticky beak, just curious as i am sure you will enjoy it.

cheers 90th.
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