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Major-General Sir William Penn Symons
( Isandula Collection)
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 Bell Tents (Zulu War)

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Posts : 2547
Join date : 2009-04-06
Age : 56
Location : UK

PostSubject: Bell Tents (Zulu War)   Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:26 pm

How many men did the Bell Tents used during the Zulu War accommodate. Would there have been beds of some kind or just ground sheets on the floor. Also not sure if there would have been water proofing agents in those days or was there. So was wondering if the tents stood up to the harsh weather on South Africa.
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Mr Greaves


Posts : 748
Join date : 2009-10-18

PostSubject: Re: Bell Tents (Zulu War)   Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:37 pm

"Allowance of Camp Equipage" as follows:

Brigadier or Colonel Commandant, 1 marquee, 1 officer's tent, 2 common tents, 4 camp kettles, 2 canteens, 1 axe.

Brigade Major, 1 officer's tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.

Brigade Quarter Master, 1 officer's tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen, 1 axe.

Wagon Conductor, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen, 1 axe.

Forage Master, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.

Conductor of Military Stores, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle, 1 canteen.

Field Officer of each Regiment, 1 marquee, 1 officer's tent, 1 common tents, 3 camp kettles, 3 canteens, 1 axe.

Staff Officers of each Regiment, 3 officer's tents, 3 camp kettles, 4 canteens, 1 axe.

Officers of each Company, 1 officer's tent, 2 camp kettles, 3 canteens.

Officers' Servants of each Regiment, 1 common tent.

Non Commissioned Staff of each Regiment, 2 common tents, 4 knapsacks, 2 camp kettles, 4 canteens.

Non Commissioned Officers and Privates each, 1 knapsack, 1 canteen.

Each six Men, 1 common tent, 1 camp kettle.

Each Company, 1 axe.

Each Artillery Company, 2 officer's tents.

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Posts : 9856
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 62
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: Bell Tent as used at Isandlwana.   Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:23 am

Hi John.
From Memory I think it was 6 or 8 per tent . All laying in a circle with their feet pointing in the middle , basically like a clock face .
They had a waterproof sheet as far as I remember and a blanket , that might have been it . No tents were taken by the new
outgoing columns of the 2nd invasion . I'm certain Wood's column had tents as they didnt really retreat at all , and Wood mentions
about striking the tents before the battle of Khambula but not sure how many tents he had . Certainly no beds of any description
for the enlisted men , officers had some sort of camp stretchers . Hope this helps .
cheers 90th.
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Join date : 2009-03-25

PostSubject: Re: Bell Tents (Zulu War)   Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:51 pm

Arms & Equipment of the British Army, 1866 reprinted in 1986. This contains a substantial part of Equipment of Infantry (forming Part V of the Series of Army Equipments'), published by HMSO in 1865.
Page 98 under Camp Equipment details the following;

"The single circular or bell tent has only a roof with a curtain at the bottom a few inches wide. There is a wooden flooring, made in four quadrant shaped pieces, for use in permanent camps.
Tents are now made of linen duck and the cotton ones will be obsolete when the present stock is worn out."

Page 99 details the packaging and dimensions of those packages;

" Circular single
Valise, with roof, and bag containing 42 pins, and two mallets - 2' 8" long by 1' 4" wide by 1' 0" deep, weight 62 pounds.
pole in two pieces - 5' 5" by 0' 4"".

Page 100 details in chart form the scale of issue;

"Proportion when on service in the Field.
Tents, Circular -
2 for every field officer,
1 for each other officer,
1 for every 15 non-commissioned officers and men."

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