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 Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)

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PostSubject: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:58 am

I am trying to put together a list of all those who mentioned in one-way or another the fate of the Drummer boys (Isandlwana). If anyone could add to the list it would be appreciated. Just looking for who said it, and what they said.

1) Extract from Pte: William Meredith 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 5th Feb 1879.
“Even the little boys that we had with the band, they were hung up on hooks and open like sheep.”

2) Extract from Pte: John James 2/24th in his letter to his Father, Mother & Sister. No Date.
“Two little Drummer boys were hung up on the hooks of weights that were used to weigh the meat on”

3) Extract from Pte: 832 Alfred Kelly C Company 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 28th Jan 1879.
“The band boys were cut open and hanged by their heels to the Commissary Scales & Waggon wheels”

4) Samuel Jones 45th Regiment
“One sight, a most gruesome one, I shall never forget. Two lads, presumably two little drummer boys of the 26th Regiment, had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under their chins, then they were disemboweled: all the circumstances pointed to the fact they had been subjected to that inhuman treatment while still alive.”
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:23 am

5) Trooper Thomas Henry Makin, 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards
“The first we saw was a little drummer boy, his drum broken in, his head cut off and placed on his chest, his hands inserted between his ribs. We then came across the poor fellows laid in groups of 5 and 6, every one of which had been mutilated by those savages and all were laid naked, every article of clothing having been torn off them. We came across a large wooden structure like a double scaffold, where two other boys had been hung up by their hands to the hooks and as they had decomposed, their bodies had fallen to the ground where they lay, with no friendly hand to give them a decent burial.”

6) Charles Mason Rorke's Drift defenders. Charles Mason wrote a letter home from Rorke’s Drift, dated 9th February 1879.
"There were 5 boys belonging to the Band, poor little fellows, they were left in camp, the black buggers got the boys and tied them up by the hands to the wagons and butchered them, cut their privates off and stuck them in their mouths."

7) Drummer W. Sweeney of the 2/24th. April 29th, 1879 He says:
‘Two drummers, Anderson and Holmes, and five little boys of the band about fourteen years of age. They butchered most awfully indeed. One little chap named M’Every, they hung up by the chin to a hook’

8) Trooper Sam Jones of Newcastle Mounted Rifles:
"Two lads, presumably little drummer boys of the 24th Regiment, had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under the chins, then disembowelled"
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Mon Mar 14, 2011 6:53 am

Sgnt W. Meredith H company.
Sgnt Edward Daly

Both record there was only 2 Drummers.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:22 am

Admin
The roll clearly shows the drummers present and killed were no less than 17 years old judging by the date of their attestation and DOB at the time, however no doubt the sons of civilian wagon conductors were present.

I have just got back (yesterday) from trip No9. I was discussing the drummers with Mike Snook and Martin Everett at the top of the Telehane Ridge, we all agreed the drummer story is a typical piece of good old Victorian spin.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:56 pm

And there's me thinking you hadn't even left yet. So we can look forward to some photo's of your trip. Number (9) I came to the conclusion that the drummer boy issue was as you a Victorian spin, but I was just looking for the various accounts and what was said, and by whom. As you can see they all ready differ (Hung up by the heels) another by the hands) another under the chin)(Then we go into heads cut off.)

I found one to day, but no name of whom it originated from. But its states:

“A drummer boy threw his sword at a Zulu, he was caught, tossed in air landing on the assagais.”

Still these stories must have got the soldier’s blood boiling and a great thirst for revenge.
Anyway glad your back safe and well.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:03 pm

Pete
Indeed images a plenty, including 4 Martini Cases on Hlobane which will set pulses racing, photographed where they were found, and still remain, and will for many years as only I, and three others know the spot.

We spent a whole day at Isandlwana and on the vadette outposts on the Telehane/ Nyoni ridges trying to find Lock and Quantrills hidden ground, between Ngwebeni / Mbaso ridge and the camp, which certainly we could not. I took some panoramic sweeps with my new camera, wow.

Investigations on the North face of isandlwana provided a host of cairns I had not seen, testimony to the defence of that position and its importance in holding open the gap for the fugitives.

The drummer boys have become a little folklore, as the historical evidence does not substantiate them as being boys, 17-19 youths yes, certainly not angelic kids as portrayed by Fripp.



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:17 pm

I am not sure if I am missing something here, but hanging by hooks seems to be mentioned in 6/8 (of what appear to be first hand witness accounts) above.

Have you just dismissed these accounts as "Victorian spin" Neil?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:02 am

Like tasker224, I seem to be missing something .......

A question that could be asked is, "Why would the Zulus not have hung the boys on meat hooks?"

Brett
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:12 am

Possibly one man embelishing a story and it being passed on, getting bigger every time, that would explain the 8 or so reports. When the column left isandlwana it was still dark, wasnt it Maxwell who last in the rear guard and saw the battlefield in daylight who denied the story?
Brett
Possibly the question would be why would they?

Neil
Why so much difficulty in finding the Lock and Quantrill 'spot'? I walked in from the back road, found it very easily with the GPS.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:15 am

I have lived in KwaZulu-Natal for more than half of my 70+ years and have family close and distant that has lived in both Natal and Zululand since before the Zulu War. When I read that in the heat of battle a Zulu hanged an enemy on the end of a meat hook, I believe it.

Brett
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:09 am

Brett your probably right, I witnessed some pretty horrible things there in the 80s.

However.
So far, according to reports we now have :
2 hung by heels on hooks
2 on the scales and waggon wheels
2 by the chin
1 head cut of
5 with privates cut of and stuck in their mouths and
1 miscelaneous who was tied up and dissembowelled.

Total 13. Drummer boys, thats an aweful lot of drummer boys to be around the camp that day.

Im suprised that with that amount of juvenile slaughter more wasnt mentioned by Norris, Moodie etc.
And Im extremely suprised that it wasnt noticed by Maxwell or any of the rearguard on the morning of the 23rd.

Just a thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:00 pm

Hi All

Found this in the Military Times

Popular Myths of Isandlwana – 1879 Zulu War

Drummer boys ‘gutted like sheep’
One story that circulated widely in the horrific aftermath of the battle was that Lord Chelmsford’s men, returning to the devastated camp on the night of the 22nd, had seen ‘young drummer boys’ of the 24th Regiment hung up on a butcher’s scaffold and ‘gutted like sheep’ While it need not be doubted that, in the fury of the attack, theZulus would have killed boys as well as men – they had taken the Queen’s shilling, after all, and their chances with it – this horror story does not stand up to close scrutiny.

‘Boy’ was a rank in the British Army at the time, applied to lads not yet 18, many of whom were the sons of men serving in the regiment. Drummers were seldom Boys – among their other duties was administering floggings as punishment – and of 12 Drummers killed at Isandlwana, the youngest was 18 and the oldest in his 30s. Five Boys were killed at Isandlwana, most of them in the 24th’s band, and the youngest was 16 – not quite the innocent lads immortalised in sentimental paintings of the time.

Even the contemporary regimental history of the 24th admitted ‘no single case of torture was proved against [the Zulus]’. But, in the fraught atmosphere that prevailed when Lord Chelmsford’s command returned to the camp that night, such horror stories spread like wild fire and were readily believed –although, as one officer pointed out, ‘it was impossible for those who told these yarns to distinguish anything in the night, it being exceptionally dark’.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:49 pm

You need to blank out the image of the young lad in the famous Battle Of Isandlwana painting. When we think of drummer boys, we tend to think 8-10 year old's. At Isandlwana they were in-fact young men not Boys.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:39 pm

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From the Battle Of Isandlwana Painting. By Neuville.

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This is how we all imagine millitary drummers boys to be.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:48 pm

Forget the term "drummer boy" for a moment and whether these poor lads were hung up, down, back to front or sideways.
There is a quite remarkable and RECURRING THEME here, of "hanging" and "hooks" in 7 out 8 of these witness statements. This can not and should not be ignored or dismissed - these statements are evidence - how reliable, we will never know, but they are contemporary evidence.
To dismiss these statements out of hand as spin, lies or exaggeration, I find disrespectful to the men who made them quite frankly.
These witnesses must have seen hundreds of butchered bodies, mutilated, disembowelled and by their accouts, some were hung. (One witness may well have seen a body hung from the chin, another may have seen a different body hung in a different way, say by the feet or hands - what's the problem? More than one victim was been hung).
Do give these 8 witnesses a bit of slack here - imagine the sight they saw and allow them the luxury of a bit of confusion and for their brains to have got a little mixed in exactly what they saw and whilst processing the information overload in subsequent dreams, nightmares etc etc.
The exact details may not be precise, but if they had seen a particularly horrid sight, such as someone hung from a hook, they would have certainly remembered it vividly and recounted it in their statements.
From what I understand anyway, the bodies on the battlefield were stripped, so the victims would not have been identified by their uniforms (drummer uniforms).
The term "drummer boy" perhaps has become an incorrect term derived of "spin" or euphamism to describe a young soldier, but do not forget, a not particularly well fed 17 or 18 year old back in Zululand in 1879, would not have had the maturity and stature of a similar aged youth of today - he may well have been small, thin and pathetic hanging from that hook.
The savagery in the battle is known to have been terribly gory - it is not inconceivable is it, that at most 7 of the almost 2000 men killed were hung from a hook?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:45 pm

Hi All

Looking at the evidence we have.

7) Drummer W. Sweeney of the 2/24th. April 29th, 1879 He says:
‘Two drummers, Anderson and Holmes, and five little boys of the band about fourteen years of age. They butchered most awfully indeed. One little chap named M’Every, they hung up by the chin to a hook’


Anderson - He attested at Preston on 21st August 1869, aged 14 years. He trained at the Royal School of Military Music, Kneller Hall. He joined the 2nd/24th, as a drummer, on 6th February 1873. He was awarded a good shooting prize in 1878. Served in G Company.

Holmes - He was transferred from 90th Regiment (90/1343) 19th May 1869. He was posted to India on 11th February 1870

M'Every - Could be Joseph McEwan 2/24th attested Dover 20/4/77 age 14, which would put him 16-17.

Drummer Adams, W. H. 2003 was aged 19 when killed
Drummer Andrews, C. 267 was aged 23 when killed
Drummer Dibden, G. 1786 was aged 22 when killed
Drummer Haynes, Jno. 542 ( Pte. on the roll) was aged 18 when killed
Drummer Osmond, C. 1226 ( G. on despatch ) was aged 31 when killed
Drummer Orlopp, J. F. 2 was aged 19 when killed
Drummer Perkins, T. 1-24/1 was aged 36 when killed
Drummer Reardon, T. 501 was aged 18 when killed
Drummer Stansfield, S. 114 was aged 22 when killed
Drummer Thompson, Jno. 1787 was aged 21 when killed
Drummer Wolfendale, A. 2004 was aged 19 when killed
Drummer Wolfendale, J. 1399 was aged 26 when killed

As
Chelmsfordthescapegoat wrote:
You need to blank out the image of the young lad in the famous Battle Of Isandlwana painting. When we think of drummer boys, we tend to think 8-10 year old's. At Isandlwana they were in-fact young men not Boys.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:07 pm

I did read that
Quote :
"There may have been younger boys with some of the irregulars and hired transport."
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:16 pm

Quote :
"There may have been younger boys with some of the irregulars and hired transport."

Hi all

I know this is not going to be easy, but does anyone have / part of a list or anything in a way of a list of those hired tranport personal ?
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:52 pm

"Samuel and Charles were not among the 14 members of the Newcastle Mounted Rifles who saw action at Isandhlwana as they had volunteered to go with Lord Chelmsford’s column. However Samuel did record his account of the events which were published some fifty years later . “One sight, a most gruesome one, I shall never forget. Two lads, presumably two little drummer boys of the 26th Regiment,( I think this should have been the 24th) had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under their chins, then they were disemboweled: all the circumstances pointed to the fact they had been subjected to that inhuman treatment while still alive.”
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:17 pm

Just wanted to say what an interesting thread.. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:37 pm

House Of Lords

QUESTION. OBSERVATIONS: HL Deb 27 March 1884 vol 286 cc843-55

COLONEL STANLEY
"In the fatal disaster at Isandlana two pathetic sights were seen. A blue-jacket, the servant of Lieutenant Milne, of the Navy, who was fighting against any odds, got his back to a waggon and kept off his opponents, laughing the whole time as if he were making a joke of the matter. I am sorry to say that that gallant man met with the common fate. In another case I heard of similar bravery being shown by a drummer-boy. In the action he was overpowered, and his last act was to thrust his sword into the face of one of his opponents. I do not wish to enter into these subjects in order to excite emotion; but these are no unimportant factors on which Lord Chelmsford could rely when he felt that men such as he commanded were good against odds which at other times might be overpowering"

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OBSERVATIONS: HC Deb 27 May 1879 vol 246 cc1364-82

LORD ELCHO.
"He gave the Zulus credit for their gallantry; but he had seen a letter which showed them the type of man they had to deal with in that country. He had seen a letter of which sheets and sheets were written in pencil after the battle of Isandlana, and the writer said that every soldier who fell was disembowelled; that the hands, feet, and heads of many were cut off; and that drummer boys were found with their hands tied behind their backs and hung up on meat hooks"

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:22 pm

List so far..

1) Extract from Pte: William Meredith 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 5th Feb 1879.
“Even the little boys that we had with the band, they were hung up on hooks and open like sheep.”

2) Extract from Pte: John James 2/24th in his letter to his Father, Mother & Sister. No Date.
“Two little Drummer boys were hung up on the hooks of weights that were used to weigh the meat on”

3) Extract from Pte: 832 Alfred Kelly C Company 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 28th Jan 1879.
“The band boys were cut open and hanged by their heels to the Commissary Scales & Waggon wheels”

4) Samuel Jones 45th Regiment
“One sight, a most gruesome one, I shall never forget. Two lads, presumably two little drummer boys of the 26th Regiment, had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under their chins, then they were disembowelled: all the circumstances pointed to the fact they had been subjected to that inhuman treatment while still alive.”

5) Trooper Thomas Henry Makin, 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards
“The first we saw was a little drummer boy, his drum broken in, his head cut off and placed on his chest, his hands inserted between his ribs. We then came across the poor fellows laid in groups of 5 and 6, every one of which had been mutilated by those savages and all were laid naked, every article of clothing having been torn off them. We came across a large wooden structure like a double scaffold, where two other boys had been hung up by their hands to the hooks and as they had decomposed, their bodies had fallen to the ground where they lay, with no friendly hand to give them a decent burial.”

6) Charles Mason Rorke's Drift defenders. Charles Mason wrote a letter home from Rorke’s Drift, dated 9th February 1879.
"There were 5 boys belonging to the Band, poor little fellows, they were left in camp, the black buggers got the boys and tied them up by the hands to the wagons and butchered them, cut their privates off and stuck them in their mouths."

7) Drummer W. Sweeney of the 2/24th. April 29th, 1879 He says:
‘Two drummers, Anderson and Holmes, and five little boys of the band about fourteen years of age. They butchered most awfully indeed. One little chap named M’Every, they hung up by the chin to a hook’

8) Trooper Sam Jones of Newcastle Mounted Rifles:
"Two lads, presumably little drummer boys of the 24th Regiment, had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under the chins, then disembowelled"

9) A drummer boy threw his sword at a Zulu, he was caught, tossed in air landing on the assagais.” Unknown author”

10) He had seen a letter of which sheets and sheets were written in pencil after the battle of Isandlana, and the writer said that every soldier who fell was disembowelled; that the hands, feet, and heads of many were cut off; and that drummer boys were found with their hands tied behind their backs and hung up on meat hooks"
LORD ELCHO. House of lords.
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PostSubject: Isandlwana Drummer Boys   Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:41 pm

Hi 1879Graves.
Sorry mate , I dont know of any written information regarding the records of those civilian transport personal .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:44 am

And yet nothing from Maxwell, he actually denies it. He was on of the few to see the battlefield during daylight on the 23rd. Nothing from Maorie Brown, also road about the camp during daylight. Nothing from Glynn who walked around the field. Three prime witnesses.
None of these reporters saw the battlefield during daylight, so when were these sightings made? In the dark?
iSandlwana at night is a very dark space, in modern times lights from the hotel on the ridge and from the kraals and villages are seen as small pinpricks. In 1879 there were no lights at all, the place would have been pitch black, hence people slipping on the intestines of dead soldiers etc.
In africa there is virtually to twilight, its light and then its dark, same in the morning, dawn breaks and its instant light. The battlefield was abandoned at 4 am before dawn, deliberatly so that the troops did not see the dead.
I camped on the saddle in the 60,s, even with the stars and moon the darkness was impenetrable. I wouldnt have been able to see any detail of a battle field.
I dont know if the stories are true or not, but stories of 'privates been cut of and stuck into mouths' are a vivid stretch of imagination.
Possible its the " Send reinforcements were going to advance ", syndrum.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:37 am

As 1879 Graves lists, fact is there is no evidence whatsoever of "Little Drummer Boys", a la Fripps picture, At 17 these would look like the rest of the men, apart maybe from beard growth. Even then, study any victorian image and youthful faces, even into their mid 20's you will see.

I concur with Springie, we went onto the battlefield at 4am, it was literally blackout, apart from the cairns which had a strange luminous glow., I fell headlong into a drainage channel as I could not see my hand in front of my face.

Unless someone can prove who these "little boys" were, (OK the possibility of sons of wagon conductors, many of whom will always remain unknow) the regimental history is quite precise, and Brecon confirms this, they are factually not there, they have become embellished in history, ....angel of Mons?, the Crucified Canadian soldier?, in respect to ritual mutilation, this was not something new, the Canadian wars of the 1770's it was commonplace, so it goes on and it grows with the telling.

Julian Whybras excellent "Englands Sons" is THE defining work on the individuals at Isandlwana, no boys mentioned there, and, whilst I sometimes took umbridge at the tone of some of his posts on the RDVC site over the years, I admired his stance, His many hours at Kew, testimony to his dedicated in depth research, regurgitation of other written works, many of whom had not got the same background evidence was not his way of doing things, he, as I try and do is only do fact, and without any names, hard or evidence to the contrary, that these "little boys" exist it will always remain myth.

Trooper Robenheim I believe is the only "captive" to undergo torture in the AZW,

Sorry guys, but do try and wrestle fact from contemporary history, If Norman Holme and Julian Whybra cannot find any evidence that they existed, I know what side of the fence i am on.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:02 pm

Some very good points all round. A very interesting thread, to echo OH2.

Neil A wrote:

"Trooper Robenheim I believe is the only "captive" to undergo torture in the AZW, "

Using Neil's very modern and legally tight standard of not believing anything unless it can be proved and found to be fact, would make for very many short and boring discussions on this subject.
I would challenge Neil to say that he really BELIEVES only one person was tortured in the whole AZW. (I am certain that Neil is correct in saying that there is proof, evidence, that only one person was tortured in the whole AZW), but these are 2 entirely different things.

Using Victorian standards, confessions and witness statements were sufficient to send people to the gallows. Therefore, I do not think it is valid to dismiss the witness statements, because they wouldn't stand up to modern standards of judiciary.

If there is no proof the hangings did happen, there is also no proof that they did not. To pass sentence, I think we need here a Scottish verdict of "not proven."
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:45 pm

Tasker
On the contrary, I do not argue with factual evidence, I do not argue that the possibility of some kind of mutilation took place, where on this forum or others have I said that no did no form of ritual torture take place on the field of Isandwana? , neither do I apply modern ethics, so on that basis do not judge me sir.

But without sound basis that "little boys" were present, in the 24th ranks, and there is none whatsoever, I see it for what it is, simply a victorian melo-dramatical addition to the story.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:51 pm

Neil
Good to see that you recognise the "possibility" that it could have happened - perhaps to men, taken to be little boys. As I have previously pointed out, a not particularly well fed 17 - 18 year old in 1879 would not have the stature and features of a fully grown man, as the youth of today.
Also, I have previously called to allow a little confusion at such sights.
There is an astonishingly similar and recurring theme in the extracts below.
On the subject of judging others Neil, I guess my gripe is, that if you are dismissing the statements below out of hand, what are you saying about the men who wrote them?

1) Extract from Pte: William Meredith 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 5th Feb 1879.
“Even the little boys that we had with the band, they were hung up on hooks and open like sheep.”

2) Extract from Pte: John James 2/24th in his letter to his Father, Mother & Sister. No Date.
“Two little Drummer boys were hung up on the hooks of weights that were used to weigh the meat on”

3) Extract from Pte: 832 Alfred Kelly C Company 2/24th in his letter to his brother. Dated 28th Jan 1879.
“The band boys were cut open and hanged by their heels to the Commissary Scales & Waggon wheels”

4) Samuel Jones 45th Regiment
“One sight, a most gruesome one, I shall never forget. Two lads, presumably two little drummer boys of the 26th Regiment, had been hung up by butcher hooks which had been jabbed under their chins, then they were disemboweled: all the circumstances pointed to the fact they had been subjected to that inhuman treatment while still alive.”

5) Trooper Thomas Henry Makin, 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards
“The first we saw was a little drummer boy, his drum broken in, his head cut off and placed on his chest, his hands inserted between his ribs. We then came across the poor fellows laid in groups of 5 and 6, every one of which had been mutilated by those savages and all were laid naked, every article of clothing having been torn off them. We came across a large wooden structure like a double scaffold, where two other boys had been hung up by their hands to the hooks and as they had decomposed, their bodies had fallen to the ground where they lay, with no friendly hand to give them a decent burial.”

6) Charles Mason Rorke's Drift defenders. Charles Mason wrote a letter home from Rorke’s Drift, dated 9th February 1879.
"There were 5 boys belonging to the Band, poor little fellows, they were left in camp, the black buggers got the boys and tied them up by the hands to the wagons and butchered them, cut their privates off and stuck them in their mouths."

7) Drummer W. Sweeney of the 2/24th. April 29th, 1879 He says:
‘Two drummers, Anderson and Holmes, and five little boys of the band about fourteen years of age. They butchered most awfully indeed. One little chap named M’Every, they hung up by the chin to a hook’



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:30 pm

But don't you think it’s a bit odd, that these statements are only from Soldiers holding the rank of private/ Troopers. No officers it didn’t happen its Victoria soldiers fables, Chinese whispers. The only boy there was young Bugler Fred Jackson, of the Natal Carabineers although only 16 years old he died as a man along side Malcolm Moodie with rifle and bayonet in hand. Young Jack would not have been one of the so called drummer boys hung up on meat hooks, He was to bloody hard to be taken and no doubt took a lot of Zulu’s with him before he died.

Young Jack’s remains were found on the 20th Jun 1879 with those of Malcolm Moodie about 400 yards towards the camp from where Lt Scott and the other Carabineers were found along with Col Durnford (Report from Lt Royston 30 June 1879 Natal Witness).

Quote :
"There may have been younger boys with some of the irregulars and hired transport."
Speculation, No evidence. Didn’t happen.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:36 pm

I'm sorry, but you don't need proof from any source, to say there was or wasn't torture carried out at iSandlwana. The place would of been like an abortoir! Close quarter combat at its ugliest. Men ripped to shreds, etc. I'm sure some of the Zulus would of singled out some of the last men standing, and being so incensed at the carnage caused by the desperate struggle, they would of done some terrible things to the unfortunate defenders. ( I know I would of done) It's called WAR!! Nasty, nasty stuff happens, and that's a fact!!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:47 pm

warrior3. Atrocities did take place at Isandlwana, there is documented evidence to support this, the issue in question is the Drummer Boys, of which there is no documented evidence apart from letters written by private soldiers. If you read Interview with Mehlokazulu Kasihayo (Click on link below) He mentions some of these, like the cutting off of a soldier’s head. What the other members are trying to establish is (Did the incident with the drummer boys take place.

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:09 pm

Yes, without a shadow of a doubt, but no ememy's going to admit it. My point is, you don't need documented evidence. Horrible stuff like this happens in wartime.


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:20 pm

From a well known Zulu War Historian.

“I've been following the 'Drummer-Boys' question on the forum.

What no one has mentioned are the Boy-soldiers of the 24th who were killed. Their rank was that of 'Boy' 1st/24th: Boy Thomas J. Harrington, who attested on 15th October 1878 & Boy Robert Richards. It is possible that these two Boys may well been 'Sons of the Regiment.' Given the date that Harrington attested it is, in my opinion, feasible that he could have been as young as 13yrs of age.

From the 2nd/24th: Boy Daniel Gordon, who was 17yrs of age when killed at Isandlwana & Boy Joseph S. McEwan who was 16yrs of age when he died.

Both Norman Holmes & Julian Whybra do mention 'Boys' in their various works.

The memorial at Brecon records the names I mentioned above, but lists an additional Boy - James Gurney in the 2nd/24th, a number of authors, myself included, have given him the rank of Private, however, it is clear for the fact that he was only 16yrs of age on 22nd January 1879, he too should be correctly shown as Boy James Gurney as the memorial records.

So there are five boys you can add to the debate, ranging from 13yrs to 17yrs.

If you want to see what the Boys of the 1st/24th's band looked like take a look at Philip Gon's The Road to Isandlwana in the front row on the ground either side of the big bass drum, and looking like kids - again to contradict a statement about how they looked - those Boys are more than likely those who were there and died there.”

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:27 pm

Great !! so now we have the possibility that it did happen. Can I ask who the well known Zulu War Historian is.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:33 pm

Hi All

What we need to do is define the word BOY in 1879 in the British Army.

We know that 16 / 17 years old persons were killed, do we call them boys?

Where do we draw the line from boy to man back in 1879 ?

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:44 pm

Graves doe's this help..

Quote :
"In 1795, three experimental regiments were formed "to relieve parishes of boys between the ages of 10 and 16, who were allowed to enlist on condition of the parishes paying their expenses to the recruiting depot".
There were a thousand boys assigned to each regiment, and some served in the Cape and India. All this came to light because of a newspaper item which prompted a War Office investigation WO 32/6881 code 26A, Enlistment of boys under 16 years into Boy Regiments to supplement recruitment; copies of original orders 1797, 1801-1805. In December 1797, seven regiments presumably on the strength of the experiment, were authorised to enlist boys under 16. Pay seems to have been 8d per day, with lower stoppages for stays in hospital than ordinary soldiers. By 1801, there were only two boy regiments, the 32 and 65, presumably the recruits were not replaced as they grew older. However, the failure of the Treaty of Amiens and the resumption of hostilities with France meant an increase in recruitment. Most regiments gained a second battalion, and these were allowed to recruit a "certain number" of boys. The exact status of these boy soldiers is unclear as to whether they were considered combatants or not. However, by the time of the 1876 investigation, and the Taylor Committee on Boy Soldiers of the same year WO 32/6899, the status of Boy Soldiers had become more clearly defined. Boys were enlisted, from the age of fourteen, as musicians, drummers, tailors, shoemakers, artificers or clerks. Their numbers were restricted too - 1% of the regimental strength was to be boy musicians, and 1/2% tailors and shoemakers; drummers were considered separately from musicians and were not part of the regiment's strength.
However, their terms of service had not really been settled; but by 1911 three different committee reports had touched on the matter, and forced a review:
Field-Marshall Sir Evelyn Wood's Committee on the reduction of charges for pensions of warrant officers raised the issue whether boy service should count towards a pension.
Field Marshal Lord Kitchener's Committee on the Organisation and Administration of the Corps of Royal Engineers recommended a substantial overall increase in the number of boy soldiers.
Major-General Crutchley's Committee on Army Tradesmen naturally touched on tradeboys.
The result was Colonel Strachey's Committee on Boy enlistment which with related papers, can be found in WO 32/6896, dates covered, 1911-1913. In November 1911 there were 3,826 boys serving in the British Army, of which 2,984 were musicians. Strachey found that this number was too small and made general recommendations with regard to service and conditions which were largely accepted and regularised the boys' conditions. On 1 December 1912, there were 31 boys enlisted into the Royal Irish Regiment, 11 musicians and 4 tailors at home and in the colonies and 16 unspecified in India WO 32/6897.
Other files relating to boy soldiers in the WO 32 series concern the period post-1945 and are about the recruitment of boys for general service, and the question of lowering the age of full enlistment to 17.1/2 or 17:WO 32/11561 WO 32/12971 WO 32/13474"
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:51 pm

What exactly was the roll of the Drummer Boy in 1879.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:55 pm

The Roll of the Drummer Boys originally was to communicate orders by drum, the drumbeat being more easily heard in battle than voice commands. Not sure what it was in 1879.


"Norman Holmes & Julian Whybra do mention 'Boys' in their various works." Has anyone got these resources...



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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:56 pm



Quote :
"The exact status of these boy soldiers is unclear as to whether they were considered combatants or not. However, by the time of the 1876 investigation, and the Taylor Committee on Boy Soldiers of the same year WO 32/6899, the status of Boy Soldiers had become more clearly defined. Boys were enlisted, from the age of fourteen, as musicians, drummers, tailors, shoemakers, artificers or clerks. Their numbers were restricted too - 1% of the regimental strength was to be boy musicians, and 1/2% tailors and shoemakers; drummers were considered separately from musicians and were not part of the regiment's strength."

More Questions than answers now

Thomas J. Harrington - Attested 15th October 1878 (No age when attested, I have no record)

Robert Richards - His name does not appear in the Medal Roll, but he is named in Pay List as ‘killed on 22nd January 1879’. There is no trace of his effects having been claimed. It is presumed that he was entitled to the Medal and Clasp dated 1879. His regimental service number was 25B/265 (I do not hold any other information)

Daniel Gordon - He attested at Chatham, Kent on 6th December 1877, aged 13 years (Could he have been 13 years and 11 months old to enlist)

Joseph S. McEwan - attested Dover 20th April 1877 age 14 (16 years of age when Killed)

James Gurney - He attested at Chatham, Kent on 20th December 1877, aged 15 years (17 years old when Killed)

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:59 pm

So thanks to the "well known Zulu War Historian." We have come back to the being of the original question. I wish we had won at Isandlwana !!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:02 pm

CTSG

" these statements are only from Soldiers holding the rank of private/ Troopers. No officers it didn’t happen "

To base opinion, not on what certain people have reported but on what certain other peolple have NOT reported, strikes me as very strange locic to say the least.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:05 pm

CTSG
Quote :
I wish we had won at Isandlwana !!!!
We would have if Chelmsford hadn't divided his forces, fortified Isandlwana and followed his own standing orders.
(Just winding you up)

It doe's seem we are back at the beginning. The mysteries of Isandlwana. scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:13 pm

" these statements are only from Soldiers holding the rank of private/ Troopers. No officers it didn’t happen "

These soldiers were a lot closer to the carnage of iSandlwana than we on this forum will ever be - we can't dismiss their testimony based on their Rank.

If Chelmsfors had reported "hooks" it would be believed without question; but Chelmsford was prone to the odd bit of creativity, porkie and unreliabilty wasn't he?

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:18 pm

Quote :
Chelmsfors had reported "hooks" it would be believed without question; but Chelmsford was prone to the odd bit of creativity, porkie and unreliabilty wasn't he?

If you say so !!!
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:09 pm

Hi All

After spending many hours on this subject of the word BOY and looking at many attestation papers of those who took part in the Zulu War of 1879, these are my findings.

I am unable to find anyone enlisting in the British Army under the age of 14 years old. In saying that, the Army could not enlist anyone under the age of 14.
Many have enlisted at the age of 14 years and 0 months. Now I do not believe that they were all 14 years of age. Some have must of been younger. At this time, I am unable to prove that anyone was under the age of 14.

The next issue I have was the use of the word BOY as a rank, when did this person become a Private as a rank. The best example I have found was 698 Charles Eden, 91st Regiment.

As you can see from the image below, he enlisted on 6th June 1876 aged 14 years 0 Months.

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Now have a look at his ranks and age at that ranks

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His rank is listed as a Boy at the age of 14
His rank is listed as a Lad at the age of 15
His rank is listed as a Private at the age of 17

Now the interesting thing to note is his rank when he was 15 years of age. He was known as a Lad During the Zulu War even as a 16 year old, his rank did not change until the 2nd June 1879 when he became a Private.
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90th

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PostSubject: Britain's Drummer Boy.   Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 am

Hi All.
Another who is topical at the minute ! .

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cheers 90th.

ps. Bit expensive , you can find them cheaper !.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:27 am

I know what follows has no direct relevance to the 'drummer boy controversy', but it is relevant to warrior3's comments about the brutality of war, particularly as it applies to the Zulus. I refer to the massacre of Voortrekkers (aka Dutch, Boers, Afrikaners) and their servants by the Zulus in 1838. While visiting the Zulu king, Dingaan, at his capital, 66 Voortrekkers, including their leader, Piet Retief, and 30 servants, were set upon and killed. Before the Voortrekkers who had been left behind in the vicinity of Weenen in Natal could be warned of the Retief party's fate, they were attacked by a large Zulu impi. Along the Blaauwkrantz (Bloukrans) River near Weenen, 282 Voortrekkers, mainly women and children, and 252 servants were massacred. The treachery and brutality of these attacks probably did much to colour the attitude of European settlers towards the indigenous inhabitants of South Africa, particularly the Zulus. The latter in turn had their view of the European settlers influenced by their decisive defeat by the Voortrekkers at the Battle of Blood River later in 1838.

This mutual antipathy, which continues amongst certain people to this day, was still relatively fresh in 1879, when the Zulus again had an opportunity of confronting the intruders in their land. That the Zulus committed atrocities in 1838 and 1879 is beyond dispute, although the details of their actions may well be.

The historical key to these conflicts, and all other ones, before and since, is who gets to write the history (i.e. usually the victors). The Zulus were then at the disadvantage of being both defeated and illiterate.

Nevertheless, as I wrote in an earlier post, if I read about Zulu brutality in a conflict situation, both military and criminal, I believe it.

Brett


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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:39 am

Hi All

Just out of interest, have a look at Drummer 2381 James Keefe, 2nd 24th. (Who took part in the Zulu War of 1879)

Enlisted at age 14 years 10 months as a Boy.
Attained the age of 15 years, became a Lad
Attained the age of 17 years and became a Private, then appointed as a Drummer

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:21 pm

Would the have needed the parents consent, "Enlisted at age 14 years 10 months as a Boy." or were these boys son's of serving soldiers or unfortunate orphans.
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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana Drummer Boy's (Mentioned by)    Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:57 pm

Drummer boys ‘gutted like sheep’
"One story that circulated widely in the horrific aftermath of the battle was thatLord Chelmsford’s men, returning to the devastated camp on the night of the 22nd, had seen ‘young drummer boys’ of the 24th Regiment hung up
on a butcher’s scaffold and ‘gutted like sheep’While it need not be doubted that, in the fury of the attack, theZulus would have killed boys as well as men – they had taken the Queen’s shilling, after all, and their chances with it – this horror story does not stand up to close scrutiny.

‘Boy’ was a rank in the British Army at the time, applied to lads not yet 18, many of whom were the sons of men serving in the regiment. Drummers were seldom Boys – among their other duties was administering floggings as punishment – and of 12 Drummers killed at Isandlwana, the youngest was 18 and the oldest in his 30s. Five Boys were killed at Isandlwana, most of them in the 24th’s band, and the youngest was 16 – not quite the innocent lads immortalised in sentimental paintings of the time.

Even the contemporary regimental history of the 24th admitted ‘no single case of torture was proved against [the Zulus]’. But, in the fraught atmosphere that prevailed when Lord Chelmsford’s command returned to the camp that night, such horror stories spread like wild fire and were readily believed –although, as one officer pointed out, ‘it was impossible for those who told these yarns to distinguish anything in the night, it being exceptionally dark’".

As stated before by other members>
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