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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
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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 Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift

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PostSubject: Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift    Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:56 pm

(Taken from “Surgical Experiences in the Zulu and Transvaal Wars,
1879 and 1881,” by D. Blair Brown, F.R.C.S. Edin., Army Medical

“CASE I.—NO. 1362, Private F. H., of the 2nd 24th regiment, was hit,
during the defence of Rorke's Drift, in the right shoulder. The bullet
entered near the base of the scapula, having been fired from the
hills opposite to which he was fighting. The bullet made its exit over
the bicipital groove in the humerus. There was great swelling of the
whole shoulder when seen by me on the 26th of January 1879, and
ecchymosis. The tract of the wound was sloughing. Poultices and
cold water sufficed to allay this, and the case did well.”

“CASE II.—Corporal C. S., of the 1st battalion 2nd Co. Natal Native
Contingent, was wounded at Rorke's Drift. The bullet hit the back of
the head at the posterior margin of the left sternomastoid at its
origin, and took a course towards the middle of the scapular base,
where the bullet lodged subcutaneously, from which position it had
been removed when I took charge of him on the 26th January. Here
also the whole shoulder was greatly swollen and painful, requiring
poultices. This case, after the usual slough came away, got well.”

“CASE III.—No. 1240, Corporal W. A., of the 2nd 24th regiment, was
hit, at Rorke's Drift, in the right shoulder. The bullet entered near the
insertion of the deltoid muscle to the humerus, and made its exit at
the upper and inner angle of the scapula. The bullet appears to have
passed under the scapula, no bone or joint being touched. This
wound sloughed and then very rapidly healed up.”

“CASE IV.—Acting Assistant-Commissary D. was hit in the right
shoulder at Rorke's Drift when busily engaged forming the "laager,"
which he had originally commenced, and to which was due the safety
of the place. The bullet entered about half an inch above the middle
of the clavicle, and made its escape posteriorly at the lowest border
of the trapezius muscle. The course taken was curious, regularly
running round the shoulder and down the back, escaping all the
important structures. The wounds, like all those received at Rorke's
Drift, were wide and open and sloughing when seen by me on the
26th January. After the slough came away the usual tenax was
applied. The whole of the field medical equipment having been
captured by the enemy at Isandhlwana, I had no antiseptic to use. I
thought of quinine, which I knew was a wonderful preserver of animal
tissues, and used a solution of that, experimenting in this case. It
seemed to answer, as the wounds got well after being injected
several times with it. My subsequent experience, however, is that the
wound would have done as well without it.”

“CASE V.—No. 447, Private J. W., of the 1st 24th regiment. This man
had been left behind by his regiment (the one annihilated at
Isandhlwana), as he was fulfilling the duties at Rorke's Drift of an
hospital orderly. During the fight he was hit in the right shoulder. The
bullet entered the deltoid muscle about its lower third anteriorly, and
lodged opposite the surgical neck of the humerus posteriorly, where
it had been cut out. On probing this wound no bone was felt, and
after the usual sloughing it healed. In every case the projectile found
was an ordinary round one, and the nature of the injuries tend to
show that they were all produced by similar bullets.”

Petty Officer Tom

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PostSubject: Re: Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift    Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:27 pm

Tom. I'm fairly certain, that one of the defenders and some kind of instrument left inside him after an operation to remove a bullet, The wound be came infected which led to his death. (Could be wrong)
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PostSubject: Re: Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift    Fri Jul 29, 2011 2:46 pm


I had not heard that one before. It would not be uncommon for a wounded soldier to later die from an infection after surgery. A bullet passing through a uniform often takes a piece of the cloth with it into the wound. The bullet is later removed, but the piece of cloth, with its filth and germs, is left behind, and the result is infection. Not to mention, surgery was not always performed in a sterile environment.

A little research on each of the Rorke's Drift wounded may lead to the identity of the soldier to whom you have refered.

Here is the link to Doctor Brown's book:


Petty Officer Tom
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PostSubject: medical Report of 5 Wounded at R.D.   Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:19 am

Hi Petty Officer Tom / 24th.
I've posted some of the entries from Dugald Blair Brown's book a fair while ago but not sure where !
I do seem to recall something along those lines where a wound did get infected in that way .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift    Sun Jul 31, 2011 6:06 pm

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Medical Report of 5 of the Wounded at Rorke’s Drift
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