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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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 Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana

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impi

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PostSubject: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:17 am

Lonsdale was returning to Isandlawana for whatever reason, and only realised the camp had been taken when he noticed the chaps in red coats were infact Zulu's made a quick exit loads of lead aimed and fired at him but all missed not even a scratch. Is it known as to why was he returning to Isandlwana, where had he been and from which direction did he approach isandlwana.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:33 am

Commandant Rupert Lonsdale’s 3rd Regiment, 20 companies in all, had been assigned to the Central Column. Lonsdale had taken 16 of his companies out of camp on the morning of 21 January, to conduct a reconnaissance in force over the difficult ground to the right front of the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:37 am

I think it was this Lonsdale who was suffering concussion from an earlier fall, making him feel quite ill all day, which may have been part of the reason about his returning to the Isandlwana camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:44 am

On 21st January, a reconnaissance, led correspondingly by Major Dartnell, commander of the Natal Mounted Police, and Commandant Lonsdale of the 3rd N.N. C, left Isandlwana to investigate Zulu forces in the neighbourhood of the Mangeni Valley, some eleven miles southeast of Isandlwana. When Dartnell and Lonsdale met-up they were confronted a small force of Zulus, near the Mangeni Waterfall. Believing they had came into contact with the main Zulu force, messengers were sent to Isandlwana for reinforcements.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:54 am

Doesn't answer the question. But just for information.

"Commandant Rupert Lonsdale of the 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contingent, was also with Chelmsford's force. He had a lucky escape that day: having become separated from his men, he had returned to the camp at Isandlwana only to find that it was in the possession of the enemy. Lonsdale had only just managed to turn his horse and ride off with the Zulus firing after him. He also felt the need to procure a souvenir of this extraordinary event and a Zulu knobkerrie exists in a private collection with a carved inscription which links him to the battle. Sadly, there is no written account to suggest whether he acquired it when Lord Chelmsford returned to the battlefield that night, or on some later occasion."

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90th

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PostSubject: Lonsdale's Close Encounter at Isandlwana.   Mon Aug 22, 2011 2:03 pm

Hi All .
If I recall correctly I think Lonsdale was suffering from Sunstroke and was given permission to go back to Isandlawana ,
he had indeed left Isandlwana with Dartnell's force on the 21st Jan.
cheers 90th.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:57 pm

Is it known what time Lonsdale arrived at Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:00 pm

Sunstroke. The body becomes overheated, it will produce more perspiration than normal and this is one of the cooling mechanisms of the body. When the body is no longer able to produce the perspiration needed to draw the heat from inside the body, the temperature starts to rise. A patient suffering from sunstroke will likely be very badly sunburned. He/She may become confused and perhaps hostile to those around him/her. Complaining of a headache is a normal occurrence with sunstroke and the person may appear to be drunk.

With the rise in body temperature comes a decrease in blood pressure, which can result in the person feeling faint or dizzy or he/she may even pass out. This will cause the heart rate to accelerate as the heart tries to increase the supply of oxygen to the blood. The skin will become even redder as the blood vessels start to dilate as they try to reduce the body temperature.


Not sure this was the case with Lonsdale.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:35 pm

Thanks for the replies.

However Just a few more questions. Sorry to be a pain.

How did Lonsdale become detached from his regiment.

What time did he become detached.

Was he making his way to Isandlwana as the Battle was being fought.

Did Lonsdale ever give his own account relating to his returning to Isandlwana.


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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:52 pm

Impi. If my memory serves me right. I think I have only read two accounts of Lonsdale's visit to Isandlwana. One by Brown and the other by Dorrient-Smith. I don't recall reading an account from Lonsdale himself. I guess he must have been making his way to Isandlwana as the battle was raging as the Zulu were still there on his arrival and still very hostile.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:34 pm

Impi Relating to your questions 1 & 3

"A mounted man was then seen approaching, and was recognised as Commandant Lonsdale. He brought the dreadful news that, having chased a Zulu on horseback, he got separated from his men, and had ridden quietly back to camp;. but on arrival there, witliin about three hundred yards of it (at about 2 P.M.), he found large bodies of the enemy surrounding it and fighting with our men. He had just time to discover his mistake, turn, and fly for his life, when several bullets were fired at him, and many Zulus started in chase."

Natal Colonist, January 30th, 1879.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:11 pm

From A lost legionary in South Africa"

Here we were at least eleven miles from camp, no food, no spare ammunition, well knowing that a huge army of Zulus must be in our close vicinity. Well I was not in command, but I begged Lonsdale even at that hour to return to camp. I said, " We know the camp is going to be attacked, every cock fights best in his own yard. When the General hears our news he will order the camp to be laagered and we can put up a fight there against the whole Zulu nation, whilst out here we shall be stamped flat in a minute." But no, Lonsdale would not grasp the situation, and decided to stay


As soon as I met Lonsdale I again urged him to return to camp even at this hour, and perhaps he might have done so, when Major Dartnell came
over to us and informed us that he had sent an orderly back to camp to request the General to reinforce us. This would be worse and worse, with a force of men barely strong enough to meet 30,000 to 40,000 Zulus, even when in laager. It certainly was not the game to break up that force
into two parts at a distance of quite eleven miles and just before a big fight was expected to take place. Again I sat down, sick to the very heart, but
of course I could say no more. Lonsdale was my chief, and it was my duty to loyally back him up and obey his orders



I had just halted my men and placed them in the best position I could, when to my utter astonishment I saw a man on foot leading a pony, coming
from the direction of the camp, and recognized him as Commandant Lonsdale.

He came up to me and said, " By Jove, Maori, this is fun; the camp is taken/ 1 " Don't see the humour/' I said, " but go and tell the staff; they won't believe me." Why would anyone who knows that an entire British column had been wiped make a statement like this. " By Jove, Maori, this is fun; the camp is taken"

He had had the most wonderful escape. As I have said before he was still suffering from sunstroke and having somehow lost the battalion he was with, had ridden towards the camp. More than half stupefied by the great heat, he rode into it, and all at once awoke to the fact that the camp was full of Zulus, some of them wearing soldiers' tunics, and that the ground was littered with dead men. He then realized the situation at a glance and in less time than words can tell, he turned his pony's head and rode as hard as he could away. He was pursued, but the ground was good-going, and his pony " Dot " a very smart one, so he got clear away and joined us.


So here we have a well-seasoned officer with combat experience, who allows him to get sunstroke. He then chases a Zulu on horseback detached himself from the rest of his company, couldn’t find his way back so decided to go back to Isandlwana. The time given is 2pm so are we to believe that during the time he was slowly making his way back to Isandlwana he didn’t hear any gun fire that would signifiy that a battle was going on in the direction of the camp. And he only realised the men in red coats were Zulus when he got within about 300 yards of the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:12 pm

Now that is a very good point. Needs thinking about.

Quote :
are we to believe that during the time he was slowly making his way back to Isandlwana he didn’t hear any gun fire that would signifiy that a battle was going on in the direction of the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:37 pm

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Copyright John Young Collection.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:42 pm

As i have said before. I have never read an account by Lonsdale himself. Although this was never denied by him.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:46 pm

I think impi as raised a good point. Why did he have to get so close to the camp to realise a battle had taken place. Surly the continuous firing as he was approaching even from a few miles away would have given it away, According to Brown he warned him a few times that the camp would be attacked, would this not have also crossed his mind. And again I agree, why would someone who supposedly escapes by the skin of his teeth make the comment “" By Jove, Maori, this is fun; the camp is taken”

Perhaps he wasn’t the full shilling. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:22 pm

Are we able to establish from which direction Lonsdale approached the camp because according to Lucky Essex

Captain Essex's Evidence. Rorke's Drift, January 24, 1879.

"The only space, which appeared opened, was down a deep gully running to the south of the road into which we plunged in great confusion. The enemy followed us closely and kept, up with us at first on both flanks, then on our right only, firing occasionally, but chiefly making use of the assegais. It was now about 1.30 P.M."

So there would have been a large amount of officers and troops making there way away from the camp including the Zulu’s so we are talking around 30 mins before Lonsdale arrives. So are we saying that he saw or heard nothing on his way to Isandlwana and got within a distance of 300 yards? He surly had a bad dose of Sunstroke. Would be very happy if we could establish Lonsdale Route to Isandlwana. Bearing in mind it says he turn his pony around and rode off which must have been in the right direction to meet up with Brown and co.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Tue Aug 23, 2011 11:50 pm

All I can find relating to this is the following.

"A certain Commandant Lonsdale had chanced to ride back to the Camp and had been fired at by Zulus wearing our men's uniform. He escaped by a miracle and was able to report the news to Lord Chelmsford"

Did Lonsdale return to Isandlwana with Chelmsford that night.
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:01 am

Came across this.

"Browne, of the N.N.C. returning to camp, realised the desperateness of the position and sent messages to this effect back to those at Mangeni. One of these reached the guns under Col. Harness who commenced to race back to Isandhlwana, but Major Gossett (Staff Officer) would not allow this and obtained Chelmsford's ruling that Harness should proceed to Mangeni. At 2.00 pm Chelmsford commenced to ride back to Isandhlwana because he had received messages that fighting had broken out and that the baggage could not be sent. At 3.30 pm he received the report from Commandant Lonsdale that the Isandhlwana camp had been overrun. All troops were immediately ordered to proceed to Isandhlwana. Chelmsford waited about three miles from camp for the troops to concentrate. His patrols reported Zulus swarming allover the camp and as soon as the troops had concentrated he advanced with the guns in the centre, 3 companies of the 2/24th on each side and the N.N.C. on the flank."

If we go by the times posted Lonsdale had reached Isandlwana around the time the Good Lord Chelmsford was making his way to the camp. So one and half hours later. The Good lord Chelmsford received the news form Lonsdale.

Can you imagine this " By Jove, Chelmsford this is fun; the camp is taken" Idea

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:10 am

CTSG. I never thought the day would come, where you would make me laugh. You did.

Quote :
Can you imagine this " By Jove, Chelmsford this is fun; the camp is taken"
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PostSubject: Lonsdale's Close Encounter at Isandlwana.   Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:28 am

Hi all.

I'm sure that it was Maori Browne who first told the Good Lord that the camp had fallen and the Good Lord responded
in a way where he virtually called Browne a liar !. I dont remember reading it was Lonsdale who informed Chelmesford
of the camps demise , as usual happy to be corrected . Idea . Interesting point that Lonsdale didnt / hasnt ever
mentioned hearing any gunfire , possibly it was nearly over before he was within hearing distance and could have thought
the firing was from Dartnell's force ?. As we know poor old Lonsdale wasnt in a good way riding back to camp , lapsing in
and out of conciousness !. I've read Lonsdale actually rode into the Tented area !!! , before realising things weren't as they
should be !. The trouble is there are so many conflicting reports regarding time at Isandlwana , its difficult to piece together
the correct sequence / sequences .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:42 pm

While looking for printed maps in The Graphic I came across this somewhat eccentric example by Commandant Rupert Lonsdale NNC. It appeared on 29 April 1879 by which time Lonsdale was in Cape Town. The donga across the Isandhlwana plain here becomes a "ravine" and Lonsdale has the Zulu army moving along it to both encompass the camp and eventually reach RD. Perhaps the concussion or sunstroke was still having an effect? More seriously, it is always useful to see another contemporary take on what happened which, as well as some glaring errors, might also contain some small gems. I have included the text for interest.
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:27 pm

Hi

Interesting on another point - he says that Pulleins body was 'barely recognisable' - but it was both found and recognisable - I wonder if Lonsdale got his info from (GH)Browne.....who is reputed to have found HBP - I do not know if Lonsdale 'saw' the body himself?

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Lonsdale's Close encounter at Isandlwana   Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:24 am

Hi Steve
I think Rupert had more than a case of Sunstroke / Concussion ( ? ) to come up with that drawing ! .
90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:07 am

To be generous it does say it was by our special artist based on a sketch by Lonsdale. Just struck me though that this is Norris-Newman again - "written from the narrative of the correspondent of the Standard who heard it from the lips of Lonsdale himself".

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Lonsdale's close encounter at Isandlwana   Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:51 pm

old historian2 wrote:
I think impi as raised a good point. Why did he have to get so close to the camp to realise a battle had taken place. Surly the continuous firing as he was approaching even from a few miles away would have given it away, According to Brown he warned him a few times that the camp would be attacked, would this not have also crossed his mind. And again I agree, why would someone who supposedly escapes by the skin of his teeth make the comment “" By Jove, Maori, this is fun; the camp is taken”

Perhaps he wasn’t the full shilling.   Suspect

The mention of 'fun' in sticky situations is not uncommon, but it is meant in a different context and not the 'enjoyable' fun it has been interpreted as.

In the case of Lonsdale it is used in an almost sarcastic manner (or an antonym of what is actually meant)

The following quote is from a letter written by an officer to his mother during the First World War:

'... we went over the top the next night to capture the trench in front. There was practically no resistance on our right, but, on the left flank, where I happened to be in command, they tried to stop us. I was the first man over the Hun parapet and landed right on top of two Huns who tried to do me in, but fortunately I managed to finish them off with my jolly old revolver. Hand-to-hand fighting was rather fun but we soon cleared them out.'

Neil
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