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 Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?

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Kable
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PostSubject: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:35 pm

Queen's Regs - Section 8, Para 43.

'Before any site for an encampment or bivouac is selected a medical officer will, if circumstances permit, be called upon to give his opinion on the salubrity of the proposed position, and offer any recommendations that he may consider necessary respecting the preparation of the ground, and the general sanitary arrangements of the camp.'

Now there was a Surgeon-Major Shepherd at Isandlwana, but he could not have been consulted as described in this regulation, as there was a bit of a problem with the positioning of the N.N.C. camps, which were upstream of the water from the Regular and Colonial forces' camps, however nothing was rectified. Is it known if Shepherd was asked for his opinion, as I don't think he would have agreed with the layout ? If the camp was going to be there, disease could have broken out due to this oversight.


"You want to win ? Turn me loose !" - Gamer
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:52 pm

Hi Kable

I doubt we'll ever know the answer, as of course Shepherd died at Isandlwana. As with many other aspects, I suspect this issue was overlooked on the basis that the Isandlwana camp was only considered temporary. In hindsight, one would also reverse the locations of the 1/24 and 2/24 camps to have the ammunition nearer the firing line (and further away from the Zulu left horn) - but that's life (or not, as in this case) !

Bill
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Kable
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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:58 pm

That is surprising as the regulation does also say bivouacs which could mean temporary camps so it would have included Isandlwana in its usage. There were hundreds of N.N.C. to begin with in the camp who were not known to build latrines or areas for washing unlike the Regular and Colonial forces therefore resulting in a lot of contaminated water heading downstream. A dangerous oversight not being cautious enough to avoid reasons that cause the outbreak of disease which can kill soldiers just as much as fighting a physical enemy.


"You want to win ? Turn me loose !" - Gamer
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:27 pm

Kable

I have always presumed the latrine/ablution areas were away from the tented encampment - behind the rock maybe ? In this instance I'm not sure that there are streams that come down through the encampments, so the terms "upstream"
and "downstream" may not have much relevance.

Bill
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Kable
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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:05 pm

As the dongas flowed down from the heights when water is present though less in the dry season the terms downstream and upstream still apply as water would still be used. Isandlwana was partly chosen for the presence of water and wood. When planning a camp whether temporary or permanent this issue needs to be resolved at the beginning as an immediate precaution hence the inclusion in the regulations. The N.N.C. didn't seem to follow any particular rules regarding this matter and their own officers may not even have considered it. Why risk disease and ill-health when there are recorded methods in place to keep your men's welfare in mind ?


"You want to win ? Turn me loose !" - Gamer
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bill cainan



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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:28 am

Hi Kable

If you look at a map of Isandlwana (eg the Anstey map in the "Narrative of Field Operations connected with the Zulu War", or a modern 1:50,000 map of the area) you will see that ALL the water courses (25 to 30) flow down the WESTERN side of Isandlwana mountain. There are (I believe) NONE that flow down the EASTERN side. This is also how I remember it from my visits to the battlefield. So, as I've said, the terms "upstream" and "downstream" are not relevant to the various encampments, which are, of course, all on the EASTERN slopes. Water and wood were obtained from the WESTERN side of the mountain. This was obviously a major factor in chosing the location for the camp. I doubt therefore if Shepherd needed to be consulted, as the location of the camp probably ticked lots of boxes, not least with the sanitary regulations.

Bill

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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:59 pm

Given that the invasion of Zululand was technically illegal in the first place, I can't see a few health and safety questions regarding latrines would have halted Chelmsford's drive towards uLundi!
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?    Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:39 pm

Not to sure if Queens Regs were applicable in 1879.
I would have to agree with Bill regarding the dongas around the mountain. The primary water source for the camp was actually the Manzinyama to the Western side of the mountain. Water would have been drawn and filled into water carts. The NNC were encamped pretty close to the ridge itself, the dongas in that location flow South East away from the camp area. the primary dongas being the Mpofane and the Nyogane. In winter these do of course tranmit water from the heights down onto the plain. Gets pretty soggy down there.

Im also pretty sure that the camp site was chosen by Chelmsford on a recconasonce ride on the 15th. The camp was subsequently laid out by Clery.

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: Medical Officer Consulted For Isandlwana Camp Location ?.   Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:22 pm

Hi Springbok.
A couple of months back I remember we where trying to ascertain who was responsible for picking the Isandlwana site .
I went through Sonia Clarke 's ' Zululand At War ' which contain the Letters of Clery , Crealock & others to Officer friends
back in the uk , no-one is named specifically as having picked the site , I think Crealock said it was a decision made by the
Headquarters Staff Officers or words to that effect . I think I've posted part of the letter but alas , not sure where . scratch .
cheers 90th. 😕
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