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 The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.

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PostSubject: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:45 pm


The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.

On the llth of February news was received in England of the great disaster in Zululand at Isandlhwana, where the camp of part of the troops under command of Lord Chelmsford was surprised by the Zulus, and the force nearly annihilated.

This intelligence caused the Gorvernment to decide on sending out reinforcements at once, and among the battalions of infantry selected was the 2/21 st Foot, and shortly afterwards received orders to hold itself in readiness for embarkation.

During the short time which intervened before embarkation the battalion was augmented to its full strength for foreign service by the addition of a large draft of well trained soldiers, under the command of Major Hazlerigg,from the Sixty-first brigade depot at Ayr.

On the 2Oth of February the second battalion Royal North British Fusiliers left the Curragh for Cork for foreign service under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel W. P. Collingwood,and embarked at Queenstown for South Africa.

As the ship steamed into Simon's Bay, she struck upon the Roman Rocks.

Such an incident was well calculated to cause alarm and confusion on board.

The good discipline of the Fusiliers was shown on this occasion by the steadiness and ready obedience to orders, which called forth the praise of their commanding-officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Collingwood, and Captain Fulton, commanding the ship.

Consequent upon this accident, the battalion was transhipped to another vessel, and proceeded to Durban, whereit disembarked on the 3ist March.

In anticipation of active operations, the band exchanged their instruments for rifles, the only musicians left being the pipers.

On the 3d of April the Fusiliers left Durban for "up country," arriving at Pietermaritzburg on the 5th, where two companies, under the command of Captain F. Willoughby,were left for the defence of the town.

Resuming their march on the 8th of April, they arrived at Dundee on the 23d.On the 2d of May they left Dundee, and on the 3Oth joined the division under the command of Major-General Newdigate at Koppie-allein.

On the ist of June the division crossed the Blood River into Zululand.On the 3d the battalion resumed its march to Ityotyozi River, close to the place where " the Prince Imperial of France " was killed.

On the 4th, on arrival in camp, the division constructed a fort, which was named " Fort Newdigate," in honour of the general.

During the night an attempt to surprise the position was made by the Zulus ; but the enemy being discovered, after a few rounds, they disappeared.

Here (Fort Newdigate) two companies of the Fusiliers,with two guns, and one troop of dragoons, were left as a garrison, the remainder of the battalion proceeding on the 6th to the Upoko River, where, after shelling the bush,the division formed "laager."

On the morning of the 7th of June the first brigade,consisting of the second battalion of the Royal North British Fusiliers, Fifty-eighth regiment, with cavalry and artillery, went out and cleared the bush, destroying the native "kraals," and carried off a large quantity of "mealies."

Here the battalion remained until the i6th, awaiting the arrival of General Wood's column from ConferenceHill with stores.

After this party had joined, the march was resumed along the banks of the Upoko.On the 17th the Fusiliers were again employed constructing another fort, afterwards named Fort Marshall ; two companies of the battalion with two guns, and a squadron of the Seventeenth Lancers, being detailed to remain behind to garrison it, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Collingwood.

On the 18th the remainder of the battalion, commanded by Major Hazlerigg, resumed its march towards Ulnndi,arriving on the 3th of June.

On the 4th of July, early in the morning, the troops crossed the Umvolosi river, and continued their march towards Ulundi.

The enemy were not visible until the scouts had ascended the opposite heights ; immediately afterwards, they were seen swarming upon the hills all around.

The division advanced in"square," the Seventeenth Lancers in rear of the rear face ; the enemy descended from the hills and surrounded the square, making their fiercest attack upon the rear face where the Fusiliers were posted, with the evident intention of getting between the troops and their camp, and so cutting off retreat.

It's on the two companies of the 2/21 st that the Zulus made their most determined assault,they are 6000 strong and 30 deep.Lord Chelmsford was also drawn to the danger and implored the fusiliers" Men;fire faster,cant's you fire faster ? "

Reserves rushed forward but the steady fire from the rear face ,supported by two artillery pieces firing case shot ,made the zulus stagger,halt and fall back...leaving a heap of dead and dying on the ground,the nearest Zulu lay only nine paces from the square...

The enemy was ultimately repulsed ; the number of their dead found lying in front of the position defended by the Fusiliers, bore evidence to the coolness and accuracy of aim of the latter.

In this engagement none of the Fusiliers were killed,but Major Winsloe and 10 men were wounded.

On the 5th July, Lieutenant-Colonel Collingwood having completed the regulated period of five years in command of the battalion, was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel Gildea, who, being in England, the command was temporarily held by Major Hazlerigg.

Lieutenant-Colonel Collingwood, in giving up the command,expressed in orders the great regret he had in severing his connection with the regiment in which he had served for a period of twenty-nine years.

On the 26th of August the battalion marched for Pretoria.On the 7th of September, the two companies under Captain Willoughby, which had been left at Pietermaritzburg, rejoined headquarters.

On the 8th of September the following general order was published :

" The General commanding desires it to be notified to all wounded in hospital, that the Queen has most graciously commanded, through Lady Frere, her Majesty's particular inquiries respecting them."

The battalion halted at Wakkerstroom until the 16th of September, owing to the deficiency of baggage animals ;when the right half battalion under Major Hazlerigg,marched for Heidelberg, the remaining half battalion under Major Bainbridge, being unable to proceed for want of transport. In a few days mules were procured, and it resumed the march.

On the 25th of September, when at Standerton, orderswere received for the formation of a body of mounted infantry, to consist of two officers, two sergeants, two corporals, and forty-six privates.

The officers selected were Lieutenants Collings and Lindsell, and twenty-five non-commissioned officers and men from each half battalion.

These men did excellent service throughout the whole campaign, not only when engaged with the enemy, but also as scouts and on outpost duty, performing the duties of cavalry in a most efficient manner...

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:59 am

Then it inreresse you :study: that ?
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:07 pm

Hi all

If a reader of this forum has other information on this wonderful regiment in the zulu war, be nice to share it with others on this forum, thank you in advance ...

Cheers

Pascal
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kwajimu1879

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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:22 pm

Pascal,

You will find further information in MacKinnon & Shadbolt's 'The South Africa Campaign of 1879', first published in 1880.

There's a variation on the piece you have posted in the 'History of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1678-1895' by Lt.-Col. Percy Groves.

The piece you have posted appears to have been taken from James Clark's 'Historical Record & Regimental Memoir of the Royal Scots Fusiliers' published in 1885.

kwaJimu1879
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Sun Jan 29, 2012 7:36 am

Hello

Thank you, I knew someone would eventually have a solution ...

This is what a forum should be used ..

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:05 pm

You do not like Scottish or what? Sad
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:54 pm

Pascal this should help.

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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:40 am

Littlehand thank you, you really are too nice ... What a joy for me ... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:06 pm

After the book of Rothwell, p. 164,the number of men of the two companies of the 2/21 st at Ulundi, it's 11 officers + 205 ORs.
And all these men were not in these companies ...

After the book of JY, p. 188, the number of men of the two companies of the 2/21 st at Ulundi, it's 11 officers + 203 ORs. (Small difference)
And all these men were not in these companies ...

Bvt Lieut-Col Hazelrigg i/c
Maj Winsloe
Capts Robinson, Gordon, Auchinleck
Lieuts Lambart, Browne, Young
2nd Lieuts Hardinge, Stannell
QM Clifford
Attached Lieut Higgins 3rd Royal Lancashire Militia
203 ORs

Nobody owns other versions of the number of men of the 2/21 st at Ulundi, by chance?

Or even the actual exact number of men of one of these two companies?

Cheers

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:19 pm

Pascal,

See my opening comment re-the 94th.

This one is simply my handwritten 5 has been misconstrued as a 3.

Again what do you mean by And all these men were not in these companies ...? How many men do you think are in a company?

JY
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:12 am

John

The theoretical strength of a company is 110 Officers, NCo's and soldiers, but it never reaches, in no battles...

By" And all these men were not in these companies ..."

I mean ,That in a battalion, all the officers, NCO's and soldiers are not all incorporated in the companies ...

I say this, because the goal for me was to find the real effective, in combat, of one of a company of this battalion at Ulundi

Pascal
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:06 am

Pascal,

Do you have the 2nd Edition of ...Awful Row...? If not get hold of a copy David Langley's article The Organisation of the British Army will go someway to answer your question.

In theory there should have been 30 officers and 866 men comprising a battalion. Each company should have had 3 officers and 107 men, but you only have to look at a certain well-known company at Rorke's Drift to see that reality does not reflect theory.

The same goes for the 2nd/21st their battalion strength was whittled down as they provided the forces to defend the chain of forts on the line of advance to Ulundi. Add to this men taken ill or fallen out for some other reason to reach Ulundi with the number they actually did is not bad going.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: The 2/21 st Foot in Zululand.   Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:30 am

Completely agree John, that I please research the exact numbers of fighters in combat of the companies, theoretical numbers are known and I think there was an special theoretical numbers for battalions in South Africa ...

Apart from B Company, 2/24th I do not currently know a exact numbers of fighters in combat of a compagny in battle , alas...

Yet to calculate and the number of men in a battalion, it was necessary that they know, the number of men in each companies !

Pascal
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