""Barker found his still-saddled horse, his fresh horse was writhing in its death throes, and joined a couple of comrades in riding to where they thought there would be a rallying point on the Nek. Here they were met by an overwhelming force of Zulus. Turning back into the camp, Barker and a companion followed the direction that they had seen an artillery carriage go. This was the only point that the Zulus had not yet closed and led to what later became known at the Fugitive’s Trail.
Chased for six miles over extremely rugged terrain, the mounted survivors, for those on foot were soon overtaken and killed, reached the Buffalo River. This fast moving river was in full spate and many who had survived the dangers of the trail, perished beneath the swirling waters.
Barker managed to cross safely and began to climb the steep slopes on the Natal bank. Here he joined Lieutenant Charlie Raw’s Mounted Basutos, who were giving covering fire. The group then moved out of range of the Zulus on the far bank. The danger, however, was not passed, for discontented relatives of the Zulus, who lived in the vicinity, attacked the survivors as they reached the Natal bank.
Looking back, Barton saw a distant figure scrambling on foot towards them. Thinking it was a friend; Barker left his companions and rode back down the hill. The struggling figure was not his friend but Lieutenant W.C.R.Higginson, the Adjutant of 2/3rd Natal Native Contingent. He had just left Lieutenants Melvil and Coghill on the shore with a promise that he would return with horses. With the hostile natives closing, Barker insisted the officer took his exhausted horse, as it was incapable of carrying them both up the steep slope. He obtained Higginson’s promise that he would wait for him at the top of the hill. Higginson dug in his spurs and rode off to safety, while Barker struggled up the slope pursued by the same natives who had just killed Melvil and Coghill.
Meanwhile, Higginson had reached Charlie Raw and his group, who recognised Barker’s horse. Certain that Barker was now dead, Higginson told them that he had found the horse down by the river. The horse was relinquished in exchange for a spare Basuto pony and Higginson rode off to the safety of Helpmakaar, where he made his report.
Raw and his companions rode back towards the river to check for any survivors and came upon Trooper Barker still running for his life. He had been pursues for about three miles, managing to fire the occasional round to keep natives at a distance.
Within a few days the truth of Higginson’s escape and his supposedly humane gesture in searching for horses for Melvil and Coghill became well known. To avoid the shame and ignominy of his action, Higginson left Helmakaar, complete with a black eye, and quietly disappeared into obscurity."