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 Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery

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littlehand

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PostSubject: Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery   Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:04 pm

"His letter was published in the Western' Morning News (Plymouth) on 28 March 1879.


Tucker's letter reads: ‘Battle-field, Helpmakaar, Jan 28th, 1879.


‘ Dear Father and Mother-It gives me great pleasure to think that I am alive to write to you. We had a severe cutting up on the 22nd of January. Lord Chelmsford went out with the column about three o'clock in the morning; he went about 15 miles from camp to attack the Zulus- toIsinlonana or the Lion's Mane. They left 2 guns and 65 artillery, 6 companies of the 24th Regiment, in all about five hundred men. The Zulus watched the column out of the camp, and then attacked the camp; they came into the camp like wild beasts, which they are.

'We played well on them with the two guns, and the infantry fought well, cutting roads through them. We held the field from half past eleven in the morning until three o'clock in the day. We killed twelve thousand Zulus, but they were too strong for us. They came right round us, and massacred every one; there are only twelve left to tell the tale. Out of sixty-five artillery only four remain, and I am one of the four- Sergeant Costellan (sic), Lieutenant Curling (that's my master), and myself and Gunner Green. We four had a horse each, and we charged right through the Zulus and cut our way out. I was in my shirtsleeves carrying ammunition to the guns.

‘We lost everything in camp; they burnt everything that would burn. All our waggons and carts we had for ammunition they filled up with dead white men. They cut everyone up, and took his heart and laid it on his breast, and put his right hand in where they took his heart from, and put all the skulls in a heap. I expect you will see the massacre in the papers before you receive this. I could not write before. We rode a hard gallop from the time we cut our way out of camp until four next morning, and we found ourselves in sight of Helpmakaar, and that gave us fresh strength, hoping to find some help there; but when we got there there were only six men on guard belonging to the 13th Regiment. We frightened them out of their lives. There is only one store in Helpmakaar, and that was filled with stocks of corn. We got that out and barricaded all the doors, and cut some loopholes through the sides and ends to fire through. We were afraid they would attack us here, but they have not been.

'Dear mother, still there is hope for us, for our relief came his morning. A lot of Engineers and the 4th (King's Own) Regiment marched in here; we gave them three hearty cheers. Dear mother, I must now conclude, as they are sending out a mounted orderly tonight, and I want these few lines to go with him. I have not received any letters from England since October. The Zulus have taken possession of all the houses on the road and burnt them down.... Please drop a few lines to London to Tim and my sister to let them know that I am living and well, for I cannot get paper to write on. 'I gave a shilling for this envelope and paper, and it is cheap at that. We can not get paper or envelopes for love or money here in the midst of a wilderness and savages. Please give my kind love to all inquiring friends and tell them all I am alive and well, only a slight wound on the back of the hand. So, good-bye, and God bless you all. They have sent to England for more troops, and we shall pay the Zulus out for this yet.
'Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery,
'Colonel Glyn's Column"
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90th

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PostSubject: Elias Tucker , Driver . N Batt , RA.    Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:47 am

I think Elias was a little confused '' We Killed 12,000 '' that would be half of those who attacked , and as wounded is usually at least triple the Killed figure , there wouldnt be anyone that wasnt either killed or wounded on the zulu side . The war would have been over there and then with those figures one would think !. Many of those who wrote letters were certainly prone to exageration .
Cheers 90th. Shocked
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jc_tx

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PostSubject: Re: Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery   Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:24 pm

thank you for sharing this, very moving.
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PostSubject: Re: Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery   Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:06 pm

Confused I don't think so. But a man who has been through an experience any thing like that is invariably prone to overestimate the experience. This is quite normal.
It is interesting that he says "the Zulus watched the column out of the camp."
Obviously, there is no way he could have known this, but it beggars belief to think that the Zulus would not have been aware that a large column left the camp in the early hours of the 22nd January.
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PostSubject: Re: Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery   Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:42 pm

Can we really be sure of the kill rate, we have accounts when the number of dead is taken as ( that's it) that's how many we're killed. The British has modern weapons and as we have heard many times in the hands of professional Soliders. The truth must be, we will never how many Zulus died after taking part in any of the battles in the Zulu war. We will never know how many died as the results of injuries sustained. It could be hundreds.
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PostSubject: Re: Elias Tucker, Driver, N Battery. Royal Artillery   Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:40 pm

In addition, many of the dead would have been carried awat by friends, family and comrades in the hours and weeks after the battle.
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barry

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PostSubject: Trooper Hayes NMP   Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:54 am


Hi Brett,
Do you have any bio on NMP Trooper Hayes.
It is known that he died from 'brain fever" in Helpmekaar hospital three days post Isandlwana, but what I want to confirm is which NMP outstation in Natal did he deploy from to join the NMP contingent at Helpmekaar prior to the battle. We know that 80-90 men from HQ Pmbg and south and central Natal rode up with their supply wagons, taking some days to do so, to Helpmekaar under Mansel. The balance , from N. Natal came in under Dartnell a few days later.

regards,

barry
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