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 Searching through the dust of time

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:14 am

"Aside from JW's essays and JY/Isandula's photos, I am not sure I have read or seen anything new on the subject for many years now."

The above is a quote from Steve on another topic and in reading it I started to think.
In South Africa there are 14 main archives and around another twenty smaller ones and museums that have references to the Anglo Zulu Wars.
A lot of those archives have never been systematically explored, because mainly of time and distance constraints. To source the material in those archives you have to be physically present or employ a researcher who needs to be really well briefed. And even then will miss items because of a lack of knowledge of the wars.
I worked out that to fly around the country, Bloemfontein, Pretoria etc etc and accurately search through the archives would take around 3 months at a cost of about 4000 pounds ( R80000,00).
That's the size of the task.

We don't know whats in those files as only the headings are digitised, as I say you have to be there to search.

There is a treasure trove of buried information, facts and figures. This I know from spending time in the Cape Archives. In three weeks of attendance Ive merely scratched the surface and yet come away with lots of never before seen information and photos.

Some of that will be published in the near future. I will as well be posting some interesting tit bits on the forum: some original letters, copies of original documents from Lord Chelmsford, Hicks Beech, ordinary soldiers etc. Ive also got a selection of photos, some unique and some that haven't had a lot of exposure.

So Steve in answer to your quote above, there is a lot of information out there that possibly will never see the light of day, but there is also a lot of new material on the way.


Cheers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:26 am

Letter from Hicks Beech 6th March 1879
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:01 am

Bonjour Springbok,

Very exciting!
Great new!
Congretulation.
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:17 am

Excellent stuff Springy , something that may never have found the light of day , unless of course, it's found its way into a publication over the years , cant say I've seen it though ? . If the rain stays away our Portly Lassie may soon be warming up ? LOL.  Joker 
Cheers 90th  Salute 
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:52 am

I can't say I've seen this before to my recollection. It does provide the basis for the subsequent appointment of a British Resident and non-occupation of Zululand.
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:21 pm

Springy

Lots of travelling to do then - we are in your hands. Can't you get an old folks ticket?

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:26 pm

It's interesting on a number of levels not least the rather brutal reminded of Chelmsford limits. I have a response from Chelmsford Im just going through.
But as I said Julian there is so much in those files. A simple search word of 'Chelmsford' in the NAAIRS turns up 200 separate documents. I started to count the number of documents I wanted to look at, when I hit 900 I stopped. It took me a day to locate the 6 documents you are aware of. Its quite a daunting task.

Cheers
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:28 pm

Springy if I can fluke winning the Lottery I'll come over for a few months to help !  agree 
90th  Salute Joker 
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:29 pm

Steve, words fail me, or at least polite ones  Very Happy

What we need is a delegation from the forum to come to SA for a month, search during the day, get drunk at night and plenty of Braai Meat.

How about it? agree  
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:32 pm

Speaking of brutal, this is probably the most descriptive photo of the war. The aftermath of Gingindhlovu in all its stark horror.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Can you not illiminate those archives that don't hold much information, only target those that warrant a visit. They must list what they hold.
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:39 pm

Poignant photograph that's for sure , think I've seen it in a couple of publications ? , if so , not as clear as yours .
Good stuff Springy .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:42 pm

Impi
Your dead right, but unfortunately every single one of them has lists of items. Then in addition to the main archives there are the more private ones like Wits University, The Star newspaper, the list goes on. One thing Im pretty convinced of is that with all the interest and the number of authors and historians now involved in looking at the wars there will be more people willing to put in the time, distance, money and effort. And I do believe that the results will be rewarding.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:46 pm

90th
Yes Im pretty sure Ian Knight used it at some point. The negative is in Cape Town so that's why this shot has good definition. There is a copy logged in at a museum in UK.

I have a photo of a rather bland stretch of river that was just marked as Important 'iNyesane'. Ive looked at it and cant find anything significant but Im going to post it and see in any of the forum members can advance any theories.

No Rain in sight Im afraid................................. No 
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:00 pm

What about the next two days ? . I'm calling it a night at tea , which is soon ! .
Cheers 90th
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:03 pm

This the Nyezane photo.
any ideas why it would be considered important?
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It was dated 1880

Cheers
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:14 pm

What is that shape far side of the river. Or is a reflection ?
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:56 pm

Looks like something has landed!!
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 3:59 pm

Hi Steve
Yes its a Zulu carrying a shield and spears. He is looking back at the camera almost in a posture of posing to indicate that particular space. The question that poses is did anything occur on the banks of the river?
As a landscape its pretty horrible, as a portrait of the Zulu its even worse so there has to be more to it.
Impi
Its just a sand bank.

Julian
Ease up on the black tea.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:03 pm

Black tea? Man! It was rooibosch!
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:37 pm

Could it be a photo taken of the area where the Zulus crossed the river, being shown by one of the Zulu's who to part in the attack. Sandbank making the crossing easier! Just a thought!
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:59 am

I 'think', it could be one of two locations: Where the Zulu army crossed on its way down to Gingindlovu or the place that the Troops crossed on the morning of the 22nd January. It was as they were crossing that the Zulu were first seen.
Im hoping that the erstwhile Mr Gillings will log on and give us his thoughts, hes wondered around this area on foot more than anyone.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:06 am

One of the poignant pieces of paperwork.
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His medal was issued others weren't, I will post one or two of the rejection letters could be fun to try and trace the men in question.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:35 am

Nyezane
Ive looked at some of Kens photos of the area, it doesn't look like the Coastal columns crossing point of the 22nd Jan. It could very well be this area: Sihlahla of the uMxhapho:
"The whites shot us down in great numbers, in some places our dead and wounded covered the ground, we lost heavily from the small guns, many of our men were drowned in the Nyezane river in attempting to cross at a part of the river where it is to deep for any but a swimmer."
Cheers
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:06 am

springy
I'd be very interested in seeing some of the rejection letters - I might be able to marry them up to the details of individuals I already know about.
The Sihlahla account connection is an interesting one. It doesn't prove anything of itself but it points the way at an interesting line of pursuit.
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:00 pm

Thanks Springy , extremely interesting to read such documents . I can see the F/L winding her way to the stage ! . I'm sure at 2 / 13 she'll be belting out a number , sometime around lunch , or just after tomorrow  Very Happy .
Cheers 90th
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:32 pm

Julian
There are two points that I think the photo could be of. First close to where the engineers were working, the right horn would have tried to outflank them. The second is higher up the river and would be where the impi crossed on the way down to Gingindlovu. Both are potentially interesting points. Looking at Kens pictures of the 1st Division crossing point its very difficult to marry up.

I have a number of applications for medals, I will post a couple tomorrow for you.

90th
Looking bleak I must admit, but we are men of Africa we don't give up  Very Happy 
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:35 pm

Springy
I might suggest you draw John Young's attention to this photo. There is no-one better in terms of photo identification and he may already have it. If he has, he may well have the original caption or where it appeared and therefore the context.
Julian
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:40 pm

Julian do these names mean anything
PS Smith
Sgt John ONeil Diamond Fields Horse
EJ Howes
267 Private William Montgomery

These are the applications I have.

Cheers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:42 pm

Julian your quite right, Im sure John will pick up on it. Hes a tad busy playing around with a couple of others ive sent him.  scratch 
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:47 pm

PS Smith
Australian GW Smith claimed to have been a survivor, no evidence to suggest he was

Sgt John ONeil Diamond Fields Horse
Sergt M O'Neil and Cook G Neil both kia NNC

EJ Howes
?
267 Private William Montgomery
?
Interested to see these.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:25 pm

Hi Julian
PS Smith became the Llandros ( Mayor) of Stellenbosch.
John ONiel was a survivor, he was the applicant for the medal.

Will post the other two documents tomorrow.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:38 pm

I can hardly wait!
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:10 am

EJ Howes
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:15 am

William J Montgomery
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Note the rather well known man who wrote the letter.
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:17 am

John ONeil
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90th

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PostSubject: searching through the dust of time    Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:45 am

Hi Springy
W.J.Montgomery 36 / 267 Private 1 / 13th Regt Entitled to Medal and Clasp 78-79 .
Cheers 90th
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:06 am

90th
Thanks mate, isn't it interesting looking at these old bits and pieces, is for me at least. ( The alternate viewing at present aint that good  No )

Nearly time for you to start packing your bags, or did you do that last month already?  Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:31 am

Hi Springy
Yes I do enjoy reading these things , I never get sick of them . Havent started yet , still 18 days to go , not that I'm counting !
Cheers , 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:29 pm

Interesting photo of the lower Tugela crossing.
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Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:08 am

Anyone care to identify this gentleman.
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PostSubject: Fort Ppearson   Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:14 am

Hi Springbok,
Excellent, the first shot is of Fort Pearson.  Dated  probably late 1878
A truly historic picture.
More please.

regards

barry
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:42 am

Spitting image of " Coghill "
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90th

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PostSubject: Searching through the dust of time    Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:20 am

Hi Springy
Excellent photo's much appreciated , I'm certainly wanting to see more !  Joker 
Cheers 90th
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:28 am

This for me the ( Buggered if this is going to be right ) Quintesential view of Zulu land.
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:47 am

Barry,

I going to suggest that you are about six months out on your assessment of the date, and I'm going say May 1879.

The photograph that Frank has posted was taken by Benjamin Kisch, I have at least six images taken by Kisch at the time.

The giveaway evidence is the fact that Pontoon Troop, Royal Engineers have bridged the Lower Tugela (Thukela).

Here's my copy of the Kisch photograph.

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Original Caption: Commissariat Stores, Lower Tugela.
John Young Collection

Here's a second photograph from the same photo-shoot.

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Original Caption: Ft. Pearson from Durban Road.
John Young Collection

You will note pontoon bridge already in use on the right of the photograph, which was built after  Eshowe was relieved, and preparations for H.H. Crealock's column were being made.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:55 am

Hi John
Spot on. There were I think 5 negatives in the file I saw I selected the one that was less seldom seen. In the Commisariat Stores shot the structure coming out from the Zulu shore is visible top right.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:14 am

springbok9 wrote:
Anyone care to identify this gentleman.
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Cleaned it abit.

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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:24 am

Frank,

The one you chose is quite well known here as it is the front cover for The Red Earth.

Here's the pont that was secured to the Ultimatum Tree, with pontoon bridge in the background so you can gauge where the pontoon bridge was.

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Original Caption: Pontoon Bridge & Pont, Lower Tugela.
John Young Collection.

Here's a close-up on the crew manning the pont.

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John Young Collection.

You will note that there are two Kroomen in the photograph; three Royal Engineers; two Royal Marine Light Infantry and ten Ratings from at least three ships.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Searching through the dust of time   Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:31 am

littlehand wrote:
springbok9 wrote:
Anyone care to identify this gentleman.
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Cleaned it abit.

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 agree 
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