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 Source for faulty revolver

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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:28 am

John

Please don't put words in my mouth.  I haven't mentioned colours.  It's easy meat to discredit people and dismiss remarks after 150 years; it's not so easy to find creditable reliable testimony about an obscure event or to sort wheat from chaff in testimony where someone's personal behaviour may have been found wanting.   Covering his own unfortunate selfish act regarding Barker does not make Higginson an out-and-out liar.  Neither does it make his whole testimony suspect.  I'm not apologizing for Higginson, I'm not defending him; I'm after the truth.  I'm merely stating that Higginson was the only witness to M&C's deaths, he left a report, and would have no reason to lie over small details.  (If he wanted to lie, he could say he didn't see M&C at all.)  With other Europeans around them Higginson could not be sure that there weren't other witnesses to this same event.  (Williams for example was just behind M&C at the river.)

Re Higginson's report, I would have thought you had already read it before commenting on it but, since you haven't, it says:
"Coghill called out "Here they come."  I turned and saw only two men close to us, and turning to Melville [sic] said "For God's sake fire, you both have revolvers": they did so and I saw both Zulus drop; Melville then said "I am done up, I can go no further."  Coghill said the same.  I ran on, passed them, and got to the top of a hill, where a few Basutos on horseback had stopped, seeing me coming...I could see nothing of the two fellows behind me, so I guessed they had been overtaken."
The punctuation is Higginson's.  

It was case of every man for himself.  No-one blamed Brickhill for ignoring Gamble's plea "For God's sake, give me a lift"; no-one blamed Williams for ignoring Gamble either.  No-one blamed Bickley for not helping Richardson.  Selflessness was admirable where it happened but it wasn't uniform.  'Cast not the mote...' as my old dad used to say.

sas1

Coghill's letters home state that he rode up to the camp with his (mounted) servant leading a spare horse.  As JY says, officers had a spare horse.  

Williams saw Coghill's horse assegaied in the thigh soon after crossing the saddle.  Coghill must have picked up another because Williams saw M&C later.
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Chard1879

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:12 pm

William Tarboton
Born: 1847, Thorner, West Yorkshire, England, UK
Christened: 19 Apr 1847, St Peter, Thorner, West Yorkshire, England, UK.

"General Notes:

Twin of Robert

The following courtesy of Richard Bould:

"William fought in the Battle of Isandlawana, and survived. He returned and farmed on the family farm at Byrne. He died tragically according to an article written, at this time cause unknown. Both he and his brother were members of the Carbineers and both fought in the Battle of Isandlwana, Edwin losing his life in a fierce defeat of the British forces at the hands of the Zulu's, following are short extracts from accounts of these two brothers recorded in the book "Isandwana" by Adrian Greeves and also the book "The Sun turned Black" by Ian Knight. (There was an eclipse of the Sun during the Battle of Isandlwana)
THE FLIGHT FROM ISANDLWANA Extract from ISANDLWANA by Adrian Greeves page 131
It would appear that Captain Penn Symons subjective report was based largely on comments made by Higginson on his arrival at Helpmakaar after fleeing from Isandlwana, Higginson stated that he had left Coghill and Melvill after the three of them had safely reached the Natal bank. It is probable that all three believed they were then safe as Higginson initially related how he, being the fittest, then left the two exhausted British officers in order to find some horses. He claimed to have found two spare horses and. on reaching a vantage point, seen the bodies of Coghill and Melvill surrounded by Zulus. Unable to help them he then rode off to Helpmekaar. However protected by the covering fire of Lieutenant Charles Raw's Mounted Basutos who had safely gained the Natal bank, two troopers. Barker and Tarboton had managed to swim their horses across the flooded Buffalo river to join them. The group then rode up the steep Natal side of the bank until they were out of range of the Zulu marksmen on the far bank. Looking back they saw a distant figure scrambling on foot towards them. While his companions rode on, Barker rode back down the hill and met the figure that turned out to be Higginson. As his horse was in no state to carry them both back up the steep slope, Barker surrendered his mount to the exhausted officer but implored him to wait for him at the top of the hill. Higginson gave his promise then spurred the horse up the hill, leaving Barker to follow on foot. With natives closing in around him (no doubt the same natives who in due course killed Melvill and Coghill), Barker struggled to the summit only to find that Higginson had galloped off leaving him to his fate. The exhausted Barker was forced to run for his life and was pursued for another 3 miles before the natives finally gave up the chase. In the meantime Higginson had come across Tarboton and Lieutenants Raw and Henderson together with some Basutos who had waited on the Helpmekaar track for Barker to rejoin them. Perhaps certain that Barker must by this time have been overtaken by the Zulus. Higginson at first insisted that he had found the horse down at the Buffalo river. Tarboton though, immediately recognized Barker's horse which Higginson relinquished in exchange.
Ref The Sun Turned Black Pages 140,150,155,205
THE HUNTING TRAIL extracted on page 140
The only body who seemed to have made and organized retreat were the Edendale Troop. Brickhill had seen a group of "Basutus" keeping up a steady fire from under the rocks by the Nek, and, since the Edendale men were the only ones who had managed to secure a small supply of ammunition these were they. They then joined the general movement across country; It was terrible country as Brickhill described; Our flight I shall never forget, no path, no track, boulders everywhere, on we went borne now into some dry torrent bed, now weaving our way amongst trees of stunted growth so that unless you made the best use of your eyes you were in constant danger of colliding against some tree or finding yourself unhorsed at the bottom of some ravine. Our way was already strewn with shields, assegais, blankets, hats, clothing of all descriptions, guns, ammunition, belts, saddles which horses had managed to kick off, revolver and belt and I dont know what not. Whilst our stampede was composed of mules with and without pack saddles, oxen, horses and all stages of equipment and flying men all strangely intermingled - man and beast apparently all infected with the danger which surrounded us. Not all were simply fleeing; "up to this time" claimed Trooper Barker of the carbineers, "I had never thought of disaster; but only that we were retiring to a point to rally". Just beyond the road we met Trooper W. Tarboton; Tarbotons brother was also at Isandlwana and he had lost sight of him in the confusion. He asked barker to come back and help him search and since Barker had been separated form his friend Hawkins he agreed. " As we got sight of the camp" said Barker, " from a hill we both for the first time realized what had happened" Both Barker and Tarboton turned away, but many small groups of Redcoats, even here and there an individual soldier were making desperate stands up the slope to the South West of the track. Some were pushed right down into the dongas by the banks of the Manzimnyama itself - nearly two miles from the camp. While these knots of troops held together they probably had some idea of falling back on Rorkes Drift. The distinctive outline of Shiyane is clearly visible from the Nekand for most of the force it must have represented the only point where they knew they could cross the Mzinyathi safely, and where there was garrison to support them. In the event the route they actually took was dictated by Zulu pressure; cut off from the road by the right horn, the fugitives turned to the left in an attempt to go around the point. They had not gone far however when the left horn came over the ridge south of Mahlambamkhosi, and forced them sharply right again. The tips of the horns did not quite meet and the fugitives made for the gap between them which shifted as the warriors chased them on both sides. The fugitives were funnelled down the valley of the Manzimanyama still trying to head in the direction of Rorkes Drift harried this way and that by by their persuers. Finally they were spilled onto the heights above the Mzinyati where it enters the rough country about five miles south of Rorkes Drift. Troopers Barker and Tarboton of the Carbineers had crossed the river safely and had climbed the hill on the Natal side when they began to look around for any of their comrades. Barker saw a man behind him in the valley whom he thought was Hawkins, but when he went to fetch him he found it was Lieutenant Higginson. Barker allowed him to mount his own horse, which was too tired to take both of them; but once up Higginson rode off, leaving Barker to follow on foot. Barker had walked about three miles in a disgusted state of mind when Tarboton and some others rode back for him. They had met Higginson and recovered Barkers horse; Higginson had admitted frankly that he had been too exhausted to walk any further. And so the remnants of No 3 column straggled back to the very point they had started from a fortnight before. Among them was not to be found a single one of the 1/24th Officers who had laughingly drunk Degacher's and Porteous' toast in their crate and tarpaulin mess, "to better luck this time" These remained with their friends and comrades black and white 1357 of them - on the slopes of Isandlawana.
Almost four months to the day a force under Colonel Drury-Lowe returned to the Battle site. No medical reports were ever compiled on the dead of Isandlwana. A certain Mehlokazulu did admit the possibility of desecration by the zulu's "there was a man" he said, "whose head was cut off at the entrance to the camp where the white people had held out, and formed back to back [curiously one of the carbineers had later heard that one of his regiment who had died on the spot had been decapitated; it was Edward Tarboton whose brother had returned with Trooper Barker in a vain attempt to find him.] The scene after the battle resembled a slaughterhouse; The green grass was red with running blood and the veld was slippery, for it was covered with the brains and entrails of the slain. The bodies of black and white were lying mixed up together with the carcases of horses, oxen and mules.
Months later the British returned to the battlefield to idetify and clear up the remains; in a clump of dead were troopers Borrain, Dickinson, Tarboton, Lumley, Davis and R Jackson, Swift, Moodie and F Jackson were lying further towards the Nek. Earlier reports had suggested that Tarboton had been decapitated, but if he was the burial party did not mention it, perhaps hard to tell. Captain Bradstreet lay nearby. All were "struck with the noble way in which they stuck to their officers"
We visited Isandwana on its 100th anniversary in January 1979. Near the "Nek" we found a person with a camera in which was mounted a negative of a picture taken at the time of Colonel Drury-Lowe's return to the Battlefield, The owner of this camera or viewing device had found the exact position the photographer had stood the day it was taken and set up his viewer which we were able to look through. Being a negative it gave a superimposed view of the Battle site showing boulders and other features which looked exactly as they did on that day the picture was taken. Most interesting however it showed a real life view of the remains of wagons and all the residue left over after the battle. It was most impressive.
This information was taken from "Natal Witness dated 27.12.1975".

William Tarboton,

" In the cemetery at Byrne there lie buried the earthly remains of William Tarboton who came to Natal with his father in the "Henrietta" in 1850. A farmer at heart, his name was inseparably connected with the course of the Zulu War, through which he served as a member of the Natal Carbineers. He was one of the few (and one of the last) who escaped from the cauldron of Isandlwana to tell of the terrible loss suffered by British arms, in which action his brother, Edward, died.

After Isandlwana William Tarboton took part in many of the later engagements of the war, he being very friendly with Captain Shepstone. From 1880 to 1888 he followed the peaceful vocation of farmer at Byrne until his death in the latter years. He was then still a young man of just 40 years."


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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:25 pm

Chard

What point are you trying to make by quoting the above extracts from modern works?

My only comment would be look at what Higginson (and Barker for that matter)actually wrote rather than what someone else said he/they wrote. Rely on the primary source(s).
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Ray63

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:30 pm

Still it does show, Higginson's true colours. He gives account that puts in a good light with regards to assisting the two officers, but says nothing about his escape. That's what needs to be take into consideration when it come to believing his part with M & C again different accounts by the same person. You need a good memory if you want to lie!
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:54 pm

Deep breath that man!
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:07 pm

impi wrote:
John wrote:
Come on Julian. Next you be saying Higginson assisted in the endeavours to save the Queens Colours.

John I think your find, Higginson's mother did receive a letter from the Military Secretary acknowledging just that.

Hi Impi. Yes I'm am aware of that. He used the mother excuse of her having a letter that suggests he was involved in the assisting of the saving of the colours, while applying for a job. However he himself never had the letter, and I would lay odds on that no one will find the letter in question.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:30 pm

Julian Whybra wrote:
John

Please don't put words in my mouth.  I haven't mentioned colours.  It's easy meat to discredit people and dismiss remarks after 150 years; it's not so easy to find creditable reliable testimony about an obscure event or to sort wheat from chaff in testimony where someone's personal behaviour may have been found wanting.   Covering his own unfortunate selfish act regarding Barker does not make Higginson an out-and-out liar.  Neither does it make his whole testimony suspect.  I'm not apologizing for Higginson, I'm not defending him; I'm after the truth.  I'm merely stating that Higginson was the only witness to M&C's deaths, he left a report, and would have no reason to lie over small details.  (If he wanted to lie, he could say he didn't see M&C at all.)  With other Europeans around them Higginson could not be sure that there weren't other witnesses to this same event.  (Williams for example was just behind M&C at the river.)

Re Higginson's report, I would have thought you had already read it before commenting on it but, since you haven't, it says:
"Coghill called out "Here they come."  I turned and saw only two men close to us, and turning to Melville [sic] said "For God's sake fire, you both have revolvers": they did so and I saw both Zulus drop; Melville then said "I am done up, I can go no further."  Coghill said the same.  I ran on, passed them, and got to the top of a hill, where a few Basutos on horseback had stopped, seeing me coming...I could see nothing of the two fellows behind me, so I guessed they had been overtaken."
The punctuation is Higginson's.  

It was case of every man for himself.  No-one blamed Brickhill for ignoring Gamble's plea "For God's sake, give me a lift"; no-one blamed Williams for ignoring Gamble either.  No-one blamed Bickley for not helping Richardson.  Selflessness was admirable where it happened but it wasn't uniform.  'Cast not the mote...' as my old dad used to say.

sas1

Coghill's letters home state that he rode up to the camp with his (mounted) servant leading a spare horse.  As JY says, officers had a spare horse.  

Williams saw Coghill's horse assegaied in the thigh soon after crossing the saddle.  Coghill must have picked up another because Williams saw M&C later.

Julian I'm not putting words in your mouth ( God forbid) so get back in your pram.

Your quest for the truth will prove fruitless on this occasion. Based on Highinson was the only witness to the what really happen on the banks of the river. My argument is based on others comments.

1) I doubt the revolvers in 1879 would have Functioned after being in water?
2) would they have ridden along the trail mixing up with Zulus who were intent on killing them, and never used there revolvers ?
3) We know the Eden men were giving covering fire, perhaps it was them who killed the many Zulus found near M & C

This is the account I have. Lieut. Walter Higginson, of 1/3rd Natal Native Contingent.

 "Coghill, who had got his horse over alright came riding back down the bank to help Melvill, and as he put his mount in close to us, some Zulus who were about twenty-five yards distant on the other bank commenced firing at us in the water. Almost the first shot killed Coghill's horse, and on his getting clear we started for the Natal bank and managed to get out alright, but when we had covered about a hundred yards up the steep bank we noticed two Zulus following us. When they got within thirty' yards of us, Melvill and Coghill fired at them with their revolvers and killed them both. I myself was without arms of any kind, having lost my rifle in the river and did not possess a revolver. When we had gone a few yards further, Melvill said he could go no further and Coghill said the same. When they stopped I pushed on, and on reaching the top of the hill I found four Basutos in whose company I finally escaped by holding on to a horse's tail."

In this account no mention of him telling them both to shoot. A d no mention in yours, he was saved by hanging on to a horses tail.

You see there are many tails told by your man Higginson including the horses tail!  Rolling Eyes

Your account Higginson says "For God's sake fire, you both have revolvers shoot" did they forget they had revolvers ?

PS I'm looking for the other account, where Higginson states he found horses and was going back but saw the Zulus had done the deed on M & C.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:18 am

Hi John
Smith Dorrien also crossed the river swimming and then : '....I saw that a lot of Zulus had crossed higher up and were running to cut me of. This drove me off to my left but twenty of them still pursued me for about three miles and I managed to keep them of with my revolver.'
The Edenvale men were firing across the river from the flats, M and C were much much higher up the slope, at least 500 meters from that position.
In Higginsons statement of the 18th Feb 1879 WO 33/34, inclosure3 in No96 he makes no mention of looking for two horses, I have no idea where Adrian Greaves picked up that gem. possibly a later statement, I don't have it !
In reading that statement he makes some telling comments, such as they were the last three white men to get across. Smith Dorrien was ahead of him, they met up and walked together for a few miles. It was at that point he met up with Barker.
Interesting thing about Smith Dorriens narrative is that he makes no mention of this meeting. But does make mention of where M and C were found and quite tellingly says the following: ' but I only saw one European, a Colonial and Acting Commissariat Officer named Hammer.'
That seems to contradict Higginson, but SD wrote his Memories of Forty Eight Years Service long afterwards.
Its difficult to see why Higginson, writing so close to the time and location, would deliberately lie in an official statement when the risk of being found out would be so great. His 'lies' about the meeting with Barker and taking his horse were actually lies by omission, in other words he didn't lie just didn't tell the whole story. Hammer is guilty of doing the same thing in not returning for SD, and omitting that from his statement.
I don't know where your quotation of Higginsons statement comes from but there are a number of errors in it.

Cheers
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:38 am

John wrote:
impi wrote:
John wrote:
Come on Julian. Next you be saying Higginson assisted in the endeavours to save the Queens Colours.

John I think your find, Higginson's mother did receive a letter from the Military Secretary acknowledging just that.

Hi Impi. Yes I'm am aware of that. He used the mother excuse of her having a letter that suggests he was involved in the assisting of the saving of the colours, while applying for a job. However he himself never had the letter, and I would lay odds on that no one will find the letter in question.

I think your right. It was he who said she had received the Letter.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:44 am

springbok9 wrote:
Hi John
Smith Dorrien also crossed the river swimming and then : '....I saw that a lot of Zulus had crossed higher up and were running to cut me of. This drove me off to my left but twenty of them still pursued me for about three miles and I managed to keep them of with my revolver.'
The Edenvale men were firing across the river from the flats, M and C were much much higher up the slope, at least 500 meters from that position.
In Higginsons statement of the 18th Feb 1879 WO 33/34, inclosure3 in No96 he makes no mention of looking for two horses, I have no idea where Adrian Greaves picked up that gem. possibly a later statement, I don't have it !
In reading that statement he makes some telling comments, such as they were the last three white men to get across. Smith Dorrien was ahead of him, they met up  and walked together for a few miles. It was at that point he met up with Barker.
Interesting thing about Smith Dorriens narrative is that he makes no mention of this meeting. But does make mention of where M and C were found and quite tellingly says the following: ' but I only saw one European, a Colonial and Acting Commissariat Officer named Hammer.'
That seems to contradict Higginson, but SD wrote his Memories of Forty Eight Years Service long afterwards.
Its difficult to see why Higginson, writing so close to the time and location, would deliberately lie in an official statement when the risk of being found out would be so great. His 'lies' about the meeting with Barker and taking his horse were actually lies by omission, in other words he didn't lie just didn't tell the whole story. Hammer is guilty of doing the same thing in not returning for SD, and omitting that from his statement.
I don't know where your quotation of Higginsons statement comes from but there are a number of errors in it.
Cheers

But that could be said just about most of the statements made by those that escaped.
I have read another account where "Higginson" states M & C told him to save himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:19 am

impi
Cant fault that.

Cheers
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:39 am

John
Higginson left five accounts and one anecdote; others mention him twice in their accounts.  It's necessary to read them ALL to get a full picture:

(A) A written Report of 18th February 1879 is held in the National Archives.
(B) A Report to Lord Chelmsford dated 17th February 1879.
(C) A letter by him was also published in the Natal Mercury, 16th May 1879.
(D) A second-hand account in Hamilton-Browne.
(E) A second-hand account in Maxwell.
(F) An anecdote relating to the the death of Lieut. MacDowel R.E. (kia).
He is mentioned in the accounts of Trooper Barker and Sergt.-Maj. Williams.

Everything else written about Higginson's escape in modern works is supposition or invention.

I have already shown that others used revolvers successfully after their soaking in the river.
Undoubtedly both M&C could have used their revolvers on the trail up to the river if they needed to though M would have found that physically difficult whilst holding the colours.
There is no evidence that the presence of the Edendale men corresponds to the time of M&C's arrival at Fugitives' Drift.

As you will see when you've read all the accounts, it is not the case that Higginson lied.  As others have said, he simply left things out to cover himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:21 am

JW wrote:
he simply left things out to cover himself.
 Suspect Rolling Eyes 
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:23 am

Maybe this will explain the context of Fugitives Drift itself.

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:27 am

Dave
Love it.
It says it all really, he lied by omission, simple as that. As impi said not an uncommon occurrence amongst the survivors, every one tried to one degree or another to cover there own backsides.
Take a careful look at who got to the drift first and who last.
Says a lot.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:34 am

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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:41 am

springbok
Couldn't agree more. It's why I will not single out or denigrate any individual for blame or discredit any known survivor's account. It's a bit like being in a court case jury with 90% of the witnesses missing.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:23 am

A Lieut. Walter Higginson, of 1/3rd Natal Native Contingent, has left an account of what followed. He had also been precipitated into the flood-waters, and states that as Melvill drifted down towards him he called out to him to catch hold of the colour-pike, which he -- Higginson -- did, but the force of the current dragged him off his feet and off the rock to which he tenuously clung, but fortunately into calmer water. To continue in his own words, "Coghill, who had got his horse over alright came riding back down the bank to help Melvill, and as he put his mount in close to us, some Zulus who were about twenty-five yards distant on the other bank commenced firing at us in the water. Almost the first shot killed Coghill's horse, and on his getting clear we started for the Natal bank and managed to get out alright, but when we had covered about a hundred yards up the steep bank we noticed two Zulus following us. When they got within thirty' yards of us, Melvill and Coghill fired at them with their revolvers and killed them both. I myself was without arms of any kind, having lost my rifle in the river and did not possess a revolver. When we had gone a few yards further, Melvill said he could go no further and Coghill said the same. When they stopped I pushed on, and on reaching the top of the hill I found four Basutos in whose company I finally escaped by holding on to a horse's tail."

Capt. Penn Symons account continued the story; "Worn out and faint with their exertions, Lieuts. Melyill arid Coghill were unable to climb the last 30 yards to comparative safety and were caught up and killed by their inexorable pursuers. Could they but have negotiated this last short distance, they might well have been able to get away with the Basutos as the latter had secured three stray ponies."

What was Capt. Penn Symons part in this, did he interview "Higginson" to retrieve the high-light text.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:30 am

xhosa2000 wrote:
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from link above
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:33 am

Last one for now!!! Some more on Higginson and after the event!!!

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:34 am

Ive tried for years to put together a crossing list at Fugitives Drift.
These are some of the men that can be placed into order.
Raw
Mcphail
Moodie
Vause
Gardner
Essex
Stafford
Curling
Smith Dorrien
Williams
Bickley
Coghill
Brickhill
Higginson
Melvill
Foley.

All of the above are in some way referenced by sight or timing.

Theres a case to be made for many others, even for changing the above.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:26 pm

Cheers Dave  Salute 
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:30 pm

Bob Hoskins rip.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:33 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:24 pm

Dave
Symons interviewed many survivors personally which is why his account is so valuable.
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Fri May 02, 2014 8:49 pm

Dave wrote:
Capt. Penn Symons account continued the story; "Worn out and faint with their exertions, Lieuts. Melyill arid Coghill were unable to climb the last 30 yards to comparative safety and were caught up and killed by their inexorable pursuers. Could they but have negotiated this last short distance, they might well have been able to get away with the Basutos as the latter had secured three stray ponies."

Is this what Penn Symons was told by Higginson, or his own take on the matter. ?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Fri May 02, 2014 10:10 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Fri May 02, 2014 11:28 pm

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Here yer go Les!

And some more.
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Far to many accounts from Higginson all different in some way.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 12:45 am

Thank's John appreciated. noting the Tranter blurb,
if the war dept purchased 1000 pieces and most
were sent to South Africa, who got them? applying
even basic math's, a good few of them would have
seen combat, a couple of hundred maybe! i am not
any kind of authority on small arms of that period..
but it seem's to me that looking at the Tranter, am
i correct in thinking that when the piece was ' broke '
for reloading or maintenance would i be correct that
the cylinder would just slide freely off, and if tilted
would indeed fall off!. which might tie in with
with the M and Coghill escape, and was it the same
with the B.A.'s.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 12:55 am

Was revolver ammuntion readily available. Revolvers were not issued by the army, but purchased independly. I can't recall the name, but remember reading that some officer had blagged some revolver ammuntion from Lt Bromhead.

With reference to Melvill's revolver, we know he remained at Isandlwana until all was lost, I doubt very much he would have been using a rifle, more so his revolver. Were the colours he took with him originally inside the command tent, if they were perhaps in was at that point he lost the cynlinder. Was it not supposedly found there after the battle.?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 1:06 am

Bromhead gave 11 rounds to Smith-Dorrient.

Extract from 48 years service!

"After starting the gallows, I went up to see Captain " Gonny " Bromhead, in command of the company of the 24th, and I told him a big fight was expected, and that I wanted revolver ammunition. He gave me eleven rounds."
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 8:54 am

Dave

Thats why i started the topic, I've read he lost the cylinder to his revolver - but there's no evidence for it !!

Even if a cylinder was found - how could anyone tell it was Melvils ?


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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 1:46 pm

John
I'm afraid I can't agree. Higginson's various accounts all roughly concur. Admittedly different aspects of the day are emphasized and some include facts that others don't but in terms of continuity they are all in agreement. Where do you feel this doesn't happen?
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 4:43 pm

Db
Unfortunatly Im not able to access my files at present but Im sure that any statement could only have come from one of the party that discovered the bodies. That party from memory also covered them with stones as a burial. That should narrow down the sources.

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 5:40 pm

Hi springbok

I've looked through most of them and there isn't a mention - i can't find one anywhere  Sad 




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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 6:03 pm

There were a few NNC officers there, don't forget the first Black Patrol they found the bodies and the next day only they discovered the colors. So there were a number of people present, including I think the Rev Smith.
The other possibility would be to look through Noggs Newman, he was around at the time.

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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 8:06 pm

I swear I've read that Henry Flynn found it  scratch 


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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sat May 03, 2014 8:39 pm

DB. Fynn.

Exhausted and spent, the three men managed somehow
to reach the Natal bank and had breasted a hundred
yard's of the hill, when Coghill limping along with his
strained knee, shouted, " Here they are after us".
both he and the Adjutant had revolver's, and they turned
to face the enemy, firing at thirty paces and killing the
two first.
" i can go no further", said Melvill, who was very much
done up. " nor i ", said Coghill; and they went no further.
Higginson who tells the tale, being weapon less and
maimed, made a last effort and got away. he could of done
nothing had he stayed.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun May 04, 2014 10:26 pm

It's difficult to believe Higginson.

He gives one story about holding on to a horses tail. Not true.

He gives another saying he had secure the horse's and was returning to M&C

It's what happen when M&C were on the Natal side of the river. Perhaps Higginson movements can be corroborate prior, but after that it can only be guess work.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Sun May 04, 2014 11:30 pm

His was the only living testimony, did he
actually see M and C die? i personally
doubt it! think of what was happening,
along the length of the fugitives trail men
were fleeing for life..all desperate to reach
the river which unbeknown to them would
be the severest test of all! finding them-
selves funnelled into a bottleneck which
must have resembled hell itself..this was no
ordinary queue! it was a swirling, snarling,
maelstrom of desperate men and beasts all
trying to get down to the river, which in it-
self must have seen scant comfort as the
fugitives caught a glimpse of the raging
torrent awaiting them! as we know some
could or would not wait and jumped to their
deaths on the rocks below.others were pushed
over by the sheer wait of numbers pressing
from behind.and all the while the Zulu were
every where ripping and slashing.to say the
fugitives were demoralized, frightened, and
indeed terrified, beyond, the agonizing and
overwhelming desire to survive at all cost's
is not in my opinion an understatement!, did
Higginson bottle it and leave M and C to their
fate? yeah i guess so. would other's have done
the same, we will never know. i dont think i
would have hung around.
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PostSubject: Re: Source for faulty revolver   Mon May 05, 2014 12:57 am

xhosa2000 wrote:
His was the only living testimony, did he
actually see M and C die? i personally
doubt it! think of what was happening,
along the length of the fugitives trail men
were fleeing for life..all desperate to reach
the river which unbeknown to them would
be the severest test of all! finding them-
selves funnelled into a bottleneck which
must have resembled hell itself..this was no
ordinary queue! it was a swirling, snarling,
maelstrom of desperate men and beasts all
trying to get down to the river, which in it-
self must have seen scant comfort as the
fugitives caught a glimpse of the raging
torrent awaiting them! as we know some
could or would not wait and jumped to their
deaths on the rocks below.others were pushed
over by the sheer wait of numbers pressing
from behind.and all the while the Zulu were
every where ripping and slashing.to say the
fugitives were demoralized, frightened, and
indeed terrified, beyond, the agonizing and
overwhelming desire to survive at all cost's
is not in my opinion an understatement!, did
Higginson bottle it and leave M and C to their
fate? yeah i guess so. would other's have done
the same, we will never know. i dont think i
would have hung around.

Makes sense. Don't look or wait for trouble!
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