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Lt. (Captain) J.B. Carey, 98th, Ityotozi River--
(Isandula Collection)
Military Odyssey 2016 - Zulu War Era British Encampment
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 Henry Harford

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:43 am

Just looking through the Journal of Henry Harford and I came across this paragraph.

"When getting within a mile from the camp a large body of Zulus were seen disappearing over a hill to the right of it, looking like an enormous mass of ants or swarm of bees. so we were halted for a few minutes to let the artillery send a few shells into them. we saw ever shell burst right in the middle of them, but the mass was so dense that whenever gaps were caused by the shot were filled up and it was impossible to see what damage had been done."

My understanding has always been that the only time the artillery came into action on the return to iSandlwana was to lob a few shells at the mountain just before Major Black led the attack onto the koppie, so this comes as a bit of a surprise. Its easy to discount issues like this as faulty memory over the years, but can we apply that to a very descriptive journal?

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PostSubject: Henry Harford    Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:19 am

Frank I cant remember where I've read it , but I have seen this mentioned several times over the years , the reason they shelled the camp was because of the retiring Zulu army which were heading back the way they had come earlier in the day .
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:39 am

Morning Gary
Yeah I hear what you say but the prievious mentions have always been about shelling towards the camp. Im sure one account mentions the shells striking the mountain. I just don't recall any mention of shelling the actual retreating army.
PS Have you seen the state of that wicket in India? 35 wickets fall in two and a half days??????
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:44 am

Have a look at the 'Big Silver Book' as usual its the easiest to reference, page 101. "Harkness fired several shells into the camp."
Another bloody conundrum. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:24 pm

Hi Frank/Gary.

This is very interesting, and I seem to recall reading something about this in one of my books, however, with all my books being moved due to a small fire in the house, I will have to wait until I get everything back to normal to look through them and see which book I read it in, it could well turn out to be Harford's book that Frank quoted.

Isn't it odd how you can sometimes read books, etc, and at first you do not pick up on something that you have read in it, then later, someone might make a comment on the forum and it triggers a memory, and it is only then that you wonder why you didn't pick up on it beforehand, and to make matters worse, you can't remember which book you read it in. scratch

Could well be a case of age catching up with me, blast it, after all, I am only 21 and a bit, mind you, it's a big bit. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:22 pm

In Emery's "The Red Soldier" a letter from Lt Logan 2/24th to his old school is quoted.

"With field glasses I could see some tents still standing and thousands of Kaffirs trooping away far to our right with waggons and plunder. By the time we were a mile from the camp it was dark. About 500 yards from where the camp had stood the guns commenced shelling to find out if it was occupied by Zulus."

Pretty much tallies with IK in the silver book (quoting Trooper Symons?) and not at all what Harford says.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:55 pm

Martin I sympathise but your not alone mate.
Steve, he also says that the mass of Zulu were over on the right, near or on the plateau approach. But he also says the shells were lobbed at the camp. Harford says that shells were aimed at the Zulus.

Interesting one.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:23 pm

We need to keep an open mind. Is there any corroboration.
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PostSubject: Henry Harford    Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:12 pm

Exactly Impi ! , as far as Isandlwana is concerned , it's certainly a case of having an open mind , it'll never be put into the '' Solved '' category ! . What someone means by shelling the Zulu's is probably what someone else would be saying ' we shelled the camp '' ! . Let's not forget they have seen the Zulu retreating , therefore common sense to lob a few into the camp I expect , if some weren't actually watching where all the shells landed , they wouldn't be aware that the departing Zulu were shelled . Hope this makes sense
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:47 pm

I can remember reading something about some retiring zulu's almost coming into contact with LC and his men, and that there was some shots fired at a zulu who came charging at the column trying to get the rest of the zulus to do the same, however, they were worn out and the Brit's were almost out of ammo, so they continued on their respective ways without having a ding dong. I haven't got my books to check on this, but I think that it might have been after the battle at RD when this incident happened. But I can also recall reading a similar thing to what springy says regarding Harford saying they shelled the zulu's disappearing over the hill, I will have a good root through my books when I get the house back to normal, but something tells me it's from the same book that Frank mentioned.

Surely, Harford would not have just made this up would he, or could he (in later years), be getting confused with the guns firing into the remains of the camp? But he seems to be specific in his quote, so it seems that it is a real event he is recalling rather than an obscure memory or some confusion. As impi says, keep an open mind and try to find some corroboration to this event.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:05 am

It was suppose that the one of the Zulus broke the ranks of those Zulus that were leaving RD and charged at LC's column, only to be shot. The other Zulus just carried on their way, for the reasons given by Martin.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:08 am

'If some weren't actually watching were all the shells landed, they wouldn't be aware that the departing zulus were shelled'.

Good point Gary, makes sense mate, they would assume that it was just the camp being shelled.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:08 am

I would agree generally with the comments re shelling the camp/Zulus except for Harford being specific on two issues, the natives were on the extreme right and secondly he comments on the effects of the shells hitting the massed ranks.

There is another account I need to dig out of the shells 'striking the mountain'.

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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:38 am

Frank,

There's a reference somewhere to Harness firing star shells to illuminate the scene prior to the advance into the camp. I will have a look to see if I can find it, it is possibly in the Harness material in Sonia Clarke.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:54 am

Harness letter to his brother 25th January says: "About a quarter of a mile from the neck we halted and I fired about a dozen shells as well as we could in the dark and the infantry on our left went forward to take one of the little hills."
Im beginning to view Harford with a bit of suspicion.

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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:16 pm

Hi Frank, as I said in an earlier post, surely Harford wouldn't have made this up would he?

You never know, his memory of events might have been playing tricks with him. But Like I said to Gary, he does seem rather spacific in his quote, and appears to be recalling an actual event rather than an obscure memory or being confused, all the same, it does throw a little suspicion on Harford.

If there is some corroboration for this event, then that will settle it, so we will have to root through various books, etc, and see if we can find any other mention about this shelling of the zulu's, it does also seem a bit odd that Harness does not appear to have mentioned it. scratch

Mind you, he was writing to his brother, so maybe he avoided any mention of it in the letter to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:02 am

Frank Allewell wrote:
Morning Gary
Yeah I hear what you say but the prievious mentions have always been about shelling towards the camp. Im sure one account mentions the shells striking the mountain.

Bonjour Frank,
About the account:
From F. SYMONS (N.C.):
"A short halt was made before entering the camp and the artillery opened fire, directed towards the spot in the camp under the mountain where the large mass of Zulus had last been seen moving about before darkness set in. Our men were evidently not there or they would have let us know.
At the first discharge of the cannon the fires which were dotted about the camp were extinguished with one sweep, Zulus being wiser in that respect than our NNC.
The Zulus, however, did not return the rifle fire, but must have moved out of camp. It was a pretty sight to see the bright flash of the gun and the graceful curse of the shell as it passed like a meteor through the air, to fall and rebound over the nek.
Sometimes the shell would strike Isandhlwana and bring down the rocks with a crash. Some went into the valley beyond.
Meanwhile, Major BLACK, with part of the 24th, had seized the kopje now called after him, and we hearing men cheering up there...."

Source: "Experiences of a Natal Carbineer in the Zulu war" By Fred Symons
("The journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Resaerch Society / Chairman: John Young / Part. III, Vol. 3 issue 3)

I.E: Symons doesn't mention an another (or a previous) discharge of the cannon in his account.

Cheers.

Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:07 am

Bonjour mon ami
So we again left in limbo with this bloody battle. Just once it would be nice to have something simple.
I have no doubt that your post is the correct one, ties up with others including Harkness. But Harford................. where on earth did he get his version from.

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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:25 am

Frank,

From Trooper CLARKE (NMP)
« In less than half an hour Major Gossett, ADC, galloped up and ordered us to retire on the camp at once and I was heartily glad to hear that there was some prospect of getting some food tonight . We shortly caught up with the 4 guns of no 5 R.A. and then learned that the camp had been attacked by dense masses of the enemy.

We immediately offered to gallop on with the guns and attack the enemy in the rear and it is possible that if this scheme had been carried out , we might have saved the camp , but the General would not allow us to leave the Infantry who were very tired having marched 40 miles since 3am, with great coats and 70 rounds of ammunition each..

Col Lonsdale NNC met us soon afterwards and reported that he had tried to enter the camp but it was occupied by Zulus. Having learned the worst , the General formed us up and told us to retake the camp at the point of the bayonet. When we arrived within two miles of the camp it went suddenly dark ( an eclipse) and I feared something dreadful would happen.

The column then halted and the silence that reinged was awful.

We could hear the orders being given to load the guns of the 5th Bat, R.A. in our column and 4 rounds were fired into the camp to scare the enemy away. At this time we were in half sections on the left flank of the Column and then even numbers were dismounted in order to repel any attack the enemy away.
At this time we were in half sections on the left flank of the column and then even numbers were dismounted in order to repel any attack that might be made on that side.

Strict orders were given to remaim silent but I had to make sure of my half section companion, Tpr Day, and I kept calling him in a low tone of voice for fear he should bolt with my horse in the event of an attack.

The 24th then advanced with the bayonet and after firing three volleys charged the nek and seized the kopje on the left. The N.N.C. hearing the firing , imagined we had been attacked , and in their state of fear, commenced blazing away at an imaginary foe. The bullets whistled harmlessly over our heads, but no one was hurt. (...)

Source : 1879 AZW Forum / Diary transcripts from Trooper CLARK NMP / from forum member's BARRY »

I.E: As SYMONS, CLARKE doesn't mention an another discharge of the artillery.

Cheers

frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:49 pm

I actually think that Mr Harford is just a tad guilty of Artistic Licence.
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PostSubject: Re: Henry Harford   Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:03 pm

Bonsoir Frank,
Guilty of Artistic License?, Ultimately, it seems that it is not the case.

From Lt Milne (R.N.):
"We reached a distance of 900 yards, and now dark; two small fires were observed in the camp, and large dark objects were seen on the rock between the two hills, as if the enemy intented to block the road. We halted and opened fire with shrapnel shell on the neck. After four or five rounds and no sound being heard, the guns were limbered up and an advance was made to within 300 yards.
In the meantime Major Black with half a battalion of the 2/24th was ordered to advance and take the small kopje on the left of the road at all risks.
At 300 yards fire was again opened, when a ringing cheer announceed that our men had occupied the hill. Guns were again limbered up and we Advanced on the neck."

"Blue books" C-2454, p.185

Cheers.
Frédéric
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