I read with dismay the article of the ’cello belonging to the “Welsh soldier” killed at Isandhlwana – Band Sergt. David Gamble.
First, the soldier in the photograph holding the double bass could not possibly have been Gamble. Look at his arm – he has no sergeant’s stripes. Secondly, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Gamble was a Welsh soldier. In fact the 1st battalion had not recruited particularly in Wales but it had from among the industrial poor of Birmingham and the Black Country. The likelihood is that he was English although, of course, he could equally have come from Ireland, Scotland or Wales. In fact, the regiment when he enlisted was the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment; it only became the South Wales Borderers in 1881 two years after his death. Lastly, no provenance whatsoever was given in the article. On what basis is this miraculously-appearing ’cello presumed to have ‘survived’ the battle, been retrieved from a remote spot in the then enemy’s country of Zululand, returned to Britain, and remained hidden for 137 years? If it’s true, it would be a remarkable story indeed: one worthy of a national headline! But a reader has no way to judge from the article.