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 Bassage Diary

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:36 am

Here is the famous Bassage notebook recovered from the battlefield.
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After being recovered Bassage used it to record various issues so it saw a very active life. Privileged to have held it, very carefully, and read it.
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90th

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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 11:47 am

Well done Frank , excellent .
90th Shocked

PS . I bet they wouldn't let me hold it , being an Aussie as such Very Happy Shocked Shocked Shocked . Might be a good idea not to tempt fate ! .
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:26 pm

Any idea what the letters on the cover refer to? Looks like PHS something G.

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 1:38 pm

I believe its his surname .
90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:16 pm

Looking again I think your right. Obvious really!

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 2:19 pm

Salute
90th Very Happy
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:17 pm

Are copies from the note book available, in its entirety.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:50 pm

John
I will start to post tomorrow the key pages.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:54 pm

Bonsoir Frank,
After extracts from Penn Symons's manuscript, an another superb gift for all the members of the forum!
Thank you very much.
I hope read something about G Coy....
Cheers
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:30 am

"G Company 2/24th Regiment with the exception of a few men was found lying in the place where they were posted the previous night as an outlying piquet"

Bassage Diary
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:35 am

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:37 am

enlarged, Ray your quite right here is the passage you quoted
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:37 am

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:38 am

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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:50 am

Apparent contradiction between the comment " with the exception of a few men" and the number of cairns built in the same area....
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:03 am

Hi Frederic
Its one of the abnormalities, its difficult to ignore Bassage though. One issue of course is that the piquets were right along the front of the camp, in line with the small donga. The G company line wasn't a continuous line but squads of 4 men separated by 10 paces or so. The eminent Col Snooks assertion that the series of cairns to the North of the Donga were their graves cant be reconciled. I believe as Im pointed out before that the g company graves extend as far back as the East of the volunteers cemetery.
Unfortunatly Col Snook cant say that, because his whole hypothesis is based on G company refusing the right and hinging the line backwards. That pulls G company away from Donga in the South, and that's where some of the graves are. He cant explain that point.
On this theory Bassage is proven correct, if he ever needed to be.

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:17 pm

Excellent job Frank. Those pages are very evocative. From the reference number of the documents Brecon seems to have acquired them in 2002 - so they are quite recent in research material terms and won't have featured in many of the well known works. Snook mentions Bassage and then, as you say, weaves it into his hypothesis. Do we know of any other author who mentions Bassage?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:57 pm

Hi Steve
I don't believe so, could easily be wrong though. There are a few other pages to the diary which relate to his profession post war as a baker in PMB. I will post them later as a bit of background. There is also his estimation of the numbers killed.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:07 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:07 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:09 pm

The nominal roll of G Company
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Last edited by Frank Allewell on Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:10 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:14 pm

Just a portion of the G company roll.
The diary by virtue of the position of various entries really does signify how genuine it is, so the descriptions contained are to my mind incontrovertible. Very poignant.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Is this not unique as the only surviving nominal roll for a company at Isandhlwana ?

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:12 pm

Quite possibly Rusteze , I've heard of Corp Bassage's Diary , I've searched high and low and cant find it in any of the books that I think it's in , I may've read about it on one of the two forums ? . Bloody annoying trying to find something when you can't ! .
90th No Suspect Don\'t agree
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:19 pm

Thanks to a friend I've been informed part of it was posted on here by Chelmesfordthescapegoat who found it on the RDVC Forum , it was posted on there by Martin Everett , CTSG Posted it here on the 22/ 12 / 10 I knew I'd seen some of it before Shocked
90th


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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:25 pm

Gary the only mention I have of it is in HCMDB.
Steve Im sure its in Norman Holmes and Julians books.

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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:31 pm

Frank it isn't in Holme , I didn't check Julian's but I'll say it isn't ? . It isn't in either of Sonia Clarke's books . Just checked JY's didn't see it mentioned there . I didn't check the AZWRS or the AZWHS Journals .
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:34 pm

CTSG's post back in 2010 only seems to contain a page , I wonder if it was reproduced in its entirety by Martin Everett on the RDVC Forum ???
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:35 pm

I think this could very well be C Company not G.
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:43 pm

Lce Cpl John Bassage was in C co 2/24th , promoted Corp 23/ 1 / 79 ... I wonder why Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:01 pm

Hi GAry
Sorry we crossed earlier, the mention of Holmes etc was in response to the question from Steve on the nominal roll of g company at iSandlwana.
Interesting thing about Bassage promotion is that I checked the orders from Rorkes drift, the hand written ones from Clery and didn't see a note of the promotion, many other incidents but not Bassage. Things must have been chaotic that day. If you look at the first page of the roll to the right of his name is a very faded pencil note. Theres also one next to Gormleys name, that Ive figured out as Bugler, but the note next to Bassage has me stumped.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:12 pm

Martin Everett had him as C Company 2/24th over on RDVC, so he was out with Chelmsford. There is also a quote from Snook in response to the Missing Five Hours debate.

"The NNC position(s) you draw attention to shows two locations. One is marked clearly as an outlying night picket, not a daytime vantage point: 'Detached outpost by night' is how it is annotated and I see no reason to discredit the position. It is there to listen rather than to look: most us remember how dark Isandlwana used to be before the electric came (and with it the local population explosion and all that entails in environmental terms). And, from my wider study of Victorian soldiering across a number of theatres, it is there to cover an obvious avenue of approach by compromising any attempt by the enemy to stalk in close under cover of darkness. That's a nice way of saying it's there to be attacked as a sacrificial lamb, in order that some sort of hullaballoo is created in the process, thus to allow the rest of the force to stand to its arms. Look how close in to the camp the main circular ring of night pickets is. This is normal for the Victorian Army. So the outlying one shown is a specifically sited 'listening post' in effect. I would be surprised if there weren't others. Something of this day/night picket notion has survived the intervening century, with our modern day system of outlying (day) and inlying (night) sentry positions and all that. The position of the night-time picket line is corroborated by source evidence; Cpl Bassage's pocket book immediately springs to mind as it establishes a link between some of the G Company dead and the donga (Mpofane) where they had earlier been on picket duty. Bassage of course would have marched past the roadside picket that morning. That is one pointer that whoever annotated the map worked hard at getting it right."

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:18 pm

Hi Frank
The word next to Gourmley looks like '' Bugger '' ! , the one next to Bassage , like you I have no idea ! .
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:25 pm

F rom the 23 january' s oldiers trop surviving coys Have been carried out in the destroyed coys sometimes with promotion
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:47 pm

The notebook must have been in Brecon before 2002 as Holme mentions it against Bassage's name in Noble 24th published 1999.

Again according to Holme, Sgt Instructor of Musketry Michael Gormley was appointed acting Quartermaster Sgt on 29/1/79. Perhaps Cpl. Bassage wasn't happy about that!

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:02 pm

Rusteze yes it states ' Orders Book - Rorke's Drift ' what does Vice Low mean ? . It also states no trace of issue of medal , he was entitled to the Clasp 77-78-79 .
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:33 pm

Good point Gary. I think the "vice Low" means he replaced 657 Cpl. John Low 2/24th who was killed at Isandhlwana. In which case the "Order Book Regimental Archive" referred to by Holme is probably not the Bassage notebook but the book recording promotions. So we are back to 2002 for the date of acquisition for Bassage's notebook.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:15 pm

Steve if Noble 24th mentions it in 1999 then the acquisition would have been prior to that. Im not near HCMDB at present but Im pretty sure that Snook mentions it, he may also give a clue on the acquisition. I have a mental image of reading it was donated by the family. Bassage himself was resident in Pietermaritzburg.
I ran through the order book earlier, there is no book actually just a collection of loose blue pages, I couldn't see mention of Bassage but as I said earlier it would have been chaos on the 23rd, I would be highly surprised if any attention was given to promotions. EArly start from iSandlwana, long march, the relief of RD and then the fortification etc? Seems very unlikely, however it could have been a backdated issue. Bassage was C Company was John Low C company? If not he wouldn't have been a replacement.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:34 pm

The Holme entry is as follows:

Bassage John 242 Corporal
Formerly Lance Corporal: promoted Corporal 23/1/1879, C Company, vice Low (Orders Book -Rorke's Drift, Regimental Archive). Discharged in Natal, date not recorded. South Africa medal with clasp 1877-8-9; no trace of issue of medal.


I don't think that is the notebook. Can't tell if Low was C company but he was 2/24th and was killed at Isandhlwana.

Snook refers to the Bassage notebook on page 222 of HCMDB. He calls it a recently unearthed source obtained by RRW Museum at Brecon but nothing more on its provenance.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:05 pm

The notebook came into the possession of the RRW Museum in Brecon just as I was writing HCMDB. Most importantly it is a crucial piece of documentary evidence in comfirmation of what would otherwise be unsupported hypothesis (though it is actually very self evident on the ground) that Pope's G Coy did not make it back to the saddle.
A quote from Mike Snook of the Victorian Wars Forum
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:36 pm

So, HCMDB published 2005 which makes 2002 for the acquisition of Bassage's notebook by Brecon about right. Holmes must have found a note of Bassage's promotion in some other record.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Thu Jul 14, 2016 10:57 pm

Fascinating Frank, i wonder knowing a bit of Julian's research background if
he can add to this?,
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:48 am

Morning all
There is a scribbled reference to Bassage being promoted in the orders of the day, RD.
Interesting issue is that Low is listed as being with G company but Bassage promoted, to replace him, from C company and stays with C company. Curious.
Gary
I enlarged that pencil scribble, the top one does say Bugler and the bottom seems to be Bassage initials.
I spent a great part of last night reading through the PS journal, some significant points being made that I will enlarge on over the next few days.

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 7:58 am

Just to resolve the confusion - there re two important documents in the Regimental Archives in Brecon

1. Orders 2/24 - probably you would call the - Part 1 Orders. These cover the period 28 January 1879 to 7 April 1879 whilst the 2nd battalion was based at Rorke's Drift. Norman Holme would have had access to this document when preparing 'The Noble 24th'.

2. Bassage diary (or notebook) was donated to the Museum by Freda Chadwick, widow of South African historian George Chadwick in 2002. Norman Holme did not have access to this notebook as he died in 1999 just before the publication of 'The Noble 24th'. Bassage was discharged in Natal and set up trading as a baker.

Bassage was not present during the fighting at Isandlwana on 22 January - however it is thought that he left his pack (containing the notebook) in 2/24th lines at Isandlwana before marching out with Lord Chelmsford. The notebook was recovered and returned to him. Bassage later visited the battlefield later and his experiences are documented.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:19 am

Kenny
Are you able to clear up a point.
Bassage was promoted to Corporal late January ostensibly as a replacement for John Low, killed at iSandlwana. Low was with G Company and Bassage with C. Bassage remaine with C company as the entry in his diary confirms.
The question is therefore why would a replacement promotion take place from outside the company and the recipient remain outside the company?

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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:56 am

Unfortunately the company rolls pre-battle on 22 January 1879 do not survive. Bassage took up the post of clerk/storeman of C Company 2/24th. It is possible that Cpl John Low was the previous incumbent of this post. Those from 2/24th killed at Isandlwana - are always assumed to be G Company (the only 2/24th company that remained) but there was more than a company's strength left at the camp. So I assume there were some sick etc from other companies who also remained. Low could have looking after the C Company heavier stores/packs left in 2/24th lines. So he becomes listed as a 'G' company casualty by default. Naturally, as the Order Book shows there was also much inter-posting of personnel within 2/24th following the battalions losses at RD and Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:02 am

Thank you Kenny, that offers a solution.
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PostSubject: Re: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:51 am

I still like Gary's interpretation of the pencilled word as "Bugger". Gormley had been appointed acting Quartermaster Sgt. 2/24th and possibly therefore Bassage's boss? Can't think what "Bugler" would mean in the context of a Sgt Instructor of Musketry. Good man Kenny for clearing up the notebook question and the provenance.

Steve
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PostSubject: Bassage Diary   Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:38 pm

Sorry Frank I' cant see how you think the word is Bugler , if it is , whoever wrote it cant SPELL ! . The last 3 letters are most certainly ' g , e , r certainly no L following the letter g that I can see .
90th Shocked
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