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 Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN

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Saul David 1879



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PostSubject: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 12, 2017 2:39 pm

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PostSubject: Mass grave found at Isandlwana   Mon May 15, 2017 5:54 am

Hi Saul,
Thanks for the video clip.
Now,some very interesting  angles come out of this news report;
1)whose remains are they?. I would surmise mostly Brit.
2) this revelation, if 1) above is correct, explodes the theory that the cairns with supposed whole remains tally up to the total losses on that battlefield.
3) it proves that the  whole of  the battlefield area at Isandlwana is very  hallowed ground, to all combatants, and no "cultural centre " should be allowed to desecrate it.
4) why have all the historians  missed out on this grave in the past.

regards

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 6:53 am

Hi Barry, these were first mentioned, open to correction, by Tony Pollard. Theres very little on the ground that suggests they are actually graves. The main evidence pointing towards them was from old aerial surveys dating back some 60 years or so. Once they were spotted as being significant cairn construction then the remains of those cairns were marked. Remember way back a lot of cairns were destroyed, including on the Tahelane Spur, George chadwick spent a long time rebuilding them. But as he himself pointed out he did miss some. Its highly probable that these cairns were taken apart to re use the stones in building the new homes close by.
As to whose remains? The first of the 'British cairns' reputted to be CS Wolfs party are around thirty metres further back so my guess, and I'm stressing its a guess, would be Zulu. But this late in History it would be anyones guess.
Cheers Mate........... glad to see your area at least has got water, we are down to 10%. Getting ready for water being switched of.
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PostSubject: Mass graves   Mon May 15, 2017 9:49 am

Hi Frank,
The mind cant help but wonder about whose remains they are. Perhaps it would a good idea to get some forensics involved to answer the questions.
I know the Cape is short of water, but 10% is a desperate situation. By contrast, all of our highveld dams are full and we have had two days now of unseasonal and unexpected "Cape" winter rain . All of this excess water will of course travel down the Orange to end up in the Atlantic.

regards

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 10:52 am

As it happens Pollard is giving a talk at the Chalke Valley History Festival next month.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 1:01 pm

Attend Steve, should be very interesting.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 1:06 pm

Barry
Having seen at first hand whats being located in Cairns at iSandlwana I would be very surprised if there was enough to do any testing on. When the two cairns below the Colonials grave collapsed I happened to be there at the time and witnessed the soil being sived. Minimal bits and pieces were retrieved and re buried.
But your right it would be interesting to know who they were. Theres 9 graves and looking at the proximity the collection area wouldn't have been that wide, so potentially 6 to 10 in each grave, 54 to 90 bodies. Its a huge amount if British and would change the opinions of minimal deaths on the firing line, and this was on the firing line.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 2:26 pm

That is a large amount, we are led to believe that the forward company's
retreated in good order, but with your computation that means they left
half to a full company out there dead on the firing line..interesting Frank.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 3:25 pm

Bonjour,
The percentage of gunners wounded (or killed?) on the firing line in relation to the number of them present (next to the guns /"not in the rear") seems to me interesting.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 3:30 pm

The observers from subsequent visits were pretty unanimous about minimum casualties on the front line, a companies loss would have been very apparent to them. So for that reason I would say the bodies intered could have been either NNC or Zulu. That is the possible position of the NNC to the west of the Guns ( that is I know speculation). In the event of never really knowing I would personally assume Zulu graves.
Just thinking aloud, there was a reference that after the initial burial party finished a report worked its way to PMB that more bodies had been seen 'further out'. I wonder if that could have a link? Or was that report referring to the Rocket Battery?
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 3:39 pm

Frank,
I mispoke:

My comment (about Smith and Curling's gunners) was just an observation (I.E: Smith and Curling's gunners) about your hypothesis: "...would change the opinions of minimal deaths on the firing line".

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 3:48 pm

There is also a remark written by a survivor of Isandhlwana, a streacher-bearer from memory (Wilson?): order given by Sheperd to stay beside the hospital due to the number of injured.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 3:57 pm

I do not say the gunners were under the cairns targeted by this thread; It is the perspective of your comment that interests me.
I have always been surprised by the number of artillerymen hit on the firing line in relation to the number of gunners engaged (on the firing line)
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 4:06 pm

Hi Frederic
Yup I hear what you say, the Artillery men were picked of all the way back to the saddle. I think we will never know exactly where they died, as we will not know if the injured 24th were brought back to the good Doc Shepherd. Really all we can go on are the statements of where the dead were discovered. If you look at Mainwarings map, he identifies where Wolf died with twenty men, would you agree that if aprox 90 more were a matter of 30 to 50 yards in front it would have been noted? If we can agree on that issue then all we have left are Zulu warriors.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 4:13 pm

Frank,
I had in mind the number of artillery men hit before the retreat through the saddle (Curling's letters from memory).
I shall take later a look at the map drawn by Jackson in Hill of the sphinx (about the cairns).

I am not a specialist, but I tend to agree about your assumption about the cairns targeted by this thread (Zulus dead).

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 15, 2017 11:05 pm

Frank,
Your assumption is the more probable...

I.E: I receipted today my copy of "Victoria's Harvest" (John Young) and "Rorke's Drift" (Neil Thornton). I waited to reicept them since near two months!
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PostSubject: mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mtn    Thu May 18, 2017 1:21 pm

Hi All
I seem to think they are Zulu dead , it seems to tie in where the Zulu attack was stalled for a while . From memory , it may be Curling , I'm not sure , but one of the survivors may even be Costello , mention that none ( ? ) of the RA men were Killed until they at least started to withdraw , possibly one or two being killed on the way to the saddle , there are also reports stating that survivors mention they were able to get away ( along Fugitives ) as the Zulu were to intent on killing the RA men and horses once they came to grief in the Donga down the Fugitives trail .
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PostSubject: mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mtn    Thu May 18, 2017 1:36 pm

Just read a statement by Curling where he states '' The Gunners were all stabbed going through the camp , with the exception of one or two , and one of the Sgts were also killed at this time '' .
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 12:48 am



From Lt Curling:
"The Zulus still continued to advance and we began to fire case, but an order was given to retire after firing a round or two. At this time out of my small detachment one man had been killed, shot through the head, another wounded, shot throught the side, and another through the wrist . Major Smith was also shot through the arm, but was able to do his duty. Of course, no wounded man was attented to, there was no time or men to spare. When we got the order to retire, we limbered up at once (...)'.

So before to retire:
4 artillerrymen hit.
Curling himself told us of "his small detachement", how many artillerymen NEAR the guns on the firing line (i don't say the number of artillerymen IN the camp but the number of artillerymen AROUND the guns)?
I also don't forget that the guns were not all the time together on the firing line : so it's possible that Curling didn't see all the artillerymen wounded or killed (a possibility in my mind not a certainty).

Statement by Private E. Wilson 24th:

"The streatchers-bearers were out with their Coys for some ten minutes when we were ordered by Dr Sheppard to go to the hospital tents , as he said there would be too many wounded for us to attend to".

My answer to Frank was just a remark, not a "thesis" against the generally accepted fact of the few numbers of British casualties before the order of retire was given!


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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 1:07 am

I suppose artlllerymen are always going to be more vulnerable than the company soldier in the line. The gun teams must stand to work the guns and therefore present an easier target. Infantry are more likely to be crouched or prone as they return fire taking advantage of any cover available. In that sense, it is unsurprising that the RA suffered the casualties they did before falling back.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 6:39 am

Steve,
Same explanation in mind about the artillerymen.
But, obviously the stretchers bearers didn't transport at the area of hospital the wounded artillerymen . Some of them have remained lying on thé battlefield (Curling). This last fact is somewhere corrobated by Bandsman Wilson ("The streatchers-bearers were out with their Coys for some ten minutes when we were ordered by Dr Sheppard to go to the hospital tents") .
According to Wilson, Sheperd Would have justified his decision by the following comment: "there would be too many wounded for us to attend to". In my opinion this sentence implies MAYBE an unusually high number of wounded (I.E. That the losses already recorded suggest a high number of losses to come). But maybe I have a translation problem!!!

I.E: If you take a look at a drawing of the battle of Ulundi, you can see stretcher-bearers who carry wounded on stretchers during the battle.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 9:15 am

Another point of astonishment in connection with the assertion a few victims have occured before the order of "retire" was given.
Only one or two ambulances (variation in testimonies) accompanied LC on 22 January in the Mangeni.
Under these conditions, the "medical personnel" was theoretically "in excess" with Sheperd at Isandhlwana in relation to the number of men left with Pulleine.
Under these circumstances, why Sheperd recalled the bandsmen (stretcher bearers) to the hospital's tents?
I don't forget that no one was available on the firing line, at least for the artillerymen (Curling), to bring the wounded to the hospital's area.
What was the occupation of the stretcher-bearers during this time, at the hospital's area, after their recall by Sheperd (if only a few victims was present in the hospital)?
12 members belonging to the medical branch (AMD + AHC) lost their lives at Isandhlwana ("England's sons" by JW p.8).

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 9:23 am


I.E: If you take a look at a drawing of the battle of Ulundi, you can see stretcher-bearers who carry wounded on stretchers during the battle.

[/quote]

It's also the case with another sketch of one of the battle of the AZW 1879 (Kambula?)
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 9:44 am

What was so important for Sheperd to recall the bandsmen rather than go and pick up the wounded, left unattended, on the battlefield?
Sheperd was a specialist in the new concept of "first aid" to the wounded.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 11:11 am

It seems to me that the artillerymen (attached to the guns) were protected for a time from Zulu fire by an infantry company placed between them and the Zulus. Happy to be corrected.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 11:19 am

Frederic

You raise an interesting question about why the stretcher bearers were recalled back to the tents by Sheppard. It needs some more research. Your quote from Bandsman Wilson says the stretcher bearers were out with the companies for 10 minutes when they were recalled. At that point the firing lines had not been overrun,  but it was probably evident that the pressure from the Zulus would cause the companies to fall back. It may even be the case that by that time Pulleine had put orders in train to commence that fall back to a line closer to the camp and Sheppard may have been aware of it. Perhaps Sheppard brings the stretcher bearers back to the hospital tents to direct them better during an orderly retreat.  As you say, he also has 11 Army Hospital Corps soldiers under his direct command who, I imagine, are employed mainly on nursing type duties at he hospital. There is also a need for some manpower to move the wounded that do arrive at the hospital onto the ambulance wagons to be taken to the rear. But all this becomes chaotic as the orderly retreat becomes a route. I think it is reasonable to speculate that more wounded troops were left out in the field than we imagine, but not sufficient to fill the recently discovered graves.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 11:36 am

Steve,
There is no link in my mind between the recently discovered tombs and "my arguments".
I only seek to understand the testimonies from Curling and Wilson in the context of "a few casualites occured before the order to retire was given."
I have some assumptions in mind, I'm curious to know the opinion on this subject by members of this forum.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 11:45 am

Steve,
I tend to agree with your analysis. But it does not explain why the artillerymen were not picked up on the battlefield during the fight.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 11:54 am

The ratio of artillerymen "hit" (wounded or killed) is 1/5 (before the order "retreat" was given)
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 12:39 pm

I wonder whether the bandsmen/stretcher bearers of the 24th would focus mainly in support of their regimental companies? Was the RA expected to recover its own wounded?

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 12:44 pm

it seems to me that the men from artillery (Administrative, blacksmiths, wheel repairers, etc.) were employed as ammunition carriers for the infantry -opinion given witout certainty-
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 1:02 pm

I tend to think:
-bandsmen: ammunition carriers or Stretcher bearers for all the troops
-"spare" artillery men: ammunition carriers for the infantry
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 1:05 pm

Sheppard must have felt he had the authority to direct the stretcher bearers, but if the ancillary men from the band and the RA also acted as ammunition carriers who decided which of them was allocated to each task? It's a bit of a mystery.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 1:40 pm

I don't think it is a problem for the "spare" artillery men: Ammunition carriers to the infantry was their usal task during a fight.

About the bandsmen (stretchers bearers or/and ammunition carriers). I don't know who had the authority on them. I have a preference for the person in charge of the hospital but...
Sheperd's attitude tends to demonstrate this outcome.
To be honest, I do not know the answer, just an assumption on my part


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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 2:13 pm

As you said in a previous post, Sheperd would have called back the stretcher bearers to organize their deployment on the battlefield.
If it is the case, the stretcher bearers had to be very busy elsewhere than on the position held by the artillerymen since the wounded artillerymen remained "on the ground".

Maybe the distance between the firing line and the hospital's area explains this situation described by Curling ?
The stretcher bearers would have taken a long time to bring each wounded from the firing line to the hospital area .
Anyway, I suspect the losses have been (a little) greater than is generally thought. Otherwise, the wounded artillerymen would have been transported to the hospital's area.

It's just an opinion.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 2:41 pm

I slightly different reading on Wilson.
In reading the statement Wilson doesn't say he was a stretcher bearer:
He does say at the beginning of this section he went to get a stretched and was on his way to rejoin his company but was ordered by the doctor to to join the four companies remaining on the parade ground. that is a significant piece of prose. The guns were already in action before all the companies were deployed. As Roberts was (allegedly) killed by friendlly fire, that means that when the Colonials were descending the hill the troops had not yet formed the line. Some 10 minutes after, quite a significant time in battle, these companies were sent to the front.
This to me is the key reading: The stretcher bearers were out with their companies for some ten minutes, when we were ordered by Dr Shepherd to go to the hospital tents.

Look at the phraseology used by Wilson. He doesn't say 'WE were out with OUR companies".
I would submit m'lord that Wilson was not out with the Companies but was a separate entity from the stretcher bearers and was to all intents and pupose on the 'parade ground' waiting for assignement.
Then later he does mention being in the hospital tent so significant time lapses involved. that does need to be taken into consideration when looking at the issue.

Does that lot make sense?
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 4:14 pm

Bonjour Frank,
I am triying to understand the impact of your reasoning on the key points of the Curling and Wilson's testimonies....

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Fri May 19, 2017 4:36 pm

Just read Wilson again and it takes a little unpicking.

Firstly, it answers my earlier question about allocation of tasks. The bandsmen are assigned (told off) either as stretcher bearers, ammunition carriers or cooks. Wilson says he was a stretcher bearer and falls in with the regiment formed in front of the tents. The rest (ammunition carriers and cooks) remain in camp.

They are eventually stood down when Durnford rides in. At that point Cavaye and E Co. go out to the ridge and the rest (including Wilson) march back to their parade ground and are dismissed. The fall in sounds fifteen minutes later, the regiment marches off to the left front and Wilson goes to the hospital to get a stretcher. On his way back to join his company he hears firing and sees the guns engaged with a company supporting them in their rear. He intends to join that company, but Sheppard orders him to join the 4 companies remaining on the parade ground.

Those companies are sent out in front of the camp and 10 minutes later the stretcher bearers (who, he states, were out with their companies) are ordered back by Sheppard to go to the hospital tents. I read that as Wilson being out with the 4 companies but it is ambiguous.

How did Sheppard communicate the order for the stretcher bearers to return to the hospital?  Was he in fact out with them? When he says there will be too many wounded for them to attend to, perhaps what he means is the numbers will be too great for them to treat in the battle line or just behind it. They should all return to the hospital where, together with the AHC soldiers, they will be better able to cope?

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 4:24 am

Steve
The issue for me is Wilson seems to separate two points, the stretcher bearers were sent to the front and secondly he was recalled. To meit reads that the stretcher bearers were not recalled. Wilson mentions being in the hospital tent and watching the events unfold at a later point. We need to be aware of the time scale, probably close to two hours spans his statement. This interpretations really answers Frederics question.
In other words Shepherd DIDNT recall the stretcher bearers merely the additional personel for assistance IN the hospital tent area.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 8:18 am

Frank,
Your point of view tends to show more losses than generally thought.
Frédéric
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 9:55 am

The other thing that struck me is what he says about the deployment of the 24th after the second fall in. He says the regiment marches off to the left (ie in usual company columns). Later, when he has collected his stretcher, he is instructed to join the 4 companies remaining on the parade ground, who then deploy in skirmishing order in front of the camp. So there are two deployments of the 24th - one marching off (which to me indicates they were going some distance) and then 4 companies skirmishing (ie fanning out in the immediate vicinity of the front of the camp). Had not thought of it quite like that before.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 10:18 am

Frederic
I'm not to sure I understand why that should be. We don't know how many casualties came back from the line, there is a reference to 'casualties began to mount'. That however would happen much later than the initial deployment. Possibly Shepherd saw the approaching mass and decided to be prudent and get more help at the 'hospital'.
Steve
Its what ive banged on about ad naseum and I know boringly: Not enough notice is taken of these statements in terms of analysis. Theres a lot to be drawn in building a picture and time frame. And in terms of the stretcher/Wilson combo, did he pick up a stretcher?
So how many companies were there? 5 from 1/24th and 1 from 2/24th plus at a later state the Dyer mixture.
One is sent up to the Ridge, while the troops were stood down. The troops were then called to parade, 5 troops. Cavaye was sent to the ridge, 4 left. Keeping in mind that Porteous was already out supporting the guns, 6 Companies in total.
So the only company that Wilson could have wanted to join would have been Porteous, I wonder why?
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 11:57 am

I agree there is more to be extracted from these reports. Just for interest this is what the 1877 Field Exercise Pocket Book says about skirmishing. Note in particular the last sentence.
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Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 7:15 pm

Bonsoir Frank and Steve,
Thank you both. Reading your messages made me understand that I had misunderstood some of the sentences written by Wilson.

As I was "completely lost" with the alleged movements of the stretcher-bearers, I took a look in "Hill of the Sphinx" (p.40)

Jackson wrote: "The Zulus were Keeping up a heavy fire, and although most of the shots went over the infantry, and fell in the camp area a few men in the line were hit [Essex / COI] Of the men serving the two field-guns, one was killed and two wounded. Major Smith was shot through the arm but remained with the guns [Curling's letter] . The stretcher-bearers, who had been out with the line, were withdrawn by Surgeon-Major Shepherd to the hospital tent because "there would be too many wouned for us to attend to". As they left the firing line they saw ammunition being brought out to the companies (in the centre) [Wilson. He says that the streacher-bearers were in the line for about ten minutes].

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 7:28 pm

Jackson has drawn the same conclusions. But is he correct? I don't believe so, sorry if its heretical to criticize him, but we have a conflict of opinion. DJ is forming an opinion based on the sources, he isn't a source. So go back to the source and draw your own opinion. Mine is as stated, there is nothing to say the stretcher bearers were withdrawn, Wilson was withdrawn but was he a stretcher bearer or not?
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sat May 20, 2017 10:45 pm

Frank, Frank...
Sorry. see no offense. As English is not my native langage, regulary, I am not sure to understand ( or I don't understand) the messages posted on the forum. So, I search a beginning of answers elsewhere. It was the case here with the alleged movements of the streacher bearers.
Of course, it's not heretical to criticize David Jackson or another author with honest and constructive arguments. There is no definitive book on the battle of Isandhlwana and I doubt one day it will be the case (historical study does not work like this / See for example the new informations discovered between the first and  the 8th Edition of "England's sons"). I can't imagine study this battle strictly through the eyes of the Narrative or Sir Reginald Coupland. If not, we will not debate today about the work of Jackson (or another modern author)...
I have a deep respect for your analizes  and your unconventional reflections which allow me to advance in the knowledge of this battle (1).
Sometimes, I am not agree with you, but it's fun!!!
Changes nothing. Wink

Frédéric

(1) For example, I look forward to your study on Essex and the Tahalane Ridge. I tend to  think  that it's you "unconventional view" which is accurate on this subject .
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sun May 21, 2017 1:40 am

Hmm. There is no doubt in my mind that Wilson was a stretcher bearer - he says he was in direct terms. The doubt arises when it comes to the second stand to. He says, at the first stand to he is told-off as a stretcher bearer and parades with the companies on the parade ground. The bandsmen who were not to be stretcher bearers remain in camp. At that point Wilson is parading with a company as a stretcher bearer (so he has a company and I suspect it was Porteous). They all stand down. Fifteen minutes later they stand to again. At this point Wilson goes to get a stretcher - does that mean he alone didn't have one at the first stand to, or he took it back, or none of the allocated bandsmen had one at the first stand to? We do not know. Wilson then seems to be casting around for which company to join (remember he paraded with one at the first stand to). The implication is that the company he paraded with at the first stand to has gone by the time he has got the stretcher (Porteous?). So he intends to join Porteous out supporting the guns. But Sheppard over rules him and assigns him to the four still on the parade ground. At that point the stretcher bearers for those four companies are presumably with them and deploy with them in skirmishing order. The strong implication must be that Wilson goes with them - why would he not?  After 10 minutes Sheppard calls them back to the hospital.

If you take Wison's descriptions as fact we have Cavaye up on the ridge, the guns out ahead,  Porteous company lying prone behind the guns in support, and further back four companies going forward skirmishing. No firing line at that stage other than on the ridge.

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sun May 21, 2017 9:11 am

Morning Steve/Frederic
Its definitely fun Frederic and interesting to take apart and de construct these old statements.
" I was one of the stretcher party"
Wilson had been allocated as a stretcher bearer, but without a stretcher, so on the second call out goes to the hospital tent to collect a stretcher. The hospital tent has been located by the way as being on the saddle behind the HQ tents under the mountain.
On the way back from the hospital tent he sees the guns firing.
So to set this episode into a time frame, for the guns to be firing there would have had to have been something to fire at. One to the left font and one to the left. So one towards the Notch area and one towards the ridge. At the same time firing is heard from the ridge. So Cavaye and Mostyn are already on the ridge and the impi is on its way down the ridge face.
Porteous was supporting the guns.
So three of the companies were outside the camp area. F and E on the ridge and A with the guns, left therefore would have been C and H 1/24th and G 2/24th, that leaves one missing from the 4? If Wilson is correct then at that point Dyer had already enlisted all the stragglers and available manpower, ergo Pulleins command of getting everyone who could carry a gun had probably been carried out.
To take that forward would it therefore mean that at that early stage Pullein had an inkling of what was to come?
Those 4 companies were then deployed. And held back the approaching impi for a considerable time, Popes words of giving them a thrashing spring to mind plus Pulleins confident comments.
We again know that Durnfords men held out for around 30 minutes before retiring.
The point of the above is really to indicate things weren't as compressed as Wilson seems to indicate.
The defense held for a minimum of thirty to 45 minutes.
According then to Wilson, Shepherd was concerned at a very early stage, 20 minutes really, that casualties were going to be high. Jackson says, and Snook follows him, that the casualties were not in the line per se but in the rear with 'overshoots' and this is the reason the stretcher bearers were withdrawn.
That makes no sense at all.
To continue though, Wilson is allocated to one of the four remaining companies and marches to the front. If he was with the main line he couldn't see the Durnford donga its invisible from the front line. He would have had to have been facing East possibly on the rocky ridge with Pope. If he was there he wouldn't have been well positioned to sight what was happening on the front line.
Wilson is then recalled back to the hospital tent and on his way witnessed ammunition being carried out to the line. At that point he sees Durnford retiring across the plain towards the donga. He mentions they were in the donga for 15 to 20 minutes.
Even while Durnford was retiring the main attack was well developed, "the hills to the left and in front covered with Zulus".
What this does to a point is place into context the actual attack but it also shows we cant rely on Wilsons time estimates.
Frederic
The survey results from the ridge were a tad disappointing really, but I will publish soon.

Cheers

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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Sun May 21, 2017 10:39 pm

Frank Allewell wrote:
.
Frederic
The survey results from the ridge were a tad disappointing really, but I will publish soon.

Cheers


Frank,
Good new! (the publication not the disppointment).
Through your comments published here and there on the forum (in particular in link with Essex's testimony) you have at least one argument irrefutable.
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PostSubject: Re: Mass graves discovered at the Isandlwana Mountain, KZN   Mon May 22, 2017 8:58 pm

Frank/Frederic

I think there may be a scenario that fits Wilson's description of events and the comments by Jackson and Snook about the main casualties being from overshoots. I go along with the description you give up to the point where the final four companies go forward. Wilson said they were "skirmishing", Jackson says they were "thrown forward". So far as I can see, Jackson gives no estimate of the time it took them to reach the vicinity of the guns, which at that point are the furthest forward other than the companies on the spur (estimated as 800 yards out) Wilson tells us Porteous's company is lying prone in the rear of the guns. After 10 minutes the stretcher bearers are called back by Shepherd because he fears heavy casualties. How far have the 4 skirimishing companies got by then? Could it be that the overshoots are falling among them and Porteous's company before they constitute a firing line?

Steve
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