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Lt. Melvill: Well done, Sir! Did you see that Noggs? Deceived him with the up and took him with the down. Norris-Newman: Well well, this one's a grandfather at least. If he'd been a Zulu in his prime I'd have given odds against your lancer, Mr.Melvill.
 
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 Tunics from the dead

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Roselier

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PostSubject: Tunics from the dead   Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:40 pm

I conducted a search on here by typing 'tunic' but nothing appeared, so my question to the learned people on here is in regard to the tunics taken from the dead at either iSandlwana or indeed Ntombi.

Is there any written evidence or accounts from the actions later during the campaign stating that some Zulus were seen to be wearing captured tunics or is this a bit of artistic licence in contemporary paintings/sketches?
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:48 am

Hi,

I have read that is was part of the Zulu war doctoring to wear an item of clothing from someone they had killed (as well as the more documented mutilations etc) until they had returned home, then there was a doctoring ceremony to cleanse them - when I believe the 'item' was discarded.

They were not allowed contact with 'civvies' when returning from war until they had been 'doctored' - not even their wives.

I spose at Khambula, there could have been warriors wearing something taken at Hlobane or Intombi and at Rorkes Drift, something taken at Isandlwana but I doubt if things would have been worn long term.

I often wonder what happened to all the stuff looted from Isandlwana (not weapons but general 'tat') - I reckon an Antiques Roadshow programme set in Zululand would be interesting.

The Anatomy of the Zulu Army by Ian Knight, is a good book for this sort of subject - I will get it out of storage (the loft!) and look through it for contemporary accounts.

Cheers

Sime
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Roselier

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:14 pm

That's actually one of the few books I don't own myself! You'd think it would be mentioned by someone if it did happen as surely you'd think twice, at first, about shooting someone wearing a red tunic!
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:43 pm

I can't help thinking that the average Zulu wearing a red coat, may well have carried a 'shoot at me' placard......

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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:58 pm

There is reference on Morris's WOTS on page 524 (on line version) about someone called Harrison encountering 3 Zulus with captured coats......but I dunno the original source.

Lonsdale also mentions it when he rode into the camp at Isandlwana but that was in the aftermath of the battle.
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Roselier

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:16 pm

Yes, immediately after a battle definitely. You would think that by wearing a red tunic in battle you would also run the risk of a 'friendly' stabbing or club to the bonce!
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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 5:49 pm

I don't think that a Zulu in a redcoat, would be at too much risk from a friendly fire/swat incident.

Interestingly enough, the Natal Pioneers wore an old fashioned army surplus redcoat and the original plans/designs for the NNIC called for redcoats (and firearms) but this never came to fruition - one on the grounds of expense/supply and the other because of 'white' paranoia.....

If you think about there would have been an awful lot of Zulus hoofing around in all manner and colours of European items/coats soon after Isandlwana.

Apparently the Zulus did not like wearing items of clothing with too much blood on them.

Hlumula and qaqa (and war doctoring) are a fascinating part of Zulu warfare (well, I find them fascinating) but I am not sure how closely the rules were followed by the average Zulu - Melvill and Coghills bodies still had their jackets on but there is still debate over who killed them (Natal Zulus or Zululand Zulus)

Cheers

Sime

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:36 pm

Here's some evidence from my collection. But I think it has much more to do with army surplus than romantic ideas of battle trophies.
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Steve
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:34 pm

Hi Steve,

I am no expert on uniforms but the tunic looks like old fashioned ones worn by the Natal Pioneers, particularly the cuff shape - although, it actually looks like what is called the 'jam pot' cuff, which was a later one (1880s?) - depends if there is a loop on the other side.

But I dunno about the lack of piping.....

Do you know the date of the photograph?

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I have it in the back of my mind that the NPs had dragoon tunics but I am not sure if I have dreamed it.

Cheers

Sime
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:00 pm

This one is not directly dateable but the album in which it sits is 1875-1880. It indicates to me that worn out military clothing was commonplace. I am sure that had there been any suspicion of looting then the poor chap would not have survived long enough to have his picture taken. I would guess he is a Natal Zulu and I don't think he belongs to any military unit, could be NNC but I doubt it.

Steve
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Tunics from the dead   Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:05 pm

He appears to be wearing a European type belt as well....I would reckon that you theory, Steve, is not far from the mark.....

Is there anything interesting on the remainder of the photo?

I'm sure I read somewhere that the initial plan to equip the NNIC with tunic was not helped by the fact that 'millet beer' had not helped the waistline of the natives......

Cheers

Sime
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