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 Ration Party Rorke's Drift

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Bill8183



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PostSubject: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:57 pm

According to Holmes in the Noble 24th pg 332 2-24/2453 Pte William Cooper F Company was sent there on the 21st January as part of a ration party. This information was quoted from  the Regimental Journal October 1942.

Has anyone any information about this, has it been discounted? Are there any letters or accounts which mention other possible members? It's interesting to find out the reasons why so many different groups were there (hospital patients, prisoner escort etc)

Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:30 am

Hi Bill,

I have no added information to your question - or in fact to any question......however

I spose given its location and function, there would have been a continual trickle of people going back and forth between RD and the location of the Centre Column (+ a bit of cross traffic, up and down the border).

Chard/Robson went 'up country' (and returned) the morning of the battle to get his orders, Durnford passed by on his way to Isandlwana.

The mule drawn ambulance at Isandlwana, would (not given the circumstances of the 22nd) had been taxi-ing its passengers back to RD (at some point in the future).

The thing I find fascinating is how survival or accolade (on the 22nd) were down to pure fate - HAD Chard left a few hours later he - would possibly have been involved in the battle of Isandlwana and just been 'another name' on the casualty role instead of 'winning' the VC - without Chard, would have RD held.......there is no answer to that either way because we do not really know what effect he had on the course of the defence.....had RD have fallen would Chelmsford's campaign fell apart.....a Sir Garnet turned up sooner....

Cheers

Sime

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:46 am

Unless Im mistaken Adrian Greaves has spent years trying to prove William Cooper was at RD. I do believe Cooper is related to either Greaves or Knight, or both. I have a paper on this I will try and dig out.

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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:06 am

Hi Frank,

There was an 'Isandlwana' Cooper that IJK made a big noise about being related to (something about a letter or medal in someones loft) - I thought he was a Sgt but I may be mistooken (as usual)

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Sime
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:27 am

Hi Sime
The RD 'Cooper' mentioned by AG and IK is a Thomas Cooper.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:54 am

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Kenny



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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:33 pm

There were only two members of F Company 2/24th at Rorke's Drift over the period 21-23 January 1879 - 2-24/2453 Pte Wm Cooper and 25B/1459 Pte Robert Cole. This could be the ration party (?) (with a small wagon perhaps?). Cole was rescued from the hospital by LCpl McMahon AMC who was later awarded the DCM. Perhaps both were sent back from Isandlwana to Rorke's Drift to collect rations on 21 Jan or Cooper was just helping Cole back to obtain medical help - although there was medical help within No 3 Column. For just two soldiers on their own to travel through hostile territory seems a little reckless perhaps they were supported by other members of 2/24th who then may have caught up in the defence of Rorke's Drift.
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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:54 pm

Bonjour Kenny,
In "England's sons" there is a third member quoted: 25B /1065 Pte James (sometimes appears as John) Ruck (footnote: Holme "gives his coy variously as B ...and E.... In fact it was F).
Cordialement
Frédéric
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:24 pm

Hi Kenny
In addition to Cooper and Cole travelling on there 'own' there were of course other examples not least Chard, Smith Dorrien, Hamer etc. Personally thinking in retrospect I would agree with you, very reckless.

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Kenny



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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:42 pm

So the 'ration' party could have been just Ruck and Cooper. Cole could have been left at the hospital at RD when his company passed through the drift. Pte Ruck following the action at RD was posted to G Company 2/24th (31 Jan 1879).
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Bill8183



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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:33 pm

There could have been other members of the 2nd Battalion with him/them, it's interesting as we do not know the reasons for being there for all the defenders, Julian has written about the prisoner escort, you can only guess about who was a hospital patient etc.
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Ration Party Rorke's Drift   Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:37 pm

25 hospital patients can with certainty be identified. 11 others can be surmised. ES pp. 85-87.
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