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Lt. (Brevet Major) J.R.M. Chard, 5th Field Company, Royal Engineers--Rorke's Drift and Ulundi
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Rededication Rorke's Drift Defender William Wilcox. 8th May 2011 Dolton Devon.
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 Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units

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Uwe



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PostSubject: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:09 am

I haven't wrote on this forum before, but enjoyed the discussions very much.

Since nearly 20 years I am working on 1/72 figure dioramas in bigger style than others. It all started with an Isandlwhana-Diorama in 2000.
Now after all these years the idea was to take on the last battle in the war.

So this year together with two other friends I am working on Ulundi. The diorama should be on show at the Dioramica, the big fair for 1/72 dioramas in Germany.

If you like check the post on my [url=historyin172.blogspot.com/search/label/Ulundi]blog[/url] to see some photos of it.

So far we have 10.000 figures painted for the project. The diorama should show the attack of the Zulus on the square with all the cavalry inside.

Ok - now my questions that nobody could have answered me so far:

Natal Native infantry - At the battlefield of Hlobane they found a lot of ACW buttons at the place where the Zulus attacked the NNC. So there was a discussion about the NNC having got old Union infantry uniforms. Can somebody help me with some information on the theory?

Then I am searching for two volunteer units uniforms - Bakers Horse and Transvaal rangers. I have the info from Ian Castles Osprey MAA 388, but found no other texts on them. Bakers horse seems to have a kind of FLH uniform in a bright colors and Transvaal rangers in black with helmet.

Can someone help me with much more information or maybe a photo?

And BTW, if you want to sell painted Zulus in 1/72 I would be greatful as I still need 10.000 to get the whole army Very Happy

All the best
Uwe
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:12 pm

Hi,

I'm sure someone like John Young will help you with Bakers and Raaffs.

I have seen a picture of Raaff - he is in a dark uniform with an ornate pith helmet along with some dark uniformed irregulars (who may be the TR)

Hers SBs photo from the internet:-

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As far as the ACW uniforms go, I could perhaps see the NNIC having greatcoats (but I would have thought that there would have been enough British surplus lying around) but I would be extremely surprised if they had any more 'uniform' at this time.

I have never read about ACW buttons , or if I have I have forgotten/it did not register.

Cheers

Simon

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90th

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:41 pm

I've seem to remember one of those ACW buttons being found at either Isandlwana , or the Ngwebini Valley while I was there about 2 years ago , I also think another was found at possibly.. Kambula ( ? ). scratch scratch
90th Salute
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Uwe



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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:06 pm

Hi Simon,

thanks for your answer. This is the photo I have too in my collection. But this is the only one.

@90th - yes the rumor came out around two years ago. But I can't remember where I have read it.
Yesterday I got my order from the Naval and Military press. Beside the books I ordered their DVD "Isandlwana - Zulu Battlefield" from Ron Lock and Peter Quatrill. There were a lot of photos of the NNC. I will try to make a screenshot or two.

cheers
Uwe
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:44 pm

I have uniform guide to the Zulu war in the loft (Wilkinson Latham or something similar?) Its probably quite dated now but I will look at in next week for hints about Bakers.

I'm currently packing up to move house, so I will be up and down the loft, so its no hardship.

I believe that Wood only had a small number of natives (Woods Irregulars?) - so I am not sure they would have lost too many buttons Very Happy

I could see the NNIC being better equipped after the reorganisation (after the disbandment of the first NNIC) and perhaps having a greatcoat by Ulundi

I have been checking contemporary engravings of the battle but could not spot anything, defo

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:09 pm

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90th

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:44 am

I see Lee Stevenson says he saw an American Button at Kambula in the link posted by 1879Graves , I thought I remembered it , the more I think of my post yesterday about seeing one at Isandlwana , I think it was found in the Ngwebini Valley.
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:07 am

Hi Sime
Let's not forget a large number of the zulus who fought at Kambula had fought at Isandlwana , a looted jacket from Isandlwana could easily have found it's way to Kambula.
90th Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:44 am

Hi Gary,

Yeah it could have happened, however, probability would say that:-

The chances of a jacket with US style buttons at Isandlwana (multiplied by)
The chances of a Zulu looting it (multiplied by)
The chances of the Zulu fighting at Kambula (multiplied by)
The chances of said Zulu biting the dust or otherwise loosing is bestest coat (multiplied by)
The chances of a detector-ist stumbling across it

I spose ultimately step 5 is the only one we definitely know happened

Talking as a former archaeologist/dirt scratcher - it depends on the context it was found and its location etc but I wouldn't like to "bet my life on it"......however that said, quite how it got there though, I have no idea.....

I'm not saying this happened but look at the confusion caused at LBH by tours organised by some Yankee army Officer (can't remember who) - scattering 'relics' around for his customers to 'find'

cheers

sime

ps I never knew your mob (Bunnings) owned Homebase......




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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:52 am

We tend to forget the passage of time and the hundreds of thousands of visitors that have traipsed over the battlefields in the intervening years.
At iSandlwana there was a period when hundreds of mounted men camped there when Pulteneys Column passed through.
I lost a bottle opener there a few years back, should be nice and rusted now waiting for an unsuspecting tourist to pick it up and be very surprised at the sophistication of the equipment the officers of the 24th had brought along with them ! Very Happy Very Happy agree
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:58 am

Hi Frank,

You are naughty - hiding messages and 'relics'.......I could never imagine you loosing that most treasured item.....your bottle opener.....

Despite my post above looking on the internet, there was quite a global trade in army surplus stuff from the US after the ACW (I spose they had some spare kit flying around)

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:26 am

Sime
The idea behind hiding messages was to test how fast they would degrade. Just a fun thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:31 am

Hi Frank,

Yeah, I realise that.....just messing around...... Joker

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:12 am

Its what us wannabeexperts do. Very Happy agree
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:41 am

Hi Sime.

Here are some probabilities to test your take on Probability . I did actually SEE  one of those buttons found ,  which I'm fairly certain was in the Ngwebini Valley , which just happens to be the route the zulu army took when leaving Isandlwana , the zulu took everything with them , no self respecting zulu would leave any matter of clothing behind at Isandlwana , unless it was drenched in blood , they weren't keen on that ! , so it seems a button did fall off , ( no probability ), during the withdrawal after their Victory . There were several Regiments who fought at Isandlwana who also took part in the later battle at Kambula ,  thousands of those individuals  , the fact that at least 1,000 were killed at Kambula  , let alone others who died that weren't found or buried , any one of those zulu's could've lost a button , or Jacket , during the battle which they secured from Isandlwana ,  the kids at Kambula certainly haven't got a detector , they are lucky to own a decent set of clothes , as Lee Stevenson posted they offer up all kinds of stuff when you are there , I was offered an Australian Military Button last year , I researched it once I was home , it was in use from 1900 - 56 , a lot of ACW clothing was indeed in SA at the time of the AZW . I've actually found 2 MH Cartridge cases myself at Kambula , one near where Hackett had his sortie , the other in the main lagaar area , that's proof positive you don't even need a detector , also found other items such as the 4 sided nails where the Pallisade was built , these things are factual to the time period, as are other things I've seen at Isandlwana , shirtsleeve buttons etc seen in the headquarters area after heavy rains . Sorry , but I don't believe your 5 points of probability are probable ! Salute . Frank , I haven't found any can openers or pocket knives as yet , then again there will be items from later , and from 1879 still around , you certainly would need a detector at Isandlwana , Kambula not really , granted there have been many people over the years go through Isandlwana looking to acquire an item or two , not that scale of interest at Kambula , after all there's nothing there , with the exception of  the very small village / Kraal
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:00 am

Morning Gary
If you do happen to find my bottle opened please post back to me. Note bottle opener, my fetish for Chardona, Ill leave the cans (tinnies) to your lot. Joker
Speaking of which are you going there next January? Im already booked into the RD 18th to the 25th.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:10 am

Hi Frank
Yes I'll be there with Ian's Tour , we were staying at Penny Farthing but there are at least 12 of us I believe we are staying at Battlefields Country Lodge for some of the tour , Isandlwana Lodge for the other part , to be honest I haven't really looked as it's still 5 months away , but I did book my flights last week ! . Will finally get to meet you in the flesh ...hopefully Joker Joker
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:36 am

Penny Farthing is superb. Foy Vermark is a descendant from the originals, getting on a bit now but a lovely man. I stayed at Battlefields once, a bit far out but brilliant facilities.
Looking forward to January, part of the family heads back to NZ the day before so its going to be a busy January.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:30 pm

Hi Gary,

How long would the Zulus keep wearing clothes - I have read that they discarded any clothes associated with a 'kill' or stabbing after the cleansing ceremony, when they returned home.

In the post linked by Graves (above) Littlehand mentioned a 'metal detector' finding the button.

I'm sorry but as Julian would challenge me "proof Watson proof".......you SAW a button found but you're not sure where, so it could have been the route of retreat of the Zulus after the battle.

So it could have come from a Zulu trying to stretch a coat over his millet beer belly, equally it could have come from any other source since 1879.

I think I read (or imagined I have read) in BotPM that at least one Zulu had red coat on at Kambula but can't be sure......

I probably think my 5 points of probability are quite probable.....

Cheers

Sime
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:59 am

Hi Sime
Well I can see your idea of probability differs to mine Very Happy . The Jacket from which a button could well have fallen from doesn't mean it was from a ' Kill ' and later discarded as you mention , more than likely it was souvenired while the camp was being looted , very probable . I was merely stating that you don't need a metal detector to find items at Kambula , I'm proof positive of that , no probability about that , as are the Kids , who have any number of items to show you ( not detector finds ) , certainly some are not from 1879. The Ngwebeni valley is hardly a hive of activity , where we walked there are no inhabitants , except the odd scorpion or two , it probably hasn't changed much since the zulu walked through that route on the evening of the 22nd , so there's every chance the button was from a ' Souvenired ' item . We will certainly agree to disagree .
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:18 am

Hi Gary,

I can quite see (or imagine) Zulus wishing to keep shiny brass buttons as souvenirs of their adventures – perhaps to make decorations out of.

There were probably hundreds (if not thousands) of buttons flying round Zululand after Isandlwana.

It may even have been a collecting ‘fad’ amongst the warriors.

I spose there would have been loads of tat lying around where the Zulu army camped after the battle – being broken down into what bits they wanted.

Do you know if any organised field walks/surveys have been done of this area? but I spose it would add little to the overall understanding of the battle

I saw a documentary on TV, a while back, about the Alamo and specifically De La Pena’s diary. Based on diary entries a team went into the Mexican desert and found a military badge/buckle – this was found on a previously unknown route, going someway to proving the authenticity of (at least this part) the diary and adding credence to the ‘Crockett surrendered’ entry.....of course Texian/Texican historians demy it.

Yours in semi-disagreement

Sime (in all probability)

Ps this still get Uwe nowhere nearer to his uniform answer.
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:36 am

Hi Sime
I'm not intimating that Zulu's kept buttons as shiny souvenirs , hahahahahaha , I'll leave that thought squarely with you . I'm saying one could easily fall from the jacket it was on , I've lost buttons over the years from clothes , as I assume you have ? .
As far as I'm aware there have been no organised walks / surveys or searches of that area , I've personally had a look over the area which consisted of only 2 or 3 hours , I'm very keen to spend a day there with Ian K among others at some stage in the near future . There was a lot of stuff left lying around the Ngwebini Valley , as the Zulu soon tired of the heavy items which they'd looted from the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:20 am

Gary
Next time you go down the valley. Before you cross over the stream at the little (broken) bridge, turn down the valley and as you go around the first rise / foothill keep your nose to the ground.
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:36 am

Hi Frank
Will do ! Very Happy Very Happy agree agree agree agree
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:59 am

It was in that area that an acquaintance 'found' the rusty remains of an MH and Ive had great pickings. Local tradition is that the Zulu spent time there breaking open the MH cartridges for the black powder hence the numbers of cases there. 'The place of the shields', Indawo yezihlangu I believe its called.
Its also a great pointer that the retreating Zulu didn't go over Mabaso but rather entered the valley at the mouth. Makes sense.
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:01 pm

By the way I heard a rumour that an MH was found somewhere on the Fugitives trail recently.
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:03 pm

I dunno (obviously without proof), I can quite see brass being retained, in metal poor culture. They used brass etc for arm bands......

So if the Zulus weren't wearing coats (as along term habit, say after getting home from Isandlwana) and were not saving the buttons as souvenirs - how can the Kambula button (if it was one) be explained?

I'm not sure I have lost many buttons.....my hair (yes).....my marbles (definitely)......but I don't wear a lot of buttony things.....

When you nose is to the ground make sure it doesn't get bitten by a scorpion.....

Was the trail of looted items ever inspected (items recovered?) by the British after the war?

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:11 pm

Sime
I don't know if the British ever went into the valley looking to recover items , once the war was over the army was broken up quickly by Wolseley . Scorpions sting with their tail , I'll be nosing around at a height where they can't reach my nose ....hopefully ! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:44 pm

Sime a few years back some buttons were recovered from iSandlwana, in fact a row of buttons. The theory was that they were the buttons of a tunic but the material rotted away and left the neat row of buttons. There was also the loan button found not to long ago on the back of iSandlwana. So there is always the possibility that instead of buttons 'falling of' a garment was attached that over 140 years has rotted away. I have had a number of artifacts that have been found on various battlefields, including a belt buckle. And that still has a few threads of material attached. I might add that any finds I have come up with now reside in a museum, that includes an old MH that I located and donated ( Gary was horrified about that at the time). Shocked

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:01 pm

Hi Frank
Yes there are a couple of ways that a button(s) could be found as I attempted to explain to Sime . I actually found a button ( Shirtsleeve ) in the Headquarters area , the same as those that were recovered from the Birkenhead , seems the company were outfitters to the British army from the early 1800's up until much much later , the dates escape me without looking them up , the company name was S.W.Silver (a Gap) Co Cornhill . Well done Frank re the museum , it's illegal to remove Battlefield finds from any site in SA ....as we are probably all aware ( ? ) .
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:16 pm

90th wrote:
Scorpions sting with their tail , I'll be nosing around at a height where they can't reach my nose ....hopefully !

Quite.....however it will depend on the elevation of the nose and how high the scorpion can spring.......

I can see how a button (or buttons) can be lost/dropped (or garments rotted away) etc - even the Regimental tailors stash being scattered around but I am struggling with the origin of American buttons both at Isandlwana and Kambula.......

I read about the row of buttons, in one of the books I have, somewhere....

Hay ho, off to work....

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:51 pm

Sime
There was an American presence in Natal at that time so I have no doubt that trade would have been happening. If you look at some of the sketches done of various officers there are a couple of greatcoats etc that could quite easily be of American origin. that being the case I could easily imagine some ex army clothing being shipped out to the Colony. Don't forget there was an American at RD as well. He even got a financial reward for his bravery.
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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:56 pm

Hi Frank
Yes the American at RD was the Pontman Daniels , any more details on the possible MH found on the trail , approx where and it's condition etc ??? . Have you been back looking for Macleroy ? .
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:28 pm

I can’t possibly imagine a Zulu wearing a military style greatcoat...

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If anyone finds any USSR or DDR buttons on the battlefields I think I can explain the source of those...

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:20 pm

John
That looks suspiciously like an American design.
John on your next visit look at all the Zulu security guards and night watchmen, they all wear old ex Army greatcoats. Gets bloody cold at nightime.

Gary
The MH is just a rumour at this stage, I haven't seen it. But the source for the rumour is pretty reliable. I was in RD last week but not the weather for long strolls down the trail, soon as it gets a bit warmer I definitely have to re aquaint myself with 'Geordie'

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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:56 pm

Frank,

I believe they were surplus from the Civil War.

British other-ranks greatcoats were single-breasted only officers wore double-breasted.

A mate of mine made a fortune selling ex-army surplus greatcoats all over Southern Africa, so I know that only too well. He acquired a number of Soviet and East German ones when his British stock ran out, hence my comment above.

JY
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Gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:41 pm

Not forgetting a lot of the mules used by the British Army came from America so stuff was definitely coming across.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:58 pm

Where do the buttons go on mules?

Steve
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Gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:03 pm

On the fold over flaps. They didn't have laces in those days.
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:12 pm

Thought it might have been to stop their ears flapping in high winds.
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Gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:18 pm

Hahahahahahaha Salute
To be honest you only really find Buttons on a mule at Christmas.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:30 pm

Oh no you don’t...
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:06 pm

One of Langalibalele's sons in a double breasted coat but from a slightly earlier time. Still post ACW.
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Steve Reinstadtler
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90th

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Wed Aug 29, 2018 2:41 am

There's no doubt that ACW greatcoats and other items made there way to Sth Africa , I've seen it mentioned in several publications over the years , hopefully Sime see's the posts , puts 2 and 2 together ....and makes 4 , not 5 !!. Joker Joker
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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Wed Aug 29, 2018 8:13 am

Oh deary deary me.....

I'm not disputing the fact that there were US greatcoats flying around South Africa in 1879 or that the Zulus had access to greatcoats........

What I can't get my head round is that US buttons were found at both Isandlwana and Kambula - I assume (yes that's dangerous) that the Zulus did not go to war in their best 'whistles and flutes'......It must be me and the way my mind works.....

Shirt buttons at the HQ - I can understand - (officers ripping each others clothes off in the heat of battle ?).....nails in the area of the palisade.....MH cases in the area of Hacketts sortie.....all very logical and probability would say its very probable......I would even bet there may be horse 'tack' in the cavalry lines.....and tin cans in the rubbish heaps.....

Either there were more of these greatcoats that I think or the workmanship was very shoddy and buttons were being flirted off in all directions....

Hay ho, I will get back to doing something useful in life.....packing up the house......

Cheers

Sime




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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:25 am

For me the argument boils down to the difference between "possibility" and"probability". All of the above clearly makes it a possibility that a Zulu or two lost a button from a US coat. But there are just too many variables, as already listed, to tip that into a probability. It is one possible scenario, but there are many others. So two and two certainly make four, but is it two and two we're dealing with? Personally I'm waiting for them to find a British Rail button which throws up all sorts of possibilities around Dr Beeching's axing of branch lines.

Steve
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90th

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PostSubject: Uniform- Details on Natal Natives and some Volunteer Units    Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:40 pm

Well Steve as you may have read in one of my earlier posts , I was offered an Australian Military Badge at Kambula , I researched it once I was home , and it was in use from 1900 till much later... 50's from memory , so one day a British Rail Button may appear ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA . I've been told that Units from the state of Victoria.. from here in Australia were indeed in the Kambula area during the 2nd Boer War .
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:10 pm

Gary I have a photo of the Victorians camped at iSandlwana, I will pop it through to Steve to post for you.

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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:28 pm

Frank's photo.

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Unform-Details on Natal natives and some volunteer units   Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:31 pm

agree
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