I have a question for members.
Flicking through a recent book purchase "Zulus at Bay a colonial chronicle" by Denis Barker (ISBN 0620334173-4.The grandson of Tpr. William Walwyn Barker of the Natal Carbineers), I came across the following statement on page 230 were he states:-
"He tells of how he and his friend Villiers Hawkins were on outpost or vidette (as he calls it) duty on Qwabe hill about six miles to the left and in front of the camp."
Trooper Barker however does not mention specific geographic features by name in his account but only uses distances.
"We left camp at about 4a.m., and the Carbineers were posted to the direct front and left of the camp,from three to five miles away. Hawkins, my bosom friend, and myself were posted on a hill to the extreme front, quite six miles from camp, and arrived on the hill about sunrise."
From further research Denis Barker seems to have got his information from the late Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill's "Zulu Victory"(ISBN 978-84832-848-8) which is mentioned in his bibliography. See their map on pages 88 to 89.
Lock and Quantrill have Whitelaw on Nyezi and Barker and Hawkins on Qwabe.
(Though I appreciate this information could have been passed down orally from grandfather to father to son, indeed in the introduction on page 1 he states "I never tired of listening to my father's unforgettable account of his father William Walwyn Barker,..." Then on page 3 he writes:-
"Further details in this book have there source from numerous books on the battle together with stories that my father, Wyn Barker and his brother Basil related to me. They were both fervent enthusiasts of the Zulu War and in 1974 attended the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Isandlwana. there they met a Zulu veteran of the battle and, being fluent Zulu linguists, they were able to have some intriguing discussions with him about the incidents as seen from the Zulu perspective")
However the use of the words in this particular statement "He tells of how he.." looks as if Denis is using Barker's written account as reference.
Looking at the distances on a 1:50 000 scale map, from the middle of the camp to the spot height on Nyezi is 5.29 miles and Qwabe 3.55 miles as the crow flies.
Using only these two named features and if
we are to believe Barker's distances this would put him on Nyezi.
(In my opinion Whitelaw could then have been on iThusi which is three miles out, is still to Barker's left and would still fit with Barker's later details of the subsequent fall back, though this post is NOT about the whole X marks the spot controversy)
To the best of my knowledge Barker's account is the only detailed narrative of those early morning movements.
My question to the forum is does anyone know of any obscure or recent accounts that, at the time of the battle, specifically name the geographical features of Nyezi or Qwabe, positioning of the vedettes on them or even would the British have known of their names at the time?
Sorry that's three questions