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 Barker and the Rocket Battery

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WeekendWarrior

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 3:48 pm

I have a few questions on the fate of the Rocket Battery at Isandlwana.

1. At what point did Barker meet the Battery?

Barker says that on his way back to camp "we met the Rocket Battery, who enquired the enemy's whereabouts. We advised the officer to proceed to where Lieut. Scott was stationed, but he asked if he could get up a hill to his left. We informed him that the Zulus were advancing towards that hill and most probably would be seen on it within half an hour..."

Pte. Trainer writes "When we had got from 2 to 3 miles to the front we met one of the Natal Carbineers, who offered to show us a short cut to where the Mounted Basutos in front of us were engaged..."

Pte. Johnson writes "About two miles out we met a vidette of the Natal Carbineers who reported that the Mounted Basutos were heavily engaged on the opposite side of a hill on our left, at the same time offering to show us a short cut to where the engagement was going on."

As you can see, the statements are somewhat contradictory. In his own account, Barker suggests that fighting had not yet broken out while the Rocket Battery survivors recall matters a bit differently.

Barker makes no mention of seeing NNH personnel on his way back and he states that his report was of "a large army sitting down". He also states he met the Battery 1.5 miles from camp, so somewhere around Amatutshane.

After arriving in camp and reporting in to HQ, Barker rode back out to the front where he saw NNH personnel in skirmishing order and heard firing for the first time. Arriving at Scott's position, they were advanced on a force of Zulus "and being fired on we returned the fire, posting ourselves in a donga." This donga would be the headwaters branching off the Nyanga or Nyogane obviously. From here, Barker and his comrades see the Battery cut up and it's about a half hour after he spoke to Russell.

Anyone else have a problem with the timing? I did a little mental math and that's about a 20 minute ride round trip for Barker. Throw in the time of making his report and later advancing against the Zulus, retiring off the escarpment to take up a position in the donga. The numbers seem a little off.

We can fix the time of the Battery's fight at around 12:20-25 as they recorded the Artillery shelling a kloof to their left, one of the first fire missions. Seems Barker got to camp at around the time the second alarm was triggered but before firing broke out. As I crunch the numbers, the timing does technically work but just barely.

Which leads me to my next question...

2. How did Scott's men descending from the plateau NOT run into the Battery? The two groups were operating in close proximity.

It kinda adds credence to Frank Allewell and Julian Whybra's positioning of the Rocket Battery's ascent occurring on the Defile to the west of the traditional Notch, with Barker and later all of Scott's ad hoc Troop retiring down the footpath Frank discovered to the east of the spur and screened from view by the Battery and escort.

Food for thought. There was quite a bit happening on the right flank in a very short time frame.

Cheers,
Michael
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aussie inkosi

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 7:41 pm

Hi Mike

The Natal Carbineer Private Trainer mentions is not Barker he is describing after the Barker event when the Rocket Battery reached the base of the Nyoni escarpment my guess is that this is the Vedette covering the high point of the Nyoni ridge. Trainer or another witness also mentions the Carbineer saying come up here if you want some fun or words to that effect this fun he mentions is the action around Mkwene it has started.  My guess also is this Carbineer just like Barker and Hawkins would have witnessed the first shots of the discovery not far off, my guess is he did not survive the battle

Also you need to remember the Rocket battery was going up on the far left of the notch [ far left of the current dirt road ].  Barker when he left the notch after witnessing the discovery decended further to the battery right at least several hundred meters apart his job was to report it to Scott on Amutshane in a prompt manner. and not to warn the rocket battery a second time.

I will post some photos after I get home from work of the locations

Great subject Michael
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Frank Allewell

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 8:07 pm

Mike.Inky: iSandlwana solving the enigma refers.
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aussie inkosi

aussie inkosi


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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 8:20 pm

Frank I am still waiting for your book, I should get it this week I hope
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WeekendWarrior

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 8:49 pm

Looking forward to seeing your always excellent photos!

It had occurred to me that there might have been two separate encounters with videttes. My only issue is that no one seemed to recall that. Barker's statement and Trainer's statement are rather irreconcilable, though.

Have you read the Rocket Battery article on Russell's batman, by Julian Whybra? He presents some convincing evidence compiled by Frank that the Battery was not, in fact, ascending the Notch when they came into contact.
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aussie inkosi

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySat Mar 26, 2022 9:05 pm

Mike please email me Julian work I always like to hear other view points

I classify the notch the piece of ground between the Nyoni ridge and Itusi.

I agree with Frank and Ian with their location of the rocket battery, one of the eyewitnesses describes it as the kloof.
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aussie inkosi

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySun Mar 27, 2022 3:46 am

Here we go Mike [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

This is part of my 360 degree pano from Amutshane Lieutenant Scott Vedette location

Private Grant  We received orders from Captain Russell to come into action as quickly as possible: we fired one rocket when we were overpowered by the enemy owing to the bad position we were in at the foot of the hill.


Private Johnson  . About 2 miles out we met a 'vedette' of the Natal Carbineers who reported that the Mounted Basutos were heavily engaged on the opposite side of a hill on our left, at the same time offering to show us a short cut to the place where the engagement was going on. The Captain galloped up the hill and before he returned to us shouted, “Action front”


Gunner Taylor gives us a graphic account  "
We fired three Rockets at six hundred yards and when the smoke ‘at cleared off there was the Zulus about one hundred  and fifty yards of us, sprung up out of the bush in hundreds and our natives we had with us ran away and of course we had to retire. Captain Russell, that much he said to me there, “give me my horse, Taylor, and get mounted, for they are coming in hundreds on us.”


Captain Nourse gives us the reason and describes the final moments of the rocket battery.
On arriving in camp some picquets reported that the enemy, about 600 strong, were retiring behind a range of hills on our left (true north). Whereupon Colonel Durnford gave Captain Russell orders to follow him, he was going in pursuit of the enemy with two troops of Mounted Natives.

            In attempting a short cut in order to keep up with Colonel Durnford, we were attacked by the enemy in overwhelming force, just before reaching the crest of hills above mentioned, and that while my company was very much disorganized by reason of 25 men being told off to carry up rockets, it being too rocky for the mules to proceed further. The attack was preceded by a heavy volley poured on us from among the rocks about 100 yards distant. My company was immediately scattered, and my horse having got away I was not able to get up with them in order to rally them. From that moment I saw no more of them with the exception of five who remained with me and were killed, with the exception of one.


So I place the location of this Carbineer who called the rocket battery up , as the Nyoni ridge vedette positioned some where between the Red arrows he rides down the slope and show the rocket battery a short cut and also mentions an action going on { this is the first action going around Mkwene }
The rocket Battery is placed near the  red A   probably further down at the base of the hill as mentioned by several of the eyewitnesses
Trooper Barker connects with Captain Russell to the far left of the photo before reaching Amutushane this is when he tells him not to go up the ridge and go to Scott remember he warns Russell in 30 minutes the Zulu will be on the ridge.
After leaving Russell he rides up the notch, sees Raw and Roberts men to the extreme Left and masses of Zulus on all the hills these masses Higginson will testify seeing shortly. Barker leaves and reports what he sees to Scott on Amitushane between the Blue arrows 


The Red B is where the Barker is when the rocket battery is destroyed perhaps a little to the left but it is in that group of dongas.


The most important matter in all this is Barker warns Russell not to up there and it is quite clear why he said it.
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Frank Allewell

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySun Mar 27, 2022 7:13 am

Aussie you have left out the other Nourse statement that is really critical in setting the scene, that read alongside Cochrane and Molife changes your theory considerably.
Cheers

Frank
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aussie inkosi

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySun Mar 27, 2022 8:23 am

Frank explain yourself please

The Nourse statement I used was made on 17th Feb 1879 I have one from 1929 which I choose not to use, is there another one I dont have?

So how does their statements change my theory when Cochrane and Molife was not present with the rocket battery?  does it have something to do with the Rocket Battery article
 I have not read.
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Frank Allewell

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptySun Mar 27, 2022 8:46 am

Morning/Evening Aussie
There is another Nourse statement that really is important. Also a careful reading of Cochrane and Molife and a more in depth look at Davies places Scott very firmly. Placing Scott places Barker places the action places the RB. It has to be looked at holistically rather than single individual statements mate.
Enjoy your evening, Im busy watching the Ladies cricket over breakfast, brilliant game.

Cheers Mate
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Julian Whybra




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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptyMon Mar 28, 2022 10:46 am

weekend warrior
I suggest you look at my Gunner Taylor essay in Studies in the Zulu War IV which I think answers your original question. Of course, Barker and Trainer's Carbineer are one and the same man. How many carbineers do the members of the Rocket Battery meet en route that day? One!
The RB survivors' accounts are all contemporary and self-corroborate. Barker's is from years later and is "remembered with advantages". Which is likely to be the more accurate?
Frank
Still no book...(drums fingers)
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Frank Allewell

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptyMon Mar 28, 2022 11:19 am

Julian
rather watch the ladies cricket much more exciting. Salute
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Julian Whybra




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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptyMon Mar 28, 2022 12:00 pm

But would the fingers still drum?
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Frank Allewell

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Barker and the Rocket Battery Empty
PostSubject: Re: Barker and the Rocket Battery   Barker and the Rocket Battery EmptyMon Mar 28, 2022 12:15 pm

Teeth would be chattering feet bouncing and the tonsils vibrating, most exciting cricket in years.
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