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Lieutenant John Chard: What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead: Seven officers including surgeon, commissaries and so on; Adendorff now I suppose; wounded and sick 36, fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies. Not much of an army for you.
 
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 Bogus or true

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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

Bogus or true Empty
PostSubject: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 12:32 am

Do we really have so many bogus claims from old soldiers stating their presence at the defence of Rorke's Drift?
Is it at all possible that some were telling the truth?

Here I have copied snippets from two letters from two soldiers to their families back home in Merthyr. Published in The Daily Mail 29 Mar 1879.
Following the Isandlwala massacre, on their arriving at RD.

1.
As soon as we got to our positions we all gave three cheers for old England ( WELSHMAN?). It is a night I shall never forget the longest day I live. Next morning we had to retire to Rorke's Drift to get provisions and ammunitions. We arrived just in time to "REINFORCE" a Company of ours that were keeping the Zulus in check. "WE DROVE THE ZULUS BACK" with the loss of about 900.
R Jones - Regt not given.

2.
As luck should be, we came just in time to "SAVE" a Company of ours that we left there to protect the Commissariat stores," FIGHTING HARD WITH THE ZULUS", and we soon made them retreat.
Pte J Jones No 1403 D Company 2-24th Regt Natal.

If we were to interpret this to suggest the Zulus were still laying siege to the Drift as the Column arrived, may it be possible that some small exchange took place to finalize the battle. Hence some old soldiers claiming to be at the battle, and possibly saving the day.

References I have read suggest the Zulus see the Column coming and leave the Battlefield.

How many private letters on file exist that make similar statements?
What's your views?
There is possibility hard evidence to suggest otherwise.
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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

Bogus or true Empty
PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 1:15 am

Gardner1879 post - J Veal states otherwise.
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gardner1879

gardner1879


Posts : 2634
Join date : 2021-01-04

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 9:54 am

Morning Eddie
There is a LOT of evidence to suggest the Zulus had already gone and a famous picture drawn by Crealock of Russell galloping up to the Drift with a soldier waving a rag/flag from the storehouse roof.
None of the main players talk of a major battle that morning.
As Chelsmfords relief column returned to the drift they did pass a weary column of Zulus going the other way. One heroic warrior made some aggressive moves but was quickly silenced.
Hope that helps
Kate
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 3209
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 2:12 pm

Eddie
If you read soldiers' letters from 1879 written by what we'd now consider to be Welshmen, you'll find that that they considered themselves as English and their country as England. They will refer to the English Army, an English Regiment, etc. Specific, nationalistic 'Welshness' is something of a recent phenomenon, historically-speaking. Then, they considered the part of the country where they lived rather like Cornwall today.
I realize that I write this at the risk of being barracked by all Welsh forum members but yoiu find that it is the case as your own above example demonstrates.
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 3209
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 2:15 pm

Eddie
You perhaps are taking too literally your examples above.
"WE DROVE THE ZULUS BACK" is referring not to Jones's own specific unit but generically to his countrymen who were at RD.
Ditto with "we soon made them retreat".
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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 3:13 pm

Thank you Julian
But with respect i do understand their allegiance at that time.
But no, I don't think they thought of their country as England. If anything they would be refering to the English Army as we do the British Army today.

I was just refering to the fact that he was from Merthyr, and I know and understand the fact that Monmouthshire was an English County 1536 -1974, and the issue surrounding "Welshness". On these forums.
That was not the point of my post. I was hoping to hear any views on the letters above.
Thank you Eddie
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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 3:23 pm

Thank you Julian

I was highlighting the wording in the letters which could be interpreted in two different ways. But yes I understand what you are saying.
Thank you,
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Kenny




Posts : 535
Join date : 2013-05-07
Location : Brecon

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 4:54 pm

Eddie,

Those soldiers of 2/24th who survived the events of 22/23 Jan 79 were at Rorke's Drift. The 2nd Battalion was based there for 6 weeks after the battle. Many of these men went home and said 'I was at Rorke's Drift' and this entered family/local folklore. Yet they were not present at the Mission Station on 22/23 Jan when the fighting took place. It was good for a free pint of beer.
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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 5:39 pm

Kenny

Thank you I understand that they where and that they did, I was just highlighting the statement they made which could be interpreted in different ways, and asked if there was any more comments in other letters that may infer the same. But I know now that others have not started so.
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 3209
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 6:00 pm

Eddie
Yes there are plenty of such comments which might be interpreted in two ways - thus not all writers are necessarily claiming that they were at a particular battle.
Nevertheless not all comments are open to interpretation - some make specific claims which are known to be untrue.
I am sure you'll find that Kenny would agree.
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Eddie




Posts : 369
Join date : 2022-07-13
Age : 63
Location : Newport Wales

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 6:55 pm

Julian
Of course they do and proven to be false in most cases.
There are many brilliant historians on this site and am just a novice. Eager to learn more and if possible raise topics for debate. That's what I was intending with this post.

I wasn't stating that they were implying they were at a certain battle, I was highlighting what the words could imply if taken from another angle.
Eddie
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Julian Whybra




Posts : 3209
Join date : 2011-09-12
Location : Billericay, Essex

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PostSubject: Re: Bogus or true   Bogus or true EmptyTue Jul 26, 2022 10:28 pm

Absolutely. The ambiguities that crop up in the docs are often what are most intriguing about the ZW.
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