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lfmcgee4




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PostSubject: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:06 am

Forgive me if this has been addressed before, but what was the order of crossing the Buffalo River with Chelmsford, with the first crossing at the beginning of the War?
Lee
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:25 am

Lee my understanding is the first across was Norris Newman. At least that was his claim. I suspect he has pretty well surrounded by well armed mounted colonials.
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:32 am

Who would have established the bridge head, infantry or would the IMA have been sent across to establish a screen?  That’s kind of what I’m wondering.
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:49 am

I reckon as Noggs was with them it would have been a Colonial force.
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:52 am

The colonials were probably the more accomplished horsemen and used to fording rivers so would I assume have been upfront.
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 5:54 am

Thank you Frank.  I’m primarily interested in the IMA but the generic “17th lancers” portrayed in Zulu Dawn and Zulu continue to muddy the issue for me.
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 6:05 am

Perhaps this sounds naive but I still just don’t understand why a regular British cavalry force wasn’t deployed at the outset. Would it have made a difference at Islandwana vs the IMA?
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 6:18 am

I’m a J. C. Russell apologist, so, with that in mind, a force of IMA, out with Chelmsford or in camp = coward and failure of Russell vs. regular 17 th under Drury- Lowe at Ulindi = hero. Why the blame on an individual vs a overall strategy?
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:06 am

Welcome Lee
There are many on the forum who are in agreement with you about the unfair treatment of Lieutenant Colonel John Cecil Russell 12th Lancers.
He must have had some merit as a commander of mounted troops to have 'scored quite a coup' with the IMI but was badly shaken after the 22nd and when the spotlight of blame was searching for culprits he,  perhaps because of his manner or personality, was lit up and never shook off the stigma.

Another cavalry officer who received the same treatment Was Captain Alan Colstoun Gardner 14th Hussars  who like yourself also questioned the lack of cavalry and I have to agree with him that had there been "a regiment or even two squadrons of cavalry, the disaster at iSandlwana would not have occurred"

If you are interested in cavalry officers in the AZW and the conflict between officers you may like to read (shameless plug here folks) 'Rifle and Spear with the Zulu. The Life of Lt. Col. Alan Colstoun Gardner'
Alan was appointed Russell's staff officer before he moved up to No4 column and there are letters and statements in there about him including a very scathing one written by Redvers Buller.
Kate
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:09 am

Hi Lee
Kate could advise of his exact phrase, but Alan Gardner 10the Hussars commented that he wass of the opinion that a sqadron of Hussars would have cleared the field. So quite possibly a full squadron of IMA, armed with cold steel could have had a decisive impact on the earlier zulu attacks, in particular in the east.
In terms of first men over the Buffalo, A company of colonials scouting would be, in my humble opinion, of a lot more benefit than a regular force more regularly employed as a massed unit.
Harford also crossed early further upstream with his company of 2/3rd NNC. On the ponts the 1/24th lead the way.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:10 am

Thanks Kate. I’ll check that out.
Lee
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:13 am

Am I missing something here, who the Hell are the IMA that at least two of you are mentioning?

JY
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:15 am

Imperial Mounted Infantry
Lee
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:35 am

Lee,

So where does the IMA come from in that?

Apart from one official reference and the Cape newspapers, the two squadrons of Mounted Infantry were not known as the “Imperial Mounted Infantry” in the field or in most contemporary reporting.

They were either referred to as No. 1 Squadron, Mounted Infantry, or 1st Squadron, Mounted Infantry, and likewise for No. 2 Squadron.

Could someone can please show me the use of the phrase I.M.I. anywhere in the despatches of the campaign? Because I haven’t seen it.

Rant over.

JY
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 8:59 am

I suppose I refer to them as that John because the two men who formed the unit, Major Percy Harry Stanley Barrow and Lieutenant Colonal John Cecil Russell called them that. (which I am assuming is the official reference you refer to in your post)

Letter from Barrow to Sir Archibald Pietermaritzburg September 1878
"Russell is forming a similar squadron in the Transvaal. We are eventually to join and form a corps to be called "Imperial Mounted Infantry", adding a squadron or two of volunteers and probably some natives"

Is there an official reference somewhere John that I can look up that gives a definitive right or wrong answer as to their offical title?
Kate
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 9:38 am

Kate,

Having searched The London Gazette using the exact phrase “Imperial Mounted Infantry” and over a period October 1878 through to December 1879 it appears twice in 21st February 1879, and once in 21st March 1879.

I then searched it again this time removing the word “Imperial” which threw up an additional fifty-five references relating to the campaign.

Then I add the word “Squadron” in front of Mounted Infantry and that in turn gave up seven results relating to the campaign.

So in that publication alone the “Imperial Mounted Infantry” are well and truly outnumbered.

I would say the The Narrative of Field Operations… is the official publication on the subject, or the papers released by Bellairs from Pietermaritzburg, they will be my next port-of-calls.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

JY
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 9:42 am

Thanks John. Always appreciated.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 10:23 am

Mea Culpa John, copied IMA straight over from Lee's post without thinking of your blood pressure Sad

I have this in my notes: In 1878, Carrington was ordered to raise and train 300 MI, known as the 1st and 2nd Squadrons, Imperial Mounted Infantry."

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 10:26 am

Pretty sure this was based on his experience of the Mounted Infantry he raised in the Eastern Cape
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 2:20 pm

Frank,

You had me reaching for my medication for sure.

I know the expression “Imperial Mounted Infantry” was certainly used in the Cape press, I assume it was to differentiate between the Cape permanent forces and the regular British forces. As we know Carrington had commanded two units of mounted infantry, one formed from regular Army personnel, the other formed by colonial volunteers, and confusingly enough both were initially styled “Carrington’s Horse”.  The latter would in time become the Frontier Light Horse.  It may well have been Carrington who coined the expression, “Imperial Mounted Infantry” himself.  

Just my supposition, nothing more.

Returning to Lee’s original question as to who crossed the Mzinyathi River first.  Chelmsford records that Colonel Glyn’s regular infantry crossed first by means of the pont, a barrel raft and a small boat.  When they did this the infantry carried the weapons of the mounted troops across with them.  Which given Private Price’s - of 1st Squadron, Mounted infantry - misfortune was obviously a wise move.

I’m fairly certain that I read that 24th deployed in skirmish order on the Zulu bank to facilitate the safe crossing.  Chelmsford and the bulk of the mounted troops, by then rearmed, rode off for the rendezvous with Wood & Buller.

JY
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90th

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PostSubject: First to cross    First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 2:28 pm

Hi JY / Frank
Yes I'm certain it was the Imperial troops who first crossed by the Pont etc , as JY mentioned they were drawn out in a screen to cover the crossing , the RA was drawn up on the Natal Bank to also cover the crossing .
90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 2:38 pm

90th,

You have hit the Bunnings nail on the head - quite right.

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 3:02 pm

And Noggs would have been with who?
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90th

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PostSubject: first to cross    First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 3:21 pm

Noggs went across with the 3rd NNC and Capt Krohn .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 3:23 pm

Thanks all for the replies.

And I’m happy to call the mounted infantry whatever they were.

I really appreciate the knowledge and generosity on the forum.

Lee
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 3:40 pm

So as Noggs bragged as being first across would one assume then that there were others across before the Companies, as in Captain Krohn and the 1/3rd NNC ? As Captain Hayes was 1/3rd NNC and was there to rescue a MI does it not follow that the MI were crossing with the !/3rd NNC?
Noggs is pretty clear when he say: " I was the first man in Zululand after war was declared, and the troops moved over."
Just my reasoning for the Colonials being across before the Imperial Companies.

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 3:41 pm

"At daybreak on the 11th January the mounted men and natives began to cross by the ford, while the British infantry were taken over by ponts which had been prepared. The operation was covered by Harness's battery which occupied a knoll overlooking the points of passage but no opposition was attempted, and by 6.30am the whole of the troops were on the left bank. The mounted men were sent out in front and during the day wagons, stores and camp equipage were ferried across, and a camp was formed on the Zulou side of the Buffalo, the two Battalions of the 24th in the centre, with a Battalion of Native Contingemt on each flank"
Narrative of Field Operations page 26

This would suggest they crossed simultaneously and with horse being quicker than ponts I would say they got there first.
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PostSubject: First to cross    First to cross EmptyTue Sep 20, 2022 4:05 pm

Hi Kate
Noggs states ...once the NNC and the 24th Companies had crossed the river , they advanced a few hundred yards and then halted until the Fog lifted , after a short time the cavalry division came through our ranks with LC and the staff in the centre , then proceeded at a smart trot some way inland to meet Wood as arranged .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyWed Sep 21, 2022 8:52 am

JY
Maybe this will assist.
The first Mounted detachment formed by Carrington was from the 47 men of the 1/24th and 36 from the Buffs.
Originally formed as Carringtons Horse they were renamed in the Transvaal as the Transvaal Mounted Infantry.
After escorting Shepstone to see Cetshwayo, they returned to Pretoria. Carrington then left for King Williams Town and organised The Frontier Light Horse. So they were a seperate entity rather than a development from the original.
The first trace of the Imperial Mounted Infantry naming I can locate dates back to the Sekhukhuneland campaign when the TMI 1st Squadron command was awarded by Thesiger to Major Russell.

Hope that helps.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyWed Sep 21, 2022 9:48 am

Frank,

You jogged something with me, so I consulted The Transvaal Under The Queen by the then Lieutenant-Colonel Nathaniel Newnham-Davis.

I wish I hadn’t!

This is from Chapter V - STANDERTON

…At last the ‘route’ came.  One half of the squadron - for by now we had been officially re-christened the 1st Squadron Imperial Mounted Infantry, and had unofficially nicknamed ‘the Bashibazooks’ - was to go north-east to keep an eye on the rebel chief Secocoeni, and Walsh went with this.  I was to take the other troop to Standerton, a little town on the Vaal River, and was to March with two companies of the 13th, who were to for. the permanent garrison.  Browne had ridden off to the Free State to buy some horses.  Carrington had left us to raise another Carrington’s Horse in a different part of South Africa.

Damn there’s blinking phrase hidden amongst that paragraph, and I still don’t like it!

The other Carrington’s Horse mentioned by Newnham-Davis had gone by the name “Pulleine’s Rangers” according to Streatfeild before they eventually became styled the Frontier Light Horse.

JY
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyWed Sep 21, 2022 9:56 am

HUZZAH !!
We have an answer at last. 'Imperial Mounted Infantry' it is.
Thats what I like about the forum, the collective knowledge coming together, and using all their resources to answer difficult questions.
Well done all Salute Salute
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyWed Sep 21, 2022 9:58 am

This from "Zulu Victory" Ron and Peter.
pp77

The cavalry were the first to cross but before entering the river they deposited their carbines and haversacks on the pontoon to give their weapons and kit a dry crossing

Cheers

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90th

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PostSubject: First to cross    First to cross EmptyWed Sep 21, 2022 10:26 pm

Hi Frank
I see nothing's changed , different sources state differing accounts ! . Norris Newman ' In Zululand With The British Throughout The War Of 1879 ' Pge 35 '' The entire cavalry brigade , under Lt-Col Russell , deposited their arms , &e , on the pontoons , and then rode back to follow the 1/3rd NNC at the Drift . The 1/24th Regiment under Capt Degacher , crossed at one of the Ponts , and the 2/24th , under Colonel Degacher , CB ., at the other ; ''
90th
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 5:06 am

Just the sort of minutaie I love. Let me dig into this.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 8:04 am

Dead right Gary. Salute
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 8:42 am

From the Parliamentary Blue Book, 2242, February 1879 Affairs of South Africa.

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(John Young Collection)

I appreciate it reads Tugela, rather than Buffalo, but here’s the plan for the crossing.

JY
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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 9:27 am

There are several interesting points to be picked out of some of the accounts above.

How deep was the river at the drift if they were worried about their weapons getting wet?

If their weapons were put on the pontoon and then they went across first they wouldn't be much use on the other side if attacked unless there was a screening force already there to cover them.

Great map JY Salute
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 9:57 am

Harford spoke of his men up to their necks.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 10:00 am

Wouldnt worry them Kate, I remember that wonderful British Documentary of a Knight that fought on after his legs and arms were chopped of, and still threw insults after the departing foe. Stoic is the word, or 'abanesibindi ebunzimeni' as the locals would say.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 10:11 am

Unashamedly filched from 'the other crowd'!
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Very definite proof that the horses in the background won by a short head. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 10:23 am

Just taking a punt at another idea.
Wouldn't a team of engineers, sappers and possibly NNC laborours have gone across first to secure the landing area and rope/mooring posts for the ponts
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 10:41 am

Yes without doubt but Noggs claim was first man across in War Time. Wasnt there also a contingent rode down from Woods column before the 11th?
Kate arent Engineers and Sapers the same thing?
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 10:52 am

Frank,

Who or what are the other crowd?

What is interesting in that sketch are all the elements of the crossing are shown: the pont, the barrel raft and the small boat.

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A contemporary hand-tinted view of Rorke’s Drift, photographed later in 1879.
(John Young Collection)

The pont and small boat remained, but the barrel raft was damaged in a storm, hence the barrels scattered on the Natal bank.

This photograph holds some happy memories for me, as it was used to orientate where the current bridge was to built by the O.T.C. of Southampton University.  All discussed with a certain late, lamented, Royal Engineers Officer over some early lunches at Rules in Maiden Lane.

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 1:12 pm

Unless Im mistaken the bridge is around 50 metre downriver, more or less on the start of the rocks. That steel stanchion was a length of railway track, disapeared in the late 80s.
A very respected RE Officer, his opinions are sorely missed, as is his very dry sense of humour.

Cheers
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 1:26 pm

Frank,

There were indeed issues that arose which forced the short relocation from where Mike actually wanted the bridge. I think we should start a campaign to have the bridge named as “McCabe Bridge” in his honour.

I’ll dig out some other illustrations later on regarding the crossing.

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 1:50 pm

I think Mike would come up with a rather cuting answer to that John. I've long been tempted to post a withering description he e mailed of a certain military author. But don't have the balls.
But yes it would be good to have the illuminarty know who to thank for getting rid of that massive circuit to get from RD to iSandlwana. Over an hours drive.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 1:54 pm

John if you have any illustrations you wouldn't mind being displayed at the RD Hotel. I would arrange quality prints, with of course your name attached, for Roz to hang. She is always looking for artifacts etc for display.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 5:28 pm

Frank,

I’ll drop you a line on that.

In the meantime another view of the drift.

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(John Young Collection)

The barrels of the barrel raft clearly visible on the bank to the left of the tent.

JY
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 5:42 pm

Fantastic pictures JY Salute
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: First to cross   First to cross EmptyThu Sep 22, 2022 8:53 pm

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The Pictorial World’s impression of the crossing.
Infantry skirmishers on the Zulu bank.

JY
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