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 Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party

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blueboy




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PostSubject: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyThu Feb 16, 2023 8:56 am

I recently picked up a long box with 11 Zulu spears. It seems Lt. Col. W. Lambert CB of the 88th Connaught Rangers boxed them up using unused coffin wood and sent them back to England to Mr. Flight Military Outfitter, Winchester Hants. I remember doing some research on these some 30 years ago and it seems he got them from an Isandlwana battlefield visit. I believe he wrote a report on identifying the dead officers. Does anyone know of his report. Thanks John.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyThu Feb 16, 2023 3:31 pm

Blueboy,

I wonder if you are confusing Lieutenant-Colonel William Lambert, C.B., of the 88th (Connaught Rangers) Regiment with Veterinary Surgeon 1st Class James Lambert, of the 17th (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Lancers?

To my knowledge James Lambert did accompany patrols to iSandlwana, and served with the operations of the 17th Lancers throughout the regiment’s service in the campaign. Whereas William Lambert commanded the 88th which was involved in the operations on the Indian Ocean coastal columns.

I can find no obvious link to William Lambert visiting the battlefield of iSandlwana at this time. Rather than the 1879 campaign against the Zulu, which the 88th’s contribution was fairly minimal. I would venture a guess that the spears might originate from the 9th Cape Frontier War against the AmaXhosa, a campaign in which the 88th were in the forefront of.

JY
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 4:03 am

Hi JY, many thanks for your input. I am aware of Lambert the vet (I have no idea if he was a rele.).
I don't believe W. Lambert was part of an official burial party but could understand a Commanding Officer of a fine Infantry Regiment wanting to visit one of the worst disasters in British Military History. It appears his command was broken up and fairly well dispersed perhaps giving him the opportunity to visit. If I was a CO I would want to go to the battlefield to try and understand and interpret what went wrong. I believe Lambert was at Fort Napier for a while, but I have no idea how far away it is from Isandlwana. Thanks again John
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90th

90th


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PostSubject: Isandlwana spears picked up by a Burial party    Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 4:21 am

Hi Blueboy
Distance from Fort Napier to Isandlwana is about 200 Klm's .
90th
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 4:26 am

Many thanks 90th. Not exactly a hop step and a jump.
Cheers John
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90th

90th


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PostSubject: Isandlwana spears picked up by a Burial party    Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 4:28 am

Hi John
Yes agreed ! . A damn long way to walk !
90th Salute
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 4:55 am

Even in the saddle you would have a few blisters! But I can't seem to find much out on Lt. Col. W. Lambert CB movements during the conflict. I would imagine he would have to move about his many unit deployments. The history on the box of spears is that a local Antique dealer bought them from a general antique dealer in the UK over 30 years ago. The UK dealer sold half the spears plus a letter from Lambert to one chap and the box containing the rest to our local dealer. The box lid is 6 foot 2 inches long and 8 & 3/4 inches wide. The very old address is painted on with the whole thing screaming age.
Another thing that doesn't seem to be really spelt out is did the Zulus leave the battlefield covered with spears of their dead or did they pick them up for reuse?
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90th

90th


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PostSubject: Isandlwana spears picked up by a Burial party    Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 5:00 am

Yes Blueboy it's an interesting subject regarding the spears of the deceased at Isandlwana .
90th
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 9:04 am

Blueboy,

As to William Lambert’s movements during the Zulu War I will quote extracts from The South African Campaign of 1879:
Lieut.-Colonel. W. Lambert, C.B.   Was in command of the regt. throughout the war, including the march up country subsequently to the concentration of the six cos. at the Lower Tugela.

Immediately after the occurrence of the disaster at Isandhlwana, in Jan., 1879, orders were received to move at once with all available men to Natal. …consequently the Hd.-Qrs. and one co., under Col. Lambert, C.B., proceeded to Pietermaritzburg…

Précising the remaining text in May 1879 the 88th concentrated on the Lower Tugela, forming part of the 1st Brigade of Major-General H.H. Crealock’s 1st - Coastal - Division.  In June 1879 the Division advanced using a series of forts as protection Fort Crealock; Fort Chelmsford & Fort Napoleon to Port Durnford where a proposed landing site was established.  At this about this time Sir Garnet Wolseley assumed command of British forces in Southern Africa.  The 88th received orders to march from Fort Chelmsford to Eshowe.  With conclusion of the peace treaty the 88th was broken up into detachments and were stationed at Eshowe, Fort Chelmsford & Fort Crealock.  At the beginning of August the 88th were ordered to return to Natal.  The 88th concentrated at Pinetown at the end of August, from there they moved to Durban, where they embarked for Cape Town.  On 1st October 1879 the 88th sailed from the Cape to India.

As you can see William Lambert had little or no opportunity to visit the field of iSandlwana, given as 90th has pointed out the distances involved.

JY
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 9:15 am

Thanks John
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyFri Feb 17, 2023 9:19 am

No problem.

JY
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyMon Feb 20, 2023 8:37 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Here are some images.

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90th

90th


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PostSubject: Isandlwana spears picked up by a Burial party    Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyTue Feb 21, 2023 12:08 am

Thanks for posting the pics Blueboy
90th Salute
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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptyTue Feb 21, 2023 7:56 am

Blueboy, I add my thanks for your postings.

The Zulus used different ways to bind spear blades to their wooden shafts. Up to 1879 the common (? and only) way was to use a length of cattle tail skin dried and shrunk over the link. This seems to apply to the stabbing spear on top of the pile in the box, although I have not previously seen a white connection. The dried skin is usually dark brown or black.

After 1879 and the reduction of the Zulu army, the armourers turned to easier and cheaper methods, such as binding the link with reeds or metal (copper and steel) wires.

There must be many well documented Zulu War spears in UK collections to settle the issue of the linking technique used at the time.

Regards
Brett
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blueboy




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PostSubject: Re: Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party   Isandlwana spears picked up by a burial party EmptySat Feb 25, 2023 2:03 am

Thanks Brett
I had a look at the long ones, and they seem to be bound with strips of leather with one exception which is also a full length white one piece.
cheers Blueboy.
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