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 NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA

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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA   NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA - Page 2 EmptyMon Mar 20, 2023 5:40 pm

Martin
I think the drawing you are referring to is by Trooper W. Nelson of the Natal Mounted Police.
To the best of my knowledge it was first published in its un-edited form in Ian Knight's 'Zulu. Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift 22-23rd January 1879'. Windrow and Green. London 1992.
p103
Its evidential value is very,very limited as it is clear it was not drawn at the time but from memory. We don't know how long after it was drawn or what influences Trooper Nelson was subject to before drawing it.
Anyone who has been to the battlefield will know that the topographical features are all out of proportion.
Looking at the perspective  it looks like the artist is on a high point looking down at the nek but no high point exists in that location. Mahlabamkhosi is far too high and there are no mountains visible from the artist's view point looking west.  Bodies are shown as disembowled which was the Zulu custom and several have spears sticking in them which is not unusual.
There is one body that appears to have a spear in each hand but from such a crude drawing it is impossible to say any of the bodies have been tortured before they were killed.
There are no 'band boys' hanging from butchers hooks in the drawing and all of the bodies have heads and limbs still attached.

Remember that when the adrenaline is flowing, the Zulus stab everything - just everything. Men horses, mules, mealie sacks, cattle (which were extremly valuable to them) everything! The Prince Imperial story throws some light on that - one of the attacking party was a guy named Mnukwa, who was a member of the king's household - knowing that the king wanted prisoners, when Abel fell off his horse Mnukwa rushed forward and put his hand on him to claim him for the king - but as two warriors ran past they just stabbed Abel anyway.

That's what it's like - everyone stabs. The whole point about the hlomula custom is that you stab even a corpse as you go past because it binds you to the common experience, as part of the group that made the kill, even if you weren't first to stab.
I'm not sure where saying 'whoa, no, hang on a minute guys, let's just take a few minutes here, somebody find me a rope, I've got a member of the band here and we'll try something different ...' fits into that pattern.

Martin if you have a copy of Ian Knight's Anatomy of the Zulu Army can I suggest you read pages 170-171 which will explain the atrocities you refer to.
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1879graves

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Mr M. Cooper

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Hi John, and thanks for the heads up.

LOL! Yes, but it's thanks to Gary and Pete that I am able to log in again after this long absence.

Hope you are keeping well John, take care mate. Salute

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John Young

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Hello Martin,

Glad to read that you are all sorted.

I’m all right, how about yourself?

JY
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Mr M. Cooper

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I don't have a copy of Ian Knight's 'Anatomy of the zulu army', but I have other books by Ian, and also other books by other writers, most of which I keep in my library, including 'Hill of the Sphinx', which I consider to be one of the best books written on the AZW, but there are others which I have got rid of.

No doubt there were some awful things happened at iSandlwana, and no doubt these awful things got added to by stories of terrible atrocities to make peoples blood curdle. However, we cannot dismiss all of these as being nothing more than rumours, stories of horror, tales to put the wind up folk, gossip mongering, or the over sensanionalising of the facts.

And don't forget that there is an old saying that says 'There is no smoke without fire'.
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90th

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PostSubject: No Tortue of little drummer boys ( or anyone esle ) at Isandlwana    NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA - Page 2 EmptyMon Mar 20, 2023 9:17 pm

Hi JY
Martin was lucky , I needed to send n email or two to Pete , that I was able to manage , luckily it had nothing to do with Pics !
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Joker Joker Joker
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90th

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Glad to see you are finally '' Back '' Martin !
90th Very Happy Salute
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Mr M. Cooper

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Thanks for posting the pictures 1879graves, much appreciated.

But was there not another sketch made that was very similar to that one? There is something at the back of my mind that keeps saying that an officer (was it Crealock????) who made a very similar sketch to the one you posted, or am I mistaken?

Anyway, thanks again for posting the pic's. Salute
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Mr M. Cooper

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Hello John.

Yes, sorted out again after the old comp shut down for good.

Glad you are OK mate. I am not too bad now, thanks for asking, but I had a real scarer last May, I won't go into details, but it really did put the skids under me and knocked the wind out of my sails.

All the best mate.

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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA   NO TORTURE OF 'LITTLE DRUMMER BOYS' (OR ANYONE ELSE) AT ISANDLWANA - Page 2 EmptyMon Mar 20, 2023 9:38 pm

Martin,

Glad to hear you’re on the mend.

Lt. Nathaniel Newnham-Davis, 2nd Battalion, 3rd (East Kent The Buffs) Regiment serving with No. 1 Squadron, Mounted Infantry is your man.  A facsimile of the sketch that he made on the spot appeared in The Illustrated London News.  I will dig out my I.L.N. and confirm the date of publication.  John North Crealock’s sketch of Chelmsford’s portion returning to iSandlwana was worked-up into a double-page spread but the bodies are not clear in the engraving.

JY
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Mr M. Cooper

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Hi Gary, and many thanks for all you did to help me out, and also many thanks to Pete for getting things sorted, I am very grateful to both you and Pete. Salute Salute



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Mr M. Cooper

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Thank you John.

I thought I remembered that Crealock had done a sketch, and now that you mention the Lt from the Buffs also making a sketch, something is telling me that I might have seen that sketch in a book or journal or even on line.

Thanks again John. Salute
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The facsimile of Newnham-Davis’ sketch, that he made on the spot.
Published on 8th March 1879

JY
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Thanks for the picture John, much obliged.

I have seen it before, but cannot remember if it was in a book, a journal, an article in a magazine or something I have seen or read on line.

I don't want to put you to any trouble John, but do you have a copy of the Crealock sketch that you could post on the forum? It would be interesting to compare the sketches done by these chaps.

Thanks again John. Salute





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John Young

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Martin,

Here’s the engraving based on Crealock’s sketch, also from the same issue of the I.L.N.

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I have had to crop it as it is a double-page spread, so the legend to the engraving does not appear.

The sketch that the engraving is based on is held by the Museum of the Mercian Regiment, the descendant regiment of the 95th.

JY
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Mr M. Cooper

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Many thanks John, you are a gentleman. Salute
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I hope the members of the forum will forgive me as I am about to use a quote which contains what I consider to be a thoroughly repugnant word:
Had they attacked him again, they would have had an easy triumph. He had come to his last cartridge, and his grim resolve was, on firing it, to stab his comrade through the heart and then slay himself, that they might both escape the fiendish tortures and mutilations that Kafirs delight to deal out to a foeman taken alive. He was spared this dreadful necessity…

Oh, by-the-way the author of text that equally thoroughly repugnant one-time editor of the Natal Witness, Alfred Aylward.  Now there’s a surprise!

JY
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I don't think that Gardner1879 actually realises what can happen in conflicts, past or present.
That's my last point on this subject.
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WeekendWarrior

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warrior3 wrote:
I don't think that Gardner1879 actually realises what can happen in conflicts, past or present.
That's my last point on this subject.

I can assure you she does. She wears the same uniform I do, albeit on different continents.

That being said, I tend to side with Julian on this one. I can't readily dismiss the possibility that young British servicemen were hanged from meathooks, pre or post mortem unknown.
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One thing that’s nagging at me is the statement from A Zulu Boy’s Recollections of the Zulu War published in Natalia December 1978. “At daylight we came back again, we saw some boys who had died in a tree, underneath it.  They were dressed in black clothes…”

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(John Young Collection)

Where is the tree?  Could it have been a misinterpretation?  Could the tree have been a man-made wooden construction not unlike the riem stretching construction at Rorke’s Drift?  Could it have possibly been a field butchery?

JY
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And 'black' from discoloration by blood?
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Hi All 

Admittedly not Isandlwana but evidence of barbarity.
WARNING: Gruesome details follow:

ZULU BARBARITY 

Colonel Ballairs, D.A.G. received a report from Colonel Wood to the effect that he had received a despatch from Commandant SchermBruckner, dated Luneburg 11th instant, from which it appears that on the night of the 10th instant a war party of Umbeline's crossed the Pongelo River, in the vacinity of Luneburg. Umeline was present in person.
This Impi, about one thousand five hundred strong, having been joined by Manyamba's tribe commenced massacring the friendly natives on our border, commuting the most frightful barbarities. At one Kraal they killed two men, six women, and burnt seven children alive.
Neither age nor sex was spared, and the dead were horribly mutilated. The enemy made off at dawn with his spoils, comprising of many hundred Sheep and cattle, towards the caves of Manyoba, but a patrol under Lieutenant Schartzkopf consisting of sixty natives and six Kaffirarianb Rangers (mounted), came up with a division of the enemy  (three hundred strong) as he was crossing the Intombi River, put him to flight with a Loss of fifteen killed, and recovered many Sheep and Cattle, on our side there were no casualties.- Standard Correspondent.

Monmouthshire Merlin and South Wales Advertiser April 4th 1879.
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John Young

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More gory details of the same incident.

‘The Luneburg correspondent of the Natal Mercury writes under date, February 11:- I have just time to inform you that a pretty large Zulu force has come across the Pongolo and commenced their atrocious barbarities this morning. These " brave" Zulu warriors passed by the fort and laager of Luneburg at a very safe distance, because they would have to encounter "men.”
The savage butchers pounced in thousands down upon single huts and houses of our friendly natives, and executed deeds of cruelty shocking to relate.
They murdered old men, about 50 wonen, and as many helpless little boys and girls.  On one place they threw seven little children deliberately into the flames of burning huts, and in another place they showed their bravery and courage by inflicting 35 assegai wounds upon the body of a young woman, about 20 years old. This happened between the hours of three and tive a.m. to-day, and at a distance of from four to seven miles from the laager. The first report was received at the laager from one who had escaped the frightful massacre, at about four o'clock…’

Technically speaking these men were abaQulusi warriors, allied to the AmaZulu rather than actually Zulu.

JY
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From GCameron posted on another thread
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gardner1879 wrote:
   This is all described in great detail on another thread but just to put things into context a basic re cap:-

   1/ Survivors who escaped.
   Although they escaped at various times towards the end of the battle these are the only people who could possibly have witnessed anything actually happening (and I appreciate some left earlier than others)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                250-450

   Number who witnessed and made a record of acts of torture against boys                                                                                                                                         3            

   2/ Number of men in Lord Chelmsford's coloumn who passed through the camp, who once again could possibly have witnessed something.                                2473
   Number of witnesses who left a record of "drummer boys on meat hooks"                                                                                                                                          20

   As I've said before the burial parties cannot be used as witness evidence due to the lapse in time bewteen the battle and their arrival.
   Anything could have been done to the corpses during that time. But here are the approximate numbers anyway
   3/ Burial Parties                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        200
   Number of witnesses                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 9

   If we take point two above wouldn't you think that if an act as dreadful as "dummer boys hung up on meat hooks" (their words) had occurred that a few more men would have mentioned it.
   The basic numbers speak for themselves.
   Kate

GCameron wrote:-
Oh my word… drummer boys/boys #insertshakesheademoji

100% Kate… add to this 2 simple questions/points:

1) why on earth would the Zulu do that?

Through culture or indeed tradition (which let’s face it the Zulu are pretty keen on) there’s absolutely nothing that would make them want to hang a boy up by his chin.

Young boys (udibi) had been on the battlefield since the first days of the zulu empire, on occasion they’d be killed and dealt with in the same manner of disembowelling as any one else. Why would a warrior part from that tradition when it centres around him as the killer (for want of a better phrase) not being troubled by the dead man’s spirit.

If the Zulus wanted to torture someone they knew how… a sharp bit of ironwood in the anus knowing the victim would live in agony for days before an eventual painful death.

2) please re-cap on basic physics and basic anatomy…

What happens if you hook a jaw and suspend a humans weight on it? Simple… the jaw is ripped away from the skull and the body falls to the ground. There is relatively little strength in any species jaw to brace when open (by design the force is required to bite/chew) therefore it works in the opposite direction. Go speak to any butcher… if you want to hang a
Body with a hook… between the ribs in the chest muscles (that’s the only place that will suspend the weight).

So why the drummer boys story… well the 24th had been annihilated, shattered, routed with nowhere to run, setting a new British military low of losing their colours for a second occasion… the survivors need to explain how that happened, how awful the enemy they faced was. Those who camped on the field with Chelmsford in the aftermath in the dark with the stench of blood, urine and excrement than mass death brings will I suspect not slept a wink, terrified, listening to the various tales of horror.

It takes one person to elaborate, be mistaken or just plain lie and others will grab to that story. It’s a wonderfully convenient tale when alls said and done and sadly at the time it’s not a detail which people
Would need to clarify or be pressed on.
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SRB1965

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One thing I can't quite figure out is that a skeleton was said to be found with a rope around its neck.

It's always been loosely associated with the last of the 24th, the guy in the cave, intimated that the Zulus tied the rope around his neck to pull him down the hillside.

I'm not sure where this idea has arisen from, to my mind the only reason you'd tie a rope around someone's neck is to restrain them? Why did the Zulus feel the need to drag the troglodyte down the hill to ritually mutilate him?

I'm not saying that the body was not roped and dragged but I'm struggling to see why.

If (and it is 'if') the person was restrained alive....why would this happen? Would it indicate that prisoners were taken and subsequently killed? A rope indicates restraint during movement and not death in combat?

Cheers

Sime
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Frank Allewell

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An interesting touch from traditional ways of treating enemy was to break both arms and legs and leave for the ants to have fun. No idea why, fun I suppose.
Ah yes the entertaining side of chatting with Rob Gerrard.
"Robert Gerrard suffered serious brain injuries, a shattered pelvis and severe burns in the attack, during which he was beaten, tied up, and had boiling water poured over him."
There are numerous examples of not only Zulu but Xhosa Venda Suthu etc all practicing some form of torture against those defeated in battle, cowards or even people they dont like.

I suppose if a hook was jammed hard enough through the lower jaw into the top jaw it would handle the weight of a body

Overall Im pretty neutral on the whole issue. But to argue its not in their nature isnt an arguement that can hold up in an African context.

Cheers
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Were they not under the influence of drugs or something? (I saw this in a documentary of long ago that besides snuff they took other sorts of stimulant as well)  People do all sorts of things if they are beside themselves.
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Twain, Mark (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (1835–1910)Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
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It's a well known fact that 90% of statistics are wrong.....🙃
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SRB1965 wrote:
One thing I can't quite figure out is that a skeleton was said to be found with a rope around its neck.

It's always been loosely associated with the last of the 24th, the guy in the cave, intimated that the Zulus tied the rope around his neck to pull him down the hillside.

I'm not sure where this idea has arisen from, to my mind the only reason you'd tie a rope around someone's neck is to restrain them? Why did the Zulus feel the need to drag the troglodyte down the hill to ritually mutilate him?

I'm not saying that the body was not roped and dragged but I'm struggling to see why.

If (and it is 'if') the person was restrained alive....why would this happen? Would it indicate that prisoners were taken and subsequently killed? A rope indicates restraint during movement and not death in combat?

Cheers

Sime
Simon if you consider he was found some where close to the cliff face, well away from a tented area one has to wonder where the rope came from, and possibly why it would have been carried up to that area. Interesting comment.
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It was discovered by Wilson-Black's burial party

I believe that Major WB insisted on the 24th burying the 24th and that they were left by the earlier burial parties.

OK so it might be a Colonial, that was missed at the time or not recognised as such, but you would think that something was on the corpse, when first found (by an earlier party) to indicate it was the 24th.


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John Young

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‘Dear Mum,

We have just arrived at some place called Isandula.
So I thought I would drop you a quick line, or two.

Love & kisses,
Tommy Atkins’

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Price’s Candle advertisement, apparently depicting the 1882 Egyptian Campaign.

I saw this on another page, and just had to track down my own copy!  It didn’t take too long!

JY
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John
Great picture.

Detractors
Argument over the 'Boys' is pointless so I shall not be drawn (we have been through the holes in the argument many times). I sent you a riposte about your 'statistics' privately some time ago. Regarding the basic historical evidence you can choose to ignore or argue against it. But you can't erase it.

From a 'basic physics and basic anatomy' point of view it is perfectly possible to hang a body from a butcher's hook under the ear. Without wishing to be gruesome, prisoners at Buchenwald were placed on butcher's hooks. How is explained on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Julian Whybra wrote:
John
Great picture.

Detractors
Argument over the 'Boys' is pointless so I shall not be drawn (we have been through the holes in the argument many times). I sent you a riposte about your 'statistics' privately some time ago. Regarding the basic historical evidence you can choose to ignore or argue against it. But you can't erase it.

From a 'basic physics and basic anatomy' point of view it is perfectly possible to hang a body from a butcher's hook under the ear. Without wishing to be gruesome, prisoners at Buchenwald were placed on butcher's hooks. How is explained on [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


This seems to have spread onto two posts now, I’ll copy and paste to both.

In terms of your post which I presume is to rubbish the reality that a meathook passed through the chin of a human can’t hold their weight, I’ve had very brief read through, a few salient points:

1) the drummer boy claim is both graphic and precise… strung up with a meat hook under his chin (so under the jaw, through the mouth, tongue etc (let’s face it a highly illogical place when common sense says if you’re determined to have a graphic display bang it trough the chest and up and under the sternum - commonplace in medieval torture btw)

2) “prisoners lost 40% of their body weight”… so if hooked up we are talking for want of a better phrase, someone akin to a severe later stage anorexia patient.

3) “the prisoners where garrotted and hung up on meat hooks 8’ off the floor” (see a mock hanging on the right of the photo). So basically they used the hooks to attach a noose to as shown in the photograph… look at the hooks, they are tight to the ceiling 8’ in the air. People weren’t lifted and impaled on them.

In short, it’s a very poor piece of evidence to support the claim. It describes an entirely different mechanism and one conducted on bodies at the extreme of weight loss.

If you want a more simple thought process however, every leading academic and historian surrounding the AZW has with all the evidence we all have access to and x decades of experience decided to rubbished the poor drummer boy claim.

Regards
Gavin
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John Young

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Gavin,

I make no pretence to either an academic or a historian, but what I can certainly rubbish is the use of the phrase Drummer Boy as there were no Drummer Boys at iSandlwana.

As I have mentioned elsewhere there However the following were ranked as BOYS in the 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment: Daniel Gordon; James Gurney; Thomas Harrington; Joseph McEwan & Robert Richards.

Add to their number Boy Green, the servant of Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd, Army Medical Department.

From memory - as I cannot access my files at present - one of the Natal Carbineers casualties was a teenage.

Add to those a number African teenage voorloopers.

Who alive today can prove or disprove the circumstances of their deaths? I would venture no-one. Unlike some I don’t simply dismiss this as a myth.

Again I quote from A Zulu Boy’s Recollections of the Zulu War published in Natalia December 1978. “At daylight we came back again, we saw some boys who had died in a tree, underneath it. They were dressed in black clothes…” What tree, or could a wooden frame work have been misinterpreted as a tree?


What bugs me, and no-one offered an answer to me, on this forum or elsewhere is that phrase: ‘…we saw some boys who had died in a tree, underneath it.  They were dressed in black clothes…’

Does that tally with the evidence given by Private Makin, 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards: …We came across a large wooden structure like a double scaffold, where two other boys had been hung up by their hands to the hooks and as they had decomposed, their bodies had fallen to the ground where they lay, with no friendly hand to give them a decent burial.’

Could that double scaffold, have been “the tree”?

Could a dark blue British Army uniform be misconstrued as ‘black’, personally I think that is feasible.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
A Boy Soldier, Royal Artillery, on overseas service, mid-1870’s.
(John Young Collection.)

JY
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Julian Whybra




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If one is going to set out an argument, then one has to give the text more than a "brief read through".
I suggest this is done.
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Hi John
I think we need to move away from the intricate details about drummer boys, age and rank.
No one is saying drummer boys were there. We all know this.
The point of discussion is that young soldiers  whatever there rank were tortured, mutilated, hung on meat hooks  thrown up in the air etc etc and it is this theory that is in dispute.
I am assuming the term "Drummer Boy" was used by witnessess to make readers at home even more disgusted about the 'savageness" of the Zulu. It certainly did upset civilians at their breakfasts.

Regarding the second part of your post
So when did Makin visit the Battlefield was it May I think or June?
Four to five months AFTER the battle.
So anyone could have turned up and moved the bodies therefore you cannot say for certain this was done by the Zulu army.
As I've said before such evidence is not valid due to the length of time between the end of the battle and the burial parties arriving.
Also can you give any other witness names who saw this wooden contraption?
Kate
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The entry was made in his diary on 23rd May.
John is right to emphasize 'Boy' rather than the incorrect 'drummer boy'.
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Hi All 
John and Julian I believe your right, I also believe that gcameron is just looking for a fight, which is not unusual of late, on this site or the other.

Kate if you think of the battle from the position and view from the camp to the battle upon the hill in front of you, before they get to the tented area, each and every one of the men involved would have witnessed the carnage in front of them. Bodies being ripped open, jaws, ears and arms chopped off, before eventually being killed themselves, hence not the amount of witnesses you may expect.
You wonder why so many ended up in institutions, they saw their fair share of brutality believe me.
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Hi Eddie
I am not disputing the horrors of war.
A 7pdr shell in a packed kraal must have been horrific to witness and the customery disembowling would have looked brutal to western eyes.
However the topic is about the Zulus singling out young soldiers whether they were 14, 16, 17 or 18 years of age, capturing them and then torturing them.
This I dispute.

In the savagry of battle the Zulus killed anything that moved and even some things that didn't. Soldiers, civilians, horses, oxen, dogs, mealie bags, flour sacks all were stabbed repeatably.
If you didn't stab the red coat in front of you then another warrior would rush in and do it.
The idea that some of the Zulus said "Hang on a minute lets round up all the drummer boys who are still alive take them over to the kitchen area, torture them and hang them on meat hooks" is frankly bizarre.

As the saying goes. Dead was everything
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Kate no more bizarre than your last theory that it was a dead sheep?  Very Happy
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Hello Kate,

Frankly, whilst the expression Drummer Boy(s) is still being trotted out, not only on this forum but in other places as well, I think it is perfectly correct to point out the continued erroneous usage.

At the present time due to renovations I cannot get to my books so I cannot give you chapter and verse on anything.  I am reliant on my memory and previous entries I have made online.

Where on the battlefield of iSandlwana could that tree that Umsweanto mentioned have been?  Which is why I conject that tree might not have actually been a tree.  Could he on the morning of 23rd January, 1879, have seen a wooden construction that he could only describe as tree-like?

He refers to boys lying underneath it, rather than hanging from it.

As to Private Thomas Henry Makin, 1st (King’s) Dragoon Guards here’s what he wrote:

...23rd [May] Left camp before it was light and crossed the Buffalo River into Zululand, our orders were to advance on the scene of the massacre of the 24th Foot on the ill fated 22nd of January 1879. After we passed through the Bashee Valley we stationed the remnant of the 24th Foot at Fugitives Drift, so that we should not be cut off in rear. We also posted vedettes on all the commanding heights, the guard against a surprise. After marching about 3 hours, we saw the mountain illuming in the distance. But before we arrived near, we could see signs of the fearful havoc they had played with our poor soldiers, for there were tents, waggons and all the items incidental to a scene of which we were to be the specators. The first we saw was a little drummer boy, his drum broken in, his head cut off and placed on his chest, his hands inserted between his ribs. We then came across the poor fellows laid in groups of 5 and 6, every one of which had been mulilated by those savages and all were laid naked, every article of clothing having been torn off them. We came across a large wooden structure like a double scaffold, where two other boys had been hung up by their hands to the hooks and as they had decomposed, their bodies had fallen to the ground where they lay, with no friendly hand to give them a decent burial. ...'

An extract from 'A Short Account of my Life' by T. H. Makin, published in 'The Journal of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society' Vol. 5/2, 1997.

There is the hearsay comment by Private Charles Mason, a Rorke’s Drift defender who very possibly recounts what has heard from an eyewitness in a letter of 9th February, 1879:
‘… There were 5 boys belonging to the Band, poor little fellows, they were left in camp, the black buggers got the boys and tied them up by the hands to the wagons and butchered them, cut their privates off and stuck them in their mouths.’

Do we dismiss this out of hand, Mason correctly give the number of Boys killed as five.  He also states their position that they were members of the band(s).

You will notice both Makin and Mason mention ‘hands’, rather than chin.

The comment, which if memory serves me was made by one the men under Chelmsford’s command, states ‘Even the little boys that we had in the band, they were hung up on hooks, and opened like sheep. It was a pitiful sight.’

Just my own thoughts on the subject.

I would have answered sooner if my iPad hadn’t died on me.

JY
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I'm not sure age has anything to do with it.

There is circumstantial evidence of strange goings on - the rope/noose,  bayonet pinning someone to the ground, Nelson's sketch (I don't really care if he was crap at drawing hills)?

Was this a indicator of  capture and later execution (even with short time between the two) with or without torture in between.

Would 'boys' (British or civilian) have been easier to capture?

What about the reported death of the Natal Native Chieftain - supposedly used as target practice by Udibi boys....?

If a practice of torture could be 'proved' would it add weight to the 'boy" scenario?

We seem (or rather it was seemed at the time) to think the boys were hung on a hook for torture purposes....which would apparently pull the jaw off but what if it was used as a method of execution - up through the chin into the brain.....someone looking at it 3 months later may have assumed to be torture.

To me 'capture' is the key, you are not going to go to the hassle of taking captives to immediately kill them.

History shows (and will continue to show) that 'people' can think of many slow (and tortuous) ways of dispatching 'enemies'.
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Possibly the boys were dead before being hung up?
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Frank Allewell wrote:
Possibly the boys were dead before being hung up?

Yes it's possible - I'm struggling to think of why but anything is possible (apart from England winning a cricket match at the moment)
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Maybe it was a zulu with a fetish for clearing up mess, as in: "Ah these little buggers are a mess, let me hang them up."
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Cant understand the comment that they were 'singled out'? Maybe it was just because they were there, wrong place wrong time.
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Frank Allewell wrote:
Maybe it was a zulu with a fetish for clearing up mess, as in: "Ah these little buggers are a mess, let me hang them up."

A mess? He'd obviously never clapped eyes on my band boys/girls.....

Had they been band boys of the 24th, would they have been told to stay in one place in the camp?

I don't believe they were singled out, as such except perhaps in the eyes of the reporters?

Many soldiers wrote home saying 'Private 'so and so' was killed - this has obviously got a personal connection with the intended reader.....maybe they writer mentioned boys (see I'm getting better - not mentioned 'drummer' once) to emphasis the horror of the situation to the reader.
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It only takes one man to do such an act.  It's no stain on the Zulu as a people.  One sadist is enough.  And there are sadists in all the world's armies.


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