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 The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.

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24th
old historian2
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littlehand

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 12:05 pm

Chard with 4 other men was able to recover a water cart and bring it to the wall.

Doe’s anyone knows how far away the water cart was away from the wall.

I have also read that it was almost a suicidal mission, so I’m assuming they recovered the cart in the heat of the Battle.

Is it possible to find out the dimensions of these carts and the barrels?

And lastly how did they manage to get the cart into the compound without creating a breach in the defences?
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 12:32 pm

Hi Littlehand
Came across this, its only a model. But it’s probably based on the real thing.

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Mr Greaves

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 7:10 pm

The water cart was brought up to the wall because there was no access to get it in to the compound and it was far to heavy to lift over the wall. The men were able to fill their water bottles by means of a hose.

I wouldn’t say it was in the heat of the Battle, when the water cart was brought in, it would have been around mid-night and the British would have been contending with small attacks and various points around the defences. Which they were more than capable of defending.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 7:38 pm

Did the water cart rescue really take place? To me the water cart rescue would have been considered by most to been an important part in helping the out come of the battle. So why doesn’t John Chard mention this brave act of retrieving the water cart in his report to Queen Victoria. Are we sure it was just not based on hear say.
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 7:48 pm

I’m a bit confused. I thought it was Bromhead and Hook that retrieved the Cart. Not Chard.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 7:56 pm

Dave. This is exactly my point. There are various versions. If you look at Hooks Account, I think your find he too doesn’t mention it.

Could someone post an eyewitness account of the water cart retrieval?
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sas1

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 8:35 pm

This topic could be leading somewhere. I have found two accounts. One says Chard Led the attack to get the water cart. And the other says Hook and other got the cart. These are not eyewitness accounts. But like CTSG. I would like to see one.

P.S
Should be back in about two weeks. Over extended say.

At about midnight Chard led an attack to drag the water cart near the biscuit box wall to slake his men's thirst. After this, Zulu attack slackened and by about 04h00 on 23 January they withdrew. At 05h00 Chard sent out patrols but at 07h00 the Zulus reappeared at the western end of the Oskarberg, sat down and took snuff. Chard's men took up their posts again. After a while the Zulus skirted wide round the post and withdrew by way of the drift. They had fought a most exhausting action and exceeded the king's orders by entering Natal. With this in mind, can one agree that the defence of Rorke's Drift really saved Natal, heroic deed though it was?

Source: The South African
Military History Society


To the last this terrible conflict remained a hand-to-hand struggle against odds. The Zulus swarmed into the space between the inner barricades of the hospital, and attempted, by force of numbers, again and again to overwhelm the garrison. But, hard pressed as they were, their daring spirit remained undiminished; after hours of hopeless battle, men were found to follow Hook, in a charge through the mass of their foes, to bring in the water-carts, abandoned in the retreat, the necessity for which was absolute, to mitogate the suffering of the sick and wounded men within the laager. This brave act was successfully accomplished without any loss to this sortie of a forlorn hope.
Source: Victoria Cross
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 8:40 pm

Good to see you back on the forum sas1. If anyone has seen an eyewitness account please post. This is getting more and more confusing.

Did the water cart incident take place, and if it did who retrieve the cart.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 8:46 pm

Well, I have spent the last hour trying to find eyewitness account. And I can’t find one.
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sas1

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySun Nov 01, 2009 8:59 pm

Just a quick one.

Just found this one. (This time Bromhead and Hook)
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Source: Rorke's Drift, 1879: 'pinned like rats in a hole' By Ian Knight
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littlehand

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyMon Nov 02, 2009 2:52 pm

Well this discussion took a different turn. I have also check the web and can find no eyewitness account to the water cart recovery at Rorke’s Drift.
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Dave

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyMon Nov 02, 2009 3:25 pm

The historical Pte. Hook was by no means done with his heroics at this point: he went on to help carry hospital patients to safety, and he participated in the water cart rescue. Zulu doesn’t depict these episodes at all, despite their obvious dramatic potential.
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyMon Nov 02, 2009 10:38 pm

Just for the record. I can’t find any eyewitness accounts either.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyTue Nov 03, 2009 10:38 pm

I see we are no further with the water cart issue. I.m starting to think its one of those soldiers storiies to make the battle that little bit more interesting. I have spent days looking for accounts of this heroic deed, but there simply isn't any. The fact is the water cart was always at hand as it was brought in before the battle had started.
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90th

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: water cart.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 1:06 am

hi all. .
I have no doubt the water cart incident did occur , BUT , It was not as dangerous as people are lead to believe .
It probably occurred when the zulus had fallen back and therefore there was no great risk involved , only a matter of removing
some of the barrier and bringing it in , quite possibly all done in a couple of minutes . That is the reason its hardly
mentioned , Hook only mentions it because he was one of the four that took part in its retrieval . Most of the garrison
probably didnt even know it was dragged inside !. Also the names of the others involved are not known , if it was
a heroic deed under pressure it would have been noted by Chard when he sent his report in regard to the troops who
he thought had performed over and above the call of duty.
cheers 90th.
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Frank Allewell

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 5:18 am

90th

Chards report mentions "the raging thirst' and also that they could not hope to get to the cart before dawn.. at that time of the year around 0530. Hook talks of "a group of us went out to fetch the cart. Neither of them place any great emphasis on the action. The water cart itself was parked between the hospital and the the store ( source CS Bourne )
Bourne produced a very accurate sketch of the battle field which indicates the position of the water barrel, and its appearance.( its reproduced by Ian Night in Brave Mens Blood ) Its also hanging on the wall at Fugitves Drift Lodge.
Conclusion, an event over rated by time.
Regards
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Frank Allewell

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 9:16 am

I've just spent some time looking at the original statements. We could very well be looking at two seperate incidents. Hooks account mentions the position of the water barrel and then goes on to say"three or four of us jumped over and fetched some water in". No mention of dragging in the water cart, just fetching water.
Bromheads supposed rescue of the water cart could therefore been as a seperate sortie. And if so it would have occured after the Zulu withdrawl, possible when the patrols were out 'euthanasing' wounded Zulu's.

Regards
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 1:53 pm

So we can safely say this did not take place.

At about midnight Chard led an attack to drag the water cart near the biscuit box wall to slake his men's thirst.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 2:39 pm

CTSC

In my humble opinion it did not take place.
1. Chard refers to the water cart after the last attack.......... rules out the time frame.
2. By dawn the attacks had finished, mopping up was taking place
3. No reason to dissbelieve Hook.
4. CS Bourne is an impecable source.

Regards
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 8:58 pm

Springbok your conclusion rings true.

Quote :
CS Bourne is an impecable source.
Could anyone point me to this source.

G.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 9:34 pm

And I take it we agree that Bromhead never retrieved the cart either. So it was all down to Hook.
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90th

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PostSubject: water cart.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 9:39 pm

hi all.
I have no doubt the water cart incident DID indeed take place , this following extact
from ' RORKE"S DRIFT BY THOSE THAT WERE THERE " by Alan Baynham Jones
and Lee Stevenson.
The following is Hook"s report which appeared in THE STRAND MAGAZINE VOL 1
JANUARY - JUNE 1891.

" About 3am , day began to break, and the zulus retreated . A party , of which I was one , then volunteered
to go across to the hospital , where there was a water cart, and " BRING IT IN " to the inner enclosure , where
there was no water , and the wounded were crying for it "
cheers 90th.

ps. Forgot to add , I agree with sprinbok , a sortie that wasnt as dangerous as some would believe.


Last edited by 90th on Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyWed Nov 04, 2009 9:44 pm

So its looks like a few history books might need revising. Hooky at last gets the credit. Really enjoyed this discussion. Thanks to all concerned.
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Ken Gillings




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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptyFri Nov 06, 2009 2:17 pm

I have always understood that the water cart was pulled across to the biscuit box wall at around 03h00 on the 23rd January. I was told that a gap was opened between the biscuit boxes and the leather hose passed through.
There is a large stone between the line indicating the biscuit box perimeter and the present building. I have been told that this is the approximate position of the water cart. If anyone would like a photograph, please let me know.
By the way, before the site was tidied up in about 1979, there was a wagon positioned approximately where one of the wagons was situated. This poor old wagon is lying rotting away under a large tree between the church and the Oscarsberg.
There were also models of the biscuit boxes at the corner of the present outline, but they have disappeared. They may be at the Provincial Museum Service in Pietermaritzburg. I'll make some enquiries and let everyone know.
Regards,
Ken
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The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: Re: The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift.   The water cart recovery at Rorkes Drift. EmptySat Nov 07, 2009 11:08 pm

The stone may be seen in the lawn on the left of the photo
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Posted on behalf of Ken Gillings
Photo. supplied by Ken Gillings
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