Hi Old H. I was wondering if you got confused with Hitch being on the roof, He was on the roof before the battle commenced not after. As 90th points out he woke up in a
stable and the column was already in the camp.
This from Hitch.
"I am a private in the 2/24th, and left England about sixteen months ago and was engaged in the Cape Colony under Lord Chelmsford. On the threatened Zulu outbreak my regiment was ordered to Natal, and we went up in one of the coast mail steamers. The first news I had of what happened at Isandhlwana was when one of the mounted infantry, named Evans, came galloping up to the mission house, and said that a part of the camp across the river had been destroyed by the Zulus, that two guns had been taken as well as all the ammunition, and that the enemy was advancing in force to attack Rorke's Drift. This was about three o'clock in the afternoon. I was ordered by Lieutenant Bromhead to mount the roof of the stores to watch for the Zulus. I went up immediately, being the only man up there, and in about five minutes I saw an advanced guard of the enemy coming over the brow of the hill on our right front. Every man in Rorke's Drift set to work piling up the mealie-bags, and had soon finished. The big mob of the enemy soon came up, extending from the right, and the column appeared to me, as I watched them from the roof of the house, to be about a mile and a half in length. They were then just beyond gunshot, but were perfectly quiet. They then made a right wheel, and the extreme right moved into the caves on the adjoining hill, and as I was about the only man they could see, being on the roof, they took a potshot at me but missed. I reported the movements to my comrades below, and fired three shots, these being the first that were fired at the Zulus at Rorke's Drift; the enemy made a yell and came at the little front with a rush, and then I got down and took my position with the rest of the company, on the right front, Mr. Bromhead being close to me. The sun was just beginning to set at the time the Zulus came close up to the front, and after they had taken the hospital and was burning it Lieutenant Bromhead and three privates, with Colour-Sergeant Bourne, kept the position in the right front, in order to keep the enemy from getting a line of fire at the men of the 24th, who were fighting to the front from behind a pile of biscuit boxes. I was here for about an hour, being all the time between three cross-fires. I saw one of my comrades - private Nichols - killed; he was shot through the head, his brains being scattered all about us!
He had up to his death been doing good service with his rifle. Another, Corporal Sheath, of the Natal Contingent, was shot on my left. I myself kept shooting into a good mob of the enemy, who were very quiet in all they did. About a quarter to seven I was shot from the left, the ball striking me under the right shoulder blade, and came out through the shoulder. I knew at the time that the ball passed right through me. I fell down, and Mr. Bromhead said, "Mate, are you hit?" and I said "Yes". I had not had time to form an opinion as to whether the Zulus would take the fort or not. My only wish was - as I believe was that of every other man - to fight as hard as I could, and I did it until I was wounded. I crept up to the rear, and with the assistance of private Deakin, tied up my wound as well as I could by tearing off the sleeve of a great coat for the purpose. I then knocked about as well as I could, serving the others with ammunition until I became exhausted from loss of blood and fell down unconscious. I did not come to until the morning, just as peep of day, and I then found myself in a stable. The Zulus, meanwhile, had retired, but were again advancing to attack us, and they saw the General and his column coming and again retired. I was sent down to Durban, but did not reach there until the end of April, the journey down being rather rough. I was under medical care at Durban, and was sent home in the Tamar."
Source: Isabell Collar, great, great, great grand daughter of Pte. Fred Hitch, V.C. at unvailing of Blue Plaque on 25 January 2004.