Fair use notice.
This website may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner.
We are making such material and images are available in our efforts to advance the understanding of the “Anglo Zulu War of 1879. For educational & recreational purposes.
We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material, as provided for in UK copyright law. The information is purely for educational and research purposes only. No profit is made from any part of this website.
If you hold the copyright on any material on the site, or material refers to you, and you would like it to be removed, please let us know and we will work with you to reach a resolution.
Subject: Warriors versus Policemen Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:45 pm
In memory of the Brave Policemen present in Zululand in 1879.
The ultimatum to Cetewayo expired on the11th January 1879, and as no communication was received from him the invasion of Zululand was started. Four columns were formed, the third being the headquarters column. This was the one at Helpmakaar,to which the Natal Mounted police were attached.
Lord Chelmsford,the General Commanding, arrived at Helpmakaar before the advance was made.Addressing the police after Church Parade he said that during the short time they had been under his command he had every reason to be satisfied with their conduct and appearance. He added that it would give him great pleasure to take them with him into Zululand, where they must expect to meet a foe outnumbering the British forces by twenty to one. He spoke of the many hardships they had in store, with days and nights of constant watching and some severe fighting."But," he concluded,"I feel sure you will give a good account of yourselves and sustain the high reputation which has always attached to your corps." That such proved to be the case is a matter of history.
Some dissatisfaction was caused by Major Dartnell having been superseded in his command of the police and volunteers by the appointment of Major Russell,of the 12th Lancers, to the command of the cavalry,with the local rank of Lieut .-Colonel. Major Dartnell's men expressed their disinclination to cross the border excepting under their own officer's command,and they offered to resign in a body. It was only upon Major Dartnell's strong remonstrance that they agreed to serve under Major Russell, and the former officer was placed on the General's Staff as the only way out of the difficulty.Inspector Mansel took charge of the police.
At Rorke's Drift all superfluous stores were disposed of, and the baggage was cut down to the lowest possible limit, the incessant rains having made the roads very bad. The task of crossing the Buffalo was a dangerous and difficult one, the river being swollen, but the column got over without mishap.A strong escort of police and volunteers was chosen to accompany Lord Chelmsford to Itelezi Hill, where he held a consultation with Colonel Evelyn Wood,who was in command of another column. The escort paraded at 2 a.m. and marched to the punt on the Buffalo, where the men deposited their arms,haversacks, and belts, it being feared that they might,if unduly hampered, be carried down the river.
The infantry, who also crossed before dawn, had to undergo being searched, each man's haversack and water-bottle being examined, the former for cigars and the latter for alcohol. A Greytown man had arrived in camp the previous day with two wagons laden with liquor, and this had been looted by the men of the 24th Regiment during the night.The number of empty bottles left lying about indicated that a good many of them had taken part in the affair. The Greytown man was rewarded with a message from the General that unless he cleared off at once his wagons would be pitched into the river.
The infantry crossed first in the punt, to cover the unarmed advance of the cavalry, and the native contingent crossed next, doing so hand in hand, some of them being washed off their feet. Men were stationed at the point below the drift to help any onewho was swept away, but only one of the police met with such a mishap, although the water was high up the saddle flaps and the current rapid. Everybody had got over safely by 4 a.m.
The infantry and natives were left to guard the drift, and Lord Chelmsford set off to Itelezi Hill, the police forming the advance and flank guards. The route lay over an open,undulating country, but a dense mist overhungthe ground. The men could only see each other in a dim way, and two of the police, who were flank skirmishers, lost touch with the party altogether.They had a trying time, and did not reach camp again until late at night.
During the forenoon the fog cleared, and a number of the Frontier Light Horse, under Colonel Redvers Buller, were met. After the conference the police formed the advance-guard for the return journey, and incidentally seized a group of Zulu cattle, taking them intocamp. Several kraals were passed, and Lord Chelmsford informed the occupants of one that he was making war against Cetewayo and not against the people, but if they wished to retain their arms and cattle they must go into the British lines.
A violent storm knocked many of the tents down at the camp during the night, and at 3.30 a.m. The whole force was ordered out to reconnoitre the road.Part of the force went on to attack the stronghold of Sirayo, at the head of the Bashee Valley, and the volunteers and police went to the right to cut off the retreat of the enemy, who could be seen on the top of a mountain near a nek over which they had topass. The thorn bush was thick, and progress consequently slow, and the natives had plenty oftime to assemble for an attack. No opposition was shown at the nek, and the volunteers, who were ahead, had just passed out of sight round the bend,when the police were attacked as they were crossing a deep donga.
At a range of a couple of hundred yards the Zulus, who were posted under cover of a hill, began to let off their old blunderbusses with a noise like the discharge of field-guns. Their aim, like their firearms, was bad, and before they had time to reload,the police had dismounted. While one-half of them looked after the horses,the other half advanced in skirmishing order, firing as they rushed up the steep slope, but the Zulus retired precipitately with their antique weapons.
At the top of the hill the flying forms of the natives could be seen, and the police had a few moments shooting before the enemy all disappeared.The Zulus had about ten men killed, one of them being a son of Sirayo.
In the meantime the infantry had destroyed Sirayo 's kraal in the valley, and captured a large herd of cattle, which were sold to the butchers and bought back by the contractor to feed the troops. The low price for the captured cattle was a sore point amongst the men, because though they made many large hauls some of them did not get a sovereign as their share at the end of the campaign.
The country into which the British force had moved was one in which the hills were pitted with deep dongas and ravines, where the undergrowth of prickly cactus, aloe, and euphorbia formed vast natural defences for the natives.
In small bands the Zulus loved to lie in wait on such ground, but this method was not employed by the large impis in the open field, where they relied upon victory by advancing in a solid body, and by sheer weight of numbers crushed the enemy by stabbing them at close quarters, utterly regardless of their own losses.
The road through the Bashee Valley was so sodden with the rain that a strong force of men had to be sent to repair it,otherwise the wagons would never have been able to get through. On the morning after the attack on Sirayo 's kraal the troops were turned out again at 3.30, and were kept out on the hills all day watching the country towards Ulundi, from which direction an attack was regarded as probable.
After a tiring day they returned to camp to find another patrol was ordered for 3.30 a.m.On this occasion a reconnaissance was made to the Isipezi Mountain, passing over the nek of Isandhlwana.Wagon tracks were carefully examined and the country sketched, for this was to be the column's route to the interior of Zululand. About forty miles were covered this day the 14th January.
Patrols and vedette duties were continuous from early morning until dark, sometimes in a heavy downpour of rain, and a few of the men began to think that there was very little romance about active service. There was a good deal of justifiable grumbling concerning the issue of bully beef in two-pound tins. One half-section had to carry the beef and another the biscuits. This worked very satisfactorily when the men were able to find one another, but they generally got separated, and there was many an unhappy mortal on out-post duty who had to dine off plain biscuits or plain bully beef,according to his luck. As they left camp long before the fragrant odour of coffee was in the air, and did not get back until"lights out " had been sounded,the man who had only had biscuits felt he had fairly good grounds for complaint.
Taking fifteen days' supplies on ox wagons,the column moved on to Isandhlwana on the 20th January. A month's supplies were left behind at Rorke's Drift, where a number of sick and wounded remained in hospital. The men paraded at 4 a.m.and the police acted as advance-guard. Some ofthem had to scout the country, keeping at least a mile from the road.
They climbed up and down stony hills for miles, coming out on the plain where the Isandhlwana church now stands,the troops being halted on the nek below Isandhlwana Hill.
The police had had a hard task, and were anticipating rest and food for themselves and their beasts when a Staff officer rode up and ordered Inspector Mansel to place out-posts on all the commanding hills on the east. Colonel Clarke recalls the fact that his troop was sent to an outlying ridge, and it was left there until long after dark, when a non-commissioned officer rode out and explained apologetically to the ravenous men that they had been forgotten by the Staff officer. It was then 8 p.m., and they did not reach camp until an hour later, when dinner (which consisted of biscuits and bully beef) was over.
At 9.30"Fall in for orders" was sounded, and the police were informed that they had to parade at 3 a.m. with the volunteers to reconnoitre in the direction of Matyana's stronghold. The news that Major Dartnell was to be in command was received with cheers. The police, having only a few hours in which to rest, did not trouble to find their kits,and they never saw them again. All but thirty-four members of the police went off before dawn. They took no rations, being informed that they would be back at noon, when a hot meal would be provided for them. There was many a man wished, sorrowfully,afterwards, that he had put something to eat in his pocket.
They covered a considerable extent of the country during the morning without getting a glimpse of the enemy, and after midday met the Native Contingent,under Colonel Lonsdale. The troopers off saddled for a while, and then received sudden orders to move in an easterly direction, away from the main camp, where small bodies of the enemy hadbeen reported.
On a ridge near the Isipezi Mountain a few Zulus were seen, where upon dismounted,while Inspector Mansel, with a small number of police, Sergeant-Major Royston, and a few of the Carbineers, galloped out to reconnoitre.It was soon seen that the enemy were there in large numbers, for they opened out until they coveredthe whole ridge, and dashed down the hill in an attempt to surround Inspector Mansel's party, who, however, wheeled back and escaped the impi.
A trooper named Parsons, in attempting to load his revolver, accidentally discharged the weapon. His horse shied and he fell off. As a reward he was sent back to camp in disgrace, the incident causing a good deal of merriment. Parsons was killed during the attack on the camp the next day.
The impi returned to the ridge when the reconnoitring party escaped from them, and Major Dartnell decided not to make an attack with mounted men alone, the Native Contingent being reported by Colonel Lonsdale to be too tired and hungry to be relied upon. It was afterwards discovered that the enemy had contemplated rushing down on the British force, but hesitated to do so because they thought the Native Contingent, most of whom wore red coats, were Europeans.
In order not to lose touch with the Zulus, Major Dartnell decided to bivouac with the police, volunteers,and Native Contingent on the ground he had taken up, and two Staff officers, Major Gosset and Captain Buller, returned to the main camp to report the presence of the enemy and ask approval of the bivouac.
In many accounts of the Zulu war it is stated that he appealed for reinforcements, but this is incorrect. He had decided to attack the impi at dawn, adding that a company or two of the 24th Regiment might instil confidence in the Native Contingent, but whether they came or not the attack would be made at 6 a.m.
The promised hot dinner having long gone cold, far away, the men had a cheerless prospect. They were without blankets, and the night was bitterly cold. Moreover, there was the ever-constant dread of a surprise attack. The troopers hitched up their belts, and bids up to ten shillings were made for a single biscuit ; but nobody had any to sell.
The horses were linked, one man in each section of fours being left on guard over them, and the Native Contingent provided outlying pickets.In several ways it was a night never to be forgotten.Captain Davy, adjutant of volunteers, had gone back to the camp, and it was anxiously hoped that he would return with some food. He returned late at night with a very inadequate supply of provisions, which quickly disappeared.
Quietness reigned during the early hours of the night, but just before the 'witching hour a shot was fired by one of the outlying pickets. Instantly there was terrible confusion. The whole NativeContingent, consisting of 1600 men, stampeded into the bivouac, rattling their shields and assegais.
The sudden awakening from sleep, the din, the hoarse cries of the natives, the knowledge that a large body of the enemy was in the vicinity, the difficulty of distinguishing friend from foe in the darkness, and the confusion that invariably follows a stampede, would have been sufficient to startle the best troops in the world. The natives crouched down near the white men for protection, and for a time nobody knew what had caused the panic. The wonder is that many of the native soldiers were not shot by the white troopers. The discipline of colonial troops has rarely been put to a more severe test.
The small body of police and volunteers,miles awayfrom support, fell in quietly and quickly and remained perfectly steady.Some of the natives declared that an impi had passed close to the bivouac, and was going to make an attack. The troopers were ordered out to the brow of the hill to feel for the enemy.
Suddenly shots began to ring out, and bullets whizzed past the white men. The scared Native Contingent,blundering again, had opened fire on the troopers,who were not sorry to get the order to retire. It was so dark that the force would have been practically helpless had a large impi rushed down on them, and the majority of them never expected to seedaylight again; but the Zulus did not come, and the natives were with difficulty driven to their own bivouac.
A couple of hours afterwards the weary troopers were awakened by another similar panic, and again shots were sent flying by the natives, who almost got beyond control. Their officers and their European non-commissioned officers were so disgusted that they spent the rest of the night with the police.
The experience was a striking proof of the unreliability of undisciplined native troops in the hour of danger. It is a wonder that the whole force was not exterminated, for from what Mehlogazulu, a son of Sirayo, afterwards told General Wood, it appeared that the chiefs of the neighbouring impi decided to postpone such an easy task until they had first"eaten up"the main camp.
There were many pale, haggard faces when dayligh broke on the morning of the eventful 22nd January. The colonial troops were not destined to fight a battle on their own account, for at 6 a.m.Lord Chelmsford joined them with Mounted Infantry,four guns of the Royal Artillery, and six companies of the 24th Regiment.
The Zulus had retired from the ridge before dawn, so the British force moved into the valley in search of the impi. Small parties were seen about four miles away, and several hours were spent in chasing them. There was some skirmishing, and about sixty Zulus, who took refuge in caves and amongst the boulders on a hill, were surrounded and killed.
The dongas running down from the hills offered a very serious obstacle to the passage of guns and ambulances, and greatly retarded the men's movements, so a halt was called at midday, when a rumour was circulated that fighting was going on at the Isandhlwana camp. The firing of heavy guns could be heard, and the General decided to return with the Mounted Infantry and volunteers, leaving the police and men of the 24th Regiment to bivouac with part of the Native Contingent a prospect which was not at all appreciated after the experience of the previous night.
The General had promised to send out rations, andfirewood was being collected from a deserted kraal when a Staff officer galloped up with instructions that the whole force had to return to camp instantly.The disastrous battle of Isandhlwana was in progress,and a man on a spent horse had come out with the following thrilling message :" For God's sake come, with all your men ; the camp is surrounded and will be taken unless helped."
Still worse was a report from Colonel Lonsdale.He had unsuspectingly ridden close to the camp, and was within a few yards of the tents, when he was fired at. He then recognized that all the Zulus near were wearing soldier's clothing, and that the camp was entirely in the enemy's hands. He turned backquickly and escaped the bullets.
The smoke of the infantry fire had been seen,and the occasional boom of the 7-pounder field-guns was heard. Thousands of the enemy could be seen in the distance, retiring from the camp to the hill which they had occupied previously. It was late in the afternoon when Lord Chelmsford briefly addressed the force under him, prior to the dash back to the camp, at a spruit about two miles from the tents.
The situation was as bad as it could be, he said, but they must retake the camp. He expressed his confidence in them to avenge the death of their comrades and uphold the honour of the British flag.The column gave three cheers, and then advanced in the deepening gloom upon what appeared to be a most desperate venture. Ammunition was scarce,there was no food, the greater part of the men had marched for two days and had passed a sleepless night, while over and above these material disadvantages there was the depressing knowledge that the enemy which could annihilate one-half of the force in the daylight might, favoured by night, with equal certainty demolish the other half.
Much has been written about the ghastly massacre at Isandhlwana in which Cetewayo's overwhelming army of about 20,000 men killed 689 officers and men of the Imperial troops and 133 officers and men of colonial volunteers, Natal Police, and Native Contingents; and scarcely any one has denied that the colossal tragedy was due to blundering. It was the intention of Cetewayo to drive the third column back to Natal, but he never contemplated an attack on the 22nd January until he found his enemy had split up,spreading itself over a great area and practically delivered itself into his hands.
The state of the moon was not propitious, according to Zulu tradition, and the inevitable sprinkling of medicine before a battle had not taken place, but when the king saw an obvious opportunity staring him in the face he made his attack and won.The Zulus were not seen from the camp until 8 a.m., when a small number were observed on the crests of the hills. An hour later Colonel Durnford arrived from Rorke's Drift, and went out with a body of mounted natives. Every one was utterly ignorant of the fact that such a huge impi was near, and forces were sent out in several directions.
A large body of Zulus attacked Colonel Durnford, who retired to a donga, disputing every yard of the way. When reinforced by two score mounted men he made a stand,every shot appearing to take effect amongst the solid mass of black some hundreds of yards away.
The natives employed their usual well-organized method of attack, being formed into a figure roughly resembling that of a beast, with horns, chest, and loins.A feint is generally made with one horn while the other, under cover of a hill, or bush, sweeps round to encircle the enemy. The vast chest then advances and crushes the foe. The loins are left a little distance behind, ready to join in pursuit where necessary. It was the left horn of Cetewayo's army that was held in check by Colonel Durnford. The chest, or main body, became engaged with the force at the camp, and the right horn was swinging round the hills to the rear of Isandhlwana.
The Zulus were fast surrounding the camp, when the Native Contingent and camp followers fled in all directions, seized by panic. Steadily, remorselessly, the impi closed in, a hungry sea of Zulus of overwhelming strength.
Then followed the ghastly butchery. With short stabbing assegais the naked savages rushed straight on, treading under foot those in their own ranks who were shot.Mercy was neither expected nor granted during that brief scene of slaughter.Fighting like demons, a party of the 24th men,the Natal Police, and volunteers rallied round Colonel Durnford and held their ground gallantly, attacked on all sides by a shrieking mass of blacks, until their last cartridge was fired. Then they were stabbed to death.
Twenty-five of the police were amongst the victims, and of these a score were afterwards found lying round the body of Colonel Durnford. They had fallen where they fought, and died fighting.Practically nothing is known of what happened in that awful few minutes at the finish, for the Zulus were not very communicative on the subject for many years afterwards.
While in prison Mehlogazulu, who had been in command of one portion of the impi, made the following statement :
" We were fired on first by the mounted men, who checked our advance for some little time. The rest of the Zulu regiments became engaged with the soldiers,who were in skirmishing order. When we pressed on, the mounted men retired to a donga, where they stopped us, and we lost heavily from their fire. As we could not drive them out we extended our horn to the bottom of the donga, the lower part crossing and advancing on to the camp in a semi circle." When the mounted men saw this they galloped out of the donga to the camp. The main body ofthe Zulus then closed in. The soldiers were massing together. All this time the mounted men kept up a steady fire, and kept going farther into the camp.The soldiers, when they got together, fired at a fearful rate, but all of a sudden stopped, divided, and some started to run. We did not take any notice of those who ran, thinking that the end of our horn would catch them, but pressed on to those who remained.They got into and under the wagons and fired, but we killed them all at that part of the camp.
When we closed in we came on to a mixed party of mounted men and infantry, who had evidently been stopped by the horn. They numbered about a hundred, and made a desperate resistance, some firing with pistols and others using swords. I repeatedly heard the command 'fire,' but we proved too many for them, and killed them all where they stood." When all was over I had a look at these men,and saw an officer with his arm in a sling, and with a big moustache, surrounded by carbineers, soldiers,and other men I did not know. We ransacked the camp and took away everything we could, including some ammunition which we got out of boxes."
Before the living ling finally closed round the doomed men, a rush was made by those who could escape in the direction of the Buffalo River. These were followed by a section of the enemy, who hacked the fugitives as they ran.
Of the 34 members ofthe Natal Police who had been left at the camp by Major Dartnell, only 9 escaped. The bodies of three were found a couple of hundred yards away,and one was lying in Fugitives' Drift.The members of the force who were killed at Isandhlwana were :
Corporal Lally, Lance-Corporal Campbell, and Troopers Banger, Berry, Blakeman,Capps, J. Clarke, Daniells, Dorey, Eason, Fletcher,Lloyd, McRae, Meares, Niel, Pearse, Parsons;Pollard, Pleydell, F. Secretan, Siddall, Stimson, Thicke, C.White, and Winkle.
The men who escaped were :
Lance-Corporal Eaton,Trumpeter Stevens, and Troopers Collier, Doig, Dorehill,W. Hayes (died of fever at Helpmakaar), Kincade,Shannon, and Sparks.
So sharp and terrible had been the onslaught that the police who survived were unable to say much about the last scenes. They had been sent out with all the mounted men to hold the main Zulu army in check,which they did until their ammunition was exhausted.Messengers galloped back frantically for more cartridges,but did not return, so the whole body retired.It was then learnt that the messengers had found the cartridges, tightly screwed up in boxes, and it was impossible to get at them. The practice of screwing down the lids was abolished when the news of this incident reached England.
At the moment the mounted men fell back to the camp the right horn of the impi appeared on the nek, closing the road to Rorke's Drift. Even then,had the troops been concentrated, and ammunition available, it is possible that the position might have been held, but the infantry were split up, and it was too late to move away.As the final rush came, Colonel Durnford clearly saw that death was inevitable for nearly every one.« Get away as best you can » he shouted to the police and volunteers near, but very few heard or obeyed him.
To escape along the Rorke's Drift road was impossible, and those who left could only make a dash over terribly rocky ground where even horsemen had the greatest difficulty in avoiding the pursuing natives. Scarcely a single person on foot reached the Buffalo River alive. The river was in flood, but the Zulus pressed hard behind, and there was no time to look for a ford. Each man dashed into the stream as he reached it.
Trumpeter Stevens, of the police, was washed off his horse, which swam across. The trumpeter owed his life to a native constable, who caught the animal and bravely took it back, enabling Stevens to cross the river before the Zulus attacked him.
While the historic tragedy was in progress the force under Lord Chelmsford was approaching. They did not get close to the camp until it was dark, and merely the black outline of the hills could be seen.Shrapnel shells were sent bursting over the camp,but not a sign came from the desolate place, and the force advanced cautiously up the slope. When within three hundred yards of the nek they opened fire again, and a detachment was sent to take a kopje on the south.
Not a Zulu was seen, and the force moved up to the place where dead men only were encamped.Stumbling over the bodies of white men and natives in the darkness, they made their way,awe stricken,to the nek. Every man was knocked up with continual marching and lack of food, and they laydown;weary and almost broken-hearted amidst the debris of the plundered camp and the mangled corpses of men and horses. It was a night of horror. The men who lived through it do not care to recall the memory. Bright fires were seen in the distance,so the horses were not unsaddled but were ringed,and stood uneasily all night with the bodies of dead men lying round them.
"I had charge of thirty of the horses during part of the night," writes Colonel Clarke in his diary.' There were the corpses of four men of the 24th Regiment in the ring, and others under the horses legs, which caused the animals to surge to and fro so that it was almost impossible to control them.At one time we were on top of the adjoining ring,which brought curses on my head. I was not sorry to be relieved.' There were several false alarms, with some firing. In the middle of the night some one found a commissariat wagon and called out ' Roll up for biscuits/ but there was no response so far as we were concerned.
" The night seemed endless, but at break of dawn we were able to realize the horrors of our situation.Mutilated bodies were lying everywhere, some naked, some only in shirts; and nearly all without boots. The Zulus had done their plundering very thoroughly."
Most of the fallen men were mutilated, but with few exceptions the members of the police had been killed with one or two stabs. Everything in the camp was broken ; sacks of mealies and oats were ripped open, tins of bully beef were stabbed, bottles were broken and tents destroyed. Even the wagons hadbeen overturned into dongas in the mad carnival of wrecking.
In the numerous descriptions of the battlefield very little mention is made of the fact that the policeshared with an equal number of volunteers the honour of having made the last stand on the nek of the hill. At the crest where the dead men were lying thick, a large proportion of them were in the uniform of the Natal Mounted Police. In a patch of long grass, near the right flank of the camp, lay Colonel Durnford's body, a central figure of a knot of brave men who had fought it out around their chief to the bitter end.
Around him lay 14 carbineers and 21 of the police. Clearly they had rallied round the Colonel in a last despairing attempt to cover the flank of the camp, and had stood fast from choice when they might have essayed to fly for their horses, which were close by at the picket line.
On the 3Oth June 1879 the Natal Mercury contained thefollowing:
" There is one branch of the army that is now spreading itself over our frontiers, and over Zululand,to which scant justice has been done in the records of this campaign. It is a force which, to" us in Natal, ought to, and we believe does, possess particular interest, for it represents the future army of Natal, and the contribution of Natal in some approaching time, to the future army of South Africa. We refer to the Natal Mounted Police."
That body occupies a peculiar position. It is not Imperial in any sense of the term, althoughthe Government which has created it owns the supremacy of the Queen. It has played an effective and very honourable part in an Imperial campaign.It consists in the main of men recruited in England, and although there are amongst its ranks several colonists, its ranks are from time to time filled up by men who have enrolled themselves athome. Only the other day over sixty such additions came to fill up the gap left by the cruel losses at Isandhlwana." We have always felt it both a pleasure and a duty to uphold the reputation of Major Dartnell's force, and we do so the more heartily now because it has, during the eventful and trying times of the last six months, earned every right to be regarded with respect and admiration. That the men played the part of true soldiers at Isandhlwana, the bodies of their slain comrades grouped round the last rallying point sadly testify. The records of the campaign show that whenever their services have been called into action they have behaved with gallantry and distinction."
This is no more than we might have expected of any corps led by Major Dartnell, than whom, we believe, a more devoted, daring, and yet discreet leader will not be found in South Africa. The trumpet of fame has not sounded their praises, but that is due to circumstances rather than to intention.
Whatever the Natal Mounted Police have had to do they have done well ; and the fine young fellows who have come out to join its ranks may take just pride to themselves in thinking that they belong to a force that enjoys, in an especial degree, the appreciation of the community they serve. The corps must and will be our chief defence force of the future. What we want in Natal is a mobile, effective body of men ready on short notice to operate at any point where insurrectionary tendencies display themselves, and such a body we have in the police."
Shortly after dawn on the morning following the disaster of Isandhlwana, January 23, 1879, Lord Chelmsford's force received orders to march, the police being given the rear-guard. The column had clearedthe spruit below the nek, and the police were moving after it, when a violent fusillade was started in front of them. Unable to tell for a few seconds what was happening, the police"closed up," and then they saw the Native Contingent charging valiantly up a hill, where they cut to pieces a solitary Zulu who had had the temerity to open fire on the column. Some hundreds of shots were fired at him.
Another shock followed a little later. A number of natives were seen on the left, and an attack was feared, but orders were passed round to save ammunition as much as possible, because it was feared the Zulus had captured the depot at Rorke's Drift. The natives came very close to the rear-guard, where the police were, and shouted, but they did not attack.It was afterwards found that there had been fighting at Rorke's Drift, where a gallant stand was made by the British force, and these Zulus were the men who had been repulsed.The column marched straight on to Rorke's Drift.
Figures were seen moving about, and as the hospital had been burnt down it was feared there had been a fresh disaster. It was impossible to see whether the men at the depot were Europeans or natives, but at last one of them sprang on to the wall.The garrison had held the place. The column under Lord Chelmsford became so excited that ranks were broken by men, heedless of commands, and they rushed up the slopes anyhow to congratulate everybody there.
Some tinned beef and bread were found, and the column ate the first decent meal they had had for several days. The police and the rest of the men were thoroughly knocked up, some of them having been without food for sixty hours and sixty very strenuous hours.
To the joy of every one, rum was issued to each man who merely passed with his can.This was an opportunity far too good to be missed,for the troopers had almost forgotten what a canteen looked like, so a number of them changed their names several times that morning. Blessings were showered on the lance-corporal who served out the rum. Perhaps he saw what was happening and closed one eye to it : at any rate, according to the list more than 6000 Europeans had returned with the General. The actual number was nearer 1000.The deficiency in rum was possibly " written off."
The battle at Rorke's Drift had been a bitter one,the bodies of the Zulus' dead round the building numbering 375. Fatigue parties were employed all day burying them. Three members of the Natal Police had taken part in the defence, the total force there not numbering over fourscore. The police there were Trooper Hunter, who was killed ; Trooper Green, who was slightly wrounded ; and Trooper Lugg, who afterwards became Lieut .-Colonel and magistrate at Umsinga.
All three had been left in the hospital when their comrades moved off to Isandhlwana, but they were able to take a very active part in the defence. The Zulus made straight for the hospital, swarming on to the verandah. The soldiers barricaded the doors as firmly as possible, and then knocked holes in the walls, from room to room, passing the sick men through to the adjacent store. Each aperture was defended by soldiers while this was going on, and one or two Victoria Crosses were won in this way.
When the last room was reached and nearly all the invalids had been removed, a dash had to be made across the open space to the store, a few yards away.Here Hunter lost his life. He had almost reached shelter when a Zulu lunged at him with an assegai.He was badly wounded, but he had strength to kill his assailant before he fell. Their bodies were found close together afterwards.
Some of the sick men had to be left in hospital as the enemy set fire to the thatched roof and were crowding round. One invalid was burnt to death;others were carried by the natives over a ridge, out of range of bullets, and were dreadfully mutilated.It is a favourite method of warfare with Zulus to burn any building they attack. One native raised a bundle of burning forage to the thatched roof of the store. Had he set it alight, probably nobody in the British force would have been left alive, but a bullet bored its way through his brain while he was in the act, and the enemy were eventually beaten off undera hail of lead.
When the column to which the police were attached arrived they found the bodies of natives lying all round the hospital and store. There were many wounded Zulus, but none recovered, and several who tried to escape were shot. One actually got back across Rorke's Drift, although dozens of shots werefired at him, but he was followed by a mounted infantryman and killed.
Great preparations were made in readiness for another attack.The defences were strengthened,the parapets were raised, and four field-guns were dragged into the laager. Scouts were sent out to look for signs of the enemy, but they shooting before the enemy all disappeared.
In the evening the police and volunteers were told off to occupy an old cattle kraal. They threw in a lot of loose forage to make the place more comfortable,and for a while had a good rest.The Native Contingent, which supplied the outlying picket, also supplied their usual false alarms.Shortly after midnight the word was passed round that an impi was coming on in immense numbers.The European officers with the out-posts followed up the report promptly by joining those inside the walls,and remained there without troubling to verify the statement.
As soon as the natives with the British force heard the rumour, however, they disappeared in twos and threes ; and most of them were never heard of again. But the impi never arrived, and after a while the men turned in again.They were called early the following morning, and one of the police, in searching for part of his kit, turned over the forage in the kraal. Under it he discovered the body of a dead Zulu. A further examination showed that one group had slept comfortably on seven of the enemy's dead.
At dawn on the 24th January, the sergeant-major selected a party of twenty of the police to act as escort to Lord Chelmsford,who was going to Pietermaritzburg for reinforcements, Major Dartnell accompanying him.The best horses were picked for the journey, and there was keen rivalry amongst the men to be includedin the escort, which, however, had a rough experience. The animals were exhausted after the hard work they had done, and an attempt to reach Ladysmith ended in one horse falling dead, while two others collapsed, and one had to be left on the road.To make matters worse, when night came the party missed the road, finally arriving at the post-cart stable at Modder Spruit, where men and beasts rested for a few hours.
Ladysmith was reached the next day, and the police remained there awaiting the return of Major Dartnell, who went on to arrange about further supplies of clothing and equipment to be forwarded to Helpmakaar.Ten men of the police had meanwhile remained at Rorke's Drift for patrol duty, and the rest went direct to Helpmakaar, where most of the survivors from Isandhlwana were found. One of them, Trooper Sparks, of the Natal Police, had conveyed the General's dispatches to Pietermaritzburg, being about the first person to arrive there with news of the disaster.
Amongst the party left at Rorke's Drift was the present Chief Commissioner, Colonel Clarke, who recalls that they had a terribly hard time. Food was not too plentiful, and they had neither tents, blankets, nor a change of clothing . Few of them had any eating utensils, which is not surprising considering their movements for several days before, and most of them had to draw their rations in empty bully beef tins. They had to"sleep rough," and carried nearly as much mud as kit about with them.
Every morning at three o'clock the police were called out, and while the other troops stood to arms inside the laager they were sent away into the surrounding country to make certain there was no impi within five miles before this morning parade was dismissed.
There was a mealie field through which they often had to ride in the darkness, always with the prospect of being assegaied ; and the dongas in the district were possible death-traps, for it was never known when the Zulus would return.Midnight scares were frequent, and whatever the hour, the police were ordered out "to feel for the enemy."
Two of the colours of the 24th Regiment had been lost at Isandhlwana, and ten days after the fight the police accompanied a party which left the laager at Rorke's Drift to search for them. They made a quick ride and no natives were seen, until the famous hill was reached. There a few Zulu sentinels were observed standing on the heights. The party hunted for a couple of hours amongst the bodies of the mennear the place where the guard tent had stood, but no colours were found, and as the natives on the surrounding hills increased in numbers, Major Black,who commanded the party, deemed it prudent to retire. It was decided not to go back by the same road, as an ambush was feared.
Two troopers of the police had an unpleasant experience when the return journey was started.They had been left on the nek with orders to staythere until Major Black fired a shot from the point of a hill in the direction of Fugitives' Drift. The force disappeared, and the isolated troopers remained at their post by no means free from danger, untilthey realized that they were being left behind. Nosound of a shot reached their ears. They waited for a time, and at last, deciding to take the bull by the horns, galloped off to the main party. They afterwards heard that the Major had been afraid to fire the promised shot because there were many of the enemy near, and they might have taken it as the signal for an attack.
The route taken was the same as that followed by those who took part in the wild rush from Isandhlwana to the Buffalo River, and everybody had a very trying experience. The descent from a ridge,along which they rode, to the water was almost like riding down a precipice, and as the river was unfordable at this point, they had to swim as the fugitives had done. Once in Natal, they had no fear of being attacked, and while the bank of the river was being examined one of the missing colours was discovered. A messenger was sent on ahead to announce the good news, and there was a moving scene when the little party returned with the tattered,stained colour. The troops turned out and presented arms, and old soldiers with tears in their eyeskissed the flag.
The police at Helpmakaar at this time did not find life a bed of roses. A wagon laager was at first formed round the hartebeeste sheds in which the stores were kept. This was converted into anearthwork, surrounded by a moat, in which stagnant water gathered, the conditions being most unhealthy.The troops were shut up there every night, and marched out an hour after daylight each morning,the police providing thirty men every day to scour the surrounding hills.
Clothing was painfully scarce, and blankets were badly needed by the police, this occasioning great hardships. When the kits of all the infantry who had been killed at Isandhlwana were sold by auction they fetched astonishing prices. The police were permitted to wear the blue infantry trousers, but although their own tunics were falling into a sad state of disrepair, they were not allowed to wear the red jackets.
So great was the demand for eating utensils that dust-heaps were dug up in search of empty tins.These, carefully polished, served many a trooper as plates for a long time. The unhealthy conditionssoon began to tell on the men. There was no shelter from the sun during the daytime, and the troopers were in little better than a sea of mud each night, rotting oats and mealies in the store adding to the general unpleasantness. As might have been anticipated,fever broke out, carrying off many of the regulars and half a dozen of the police.
These were Corporal Chaddock, and Troopers Bennett, W. Hayes,Ingram, Nagle, and H. Smith.
Prior to the arrival of the 4th Regiment from Pietermaritzburg, one man of each section of fours had been on sentry at nighttime, and one or twofalse alarms occurred. Once a tame baboon, witha steel chain attached to its neck, escaped from its box and, climbing on to the iron roof of the store,made a terrific din, which sounded as though the Zulus were looting the place. Everybody sprang up. The horse lines were close to the laager, and orders had been given that in case of alarm the animals were to be released by the guard. On the occasion of the baboon's antics the horses were unfastened. It was soon found that the enemy were not making an attack, but all the horses had disappeared bymorning.
There was another false alarm near the laager,caused by a stray ox. It is stated that one regimentof infantry fired away 10,000 rounds of ammunition without doing any damage, even to the ox.
While the men were at this time undergoing various hardships, the residents of Ladysmith sentup a wagon-load of useful articles clothes, food, and luxuries of all kinds for the police and volunteers.These came as a perfect godsend, and the men eagerly drew lots for them. It was not until the middle of February that tents and blankets for the police arrived from Pietermaritzburg, the road through the Greytown thorns being practically closed. Transport riders, even at exorbitant figures,refused to perform the journey so near to the borders of Zululand. When the wagons did arrive the tentswere pitched in the daytime, but the poles were pulled down at nightfall, the men entering the laager.
A nimble-witted lance-corporal of the i3th Regiment made a small fortune by forming a sort of market near the laager. Natives brought milk, mealies, and pumpkins for sale. These he retailed at his own price, while he paid the natives less than theirs. Milk soon became more plentiful than water,which was supplied by one spring. There were1600 men in camp, and as the spring began to run dry sentries had to be placed near it to see that water was only drawn for drinking purposes. Men had to do without washing excepting on the occasion of the weekly bathing parade, when they all marched down to the stream. Half of them entered the water at a time to enjoy all the delights of badlyneeded ablutions, while the other half, fully armed,remained on the bank.
While the police were experiencing the joys of life at the Helpmakaar camp, an attempt was made at Pietermaritzburg to secure recruits for the force by Lieut .-Colonel Mitchell, who had been appointed Acting Commandant in the absence of Major Dartnell. Advertisements were inserted in the local papers asking for men willing to join for six months under Natal Police Regulations, pay being offeredat the rate of six shillings a day, with free rationsand forage, uniform and equipment being supplied by the Government. Either the prospect was not tempting enough, or the colony had been drained of men by the raising of so many corps of volunteers, for there were no suitable applicants.
On the 20th February, Major Dartnell left Helpmakaar with an escort of police, for Ladysmith, the route taken being via the Waschbank Valley. The first night was spent at a farm where there was a garrison of Carbutt's Horse, otherwise known as the " Blind Owls/' who lived on rum and dampers.
On reaching Ladysmith the following day, the police were quartered in the commissariat store, wherethey had to sleep on wet sacks of mealies. This made every man in the escort ill, and caused the death of Trooper Laughnan, who was buried in Ladysmith. The hotel-keepers were reaping a harvest, charging 253. a cwt. for forage and 45. 6d. a bottle for beer. Another night was spent with the hospitable " Blind Owls " on the return journey. At Helpmakaar they found a great deal of sickness.There were no bedsteads, and the patients, most of them in a raging fever, were lying in tents on a wagon-cover spread on the ground. Milk became scarce, and the sick men for a time could only get rice and arrowroot, without sugar or milk, and an occasional supply of beef-tea. Brandy and port wine was doled out sparingly, but these generally disappeared while the sick men were asleep.
Every trooper in the police at Helpmakaar passed through the hospital there, and as the fever patients became convalescent they were removed to Ladysmith. Some went into the hospital, which stood wherethe magistrate's court now is, and others went intoa separate hospital reserved for police and volunteers.
On the arrival of reinforcements from England,a company of the 24th Regiment was left to garrison Helpmakaar, and the police were ordered to join the column under General Newdigate at Dundee, arriving there on the i8th April.
As Lord Chelmsford advanced to the relief of Eshowe, he gave orders for raiding parties to cross the border into Zululand simultaneously. On the appointed day the police and volunteers entered the Bashee Valley, where they burnt several kraals and destroyed some crops. This did no good what ever, and caused resentment and retaliation. Thepolice escorted Lord Chelmsford to Baiter Spruit at the end of the month, and then with the volunteers relieved the infantry at Helpmakaar.
There was great disappointment when the news came that the police were not to join the columnthat was to advance on Ulundi. There Cetewayo's great army of over 20,000 warriors was defeated on the open plain by a force of about 5000 white men.On relinquishing his command of the cavalry column, Lieut .-Colonel Russell wrote to Major Dartnell:
" As the Natal Mounted Police have now passed from under my command, and I may not come across them officially again, I wish to thank them all for the cordial manner in which they have supported me in every way and on every occasion since thebeginning of the campaign. I most sincerely wishyou all, individually and as a corps, every good fortune in the future."
The ranks of the police having been considerably thinned by sickness and fighting, the arrival of sixty recruits from England on the ist June was opportune.Forty more men joined in the colony, and this brought the corps up to its full strength once more. As quickly as possible a score of these troopers were fitted out, drilled, and sent up to Helpmakaar, where the men were chafing badly under the monotony of inaction other than routine work.
Prince Louis Napoleon, who joined the headquarters Staff of Lord Chelmsford, met his death a few miles from Nqutu. He was with a small force when fifty Zulus made a sudden rush The prince was dismounted, and his horse, which was sixteen hands high, was always difficult to mount.On this occasion it became frightened by the sudden rush, and pranced in such a manner that the prince had the greatest difficulty in keeping it under control.The holster partly gave way, and he fell, being trodden on by the excited animal. He was now alone, with a dozen natives close upon him, but he regained his feet and, revolver in hand, faced the blacks and death. The fight was hopeless, and the prince died as he had lived, a brave soldier.
After the body was recovered and conveyed to Pietermaritzburg, the police were ordered to furnish an escort for it to Durban, the coffin being taken by road and placed on a warship which took it to England .The bodies of those who were killed at Isandhlwana having lain where they fell for five months, a force was sent out towards the end of June to perform the sad task of burial. It was joined at Rorke'sDrift by sixty of the police under Major Dartnell.
Nature had softened the scene when they arrived ;the dead were there, but in nearly every case they were hidden by the grass and corn that had grown everywhere. It was a heartbreaking task, but all the bodies of the police were identified and buried,their names being written in pencil on wood or a stone near them.The only victims left untouched were those of the 24th Regiment. These were not moved, at the express desire of Colonel Glyn and other officers, who hoped to be able to inter them themselves at a later date.
The officer commanding was anxious, for more reasons than one, not to prolong the stay on that grim battlefield, and the return journey was started at noon. The English horses' powers of endurance were severely tested on the journey. Several of the Lancers' animals were knocked up on the return trip. The police not only had had the extra distance from Helpmakaar to Rorke's Drift to cover in the morning, but were kept on vedette duty all day, and then marched back to Helpmakaar in the evening.
When Sir Garnet Wolseley arrived in the colony to take command of the troops, he was escorted to the front by a detachment of police under Sub-Inspector Phillips. He travelled via Pietermaritzburg and Helpmakaar, arriving at Ulundi six daysafter the battle. A detachment of the police went out and found the two /-pounder guns taken by thenatives from the camp at Isandhlwana.
The Zulu king, Cetewayo, had at this time fled,and immediate steps were taken to secure him. Thepolice left in search of the king, putting in somevery hard marching without transport and without rations other than those which each man could carryfor himself. They covered fifty miles on horseback the first day, and reached the kraal of one of Mpanda's wives the second day, learning that Cetewayo had spent the night there. On the i sth August a number of the force joined the party under Lord Giiford, who was also hunting for Cetewayo. He had as guide a Dutchman named Vijn, who had lived with Cetewayo during the war. Sub-Inspector Phillips discovered the king's pet herd of cattle in the valley of the Umona River,and asked permission to take the police with him and seize them. This was given, and the beasts were taken into Ulundi, where they had to be disposed of at 503. a head, although the commissariat officers were paying 15 to 18 each for cattle.
Again the police went out after Cetewayo, and the party to which they were attached got on to his trail. They would have had the honour of taking him, had not a column under Major Marter been a trifle quicker. By making an early morning move into the Ngome Forest the Major ran the Zulu king to earth, and this important capture had the immediate effect of pacifying the whole country.
A difference of opinion existed from the first as to the necessity for the Zulu War, and concerning the character of Cetewayo. This became much more pronounced after the disaster at Isandhlwana.There was one section of the public in Englandwho had never even seen a Zulu, but voiced their incorrect opinions loudly. The leader in South Africa of the party who denounced the war was Dr. Colenso, Bishop of Natal. He argued in an able manner in favour of the blacks, but experience has shown time after time that the native leader cannot be dealt with as a white man in the matter of treaties. It had become absolutely necessary that Cetewayo should cease to reign, and that the enormous military power of the nation should be broken.
Writing officially on the subject at the time, Sir Bartle Frere said :"Having lived now for many weeks within a couple of Zulu marches of the Zulu border, amongst sensible Englishmen, many of them men of great sagacity, coolness, and determination, and reasonably just and upright in all their dealings, who never went to sleep without their arms within reach,and were always prepared to take refuge with wives and families at a minute's warning within a fortified post ; having talked to voortrekkers and their children who had witnessed the massacres at Weenen and Blauw Krantz, and who could thus testify that the present peculiarities of Zulu warfare are no recent innovation, I may be allowed to doubt the possibilityof making life within reach of a Zulu impi permanently tolerable to ordinary Englishmen and Dutchmen.
"They make no prisoners, save occasionally young women and half-grown children. They show no quarter, and give no chance to the wounded or disabled, disembowelling them at once." The events of the last few months have rendered it unnecessary to prove by argument that the Zulus have been made into a great military power ; that they can destroy an English regiment with artillery to support it, or shut up or defeat a brigade six times as strong as the ordinary garrison of Natal unless our troops are very carefully posted and very well handled.
The open declarations of their king, no less than the fundamental laws of their organization, proclaim foreign conquest, and bloodshed a necessity of their existence.
They are practically surrounded by British territory. Except that of the Portuguese, there is now no foreign territory they can reach for purposes of bloodshed without passing through British territory.They are separated from Natal by a river easily fordable for the greater part of the year, and not too wide to talk across at any time."I submit that in the interests of the Zulus themselves we have no right to leave them to theirfate. The present system of Cetewayo is no realchoice of the nation. It is simply a reign of terror,such as has before now been imposed on some of the most civilized nations of the world.
The people themselves are everything that could be desired as the unimproved material of a very fine race. They seem to have all the capacities for forming a really happy and civilized community where law, order, and right shall prevail, instead of the present despotism of a ruthless savage"They might, by living alongside a civilized community, gradually imbibe civilized ideas and habits. But for this purpose it is necessary that their neighbours should be able to live in security,which, as I have already said, seems to me hopeless unless the military organization and power of Cetewayo be broken down." There are the means of improvement which may follow conquest and the breaking down ol Cetewayo's military system ; and this seems to me the only reasonable mode of doing our duty by these people.
In the cases of Abyssinia and Ashantee we were compelled by circumstances to retire after conquest and wash our hands of any further responsibility for the future of those counties, but there is no necessity in the case of Zululand there is nothing to prevent our taking up and carrying the burden of the duty laid upon us to protect and civilize it."There are still many people who declare that the war on Cetewayo was wicked and unjust, but in the years that have passed since the power of the Zulu was crushed finally at Ulundi it has been seen by those who are in a position to judge how much better off the native now is, and how much more secure is the white settler. True, there were some severe tussles in the rebellion of 1906, but the fighting methods organized by Chaka were practically ended in 1879, and the Zulu is gradually becoming civilized.
He is by nature exceedingly happy and easy-going ; and takes kindly enough to British rule. Occasional unrest prevails amongst an isolated section of the natives, but it soon blows over, and one can rarely meet a Zulu who does not welcome the presence of the white man in his territory. If you ask a Zulu why he likes the white men to live amongst them he will smile, roll his brown eyes almost coquettishly, and say :
" He gives me leekle bit money."
But this ignoble reason does not stand alone ; he looks up to the white man, and, in towns especially, imitates him to a degree which is at times positively ludicrous. It is an infinite pity that some of the white men with whom he comes in contact are not worthy of being imitated by the despised black, who unfortunately follows an example,be it good or bad, without much discrimination.
After the capture of Cetewayo the Zulu king was sent to Port Durnford, under an escort of Natal Police, where he embarked on a steamer for Cape Town. He was melancholy and abstracted on the journey, and even the wonders on the steamer for this was his first sea trip did not rouse him greatly from his state of lethargy. He showed a childish interest in some things on board, and the machinery inspired him with such awe that he would not go down into the engine-room. He asked how many cattle the vessel cost, and when an effort was made to give him some idea it was quite clear that he thought he had struck a number of particularly untruthful people.
He said he knew from the first that the war would end as it did, and that he himself would be the sufferer. The battle of Ulundi, he declared, was fought against his wish, and he blamed his young men, whom he could not restrain. He knew thepower of his nation was broken, and laughed to scorn the idea of any more fighting being possible against British rule.Cetewayo remained at Cape Town for some considerable time and, before being released, was taken to England. Finally he was sent back to Zululand,where he died, though not before he had been involved in more than one serious quarrel with neighbouring chiefs.
Early in August, Inspector Mansel, with thirty eight members of the police, left Helpmakaar to join Colonel Baker Russell's flying column, which destroyed the kraal of Manyanyoba, whose people had taken refuge in some caves. They were dislodged by dynamite, but not before a sergeant-major and a private of the infantry were killed. At Hlobane earlier in the war a number of irregulars had blundered over a precipice at full gallop, when retiring from the mountain on the day preceding the battle of Kambula. Their bodies were buried by men from the column.
The force also punished the chief Sekukuni, in the Transvaal, but the police were not able to take part in this campaign, as the Natal Government asked for them to be returned ; so they marched back to Pietermaritzburg, where they had a lively time with kit inspections, from ordeal they had long been free.
The relatives of a number of deceased members of the police having put in claims, a Commission was appointed to deal with the matter, and it was recommended that the widows and families of Troopers and White should, in each case, be grantedan annuity of 54, or a gratuity of 330. Each trooper being the actual owner of his kit, and many of them having lost all their kit during the struggles of the war, it was decided to compensate the men for lost articles at the following rates : officers' kit, 30, spare kit 10, chargers 35 each ; non commissioned officers' and troopers' kit 10, and troop horses 25 each.The barracks at Pietermaritzburg were so terribly insanitary that an outbreak of fever occurred at the close of 1879. There were no men at headquarters,and a score of them went into hospital, but only one died...
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: The NMP Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:39 pm
Bravo. Toutes les paroles de l'historien de la NMP regiment, de Col Clarke.
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: The phases of the moon Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:03 pm
Hi Pascal, You will notice in the text that you have reproduced above that the Zulus were not too happy about an attack on the British on 22/01/1879, but would do so, only if the British presented themselves in a very vulnerable situation. Chelmsford, obliged accordingly, .........of course. The Zulus are a very superstitious people planning much of their lives around the moon phases and the moon was "wrong" on the 22/01/1879, for battle. One could speculate how things would have changed on the 23/01/1879. Perhaps the whole of Chelmsford's camp would have moved up to Mangeni falls by then and the 5000 defenders, with proper preparation, would have given the 30,000 Zulus a royal dusting. A possible outcome of that would have been that there would have not been a Rorkes Drift batttle.
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:04 am
I wanted to please you, we do not talk enough of certain unit on the forum including the police, which seemed excellent on the military compared to most other colonial units, I hope this issue will be loved over the Natal Mounted Police.
but I also worked for me because when my police figures are complete, I will illustrate this text with my photos.
However imcomprehensible is that the police no longer fought after RD.
It is unfortunate for wargamers ...
The other problem is the color of their uniform, it is horrible.
See how Natal volunteers are beautiful in comparison, except for the Buffalo Border Guard ...
And volunteers of the Transvaal, do not have nice uniforms as well.
Finally it does not matter, the figures are always more beautiful than their historical patterns.
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:37 am
For your second post on this subject is what I explained on another subject.
1 - If Dartnell was not sent to the south and Durnford has joined the camp as he did with part of his second column ...
It would have been entitled to a general battle, certainly the 22 January because of any recognition that would have provoked the Zulu, as happened in real life ...
2 - This battle will be delivered without laager or formation in a square, because it was the new regulations since 1877 ...
3 - The Zulu would still surrounded the camp and the battle was terrible, given the large number of defenders.
But that would have been won ...?
But imagine that there is no recognition which provokes Zulu, the camp is temporary, and Durnford and Pulleine join Dartnell and Chelmsford in the south the 22 January...
1 - The Zulu would thus attacked on 23, the troops of Chelmsford, Dartnell, Pulleine and Durnford united in the south ...
Another great battle ... But that would have been won ...? That's the pleasure of the wargame, what would have happened if ...
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: Warriors vs policemen Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:41 am
I would like to see pictures of your models once they are complete. I am sure that they willl be very unique if you model specific individuals ie Tps Lugg with a crutch, Tpr Geen with a face bandage etc.
Correct, the NMP saw no further action in the AZW because of the severe losses to their numbers at Isandlwana. But they did go into action action in the 1st and 2nd Boer Wars and the 1906 Zulu rebellion.
Many men from this force were then absorbed into a new unit, the 2nd SAMR ( South Africam Mounted Rifles)which saw action in South West Africa in 1914, 1915. This was a composit unit, ie involving mounted infantry, machine guns and heavy field canon.
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:55 am
Yes but they are not in the second Pedi war ...
And they are not in the Gun War of 1880...?
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:59 pm
Only Barry and me who love the NMP ?
Posts : 2268 Join date : 2010-10-22 Location : France
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:36 am
Pascal MAHE wrote:
Only Barry and me who love the NMP ?
I am also a fan
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: The NMP Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:57 am
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:14 pm
Bonjour tous les deux
Donc on est que trois à aimer la Police Montée du Natal
Charmant ! ! !
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: The NMP Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:51 pm
No, there are more than three.
Some of our other members had relatives serving in that force too. I have had many pms from members about forming an NMP Assoc, This was started by member "NMP" himself.
So, I am giving it thought and perhaps arranging for those interested overseas visitors to do a specific NMP tour of the battlefields. This would include the old NMP HQ in Pietemaritzburg, the Bisley shooting range outside the city where they practised, their parade ground in Alexandria park in that city. Seeing important graves, like Col Durnfords at Fort Napier then moving on up over the Buffalo into the battlefield to retrace the steps of those men. This could take in the various forts that they used and would also include the fort at Eshowe. It would be easily arranged for Zulus warriors to put on a show too. I shall l be discussing this concept with a tour operator in the area, to see what he says about the idea.
Last edited by barry on Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:51 pm
The police served in the gun war of 1880 ?
Posts : 947 Join date : 2011-10-21 Location : Algoa Bay
Subject: The Gun War Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:28 pm
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:44 pm
If I had more energy I focus on this war, that exite me much, because I do not know anything, except that the Africans have won and that there were no imperial troops involved ,alas.
In addition there was a war or a colonial unit was beautiful losses ...
What is the best book on that war and are there any other colonial units of the Zulu War involved and what uniforms they wore?
And the NNH,they are involved and the basotho,they are the uniforms of the NNH of the zulu war ?
Subject: Re: Warriors versus Policemen Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:59 am
If there is more information on the detail of the battles of the gun war that I'm interested ...