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» Bearing The Cross by Ken Blakeson | BBC RADIO DRAMA: Ken Blakeson's play tells the story of the Battle of Rorke's Drift and the effect it had on three of the soldiers who fought in it.
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 The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift.

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littlehand

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The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift. Empty
PostSubject: The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift.   The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift. EmptyThu Sep 19, 2013 7:56 pm

The native referred to by Pte H. Hook as being a sick patient in the hospital, questioned and killed by the Zulus.

Who was he, what was wrong with him, and how did he end up at Rorkes Drift?

Extract from H Hook. Account.

"But it was the hospital they assaulted most fiercely. I had charge with a man that we called Old King Cole of a small room with only one patient in it. Cole kept with me for some time after the fight began, then he said he was not going to stay. He went outside and was instantly killed by the Zulus, so that I was left alone with the patient, a native whose leg was broken and who kept crying out, 'Take my bandage off, so that I can come'. But it was impossible to do anything except fight, and I blazed away as hard as I could. By this time I was the only defender of my room. Poor Old King Cole was lying dead outside and the helpless patient was crying and groaning near me. The Zulus were swarming around us, and there was an extraordinary rattle as the bullets struck the biscuit boxes, and queer thuds as they plumped into the bags of mealies. Then there were the whizz and rip of the assegais, of which I had experience during the Kaffir Campaign of 1877-78. We had plenty of ammunition, but we were told to save it and so we took careful aim at every shot, and hardly a cartridge was wasted. One of my comrades, Private Dunbar, shot no fewer than nine Zulus, one of them being a chief.

From the very first the enemy tried to rush the hospital, and at last they managed to set fire to the thick grass which formed the roof. This put us in a terrible plight, because it meant that we were either to be massacred or burned alive, or get out of the building. To get out seemed impossible; for if we left the hospital by the only door which had been left open, we should instantly fall into the midst of the Zulus. Besides, there were the helpless sick and wounded, and we could not leave them. My own little room communicated with another by means of a frail door like a bedroom door. Fire and dense choking smoke forced me to get out and go into the other room. It was impossible to take the native patient with me, and I had to leave him to an awful fate. But his death was, at any rate, a merciful one. I heard the Zulus asking him questions, and he tried to tear off his bandages and escape."
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift.   The Native Hospital patient at Rorkes Drift. EmptyThu Sep 19, 2013 11:41 pm

Littlehand,

He was a member of the Natal Native Contingent who had been wounded in the assault on Sihayo's Sokhexe stronghold.

John Y.
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