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Zulu Dawn:“Excuse me, my Lord, there's something I must convey to you. I rode along the track down to Rorke's Drift. The sky above is red with fire. Your orders my Lord? Do we move to the drift?”
 
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 Gunner William George Taylor

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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyTue May 09, 2017 8:37 pm

Posted: Tue 9 May 2017 - 18:11    Post subject: Gunner William George TaylorPosted on behalf of forum member Raine Taylor 

"My great grandfather - Gunner William George Taylor was an Isandlwana survivor. i have a copy of a letter [have seen the original - very faded] written on the 28th January 1879 from Helpmekaar.
In this letter to his wife and children he mentions Captain Russell - "he said to me: 'give me my horse, Taylor, and get mounted, for they are coming in hundreds on us.' That was the last I ever saw of him."
I haven't seen his name mentioned anywhere - maybe I haven't been looking long enough? 
He received a medal. Would appreciate any information available. Thank you."

Raine could you post or send me a photo of the letter in question (If Possible)


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PostSubject: Re: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed May 10, 2017 3:23 pm

An 1879 clasp would not really apply to an Isandhlwana survivor surely. It would be an 1877-8-9 clasp. It's still possible though. Russell of course was from 11/7 Bde. I wonder whether Taylor was Russell's batman and accompanied him to the front? I'll try to dig some more. Admin/Raine - do state whether there's anything which would help identify him from the letter.
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90th

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PostSubject: Gnr William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed May 10, 2017 4:09 pm

Hi Julian
You may well be correct in assuming W.G.Taylor was Russell's Batman , there are 99 on the roll of 7 Bgde / 11 Bty entitled to the 1879 Clasp , Francis Broadfoot Russell is also one of those 99 . Russell is the only one listed on this Roll as being KIA Isandlwana . Lt Nicholson is listed as DOW 30 / 3 / 79 which we know was a result of being wounded at Kambula .
90th
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PostSubject: Re: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed May 10, 2017 4:46 pm

90th
Exactly.  I think we have to wait for Raine/Admin and THAT letter.
It's interesting that overall the Narrative of Field Operations shows that the Rocket Battery consisted of Russell and 9 men.  It has always been assumed that the 9 consisted of Goff plus 8 soldiers attached from the 1/24th.  Of course, not all the 1/24th soldiers' names are known - only 4 of them - so it may well be that the remaining 4 were in fact not all from the 1/24th but instead were an 11/7 batman and 3 1/24th men.  Intriguing.
How would that work out in terms of the battery?  2 men to hold the horses, 1 to hold the mules, and 6 to operate and load the two rocket tubes.  sounds right.


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90th

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PostSubject: Gnr William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed May 10, 2017 4:50 pm

Hi Julian
Not sure exactly , as its 1.50 am here its time for bed , I'll check through some books etc tomorrow to see if I can can find that information . Yes it does seem to be that they weren't all 1 / 24th men in the RB after reading this thread .
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PostSubject: Re: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyThu Jan 04, 2018 6:26 pm

And now we have the full picture in SZW Vol IV.

Not easy, Julian, deciphering some of the pencil letter so I guess you burned many a midnight candle in the process. I am wrestling with one particular phrase though which is "best horse best man". I wonder whether it in fact says "best horse last man", or even "last horse last man". In either case a meaning could be construed - whereas "best horse best man" is hard to grasp (an as yet undiscovered Lincolnshire/South African aphorism is a bit of a stretch for me!). There is another example of Taylor using "last" in the letter so we might compare. If indeed the word is "last" might it not provide an explanation for Taylor not being recorded at Hepmakaar or RD?

Very much like the corroboration in Penn Symons by the way - can't wait for Vol V.

Steve Reinstadtler
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyThu Jan 04, 2018 7:07 pm

Steve
Funnily enough, I considered 'last' but I discounted it when comparing Taylor's writing of 'last' and 'fast' (twice) elsewhere in the letter.  The '-ast' is consistently written with a definite letter 'a' formation.  But, the '-est' in 'best' is distinct from this.
I also blew up and made comparisons of the letters 'l' and 'b' and that line definitely has bs.
I still feel the 'best' phrase would be the more likely aphorism and I am still trying to track it down historically speaking.
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90th

90th

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PostSubject: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed Jan 31, 2018 10:37 am

Hi Julian
I did enjoy the article featuring Gunner W.G.Taylor , but I think I should clarify what seems to be an assumption on your behalf ? ,  Page 21 , I quote  '' Only Ian Knight offers precision in placing the action itself some distance up the Notch '' , ...when we were at Isandlwana in Nov 2015 we discussed it at great length , and also did a lot of foot slogging ,  I can assure you Ian K is not of the belief the rocket battery came to grief in the accepted Notch position , footnote 63 ; describes the area he among others believe is where the Rocket Battery was overrun ,  I can't elaborate as there will be more to follow.
90th
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Gunner W G Taylor   taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyWed Jan 31, 2018 1:43 pm

90th
Thanks for that thought and glad you enjoyed the essay.  Obviously not being privy to your private discussion I had merely Ian's published works to go on, of which I chose the latest which fixed his preferred location on a map in the same work.  I never assume anything; I always annotate carefully especially when quoting another historian, especially one still living!
I think you'd agree that Frank's thesis was worth airing for any number of reasons, just one of which was the location of the RB's demise (which may yet still turn out to be accurate).
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PostSubject: Re: Gunner William George Taylor    taylor - Gunner William George Taylor  EmptyTue Jun 18, 2019 10:08 am

A small correction to page 1 of Studies in the Zulu War vol. IV re Taylor's birthdate.  Taylor's gravestone in Dordrecht gives a birthdate of 2nd July 1851 which the family told me was wrong - it should be 2nd April 1850 (which is what appears on page 1).
However following an e-mail from Tim I've now obtained via the family the birth certificate showing his birth in Croft, Lincolnshire on 2nd July 1850.  This together with other info I've obtained substantiates that this is definitely the correct date and year.
I'll edit subsequent editions but if you already have a copy you might like to amend the birthdate.
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