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Lord Chelmsford Said .Buller is ‘one of the finest soldiers of the century’, so modest and reticent –that it was difficult to say for what individual deed he had got the Victoria Cross as he had been doing acts worthy of it all along the line
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Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations
Posts : 3923 Join date : 2008-11-01 Age : 61 Location : KENT
Subject: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:16 am
Alfred Boast REPORT
I COMMENCED OPERATIONS ON THE 12TH OF FEBRUARY ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND CAREFULLY INTERRED THE BODIES OF THE VOLUNTEERS AND MOUNTED POLICE, AT A SPOT MARKED BY A MONUMENT MARKED IN MEMORY OF MR HITCHCOCK AND IN THE IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MR BLAIKIE ‘S TOMBSTONE AT THIS SPOT THERE WERE ABOUT 30 GRAVES AND NEARLY ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN POACHED UPON BY THE WEATHER THAT THE REMAINS WERE EXPOSED FROM THIS SPOT I PROCEEDED TO WHERE THE CAMP HAD STOOD AND WAS OCCUPIED FOR SOME DAYS IN SEARCHING FOR AND COMMITTING TO EARTH THE SKELETONS OF WHO HAD FALLEN IN THEIR ADVANCE TO MEET THE ENEMY IN AN EASTERLY DIRECTION. HAVING COMPLETED THIS POSITION I RETURNED TO THE “ NEK “ AND PROCEEDED TO PERFORM THIS DUTY TO THOSE WHO HAD FALLEN AT THE BASE OF THE ISANDLHWANA MOUNTAIN. ON THE NORTHERN SIDE OF IT AND CLOSE TO MR GEO SHEPSTONE’S TOMBSTONE . HENCE I SEARCHED BETWEEN THAT SPOT AND THE STREAM AND AFTERWARDS CROSSED THE WAGON ROAD AND SEARCHED BETWEEN THE WAGON ROAD AND DONGA WHICH RUNS ALMOST PARALLEL TO THE ROAD. ON COMPLETION OF MY DUTY THERE I FOLLOWED THE LINE TO FUGITIVES DRIFT. ALTOGETHER 298 SEPERATE GRAVES WERE DUG AND USUALLY FROM 2 – 4 SKELETONS OR REMAINS WERE DEPOSITED IN EACH. IN ALL CASES WHERE ANY SINGLE GRAVE WAS MARKED WITH A CROSS OR OTHER TOKEN, WHEREBY IT COULD HEREAFTER BE IDENTIFIED, CARE WAS TAKEN TO PRESERVE THAT IDENTIFICATION. THE ROUGH SKETCH OF THE COUNTRY TRAVERSED BY ME, SHOWS AS NEAR AS POSSIBLE THE POSITION, AND NUMBER OF THE DIFFERENT GRAVES. THE DUTY WAS COMPLETED ON THE 8TH MARCH AND I RETURNED HOMEWARDS ON THE FOLLOWING MORNING. EACH GRAVE WAS DUG THREE FEET DEEP AND ONE FOOT SIX INCHES WIDE . THE GRAVES WERE CAREFULLY AND SUFFICIENTLY FILLED IN AND THERE LOCALITY MARKED BY A CAIRN OF STONES BUILT OVER EACH GRAVE WITH THE LARGEST STONES OBTAINABLE TO THE HEIGHT OF NOT LESS THAN 3 FEET. EVERY PRECAUTION WAS TAKEN BY ME NOT TO OFFEND THE PREJUDICES OF THE NATIVES UNDER MY DIRECTIONS . BUT OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL, THEY COLLECTED AND HANDLED THE SCATTERED REMAINS AND ALTOGETHER THEY WORKED READILY , CHEERFULLY AND ENTIRELY TO MY SATISFACTION AND WITHOUT EVINCING THE SLIGHTEST DISLIKE OR AVERSION TO THIS DUTY. THIS VOLUNTARY SERVICE ON THEIR PART ENABLED ME TO COMPLETE THE TASK IN MUCH LESS TIME THAN I SHOULD OTHERWISE HAVE DONE. THE TWO EUROPEANS ALSO PERFORMED THEIR TASK IN A MATTER AND WITH A ZEAL, AND WILL , WHICH REFLECTS CREDIT UPON THEM AND WITH THE DELICACY AND RESPECT WHICH THE OCCASION AND THE CIRMCUSTANCES CALLED FOR. SIGNED ALFRED BOAST GREYTOWN 13TH MARCH 1883. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
With the Kind help of 90th and Graves1879.
Posts : 7086 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 51 Location : Down South.
Subject: Re: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:18 pm
Who was Mr HITCHCOCK .
And there seems to be a lot of Graves on the trail to-wards the Buffalo. Exactly how many men did try to escape from the battlefield?
Saul David 1879
Posts : 527 Join date : 2009-02-28
Subject: Re: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:25 pm
Hitchcock was a Quartermaster serving in the Newcastle Mounted Rifles . KIA Isandlwana.
The other person mentioned in the report is Mr J. A. Blakie, he served in the Natal Carbineers. KIA Isandlwana.
Posts : 10088 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: graves on the way to the buffalo Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:47 am
hi littlhand. We will never know the answer to your question, but it seems when the outcome of the battle was evident , many tried to get away, seriously, who could blame them !. cheers 90th.
ps. The " L " shape body of graves if you look , heading down toward the MANZIMYANA STREAM , i think you will find that will be the place of LT ANSTEY"S last stand , if i rememder 40- 60 people were found in a clump together. i may be wrong happy to be corrected.
Posts : 552 Join date : 2009-10-14 Location : Loughborough
Subject: Re: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:34 pm
part of the object of my visit this year was to do a little more on the fugitives side of Isandlwana, which I did with Mike Snook. The scale of the map is a little disconcerting as the distances are a bit out of sync.
For those who have no done the trail it goes like this: the track runs off the saddle at 80 degress fron the wagon road as Boast drawing, the track is on an near constant decline left to right as you go, this decline is reducing, but is is approx a mile to the Manzimyama at the beginning. Ground at this point is Flat soil, indespersed with boulders. No doubt in 1879 these boulders would have been below the grass level, erosion has change large areas.
Gradually the track begins the become more up and down as the feeder watercourses from Malhabamkhosi begin to shape shallow gulleys. These become deeper as the gap between the Koppie and the river narrows which forces the water to speed up.
There is two main donga features which Boast illustrates, the donga running in very close proximity to the road is really quite wide, and quite deceptively deep, it is approx 200 yards to the left of the road, twenty feet aprox deep but 30 yards wide, dropping quite quickly from nothing, it is quite impassible to wheeled transport. If the guns had got anywhere its likely to be here.
There is then about a 700-1000 yard open space before the next dongas begin, Boast did not draw in Malhabamkhosi, the large hill feature which runs in line with Isandlwana, where the dongas first begin to form. This has a severe funneling effect, as the first donga is very boulderous but not impassible to foot or horse, the next Donga is the crippler, now its 50 feet deep and very precipitous, infact Boast was very good in his observations on this, I must profess as it being the first time I HAVE SEEN THIS MAP, and it does prove accurate, especially the "L" shaped cairn grouping, this is exactly in the position I found it last year, what it doesn't show is the two very sturdy stone Kralls which the L shape is adjacent too.
Myself and Mike inspected them closely, unlike most kraals of its type there was no perceivable doorway in, and the rocks were of very large construction, not the normal type of loaf of bread size they like to use, these were whoppers, and the kraals were of poor repair and about five metres square. The base of the Kraals was hard rock, not earth or shale, erosion, which is prevalent in this area (bushes with roots stand up to three feet higher than surrounding shale on cones of earth) has not been affected inside these kraals. We counted nine cairns in a line, then six cairns 90 degs to that. The main 9 cairn area was approx 36 feet by nine feet.
We both deduced if these Kralls were contemporary with the battle (no actual evidence) then these were ideal for a stopgap fortification, hence the potential for rearguard. The rock bed providing no burial depth so the remians had to be carried to the first area of earth that they could.
The ground for the next mile is very scattered and strewn with rocky parts and watercourses, each junction did appear to contain cairns until the last main group on the Manzimyama stream, Ian has this as Ansteys stand, however, given the sheer quantity of cairns in the environs of the "L" shape this is most likely, So, this is about a mile + from the saddle, with the stream being about 2 miles.
Beyond the main donga the ground is now like a lunar landscape, hard shale and very un-even, erosion has really taken effect here, so topography can only be imagined circa 1879.
On crossing the strea the track runs parrallel for 100 yards then heads directly uphill, however the fugitives would have been heading in all directions up and around, Boast got this spot on too.
Posts : 748 Join date : 2009-10-18
Subject: Re: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:28 pm
Neil. That was very interesting. Must have taken most of the day to cover that ground.
I'm sure this question as been asked before. But using Boast's map could anyone identify on the map roughly where the remains and the button were found.
[b][i]"Remains of British soldier who died in first battle of Zulu war identified after 130 years - by his tunic button
For more than a century his body lay anonymously near the mass graves of more than 1,300 colleagues who also lost their lives in Britain's bloody defeat at Isandlwana, in what is now South Africa".[/i][/b]
Subject: Re: Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations
Alfred Boast Report 13th March 1883. Map of Grave Locations