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  • Zulu Dawn

    Probably everybody on the board has seen the films "Zulu" and "Zulu Dawn". "Zulu Dawn" depicts the battle of Isandlwana, one of the greatest disasters to befall the British Army in the Victorian era. The Zulus killed over 1400 men including 6 companies of the 24th Foot (South Wales Borderers) about 530 all ranks. An officer of the 24th, Lieutenant Melville was ordered to flee with the colours but lost his horse and the colours in the Buffalo River. Dragged from the river by another officer Lt Coghill, but unable to flee further the two made a last stand together on the riverbank. A side street near Collins Barracks in Cork is named Melville Tce. I wonder was it named after the unfortunate Lt Melville. At the time there was no facility to award gallantry medals posthumously. When the rules were changed many years later both men were awarded the VC.

    That afternoon, fter the victory at Isandlwana part of the Zulu army swept down on a mission station which was being used by the British as a hospital, at a place called Rorkes Drift. The senior officer at the post was a Royal Engineer named Lt Chard. The only other officer was a deaf officer of the 24th named Lt Bromhead. With a unit of about 300 men-the patients from the hospital, medical orderlies, cooks and wagon drivers, Lt Chard commanded the defence of Rorkes Drift for the rest of the day and through the night. 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded for this feat of arms, the most for any one action.

    And all this took place 125 years ago today- 22 January 1879.
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    Say NO to violence against Women

    Originally posted by hedgehog
    My favourite moment was when the
    Originally posted by hedgehog
    red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

  • #2
    Well we have all seen the films and the rest is Hollywood history, the British are slaughtered at Isandlwana and then the heroic defence at Rorkes Drift against the savage Zulu’s, the end.
    Still the Zulu’s are the real heroes at the end of the day in my opinion. Forget about the British for the moment and look at what the Zulu achieved. They defeated an invading army, in a war, which was started by the British, equipped with the most modern weapons of the day, with only spears, and some shields made from cattle skin. Not body armour by any means. Only now are the Zulu’s getting some recognition.

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    • #3
      A Dubliner by the name of James Henry Reynolds...he was a Surgeon Major in the RAMC and won a VC at Rorkes Drift .

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      • #4
        Sorry Trooper. Isandlwana was the Zulus first and last victory of any signifigance in the war. They lost the war and King Cetsewayo was paraded more or less as a trophy in London. They did manage to kill Queen Victoria's grandson in June 1879 and prove that they were the most fearsome and certainly the most courageous African warriors ever.
        sigpic
        Say NO to violence against Women

        Originally posted by hedgehog
        My favourite moment was when the
        Originally posted by hedgehog
        red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

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        • #5
          It appears that the regular officers Lts.Chard and Bromhead were not exactly the brightest and in fact the garrison owe their survival to the commissary officer Dalton---an Irishman, in fact although the regiment was Welsh there were more English and Irish present at Rourke's drift than Welsh

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          • #6
            The 24th was actually an English Regiment.

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            • #7
              Dalton I think he also earned the VC. The Royal Logistics Corps is some way related to the Corps of Commisars and the RLC recruits have a training unit named after him and to the best of my knowledge there is a barracks named after him as well.

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              • #8
                The 24th was actually an English Regiment.

                A Warwickshire Regt I think. In 1881 it became the South Wales Borderers.
                sigpic
                Say NO to violence against Women

                Originally posted by hedgehog
                My favourite moment was when the
                Originally posted by hedgehog
                red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

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                • #9
                  On a slightly connected note....Spion Kop anniversary is today. Happened in 1900 during the Boer War...


                  Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.

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                  • #10
                    The Spion Kop must rank alongside the Little Big horn,Isandlwana and Balaclava as a classic military blunder.

                    The Brits decieded to launch a night attack against this mountain called the Spion Kop.Much to their surprise they found it undefended.So they set about digging a large trench on what they thought was the summit only to find as dawn came up that there was another knoll overlooking their position and this knoll had Boers on it.Now not only were they overlooked but the were also flanked.For the Boers it was a turkey shoot.

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                    • #11
                      When I lived in South Africa the Afrikaners used to boast about this battle. I remember being shown a painting depicting the British dressed in red uniforms with white pith helmets. The Afrikaners were crack shots and the white helmets and red uniforms climbing the knoll were much too easy to hit. This battle was the main reason that the British decided to change their uniforms from red to khaki.

                      "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."


                      Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor (161 to 180 A.D.)

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                      • #12
                        The Somme comes to mind also.

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                        • #13
                          IRISH ZULU WAR VCs

                          22 Jan 1879. Lt Neville Coghill 1st/24th. Isandlwana.

                          22/23 Jan 1879. Maj James Reynolds. Army Medical Dept. Rorke’s Drift.

                          22/23 Jan 1879. Lt Gonville Bromhead. 2nd/24th. Rorke's drift. Bromhead's mother was Irish so I'll claim him. :D

                          28 Mar 1879. Pte Edmund Fowler. 2nd Bn The Cameronians.Zlobane Mtn.

                          28 Mar 1879. Maj William Leet. 1st/13th Inhlobana.

                          3 Jul 1879. Capt Lord William De La Poer Beresford. 9th Lancers Ulundi.

                          A VC Holder whose luck ran out was;

                          Pte Edward Griffiths. 2nd/24th. 7 May 1867 India. KIA Isandlwana 22 Jan 1879.


                          Two years later the 1st Boer war was being fought in South Africa and the following Irish men were awarded VCs as follows. Danagher and Murray received theirs for the same action.

                          16 Jan 1881. Tpr John Danagher. Transvaal Horse. Elandsfontein.

                          16 Jan 1881. L/Cpl James Murray. 2nd Bn The Connaught Rangers. Elandsfontein.

                          28 Jan 1881. Pte John Doogan. 1st Gragoon Guards. Laings Nek.


                          and the following anniversaries passed recently in the 2nd Boer War 1899-1902. John Barry was KIA and his name appears on the RIR Boer War Memorial in Kickham Bks, Clonmel.

                          6 Jan 1900. Lt James Masterson. 1st Bn Devonshire Regt. Ladysmith

                          6 Jan 1900. Pte Robert Scott. 1st Bn Manchester Regt. Caesar’s Camp.

                          7/8 Jan 1901. Pte John Barry 1 st Bn Royal Irish Regt. Monument Hill.

                          The above information is from the VC Reference website
                          http://www.victoriacross.net/default.asp
                          Last edited by Groundhog; 24 January 2004, 16:24.
                          sigpic
                          Say NO to violence against Women

                          Originally posted by hedgehog
                          My favourite moment was when the
                          Originally posted by hedgehog
                          red headed old dear got a smack on her ginger head

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Groundhog ... some good research material there.. nice job.

                            All the following Irish units of the crown forces fought during the Boer war and it was because of this that Queen Victoria had the Irish Guards regiment created and also began the tradition of handing out shamrocks on St Pat's day.

                            1 Bn Connaught Rangers
                            1 and 2 Bns Royal Dublin Fusiliers
                            1 Bn Royal Irish Regiment
                            1 Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
                            1 and 2 Bns Royal Irish Fusiliers
                            2 Bn Royal Irish Rifles
                            1 and 2 Bns Leinster Regiment
                            1 Bn Royal Munster Fusiliers
                            8th (Kings Royal Irish) Hussars
                            6th Inniskilling Dragoons
                            5th (Royal Irish) Lancers
                            45th (R Irish Hunt) Imperial Yeomanry
                            46th (Ulster) Imperial Yeomanry Corps support units (Artillery, Engineers, Medical)

                            But let's not forget the Irish commandos who fought on the side of the Boers. They numbered roughly 500 which also included Irish American volunteers. Major John MacBride survived to marry Maud Gonne and then fight in the 1916 Easter rising where he was captured at Jacob's factory and then executed by firing squad.

                            I know little else about the Irish commando except that Kruger refused to let them surrender with the Boers because he knew that the Irishmen would be hanged by the British as traitors to the crown. I believe he had them offically disbanded specifically to avoid this fate. What became of them afterwards I don't know.

                            In the early 1980's a monument was officially dedicated to the Irish regiment but I am unclear as to whether this represented the Boer contingent or the much larger contingents who distinguished themselves in the British and then later in the South African army.

                            "When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love."


                            Marcus Aurelius Roman Emperor (161 to 180 A.D.)

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                            • #15
                              "Commando" self contained independent fighting unit, to the best of my knowledge the Royal Marines are in some part based on the Afrikaaner model.

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