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DateOriginal Topic
8th April 2005who stayed with the injured ?
By Colin Fielding
After the patients had been evacuated from the hospital, which defenders protected them from further attacks ?
8th April 2005Julian whybra
As far as I am aware the walking wounded took a rifle-place at the barricade, those too sick to stand were placed in the storehouse. Judging from the soldiers' accounts that is generally what appears to have happened.
9th April 2005John Young

The obvious ones for staying with the wounded would be, in my opinion, Corporal R. Miller; 2nd Corporal M. McMahon & Private J. Luddington of the Army Hospital Corps.

John Y.
9th April 2005Trevor
Did they ever have to fight during the battle? As in kill the Zulu.
I understand they were fighting to save the lives of the wounded all the time. Just wondered if they had to defend themselves at any time?
Think we tend to focus on the blood and guts fighting soldier, and not the poor sods trying to keep people alive. What you think?
9th April 2005Paul Cubbin
Surgeon Reynolds was operating on battlefield wounded in a makeshift surgery on the storehouse veranda. The position was sheltered on all sides including the front (the mealie bags were still piled high in front of it) and presumably those too wounded to fight were nearby - in the storehouse etc..
Asst Commissary Dunne was said to have piled the mealie bags into the redoubt during the battle, hollowing out the centre for wounded to shelterin , and presumably he would have stayed nearby.
Hitch was badly wounded (shattered shoulder) and was next to Bromhead, both of them shooting attackers about to kill the other, and was using the officer's revolver (Bromhead taking the rifle and bayonet). He eventually passed out after handing out ammunition when he could no longer fight.
The space in front of the storehouse, the final barricade, was very small, only about 20 yards or so across at its widest point. In this respect, everyone was directly protecting casualties from further harm. The worst wounded were kept from danger in the centre of the defence, although plenty of less seriously wounded men fought on at the barricades (Schiess being an energetic example of this) - they realised the best chance of survival was to kill as many Zulus as possible. A few riflemen stood in the redoubt to fire all round at specific 'hotspots' - I don't know who they were, perhaps someone else does. I suppose they could be regarded as the final guard.
Incidentally, I am quoting mostly from Ian Knight in this. I now shamelessly plug his Osprey 'Rorkes Drift' book - a great, easily read, wonderfully illustrated publication. He's got a new one out - The Zulu War, the Truth (his last book being a bunch of lies presumably) - does anyone know if it has anything new to say?
9th April 2005Paul Cubbin
John - sorry mate, I didn't pay attention. Yes, I agree, the Hospital Corps guys seem to be obvious choices, at least inside the storehouse.
9th April 2005John Young

The A.H.C. were certainly armed, not least with swords - rather than sword bayonets. 2nd Corporal Michael McMahon's recommendation for the D.C.M. mentions he rescued Private Robert Cole from the Zulu.

I believe I'm right in stating that all three of the A.H.C. present at Rorke's Drift were former line soldiers, and as well as their medical duties, it is my belief that they played their part in the defence.

John Y.