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DateOriginal Topic
1st May 2005How Many AZW Re-enactors In Total Are There ?
By Coll
Has there ever been a list compiled of the amount of AZW re-enactors there are, along with the names of the units they represent and their individual ranks ?

This would include both Imperial and Colonial forces.

However, this is just out of curiosity, as I was thinking the numbers would be quite large, considering the interest in the AZW campaign.

Additionally, are there any 'personality' re-enactors, much the same as myself trying to obtain Col. Durnford's uniform, etc ?


PS. This would also include individuals who are not a member of a re-enactment group, but have managed to acquire full-uniforms of a specific unit or 'personality'.

Again, I apologise if this topic has been covered previously.
1st May 2005Chris John
Well, i know of three in Britain.
There is the 1879 Group that i am a member of, which cover mainly 24th, but every regiment in the AZW.
The Diehards do cover some fo the AZW as the 24th also.
The 80th Staffs are another group that re-enact the 80th Reg. in the AZW
Have i missed any of them out???

CJ 289
1st May 2005Glenn Wade
The Groups you left out are the 'Bluejackets' and the 'Heilbron Commando'. I think the 'Diehards' have a few AHC members as well? Another Group I know exist but don't know much about are 'The 17th Lancers'. Also the Crownhill Gun Crew in Plymouth.

As you can see, there are not quite as many AZW re-enactment Groups about as you would think. All these Groups combined would probably total under 100 men. Although it would be a fine spectacle to see all these Groups at a gathering, the main problem in the UK is the lack of Zulus! It's interesting to compare the number of AZW re-enactors to the English Civil War chaps who can turn out several thousand on a good day. I reckon the main reason for the lack of re-enactors is the price of Martini-Henry Rifles. For a good Martini, you're looking at the best part of £1000 whereas Napoleonic guys can pick up a repro Brown Bess or the like for about £200. The Civil War blokes also have the option of pikes or muskets according to their budget. Similarly, the American Civil War Groups have to pay much less for their kit than AZW Groups do. With those groups, uniformority kit-wise is not too strict but in the AZW every man wore the same order of equipment more or less so it is necessary to aquire a large amount of kit to look the part on the field at events. Doubtless, there are individuals who own their own uniforms and keep them for display or to wear independantly.
This is an interesting topic. Needless to say, 'The 1879 Group' is always on the look out for new recruits, our site is on the links page to the left, so if you fancy taking the Queen's Shilling, get in touch!

All the best,

1st May 2005Ian
The Diehards ,17th Lancers, Naval brigade (HMS Shah) & artillery are at Fort Nelson 30th - 31st July 2005, with a Soldiers of the Queen event. As per Anglo-Zulu War. Giving displays of infantry drill, tent pegging, firing drills, volley fire with the Martini Henry, signalling (Heliograph & flag), period encampment etc. An excellent location, a great day out & a must for all Zulu war enthusiasts!
1st May 2005Martin Everett
Dear Coll,
There are at least two or three groups in United States. Then there are the Dundee Diehards in KZN. And there certainly is a group in the Eastern Cape.
1st May 2005Coll

Thankyou very much for your detailed replies.

Glenn, great minds think alike. Could you imagine an event where every AZW group from the U.K. and other countries met up, either in the U.K. or S.A. ?

I'm aware that there would be quite a few difficulties organising it, but would it not be worth it, to see all these re-enactors in one place, united together, wearing the uniforms and equipment of the types used in the AZW ?

What a sight that would be to see, don't you think ?

2nd May 2005Coll
Further to the above.

I think it would be good to obtain more details of all the AZW groups here and abroad.

How many members are in each group, what regiment or unit, British and Colonial does each of the individuals represent, what rank have they chosen in that specific unit, etc.

By individual, I mean person, not an individual group, this would also include those people not belonging to an actual re-enactment group.

2nd May 2005Glenn Wade
With regard to the Group numbers, it is really depends on the events and who can make it. You get some jobs where you have many soldiers and those where there are not as many. In 'The 1879 Group', you can't actually choose your rank eg. Join and at your first event, turn up as an NCO or Officer. We give new recruits the chance to join any Regiment involved in the AZW but we are mainly looking for recruits for the 24th, Royal Engineers and the AHC. We do have a few Officers and NCOs but all new members must become privates and promotion may come later.
It would be a fine sight to see all AZW Groups worldwide at an event and who knows, in the future we might see just that!
As for the individual guys (and gals I must add, we do have a few Nurses to assist the Surgeon Major!) who have their own kit and haven't joined a re-enactment Group, I really don't think there are that many about Coll.

All the best,

2nd May 2005Coll

Sorry. I never considered the fact there may be a procedure regarding promotion, but now that you mention it, it does make sense.

I guess I have a bit of a nerve wanting to jump in at the rank of Colonel, but as I am one of the individuals, who, when I eventually obtain my uniform, etc., isn't in a group, I suppose I could maybe get away with it.

How is it decided when you are considered for promotion - time served in the group maybe ?

I wonder if many of the other groups, AZW and other campaigns, pursue this promotion process, as I can imagine it wouldn't be much good to have an army, several hundred strong, every one of them a General !

Regarding your previous reply, I'm sure I read that in America, the ACW numbered 25,000 members, probably a combination of many groups. Do you think this could be right ?

I'm also wondering if they were used in a 2-part series (or movie) I saw a while ago about the battle at Gettysburg. I think Martin Sheen was in it, as well as Jeff Daniels, Sam Elliott and Tom Berenger. It certainly would save the film company the costs of supplying the uniforms and equipment, etc.

2nd May 2005Glen Wade
Hi Coll
No need to apologise mate, you didn't know. I am certain that all of the AZW Groups follow the same promotion process as us. As you said, if everyone chose their own rank, we'd have all Officer's and no Other Ranks! The public and enthusiasts alike want to see ranks of redcoats firing Martini-Henrys not all Officers strolling around doing nothing. In our Group we have a few Officers and they do the job perfectly but that's enough for the time being. Promotion tends to be granted through, as you thought, dedication to the Group and knowledge of drill. Promotion to Segeant is not well recieved though, you have to end up buying a Yataghan Sword Bayonet, in excess of £200!! Apart from Ranks promotion, Long Service and Good Conduct stripes are awarded to be placed inverted above the right cuff. These brought soldiers extra pay in reality and us the recognition as 'Old Sweats'.
2nd May 2005Coll

I'm aware in previous topics that there are (I think) some events where there are Zulus.

But you got me to wondering if there were indeed many AZW Zulu warrior re-enactment groups in the U.K. or in other countries, and if so, what Zulu Regiments did they represent ?

Yet again, it is something I didn't really consider, as I was mostly concentrating on the British and Colonial forces.


2nd May 2005Glenn Wade

A few Groups, including 'The 1879 Group' and 'The Diehards' have re-enacted with Zulus but this was in South Africa. At Woolwich in 2004, 'The 1879 Group' did a small 'battle' display with Zulus from a Zulu Dance Group. I am aware that there are a few Zulu Dance Groups in the UK and it would be interesting if a Zulu Regiment could be formed. The system of Zulu re-enactors in SA is basically guys who have the sheilds and regalia who turn up in droves to honour their anscestors when re-enactments occur.
There are no actual Zulu re-enactors in the UK
Cheers for now

2nd May 2005Coll

Thanks for all your detailed replies.

Very interesting.

3rd May 2005Chris
Yes, the 25,000 ACW is correct. Some were used in Both "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals". We also have groups from every conflict faught by the US until WW2, as its not PC to portray post 1945 conflicts.
a friend of mine is a member of the Dundee Diehards whome Martin mentions and he tells me that the Zulu's of today are just as fast in their movents today as they where 125 years ago he say's they are quite breathtaking..
3rd May 2005Coll

Thankyou for answering my question regarding the amount of ACW re-enactors.

I'm not sure where I may have read about them, possibly Skirmish magazine, or some other military-related magazine.


Thanks for your reply.

I think there was a mention in an account by one of the officers who survived Isandlwana, who, although he was aware of the danger to the camp by the thousands of approaching warriors, he commented that they were a magnificent sight.

To see such an image today would really be quite outstanding, I mean, in a film or documentary it still looks great, but to witness it for real, by actually being there, that would be something worth seeing and also something you would never forget.

May I ask if you know how many members there are in the Dundee Diehards and is it the 24th Regiment they represent, or/and other AZW units ?