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DateOriginal Topic
20th May 2005Mostyn, Cavaye and Pulleine
By Michael Kent
As I understand it Mostyn and Cavaye were positioned on the iNyoni ridge, which in turn could not be viewed from the camp. As I also understand it no cartridge casings have ever been located where both companies were supposed to be positioned. This begs two questions and fogive me if I seem naive.

1. Why were these companies deployed in an area that was not easily visible to Pulleine?


2. Could it be that these two companies were not stationed as far up the iNyoni ridge as we first thought?

Yours perplexed.
20th May 2005Mike Snook

Their position can be seen from the camp. I would set no store by the suggestion that no cases have ever been found there - not recently perhaps - but never - who can say that.


21st May 2005Mike McCabe
Don't agree. The positions attributed to Cavaye (with Dyson) then reinforced by Mostyn are not visible from the camp. And, the greater part of these positions are also not observable from the summit of Isandlwana. All are beyond the crest line, as they would have had to be to observe the open ground to its north accross which elements of (probably) the Zulu right wing were seen to pass from right to left.

21st May 2005Keith Smith

Mostyn was not positioned as far east as the Nyoni rodge. He was on the smaller hill to the west, called Magaba by Lock and Quantrill (Zulu Victory), which lies almost due north of Isqandlwana. Who can say as to whether they were visible or not? That would depend on just where they took up their position with reference to the hill. It is most unlikely, however, that Dyson would have been visible, since he was 500 yards further west still. We cannot be sure that Mostyn even reached the hill, since both companies were ordered to retire very soon after they went up.

21st May 2005Mike Snook

Essex describes Mostyn extending on Cavaye's left and opening fire.


Extended order skirmish line - some men would have been visible and some not - but the general 'position' is visible from the camp. It commands the camp which is precisely why Cavaye was sent there.

Dyson definitely completely out of sight.

21st May 2005Melvin Hunt
I thought that the positions taken up by Cavaye, Mostyn and Dyson when firing upon the right horn, were on top of the Tahelane Plateau which is slightly west of Magaga Hill? When walking the area I found that I couldn't see the camp area unles I walked to within a few feet of the crest of the ridge.
My wife (with just a working knowledge of the battle) summed it up when she asked "What on earth were the companies doing up here in an isolated position away from the camp?"
21st May 2005Mike McCabe
Much depends on why you think Cavaye, then Mostyn, were sent up there and what each company was supposed to be achieving - first Cavaye by himself, then Cavaye reinforced by Mostyn.
Having, during a 3 week visit in Jan/Feb 04, spent two days 'walking' FWD Jackson's 'Hill of the Sphinx' narrative on that part of the Isandlwana battle - and cross checked intervisibility (both directions) from various places, the most I'd agree to was that parts of the ridge 'feature' were visible from parts of the camp - but not much terrain north of the crestline, except partially from the 'plateau' and summit of Isandlwana itself.
Moving up to the crestline, it's surprising how quickly the view back to the camp is lost if one goes through a 'dry drill' of trying to sight one, then two, companies to cover some reasonable arc of fire to cover over ground to the north. Selection of reasonable individual fire positions is another problem, with a 'seated' position being most easy to adopt in many places.
However, for the Cavaye(Dyson) and Mostyn deployments to achieve the required tactical effect - and let's assume that it was eventually intended as 'counter-penetration' against any attempt to rush the camp from this area - they would have had to deploy (largely) beyond the crest line - so as to be able to view and engage over an arc approximately NW to ENE, accepting the risk of rising and then dead ground to their right flank. Once Zulus were able to close on this area, or outflank it from the right, there are not very many positions that are tenable in line until the lower slopes, or flat ground, are reached.
For the greater part of those two coys to remain visible to the camp (from the area of HQ tents say) they would have had to be on the southern downslope of the feature - which they plainly weren't.
And, which source describes them in an extended order skirmishing line when first deployed? Gardner's use of this language appears to refer to a later stage. Dyson's section would appear to have been placed to a flank to cover deficiencies in the general arc of fire and observation of the company's main body to the right.
This, as you know, is very complicated ground - even setting aside the regenerated bush and new forestry that covers a lot of it - and the photography in 'Zulu Victory' gives a useful impression of it.
21st May 2005Mike Snook
Gosh - so much depends on little words. None of us is disagreeing here - Where were the troops - on the Tahelane Spur. Can the Tahelane Spur be seen from the camp - I agree, where you stand within a vast area defined as 'the camp' depends on how much of Tahelane you can see. Did the company commanders deploy onto the forward slope - of course. Were individuals visible - some were, (supports -1 x section?), probably the majority (2 x sections extended and 1 x section detached left) weren't, but 'the position' in the wider sense of the word is identifiable/visible. Were socking great clouds of smoke rising from the Tahelane firing line - yes. Could Pulleine have been in any doubt therefore where they were - no. Who says they deployed in skirmish order from the statrt - the source is cited in my book - they did. Was Pullleine at the HQ tents - yes when Cavaye was alone, but not after he sent Mostyn out in support. Of much greater importance is not whether the skirmish line could be seen, but whether its target could be seen, which of course it could not.


21st May 2005Julian Whybra
Wait a second. Cavaye was not sent up there to engage the right horn. He went up to replace the NNC company which was on picquet duty and was picked up by Raw and Roberts to accompany them on their ride eastwards across the plateau. At that stage E coy was not visible from any part of the camp. When E coy with Dyson's section to the west became engaged with the right horn they withdrew somewhat towards the escarpment and it is likely Cavaye's men may have become visible from part (the southern part) of the camp. Mostyn's F coy most certainly did deploy on the ridge, albeit for a short time, and in all likelihood were partly visible too (perhaps only their red backs and white helmets and smoke). They then withdrew down the spur to the camp.
22nd May 2005Michael Boyle
Jackson's "Hill Of The Sphinx" has both cos. deployed beyond the crest (which would be the 'military' crest and would make sense) and 'out of sight' of the camp, something of an unnerving situation one would think as they constituted fully one third of Col. Pulliene's regulars. ( Of course the smoke from their MHs would have revealed their positions [ given no temperature inversion and thus some wind movement], as Mike S. points out.)

I'd love to be able to spend time as Mike Mc. did and personally visualize the field but I'd first like some information on the results of uneven erosion ,major storms and possible cyclonic activity over the last 126 years in order to compensate for the modern lay of the land. (Tall order,that!)

Lord Chelmsford has Cavaye being sent out on Col.Durnford's orders based on Capt. Essex's deposition, which contains no such reference but Jackson postulates that Essex gave Chelmsford that information 'informally'. Curious.

I find Jackson's subsequent argument that Durnsford did it compelling but not convincing. Pulliene (who appears to have ridden the ground previously) would have known his vulnerability at that location and had indeed chosen it as a piquet location (I'm not buying into Clery's deploying piquets and videttes just yet) and surely would have wanted to replace the NNC company picked up by Raw and Roberts as Julian stated. Further it would seem odd that Pulliene would send out Mostyn to reinforce Cavaye, rather than recalling him, had not he wanted him there in the first place.

It must be remembered that no one knew yet just what they were facing and it appears that the sight of 'numbers' of Africans on the horizon was not unique to their prior experience in the Cape Frontier War (I've done a little checking,long way to go yet) where the sight alone didn't presage a major attack. Plus there were reports that the Zulus seemed to be retiring.



22nd May 2005Julian Whybra
Chelmsford states Essex was the source for the remark that Cavaye was sent out at Durnford's instigation (French p. 148) - it is known Chelmsford re-interviewed Essex before writing his summary. Not curious!
Picquet duty was conducted in alphabetical rotation - E coy was the next one to go!
Mostyn was sent up the spur at a time when the 'force' on the plateau was still an unknown quantity.
22nd May 2005Mike Snook

I agree - Pulleine sent out Cavaye

Mike McC

I see what you are getting at - visibility from the back of the tents (Army HQ) where Isandlwana itself cuts down the arc, leaving Mkwene Hill and a bit of the downhill rto the spur as pretty much the left of arc. I was thinking of later with the firing line deployed - as soon as you start moving east of the mountain, you gain more and more visibility of the spur - until about 300-400 metres out from the mountain (along the general line of the firing line) you can pretty much see it all.


22nd May 2005Mike McCabe
Substitute 'ridgeline' for crestline in all of my remarks - the visible 'crest' in conventional military practice being subject to the position of the observer (as in 'crest clearance' etc).
I fully accept that the deployed companies would have had depth, as various individuals deliberately stood back from the firing line - buglers, ammunition parties, stretcher bearers (if numbers allowed). This 'tail' would probably have remained visible and, indeed, some of these individuals would have specific tasks to observe the flanks and rear. One also imagines the buglers facing and listening rearwards to catch any Bn or Column calls, or watch for any visual signals. Voice or whistle would have been adequate for controlling fire at company level.
For these two companies to achieve effective fire and observation over the ground north of the ridgeline, they would have needed to be north of it. There are not many places on the ridgeline itself that provide adequate fore positions for this purposes - and - with companies being fire units of (say) 50-65 riflemen at most, some semblance of a firing line would have been necessary if effective fire was to be concentrated, or, possible accross the company arcs of fire. That it was not possible on this difficult ground led to Dyson's section being moved to the left flank. And, some care being required in inserting Mostyn's Coy.
22nd May 2005Michael Boyle

As you may have guessed my curiousity is easily aroused! French is on it's way to me (had a devil of a time locating a copy) and will take him into consideration of course. However, until convinced otherwise I still find Pulleine's having deployed Cavaye makes more sense.

Argh! Just noticed I mucked up Durnford's name again in spite of my pre-post spell checking! Must have something to do with typing it to soon after typing Chelmsford.

(The joys of an unencumbered mind!)


23rd May 2005Julian Whybra
Are you then claiming that Chelmsford and Essex are lying when they assert that Cavaye was sent out to replace the NNC picquet picked up by the NNH? If so, for what reason should they openly lie and risk exposure and what evidence do you have to back up such a claim?
23rd May 2005Michael Boyle

I could certainly be wrong, but why would Essex have omitted it from his (unsworn) official deposition only to give it to Chelmsford as an off the record 'verbal' after meeting with him privately? I still have a long way to go in my study of the AZW but I can't help having a good many reservations arising from the Court of Inquiry proceedings. I'm hoping to have more light shed on this as my reading continues.

From a military standpoint it just seems to make more sense that Pulleine would have ordered the deployment as Durnford seemed more concerned with having Raw and Roberts clear the plateau and drive what Zulus they found east to a position he was off to. A combination pincer and hammer and anvil tactic. Durnford does seem to have been content with allowing Pulleine to organize the camp defence (as per Pulliene's orders) while he took his own men out to meet with the enemy (perhaps his interpretation of his own orders). I have not discounted the possibilty that Durnford really did feel that Chelmsford was the one more vulnerable at that point as the only firing heard yet that morning came from Chelmsford's direction.

(I am of course leaving some thoughts unsaid as I feel it would be unfair for me to state them without much more study and reflection. I am however not accusing anyone of openly lying.)


23rd May 2005Ron Lock
Sorry to be a late arrival. Re cartridges on Tahelane Ridge: the late Chelmsford Ntanzi told me that when the road was being bulldozed up to the ridge, the same road that also leads on to Isandlwana Lodge, many cartridge cases were exposed. In fact many were unfired rounds. The late George Chadwidk who, at the time, was Chairman of the old Natal Monuments Council, published a pamphlet, of which I have a copy some where, in which he describes finding and mapping cairns on what is now called Tahelane Ridge. The cairns were uncovered, some revealing heel plates and tunic buttons. Unfortunately my copy of his pamphlet is not accompanied by the map and I have never been able to trace a copy. I might add that Rob Gerrard, P.Q. and I, and numerous helpers, have trudged the ridge and found no trace of cairns.

I disagree that Cavaye was sent merely to replace Barry's NNC company on Magaga Knoll. In any event, Barry's Company only went as far as the ridge - Tahelane Ridge. If I may quote from 'Zulu Victory': "Magaga Knoll is an outstanding topographical feature in countryside abounding in extraordinary landmarks. From only 100 feet below it appears to be no more than a little stoney ridge, but its summit, a three acre area of land, reveals itself as a natural viewpoint, giving visibility for miles in every direction". One page 100 of Z.V. there is a photograph, taken from Magaga, looking down on to Tahelane Ridge, which I think you will find, confirms the improbability of Cavaye and his company ever being on Magaga. On page 101, there is a picture taken from Tahelane Ridge, looking back on to the camp, from which one can comprehend how easy it was for a company to disappear from sight.

At about 11.45 hrs, E Company opened fire at 800 yards on elements of the Zulu right horn. Why was Dyson sent 500 yards to the west? P.Q. and I believe, having walked the ground, that the warriors would have disappeared from view behind a low ridge, but would have been exposed again as they reappeared.

Julian, what is your source for E Company being on Magaga Knoll?
23rd May 2005Mike McCabe
It's ultimately fallacious to treat everything attributed to Gardner, Essex, whoever, as if they were unerringly accurate, or, that that is all there is to say on the subject. And, hardly objective.
24th May 2005Julian Whybra
Mike B
Re Essex's evidence - it may well be that after all the statements were given there were still questions which Chelmsford required a specific answer to (and the answer had not been revealed in the Ct of Inq)which was why he asked to see Essex and others before he wrote his summary. Who issued the order re E coy - Durnford or Pulleine would seem to have been one of them.
Both Mikes
I don't claim that the survivors' testimony is 'unerringly accurate' particularly during the mayhem of the retreat but this instance seems to have been a specific answer to a specific question and cannot be ignored or discarded as a simple throwaway error. After all if Essex had replied 'I don't know', the summary would not have been so intractable in its statement. The fact that it is so unequivocal must be taken into consideration. And if one disagrees, it is necessary to have some reason to believe Essex deliberately lied (unthinkable, surely?) beyond that 'it would make more sense if Pulleine had sent E coy on to the ridge .' I agree that it WOULD make more sense militarily but Essex states the opposite such that it was included in the summative evidence for all to see and would carry weight. I find it difficult to ascribe the E coy order to Pulleine in the face of this.
I agree about the cartridges. I forgot in all the excitement of the above debate but I too can endorse your claim that in Chadwick's pamphlet he discovered cartridge cases upon the plateau. He also informed a mutual acquaintance that he had done so.
Re Magaga, I think you have the wrong person, Ron, I have nowhere stated above that E coy was specifically on Magaga Knoll.
24th May 2005Mike Snook

I can see no reason why Essex would know the answer. He is conspicous only by his absence until he picks up his revolver but did not bother buckling on his sword etc. By that time, as you know, Cavaye was in action and Mostyn on his way.

However - Cochrane was present throughout the interaction between D and P and makes no reference whatsover to the subject - as he surely must have done had it been D who decided that sending Cavaye out was the way ahead. I infer from this that Cavaye was already on the spur.

I think Pulleine backfilled Barry with Erskine not with Cavaye. As Ron points out the nature of the ground makes these quite separate tasks - if it was Cavaye backfilling Barry then he was in the wrong place. He couldn't see from his position on the spur what Barry had been watching from Mkwene Hill. (Or Magaga if you prefer) I think that Cavaye was sent out in response to the 0930 sighting (Chard refers etc) of Zulus on the spur and disappearing to the NW. The spur position blocks NW, but Mkwene observes NE.

So - I don't think Essex knew and I don't think there is anything to suggest a question being asked along the lines of 'Captain Essex, at whose order was Lt Cavaye sent to the spur.'


24th May 2005Michael Boyle

I take your point but as Durnford didn't contest Pulliene's command of the camp ('I shall be leaving anyway') and accepted Pulleine's refusal to give him Imperial troops for his venture I do find it odd then he would have personally deployed one of Pulleine's companies himself. It would seem to belie the whole premise of who was in command.

As you say, during the mayhem and, I would think shock, following the retreat that misinterpretations could have been made. Even by Lord Chelmsford while writing up his report so soon after the disaster. Were that the case it would take a very cheeky subaltern indeed, to contradict his General Commanding. (Not to mention a less than stellar career move!)

Just thinking out loud here.



26th May 2005Julian Whybra
Mike S
Then why does Essex say it WAS Durnford when he could have answered 'I don't know'?
26th May 2005Mike Snook
You make a fair point but I certainly think Essex gave the answer the GOC wanted to hear, and the Cochrane problem remains. Michael Boyle's first para above summarises one of the most compelling elements of the argument for it being P not D. You know yourself that just becuase its in a single primary source doesn't make it true. Ideally, like intelligence, primary sources have to be corroborated either by a second source saying the same thing, or by the balance of military probability. How do you think, as a matter of interest, Essex would have been in a position to know with any certainty?
26th May 2005Michael Boyle

Admittedly I had not really paid that much attention to it in the first place as I'd always thought it was Pulleine, perhaps from an early reading of the Ians' "Twilight of a Warrior Nation" where they state (without reference) "Pulleine sent up a a company of the 1/24th under Lieutenant Cavaye ..." . Now I realize that book was aimed at a mass market audience but I'd assumed that their contention was based on research.

Jackson contends (as alluded to in an earlier posting) that Essex's written deposition does not contain the reference to Durnford's deploying them but assumes that information was provided verbally to Chelmsford. Does Essex actually leave that contention in writing anywhere and if so does he say where he got that information?

I'm having a devil of a time trying to come to my own conclusions through only the extracted quotes that appear in most references! (Some day I do hope to peruse the original sources but that will take time.)

I have recently got hold of "Moodie's Zulu War" (AZW War Series repub.), knowing it had an account of the C.of I.(from the Gazette) but was disappointed to see only a truncated ( I hope!) version where Essex ("Fourth evidence") states "I hand in a written statement of what occurred. I have nothing to add to that statement." , he being the only one of the eight not to actually give a verbal statement.

You of course know all this but perhaps you can see where my reservations lie.


26th May 2005Michael Boyle
Sorry, seem to have stuttered that first quote, my proof-reading has really fallen off of late!
27th May 2005Graham Alexander

I have been in contact with the Essex family for many years and confirm that their are no letters or papers surviving other than his report and his private letter home to his family ( Both well known and published).

When he died in 1939, his surviving papers were given to a family member who lodged them with the National Army museum shortly before her death. These papers are recorded on their indexes but have " disappeared".
I don't know if there was any gems of information contained in them, but they are now unfortunately missing without leave !
27th May 2005Michael Boyle

Thanks, now that you mention it I do seem to recall that being brought up somewhere. Something about someone accessing them and their subsequent disappearance?

I love a good mystery!


27th May 2005Julian whybra
Again I must apologize for being away from the website for a few days – my how the discussion moves on apace! Nevertheless…
Mike S
As you well know a second corroborative statement is for most historical purposes impossible and improbable and that where a second is required it is implied that the first was made anonymously or comes from an unreliable source. For much of Isandhlwana’s events, we are solely reliant on one person’s testimony [I might add that it appears that on occasion we have even been presented with conjecture presented as fact and asked to swallow it whole]. Essex did not make the remark re Durnford’s order anonymously nor is he an unreliable source. It seems to me that in an earlier discussion Ron or Peter rebuked others with a remark along the lines of ‘one can’t dismiss remarks made just because they don’t fit in with a theory’. This would seem to apply now. The remark re Durnford is recorded in French (if anyone can be bothered to read it). To say he gave them the answer they wanted to hear is, you’ll forgive me, an unacceptable remark. Where else is Essex guilty of a loose tongue or bending the truth to suit others’ purposes? Why should one assume that he would do so on this occasion?
There were other survivors who could gainsay the remark if it weren’t true (including Cochrane who is silent on this matter – showing acquiescence[?]) thus the ‘Disgusted of PMB’ letters are conspicuous by their absence in the columns of the colonial press.
As for how Essex knew, there are three possibilities. First he may have heard it ordered sometime after lunch after the famous conversation witnessed by Cochrane or he may have heard it direct from Cavaye with whom he was friendly and on visiting the line as we know he did. He could also have been told this by someone in a position to know subsequently killed.
Mike B
Quoting from unsourced secondary works is a dangerous exercise and opens one to all sorts of broadsides from unexpected quarters. It is bad enough when primary sources are misquoted! It does take time to seek the primary sources but then, no-one can argue with you! The remark was made verbally to Chelmsford and recorded in his summation with the remark attributed to Essex.
There are in fact 6 Essex accounts or recorded remarks and a possible 7th as follows:
(A) His Statement to the Court of Inquiry, made on 24th January 1879, appears in the Blue Books.
(B) An account and map are in the Chelmsford Papers.
(C) A remark which relates to Second-Lieut. Dyson 1/24th (kia) and appears in a private letter to Dyson’s father quoted in Mackinnon and Shadbolt.
(D) A remark made to Lord Chelmsford and recorded in French.
(E) A letter dated 26th January 1879 published in The Times of 2nd April 1879.
(F) A remark made to Capt. Essex by Lieut. Pope 2/24th on the battlefield of Isandhlwana and recorded by Capt. W. P. Symons 1/24th in a note to Pope’s family.
Perhaps Essex is also the author of the anonymous letter in The Times of 10th April 1879.
27th May 2005Michael Boyle

Thank you for taking the time to provide the references, I'm already following up as far as I can (still waiting on French's arrival though.)

It would be nice if someone could assemble and publish the Chelmsford Papers. (If they had a free aftternoon or two!)

(By the way, I only quoted 'Twilight' by way of explantion not support!)



27th May 2005Mike Snook

I am not suggesting here that Essex is fibbing on this particular point - he might have been told that it was Durnford by somebody who genuinely thought that it was - and be merely repeating under questioning somebody else's mistaken belief.

So single sources contain mistakes and misapprehensions. Then there is the language factor - so much that is written can be ambiguous or loose - hence again there is a need to achieve corroboration where possible.

For example, Brickhill saw native horse going back over the saddle - Ron and Peter when last I discussed this with them, will say this is Raw and Roberts and base their time and motion thoughts on this. I think its Vause's troop going back for the wagons and Brickhill has misidentified them. To me it is utterly illogical that the two R's would go back down into the Manzimyama Valley, when all the fuss is on the plateau to the NE. Even if the interest is to the NW, (the one Zulu column going NW), it is still more logical to take the native path up the Tahelane spur and push NW from there. Take also Brickhill's use of compass directions - his account is absolute gibberish until you work out where he thinks north is.

As to the necessity to cross reference survivor's accounts, I believe that it is quite important to achieve corroboration, if we can, especially where we are told something that we sense is improbable. My study of the sources show that many 'facts' do not compute one with another - not every single statement made can possibly be true. There are irreconcilable clashes. Sifting the wheat from the chaff is the key to good history surely. Also we must not forget the Curling furore - the survivors 'tell any number of lies'. As you know he is specifically referring to volunteers rather than regulars. But in my view there are obfuscations to be found in the sources.

To return to my intelligence analogy, human sources are graded - from (for example) A1, meaning something to the effect of 'a usually reliable source whose information is probably true', to the other end of the spectrum, where the source is generally not to be trusted. There are many intervening grades. I think we have to apply this sort of grading process to Isandlwana sources. I tend to regard Essex as A1 up to the point at which he decided, time to get out of here old son! At this point he slips down the grading scale. I explain in HCMDB of course - but it can be shown that there are distortions in his testimony and a good reason for his telling them.

Anyway that's a long winded way of saying I don't agree that a source is a source is source. That's too dogmatic for my liking.

But by the same token, and this is where I would strongly agree with you, people clearly take liberties with history when they discard something from an A1 source that is militarily and logically probably true.

In this instance Essex pre-departure is A1 but he is saying something that seems militarily and logically improbable. I suspect a mistake on his part therefore.

To return to the issue of language (and interpretation)- never in a million years would I interpret Hamer to be describing bumping into a deliberate attack. Yet Ron and Peter clearly do.

But that's history.

Finally you will see shortly why I have my doubts about survivor's testimony from the point at which the perimeter is said to have collapsed.


27th May 2005Mike Snook
Sorry - I forgot to mention the well recognized tunnel vision factor in battle. Commonly when a fighting man tries to relate what he saw with what he has subsequently heard from somebody else, he will more often than not get the relationship in time and space wrong.

28th May 2005Julian whybra
I agree that when corroboration is available of course it is invaluable. i don't wish this to drag on and on but Chelmsford is quite specific usually. If someone reports something overheard from a third party, he states it as such, yet with the Essex remark there is no such attribution. There would also have been a considerable risk in publishing an untruth with cochrane around to deny it. I dare say it must remain for many one of the great imponderables until someone can come up with further evidence.
28th May 2005Michael Boyle
Which brings up another point of my confusion. Cochrane, in his C. of I. statement seems to state unequivocally that Durnford took over command of the camp yet after the message of the Zulus retiring, and sending out R&R and co., then ASKS Pulleine for two Cos. to join his further deployment and accedes to their refusal. Do we assume Cochrane left out the part where Durnford gave command back to Pulliene or his implication that Durnford remained in command though absenting himself?

I realize this has been hashed over before but I still find it a bit too odd to make much sense of so please bear with me.

(Imagine if we had only the C. of I. statements to go by!)


28th May 2005Peter Quantrill
Mike, (S)
Yes, our time / distance paper does show that Raw and Roberts did indeed go up to the plateau via the reverse, i.e. west side of Isandlwana. To do this they would have to have gone back over the neck. And no, it was not Vause that Brickhill was referring to.
Evidence? The man himself, Brickhill:
" At half past ten Durnford's Horse arrived --- at about eleven o'clock a party of them were sent back BY THE WAY THEY CAME ROUND THE ISANDLWANA and from there round the Northernmost point of Ingutu to check the enemy's recent advance in that direction, for those at the middle of Ingutu had disappeared again over the hill."
Quite clearly this refers to R and R and not Vause. Granted Brickhill gets North and South mixed up, as he refers to Durnford attacking the Zulus at the Southernmost neck.
It is very logical for Durnford, having sent Vause back as escort, to send R and R behind Isandlwana to ensure that the reverse side of the Hill was clear of Zulus, and thence on to the plateau.
So the time / distance paper is correct in this aspect. Ron has, incidently, sent you a copy which should now be on its way to you.