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4th June 2005Did The Colonial Mounted Men Make Another Stand ?
By Coll
While many of the Colonial mounted men died in Durnford's stand at the front of the camp, I was wondering if some of them had also made a stand at the rear of the nek ?

I've being reading the account by Archibald Forbes detailing his visit to the Isandlwana battlefield and descriptions of Fugitives' Trail and the remains of the camp area, which included a mention of an area near to the crest, where he says 'many hereabouts wore the uniform of the Natal Police'.

As N.C. and N.M.P. had the use of horses, the fact that he mentions that they were in a specific area, made me wonder if they had dismounted deliberately to hold a position at the rear of the nek.

5th June 2005mark

i know that captain shepstone made a stand behind isandlwana , there are a few graves there !
5th June 2005Coll

Yes. But the area that Forbes is describing seems to be just before or at the start of Fugitives' Trail, nearer the other side of the nek, possibly opposite the wagon park.

Shepstone's stand is on the western side of the actual mountain, away from this area, his men being mostly N.N.C.

The scene of where Forbes saw these N.M.P. men, does seem to suggest that they fell near to one another, maybe in a stand, or the warriors might have intercepted them as they retired from the battlefield still in a group.

5th June 2005Trevor
Think it's true to say, when there was no hope. Or escape. Many would have grouped together. I imagine there would be an immosional need to be with your comrades at the end?
6th June 2005mark
my error

either way i admire the bravery of someone willing to dismount to face certain death
6th June 2005Coll
I asked this question because not all the Colonial mounted men died with Durnford and an account by Mehlokazulu Kasihayo mentions that 2 Carbineers had been shot while leaving the donga, as well as 1 known case of a Carbineer being killed on the Fugitives' Trail.

The rest, N.C. and N.M.P. casualties I thought had also been killed on the retreat along the trail, but the Forbes account did make me wonder if some hadn't even got that far, but instead made a stand to cover the fleeing men on the nek, or as mentioned were caught within the Zulu encirclement of the camp as they tried to fight their way out.

I guess we'll never know for sure.

Thanks for your replies.

6th June 2005Coll
Further to the above.

Today I obtained a book list from D.P. & G. Military Publishers and 1 of the titles is called ' The Natal Carbineers ' Edited by Rev J. Stalker.

It covers the history of the Natal Carbineers from its formation 15th Jan. 1855 - 30th June 1911 and includes their service in the Zulu Campaign.

I also hope a title covering the Natal Mounted Police appears sometime, considering the heroic role of these 2 units at Isandlwana.