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26th April 2003Another morbid subject - crucifixion of drummer boys
By andrew rowland
Hi all,

Can anyone comment on the truth of the following allegations (found in this article )


1. did it happen, and possibly was covered up by the war office


2. was 1879 AZ war the last time drummer boys were used in combat?

"The Zulus are seen moving in among the dead bodies and helping themselves to the guns that were lying around. In reality the Zulus disembowelled their victims, and, just to confirm their superiority (as well as ward off a few demons) buggered the corpses as well. If that was not bad enough the five young drummers were crucified and had their genitalia placed inside their mouth. This was probably too gory for the sensitive cinema goers of the day; it certainly was so for the War Office who after Isandhlwana never used drummer boys again."
27th April 2003John Young

The subject of the fate of the drummer boys has been previously covered on this forum, the evidence of eye-witnesses does tend to prove that it did happen in one case at least.

As to it being the fate of all the 'Boys' - I think Sean may be a little off course there. Likewise with his our allegation of post-death buggery, unless he has some evidence to support the claim.

As to the Anglo-Zulu War being the last campaign that Drummer Boys was used - this an oft-repeated claim - but to my own mind it is also incorrect - I cite as my example young Bugler Dunne in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, who lost his bugle in the Tugela River, I believe, in the attempt to relieve Ladysmith. Sadly my knowledge of the 2nd Anglo-Boer War, does quite extend to the same depth as it does for the Anglo-Zulu War, so I can't be precise over the bugler's age etc.

John Y.
27th April 2003Julian whybra
Without wishing to go over the whole ground again, Andrew, I think the whole issue of the drummer boys was covered in an earlier entry on this website.
The quotation from the website referred to underlines the dangers of viweing unsourced unannotated 'information' from the web.
27th April 2003John Young

Having typed my first reply, I then located information on Bugler John Dunne, of the 2nd Battalion, the Dublin Fusiliers. He was aged fourteen years of age when he was severely wounded on 15th December, 1899. Making him younger than some of the Drummer Boys at Isandlwana.

John Y.
27th April 2003andrew rowland
You folks are excellent. thank you very much. I will go back and find the thread you're talking about.

Thanks again,

28th April 2003Julian Whybra
On the subject of 'boys' in the armed forces as opposed to just the army, let us not forget Boy (First class) John Travers Cornwell of HMS Chester who was not only killed in action in 1916 but earned the Victoria Cross in so doing at the age of 16.