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25th June 2003Questions on the Isandhlwana Survivors
By Ahasuerus Maniac
4) I have some related questions about the survivors of Isandhlwana: a. Whereas I thought only two buglers and a groom escaped on foot I have now read in a couple of places that six European foot soldiers escaped. Was it three or six? In either case these people must surely have left the battle at a very early stage. Did any of them record their testimony?
b. Since more than 220 Natal Horse apparently escaped and these people were surely of European origin am I right in assuming that the 80 who escaped refers only to redcoats (bluecoats in the case of the officers of the 24th. who managed to distance themselves from their doomed units).
c. I believe that most of the escaping Europeans belonged to the mounted infantry. What role did they play at Isandhlwana? Do we know at what stage the escapees fled the battlefield?
25th June 2003Martin Everett
Dear Ahasuerus,
The European survivors are listed in David Jackson's book on the battle. There were 10 survivors from 24th Regiment - 6 of these left an account which have been reprinted in Norman Holme's The Noble 24th. Rather than go into a lot of detail on the forum, you may find David Jackson useful reading - just click on 'shop'
25th June 2003John Young

A: To add to Martin's comment, the Europeans survivors are also listed in my work, 'They Fell Like Stones' and in Julian Whybra's 'Rollcall'. Your assumption that approxiamately 80 Europeans is correct.

B:There were survivors from No. 2 Column - these included four survivors from the rocket battery, three of whom were 1st/24th, and an acting bombardier from N/5 Battery, R.A.; a 'special service officer' attached to the column's staff; a local recruited transport conductor; five of officers of the N.N.H.; four officers & a senior n.c.o. of the 1st/1st N.N.C.

No. 3 Column: three 'special service' officers attached to the column's staff; an interpreter & one of the privates of 1st/24th mentioned above by Martin.
N/5 R.A. - one officer & nine o/r's.
1st/24th - two o/r's.
1st Squadron Mounted Infantry - nine o/r's.
Natal Mounted Police - nine o/r's.
Natal Carbineers - seven o/r's.
Newcastle Mounted Rifles -seven o/r's.
Buffalo Border Guard - an officer & four o/r's.
1st/3rd N.N.C. - two officers.
2nd/3rd N.N.C. - two officers & one o/r.
No.1 Co. Natal Native Pioneers - one officer.
Local Transport Dept - one conductor.
Meat Contractor - one.

There are two others I have not determined the units for, and one other - a V.C. winner who I am currently researching to establish whether he was actually present or out with Lord Chelmsford.

There are others who Julian Whybra may be able to assist you with.

C: I think the above with regard to the details of 1st Squadron, M.I., rather answers part of your query. Again can I refer you to either 'Zulu Victory' or F.W.D.Jackson's 'Hill of the Sphinx' to attempt to answer at what stage the survivors quit the field.

John Young,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.
25th June 2003Julian Whybra
Or to put it another way...
3 ORs 1/24th
3 ORs 1/24th att Rocket battery
1 officer RA
9 ORs RA
1 OR RA Rocket battery
1 OR possible survivor RA
4 1/24th ORs MI
6 other regts ORs MI
4 Special service officers
1 possible Officer ACTD
7 Carbineers
5 NNH officers
4 1/1st NNC officers
1 NCO 1/1st NNC
3 offcers 3rd Regt NNC
3 NCOs 3rd Regt NNC
1 NNPC officer
4 civilian attachments ACTD
1 civilian attachment to Staff No 3 col
81 definites 2 possibles
To be more explicit here would spoil an article due for publication the RZWS's journal in the next issue but one.
25th June 2003A. Maniac
Very many thanks kind gentlemen.
This was all excellent help!