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DateOriginal Topic
29th June 2003Another piece of critical trivia
By A. Maniac
Hitch informs that he was engaged at a 9 meter stretch of the north wall where the barricading was incomplete and most of the casualties (outside of the hospital) occurred.
How incomplete was the wall here?
Was this stretch nearer to the hospital end or (as I think) nearer to the line of biscuit boxes?
30th June 2003Julian Whybra
He was in the north-west angle between the north wall of mealie bags and the west 2-box high wall of biscuit boxes, and therefore caught in a crossfire. As he describes, of the men posted there Bromhead was the only one not wounded. I don't think, by the way, that Hitch had gone metric in 1879!
30th June 2003A. Maniac
Many thanks Julian,
I had not realized that the short (incomplete) internal wall just to the front right of the hospital was made of biscuit boxes. Two boxes high would have made it 4feet, I believe.
I have a slight problem in that Hitch tells us one of the defenders of this stretch was Cole, who was killed. I know there was a second Cole, but since he was not even injured Hitch can only be referring to the man who had been with Hook. Yet Hook and others tell us he was killed immediately on leaving the hospital. I always assumed he was hit while still on or near the verandah, whereas it now seems likely that he did take up and defend a firing position for at least a very short time. Would you agree?
1st July 2003Mark Hobson
The part of the defences which Julian refers to is behind the line of biscuit boxes, not immediately infront of the hospital. He fought here after the defenders had retreated behind the inner line. The confusion arises from an earlier part of the battle. When the defenders were building the line of mealee bags just before the attack commenced they failed to complete the section in the very furthest north-west corner, infront and to the left of the hospital. This point was furthest from the storehouse and the pile of mealee bags so it was left to last - I guess the tendency was to only carry the bags the shortest distance possible, and nobody wanted to lug them right across the yard to this point. When the attack began this section was therefore incomplete, with a plank hastily thrown down to finish the job. Private Hitch found himself defending this point at the beginning of the battle, before later fighting at the section Julian refers to. Cole was killed here, shot through the head as soon as he left the hospital (he suffered from claustrophobia), so Hitch would probably have seen his death.
2nd July 2003A. Maniac
Thanks Mark,
Boy, you people really know your stuff! The picture becomes ever more clear!