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|2nd September 2003||Where were the other irregular horsemen!|
While doing a bit of research into Bullers force during the campaign in Zululand, I've been able to establish the numbers of men in each of the Irregular Horse units that fought at Holobane, Kambula and Ulundi. Eg. 156 FLH at Hlobane (many of the survivors probably ayt Kambula the next day).
My question is, where were the rest of the unit during this period?- I can see from the various rolls that there were about 260 men serving with this unit during this period!
I can see that roughly 50% of the Transvaal Rangers fought at Hlobane but that the survivors, joined the rest of the unit at Kambula but this is not the case with the FLH- was the rest of this employed elsewhere?
Many Thanks for any help on this matter.
|6th September 2003||Ian Castle|
As regards the FLH, the total of 260 men really relects the total number of men that served in the unit during the war. However, these would never have all served at the same time - most signing up for six months service - although many signed on for a second period of service. Therefore there is a constant fluctuation in numbers.
The 156 at Hlobane lost 29 men killed. At Khambula the following day the number present is given as 165. If you add the 29 killed to the 165 it gives a total strength of 194 FLH at Khambula camp in late March 1879. This suggests about 38 men were left in camp on the day of Hlobane (sick, unfit horses, vedette duty).
|7th September 2003||Justin|
Thanks for getting back to me on this subject.
The figure of 260 men I came to serving with the FLH was by going through the roll in the index of 'What happened to a VC'- there are almost 400 names of men that served with the FLH with their enlistment dates and resignation dates and after taking out the men that had resigned by 20/3/79, there were still supposed to be 260 serving with this unit at the time of Hlobane (not including later arrivals) and 143 by the time of Ulundi- I had noticed that many mens service appears to have ended by mid June.
I know many of these men probably later joined the Natal Light horse and maybe have just been left on the FLH roll- others reseigned after Khambula but there still seems to be a large number of men unaccounted for.
Do you think the roll is pretty rough?
|7th September 2003||Ian|
Hmmm, complicated. Well I don't have a definitive answer to that, but..... on that list it seems that 47 men enrolled in March 1879. It is unlikely that men enrolled at the front once the unit was in enemy territory (Mossop enrolled in early January before the expiry of the Ultimatum) - many we know enrolled in Durban during the war - and some presumably elsewhere. These men would have been sent to join the regiment in batches so it appears likely to me that many would not have arrived by the time of the Hlobane/Khambula battles, so can be subjected from the total. Although it does appear two men, Trooper Lyndon and Trooper Prendergast, who both enrolled early in the month (6th March), got to the front as they were killed at Hlobane on 28 March. So just how many to deduct is difficult, if not impossible, to calculate.
Hope that helps a little - but as we all know, no roll is ever guaranteed 100% accurate!
Let me know how you get on.
|7th September 2003||Justin|
Many thanks- I think you've hit the nail on the head here. I was forgetting that it is one thing enrolling with the FLH but another thing to have actually been at the front with them. It must have taken some time for them to have got there etc.
I think I got a bit thrown when I was reading 'Running the Gauntlet'- as the way you read it, from enrollement to actually being with the FLH, seemed to happen right away but at this time the FLH would not have even been in Zululand!
This is a great help Ian, I'll have to remember to account for this when looking at rolls in future.