you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
27th March 2004NNC
By Andrew Holliday
What was the NNC, and what units made it up, because in books they always say that these men turned and ran at Isandhlwana?
27th March 2004Chris
NNC means Natal Native Contingent, they were locally raised units of black levies and white officers/ncos. They were poorly trained, had no uniforms (the white officers and ncos had uniforms, but not the blacks) and only 1/10 had a rifle (usually a musket).
28th March 2004Justin Young
Hi Andrew
As Chris sais, the NNC were very poorly trained in a very short space of time indeed. It was felt that they should be trained as the British Infantry were but without the time and the qualified NCO's to do this, it was an impossible task and not surprisingly did not perform well at Isandhlwana.Many of these men had joined up enthusiastically to fight the Zulu but were very badly let down by the Colonial authorities.
For the second invasion, the NNC was totally reorganized, the higher authorities realising how best to use the NNC and they a force the Imperial troops could not have done without.

At the end of the day, many books have even hinted at the NNC being partially responsible for the disaster at Isandhlwana but who do you blame the poorly trained soldier or the guy that trains him??

28th March 2004Julian whybra
The NNC were only recruited in December. Admittedly but unsurprisingly they were still poorly trained by 22 Jan but that situation would change with those that remained in British service for the rest of the war. Don't be too quick to damn the trainers and the trained.
28th March 2004Andrew Holliday
Was Durnford's native cavalry among the NNC or were they independant?
29th March 2004John Young

For some background on the various units take a look at:

John Y.
30th March 2004Julian whybra
The 'native' elements consisted of footsoldiers (the NNC), native horse (NNH) and a pioneers corps (NNPC).