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Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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The fitment for a rifle sling has me thinking. I've asked Zingela to try to photograph the item from different angles and will post them if they arrive.
Many thanks to everyone for the interest. I'll keep you informed.
Regards, Ken

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Ken Gillings
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Kiwi Sapper


Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 125
Location: Middle Earth & Home of Narnia; (Auckland, New Zealand)
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A picture of the reverse of the "buckle" may also prove informative, along with overall measurements

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It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 871
Location: Queensland, Australia
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A real brain teaser!

Some thoughts on the buckle:

1. Has anyone shown the photo to the historians at the National Army Museum? Their encyclopedic knowledge of British Army kit/uniforms over the past 400+ yrs may throw some additional light on the subject; least say what it is not.

2. Maybe E-R is something to do with railways? Did the old Natal Govt Railway (now SAR) buy up any lines previously with the initials E-R? Or maybe E-R is a commercial firm's initials?

3. [truly random!] The number is the Air France flight number between Natal (Brazil) and Rio! (OK, dismiss this one!)

AMB
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 871
Location: Queensland, Australia
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A final thought regarding the buckle.

The age of the metal may be ascertainable. I am no metallurgist, but there are reports of East Indian ships being shipwrecked off the Natal coast in the 16th century. The crude casting may point to Elizabethan metal work. A relic from one of these early wrecks; found by someone on the beach and transported inland?

A little too wild a thought maybe.

AMB
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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The owner’s son discovered what appears to be a belt buckle quite close to one of the forges

That's a fascinating find. Of course I'm no expert on metallurgy but I'd think an interesting intervention would be to check out THOROUGHLY where the item was found if it hasn't been already. It's just possible that one can identify the artifact by what "surrounds" it. I don't know. Maybe a few sacrificial scraped knees can help to answer the question.

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Rich
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Hello everyone. I've just received some photos of the item showing the side and the back view. It measures 3cm square. The photos aren't all that clear but may assist the 'Boffins' to identify the item. I've sent the pics to Admin to post. Regards, Ken

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Ken Gillings
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1326
Location: Wales
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As Ken says, the quality is not too good.


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Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Thanks for posting the new photos. I'll go out on a limb here and say that in my view the bending of the "buckle" isn't sufficient to have distorted the appearance of the crown, so it would appear to have been a representation of the "St Edward's Crown", which wasn't used officially for the Royal Cypher before 1952.

Rob
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I think I'll crawl out a ways on that limb as well, but for a slightly different reason. It doesn't appear to be a solid metal, but rather to have been thinly plated or even painted (?) a brassy color over a base metal. So why no rust? Anodized? Japanned? Or again, maybe even "Staybrite", which I believe can come in black as well as "brass". Although Staybrite was developed sometime in the 1920's as I recall, it didn't become common for insignia until the 1950's. I'm thinking that if it were steel or iron and of Victorian vintage, it would be little more than a lump of rust by now. Ergo, non-ferrous and not solid brass. Tin? I'd be curious if it was attracted by a magnet.

I don't see evidence of a seam in the edge-on photo so it appears to have been cast rather then pressed for what that observation's worth.

Maybe the Khyber Pass artificers have expanded their market base? Wink Wink
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I love a mystery! Looking yet again at the picture, it seems as though there IS a seam. The fact is, it looks a bit like a circular band that's been squashed flat. 3.5cm equals about an inch (if the 3.5 is that dimension), so the "band" would have had a circumference of about two inches or a diameter of a bit more than .63 inches or 5/8 inches. My math correct? A decorative band on a BIG drumstick? On a swagger-stick? Costume jewelry out of gumball machine?
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Ken Gillings


Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Posts: 61
Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
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Were swagger sticks or drumsticks issued items (i.e., with a number)?
Regards, Ken

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Ken Gillings
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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Probably not for either, but it does look like some sort of ring that's been flattened rather than a plate. What could be that small, cylindrical and require an issue number? Hmmm...
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Mystery at a KZN forge
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