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DateOriginal Topic
20th March 2005local fauna fighting for the enemy
By stephen mann
A number of the protagonists of Morris' book (that is Donald not Johnny) meet sticky ends at the hands of crocodiles, sharks and elephants in Natal. Ian Knight also recounts some British officer in Natal (don't know if AZW) dying from black mamba bite. Did the local nasties put paid to any of our boys in 1879, as far as records show?
20th March 2005Keith Smith

The officer was allegedly (Washing of the Spears, p. 588) Commandant Alexander Nixon Montgomery of the 1/1st Regiment NNC. Another of Morris' stories which is patently untrue. Montgomery, who had a black side to his character, died of natural causes in 1912 (I have a copy of his last will and testament).
20th March 2005stephen mann
Thanks for that. I didn't remember that bit from Morris. I was thinking of an account in Ian Knights book about the Victorian Army which (I think) included an account by one officer of another bitten by a mamba while hunting and expiring in front of him. I don't now if this was AZW though. If its the same incident then it would seem Morris was at least adopting someone else's fib rather than making up his own.
20th March 2005Coll

I'm sure I read about an incident where an officer was trampled by a giraffe !

I know it sounds like a joke (it probably is) but if not - what a bizarre thing to have witnessed.

Almost like a Monty Python sketch.

Apparently the officer was known to have bad luck.


PS. Sorry it is not as interesting as a poisonous snake. (then again - I wouldn't be around it long enough to hear if it had anything interesting to say)

Also, I don't think this was during the AZW, but an unusual story anyway, whether it is true or not.
21st March 2005Paul Cubbin
Tales from the desert - one soldier in a past desert exercise fell asleep on his front and awoke to discover that half of one buttock had been eaten by a camel-spider as he slept (they inject anaesthetic as they bite so the victim is unaware). The sympathetic Medical Officer merely said, "Bloody good job you didn't sleep on your back,".
22nd March 2005Haydn Jones
I believe the giraffe incident you mention probably relates to Colonel Evelyn Wood who commanded No.4. Column in the AZW. He had a reputation for being accident prone and was, indeed, once trampled on by a giraffe!
28th March 2005Coll

Thanks for confirming this story.

29th March 2005Coll

You have probably already seen this, but on a previous topic there was the true story of a Royal Engineer officer in Africa who had to hunt two lions that had killed a large number of the men assigned to help build a bridge, although this was not in 1879.

Look for the topic titled 'The Ghost and the Darkness'.

The film based on this incident is on available on dvd.

29th March 2005Coll
That last sentence should have read - The film based on this incident is available on dvd.