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DateOriginal Topic
20th March 2005Bring Home The Dead.
By Peter Harman
Lets us exhume the remains of our fallen men at Isandhlwana and bring them back to the greens fields of England.
Giving everony one them all a full miltary burial.
Only then do I belive they will be at rest.
We bring back the fallen today.
20th March 2005Martin Everett
Dear Peter,

A nice thought. But repatriation is relatively new in the Brtish Army - I believe we had two soldiers killed in Aden (1967) who were repatriated to UK and were amongst the first to do so.

What about other campaigns? WW1 and particularly WW2 where close relatives are still alive. Who pays?

Turning to Isandhlwana - while most of the 800 or so casualties were from Imperial Forces, there were many Colonials buried together with the 24th on the battlefield and on the Fugitives' Trail - we do not know who was buried under each Cairn - so repatriation would a difficult if not impossible task without offending many people.
20th March 2005Derrick
If you knew this windswept veldt and had heard the dry grasses whispering together in the silence of forever, you would probably agree that for a place to be buried, this haunting place has something special.
20th March 2005Andrew Holliday
If we brought back the dead from Isandhlwana, people will want bodies brought home from everyother battlefield. If we did it with one battle we would have to do it to them all.
20th March 2005Peter harman
I took nealy a year to bury them after the battle and for years remains kept surfacing.
It was only after the remains were inturned under the cairns did they settle.
It the documentary with Ian Knight (Can't recall the name. Anyway he had no problem finding his relative.
O.K lets take the body of Chelmsford back to isandhlwana and bury him on the windswept veldt and maybe he will here the whispers of the men he so freely sacrificed.
20th March 2005Glenn Wade
Chelmsford did not 'freely sacrifice' the men left at Isandlwana. Agreed, he made a fatal error by splitting his force, but a disaster was the last thing he wanted. He underestimated the Zulu people, assuming them to be just like the Xhosa warriors in the 9th Cape Frontier War. I do believe that Chelmsford is not entirely to blame for the Zulu victory at Isandlwana but recent documentries have unfairly put him in the frame.
As for exhuming the bodies at Isandlwana, not possible. Graverobbers have churned the cairns over in the past in a selfish lust for valuable relics and, as Martin has pointed out, cost and the impossible nature of identifying individuals puts pay to such an idea.
By the way, Ian had not actually found the body of Sergeant Thomas Cooper during the programme of which you speak, the narrator was speaking metaphorically.
I hate to ramble mate but such an idea is a little bit over the top
All the best
20th March 2005Peter Ewart

"If I should die, think only this of me;
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blessed by sons of home."

("The Soldier.") There is, of course, a less well-known second verse, but I'm very far from word perfect on it. And despite the plethora of commemorative obelisks on that "foreign field" today, surely their most fitting and lasting memorial is that brooding outcrop itself.


P.S. Yes, I know RB wrote "England" - but it was very much what we'd call today an "inclusive" term!!!
22nd March 2005Derek c
If I were a skeleton at Isandlwana, that could speak, I'd rather stay there for many reasons.
24th March 2005Eileen Sutton
When you read of what has happened to the graves of Curliing in Ramsgate and William Jones in Manchester,I would say that they are all better left where they are now.
31st March 2005Martin Heyes
I live abroad so I'm afraid I haven't read of what happened to the graves which you mention.
Could you please enlighten me?
3rd April 2005Eileen Sutton
In the book "The Curling Letters" by Adrian Greaves and Brian Best, it says that the white cross on the grave has been pushed over or has fallen over and is lying on the overgrown bed of the grave. Obviously no-one is tending the grave which is so sad. William Jones was buried in a mass grave in a Manchestercemetery without mention on the stone that he was the holder of a V.C. After a campaign by local people who were interested and a local newspaper the Council finally in 1983 added the letters "V.C." to the grave stone. In 1985 a plaque was erected in the cemetery church but this has now gone missing as the church has fallen into disrepair. I find it hard to believe that people so easily take for granted heroism and bravery and that they can allow these things to happen. At least they are not forgotten by us.