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DateOriginal Topic
14th May 2004boxed martini henry ammo buried,never found?
By steve
in the washing of the spears by donald r morris,he makes reference to a report by an officer of the 2nd/24th which is interesting.
while a detachment of the 2nd/24th
was entrenched near sand spriut,on receiving
hurried news of the fate of pulleine and durnford,an officer escorting a large ammunition supply train,hurriedly buried his
cargo on "a bare hillside",before abandoning his wagons and hurriedly making for the nearest laager.
some weeks later he returned with supporting troops to recover the hoard,but found that the
intervening rains had washed away all trace of the diggings........the ammunition i beleive has never been recovered.
as it would have been boxed over tin foil,their
is a good chance that even after these
intervening years a quantity would have survived in fairly reasonable condition.
does anyone know if it has ever been recovered.
i would assume the officers report is in the war office archives,and would give reasonable directions and a description of the area.
what a cool holiday,digging for a couple of hundred thousand rounds of martini henry
ammo............or shall i go to margate again this year..........mmmmm.....
16th May 2004Grant Best
Margate it is!

16th May 2004Peter Ewart

Can't see what your problem is. Why not do both?

You can mess about around the area where the ammo was buried & still enjoy your holiday in Margate (& Ramsgate too if you like!) by popping down to the seaside in a southerly direction as the crow flies from where you'll be doing your digging.

Without wishing to denigrate the two familiar old resorts which I can almost see from where I write, I think you'd find the Indian Ocean just a tad warmer than the brine off the North Foreland - and you'd be a lot safer, too!

Just a little over the same distance from London to Thanet - and you can still go via Sevenoaks, just to make you feel at home! I think the Buffs must have been along there at some time, don't you? Perhaps they had a little holiday down the coast after Inyezane & Eshowe ...

Happy digging, Steve (even if it's only for sand castles!)

17th May 2004Neil Aspinshaw
I recently explored ideas similar to this with Dr Adrian Greaves with respect to the refuse pits dug at Rorkes drift to bury debris from Isandlwana.

Its a big "if" if indeed ammunition was buried that it hasn't alredy been exposed by now due to erosion. There is a similar story of martinis being buried at Helpmekaar, now at current rate that would be far more disirable.

I locate and excavate victorian and Edwardian refuse dumps for the bottleas and artefacts buried in them, The hardest problem is locating the approximate area that the dump was, often cultivated areas or scrub land. I have a special tool called a "probe rod" which gives away key signs of buried "man-made" fill,
But you must have the rough location first, simply wandering around aimlessly would just give you a bad back!.

17th May 2004steve
lots of thanks for the replies,the serious ones and the not so serious ones...........any input is allways welcome.
neil,i also used to dig for victorian glass pipes and pots,around the dissused canals of my hometown,Tipton,it was famous once for having more miles of canal than venice,alas its infamous in other ways today,
though found the carved stock of an 1882 (c)
shotgun in the canal silt.......guess digging and mysteries are in the blood.
once again thanks for the replies........
26th May 2004steve
oops...made another mistake,the company
or detatchment involved were 2nd/4th,not as
previously stated by me.

as an interesting note,i checked out
the south african military history site,and on
reading their published reports came upon
one from a corporal howe,5 field company
royal engineers,after crossing the mooi river
they received a message that 30 ammunition wagons lay undefended at sandspruit,so
howe marched his troops on,they reached
sandspruit and made a fortification.
the report doesnt show(on the net)how many
wagons,or how much ammunition they
found,but they were attacked with one wounded.