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G & D Coy 1st/24th 22 Jan 79 ?
Paul Lamberth


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Rorke's Drift KZN South Africa
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Originally (Rainforth) G 1st/24th was to move up to the "drift" on the 20th Jan (from Helpmekaar).After been relieved by (Upcher) D 1st/24th who moved up from Grey Town?.We know there was a delay due to weather?
On the 22nd this causes concern and Spalding sets out to hurry up the progress of "G" company. Late that afternoon he (Spalding) comes across both companies.
Question: who and when did these orders change?
Who would have remained behind at Helpmekaar to guard the station?

Thanks

Paul


Last edited by Paul Lamberth on Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Martin Everett


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 784
Location: Brecon
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Dear Paul,

I think you may be asking a question of which the answer may not exist, i.e. The orders by CO 1/24th. The delay by Upcher seems to caused by waiting for drafts. The digest of the 1/24th gives the following information:

6th December 1878
The Headquarters and A, C, E and H Companies left Greytown for Helpmakaar. G Company (Captain Rainforth) remained at Greytown.

12th December 1878
The Headquarters and A, C, E and H Companies reached Helpmakaar, and Colonel Glyn assumed command of the 3rd Column of which the 1st Battalion formed part.

7th January 1879
D Company (Major Upcher) left Durban to join the Battalion.

8th January 1879
The Headquarters and four companies advanced to Rorke’s Drift. Brevet Lieutenant Colonel HB Pulleine joined and assumed command of the 1st Battalion.

9th January 1879
F Company (Captain Mostyn) with Lieutenants EO Anstey and JP Daly left Pietermaritzburg to join the 1st Battalion.

10th January 1879
G Company (Captain Rainforth) with Lieutenant Clements and Palmes left Greytown.

11th January 1879
The Headquarters and four companies crossed the Buffalo River as part of the 3rd Column and encamped on the banks of the river in Zululand.

12th January 1879
These four companies formed part of a force under Colonel Glyn, which drove the Zulus from the Bashi Valley and Sirayos Kraal. Lieutenant Browne and 20 men 1/24th serving in the 1st Squadron Mounted Infantry were engaged on the top of the hill. Lieutenant Colonel Black (2/24th) commanding the 3rd Regiment NNC who dislodged the Zulus from their position at the base of the cliff.

16th January 1879
D Company (Captain R Upcher) and drafts for the 2nd Battalion arrived at Greytown.

20th January 1879
F Company (Captain WE Mostyn) joined the 1st Battalion at Isandhlwana. Lieutenant Browne making a reconnaissance towards Isiphezi mountain with a few Mounted Infantry had a brush with some Zulu scouts.

21st January 1879
D Company (Captain R Upcher) and drafts for the 2nd Battalion arrived at Helpmakaar. They joined G Company (Captain T Rainforth).


Last edited by Martin Everett on Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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Paul

This relates directly to my post of "Helpmekaar Defenders". There does seem to have been total confusion about who exactly was to move up to Rorke's drift and who should have stayed to defend the stores.
For about 4 hours in the afternoon of the 22nd January, there were only six mounted infantrymen left to defend the base. A prime invitation to a quick Zulu sortie over the river if they had known.
It amazes me that both companies were marched down to the drift and left such a vital base virtually defenceless.
Spalding actually rode into Helpmekaar and must have seen that it was defenceless, yet rode back to the two stationary companies and moved them even closer to Rorke's drift.

Graham
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Paul Lamberth


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 37
Location: Rorke's Drift KZN South Africa
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Thanks Martin/Graham

Such detail but I am still not sure it answers my question.
Who was giving the orders...or who changed them?
Was it Spalding? or did Upcher move on his own initiative?
Spalding reports he met the 2 coy on route to Helpmekaar...that means they were already on the move. And yes, leaving the station virtualy undefended does raise questions. As mentioned in previous postings the 1st/24th regimental colours were also left at Helpmekaar...a great responsability. If there is a name that appears all over the place (various maps) then it's "Vermaaks" I would much prefer a more current reference such as "bottom of pass" or "top of pass" or x amount of distance away.
We are aware that there was more than one route(track) to Helpmekaar or the "good road...two days march" or the "bad road...one days march" Chelmsford's report prior November '78

It is at times when the more I become interested the more I get confused...about who did what, where, and when.

Paul
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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A letter from Lord Chelmsford dated 13th January from Head Quarter camp, near Rorke's drift to Colonel Bellairs states that Colonel Bray will be placed to take charge of the line of communication from Helpmekaar via Rorke's drift to the advanced camp. Major Spalding would have been carrying out his orders to move the companies up.
Interestingly, Colonel Hassard of the Royal Engineers and second in command to Lord Chelmsford, had called into Helpmekaar during the morning for his breakfast.The two companies of the 24th were busy packing stores for the move but he must have been happy for both of them to carry on and leave Helpmekaar in an unguarded state.

Graham
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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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The following extract might throw some light on the events at Helpmekaar and Rorke's Drift prior to the 22nd.

TNA (PRO), WO 33/34, Inclosure in No. 168: Glyn to Bellairs, 7th May 1879.
It is now so long ago since the occurrences under investigation that, though I have a very distinct recollection of the facts, I regret I cannot be very precise as to the dates.
I sent orders to Helpmakaar to await the arrival of Captain Rainforth with his Company, directing him to move down to Rorke’s Drift at once.
This order, as I subsequently learnt from Captain Rainforth, never reached him.
A few days later I sent a second order to Capt. Rainforth to the same purport. To the best of my recollection this order was also sent to him directly, but either this or a third order (which finding neither of the first two had been complied with, I despatched) was enclosed to him under cover to the late Capt., Mostyn, the then Senior Officer at Helpmakaar and who had also in the meantime arrived there.
But although Capt. Mostyn moved his Company down at once, in compliance with the instructions transmitted to him at the same time, and arrived at Isandhlwana on the 21st January (I think) yet, Captain Rainforth, it is believed, never received this order either.
The order sent under cover to Capt. Mostyn was most unmistakably sent off correctly as Major Clery did it up himself and expressed himself as being unable to comprehend Capt. Rainforth’s non-arrival.

I hope this helps.
KIS
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Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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Graham,
Can you tell me where you have the information from that there were six IMI at Helpmekaar on the afternoon of the 22nd (before any fugitives reached there)? As far as I'm aware all the IMI were either at Isandhlwana or with Chelmsford's reconnaissance. I'd be grateful if you could let me know the source.
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diagralex


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 208
Location: Broomfield, Essex
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Julian

I have used the letter of Driver Elias Tucker to his parents dated the 28th January 1879. in that letter he states that :-
" When we got there (Helpmekaar), there were only six men on guard belonging to the 13th regiment"

As I mentioned in a previous post, the 13th were based much further north, near Utrecht and I wondered why just six infantrymen had marched all that distance to become guards at the supply base of Helpmekaar. I think that it is far more logical that the men were mounted infantry from the 13th regiment.
The 13th had certainly provided some mounted infantry and they had been at Helpmekaar before moving up to Isandlwana. My instinct is that they were far more likely to have been I.M.I. than six detached infantrymen.
Do you have any details of the exact number of I.M.I. that the 13th may have provided for the column ?

Regards Graham
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G & D Coy 1st/24th 22 Jan 79 ?
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