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Survivors and wounded
David Rae


Joined: 20 Feb 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Melksham UK
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Forgive me if this is covered elsewhere on this forum - I have made a limited search. There is much debate surrounding what did and did not happen when Lord Chelmsford returned to the Isandlwana site late on the 22nd January, and also much discussion concerning the state of the bodies. Some say there was no great inspection of the site and that the column left before daybreak to preserve morale among the troops. Some say that torture was apparent when the troops returned some months later, in which case it could have been posthumously inflicted many days or weeks after the battle. My concern lies in the apparent lack of a search for survivors that night. It seems inconceivable that no search party scoured the site hoping to find some still alive, either on the neck or more likely in hiding up the mount of Isandlwana. Even if Chelmsford believed it would damage morale to expose his troops to such awful sights it seems strange as it would have been a pressing priority among the common soldiers to find any comrades alive. Any search party would certainly have had first hand knowledge of the condition of the dead.
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1416
Location: Wales
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Chelmsford didn't want his troops to be exposed to the sight of the camp and so only stayed long
enough to avoid showing the carnage and left before daylight. It wouldn't do his reputation any
good either. There was no question of a detailed search in the dark. As to looking for possible
survivors, it was too dark and there was the fear of the Zulus returning, or still being
there. Those who did escape were eventually accounted for. In any event, anyone
remaining in the area of the battle would be unlikely to be missed by 20,000 Zulus wandering about.

There have been stories of torture and disemboweling gives that appearance but it was to
avoid spirits being left to come back to haunt them. Because that sort of custom is so
alien to us it appears to be torture. I don't know about the stories of the drummer boys.

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David Rae


Joined: 20 Feb 2019
Posts: 9
Location: Melksham UK
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Thanks Alan, I've read this before as the reason but is this the reason given at that precise time for leaving before daybreak one or is it an interpretation ascribed by historians or attributed after the event by contemporary sources? It seems Chelmsford was shocked by what had happened - who wouldn't be? But he was also astute and knew that Rorke's was under attack and possibly overrun. It must have been with a heavy heart that he approached the outpost, knowing that what awaited him there could be a similar scene to the one he had just witnessed and also he faced the distinct possibility of being ambushed en route. But, given that the early start and morning approach to Rorke's Drift did have an impact on the Zulus besiegers it may have made political sense at the time to claim this as the reason for the early withdrawal from Isandlwana. All conjecture on my part and perhaps impossible to claim at the time that this was the reason, but there seem to have been quite a few cover ups and perhaps the heroism of the stand alone story of Rorke's Drift would have suffered if the arrival of a large relieving force had played a major part in the public's view of the event. Doing something is fact and can be easily checked, very often the reason for doing or not doing something is not so easy to verify as the reasons are generally "modified" retrospectively in the light of subsequent events.
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1416
Location: Wales
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A glow on the horizon in the direction of Rorke's Drift made it seem obvious that the station had suffered the same fate.
It wouldn't have made sense to travel in the dark without knowing what might be awaiting. Others with more accurate
information will possibly provide further details. The troops had been on the go all day and were hungry. I think it would
be safe to say though that Chelmsford was not going to take any chances of having a further disaster.


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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 132
Location: U.K.
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That is a fantastic painting...
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1416
Location: Wales
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Colin, it's not a painting. I created it in photoshop using a photo of Isandlwana and
other images including pieces from Fripp's painting.

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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 132
Location: U.K.
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Alan,

Would never have guessed it was created using that facility, but I still donít have dealings with much beyond basic computer usage...it really is very good though...you are very much skilled in using it...
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Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 543
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Alan

I hadn't realised that you created that image. It is very good indeed: well done.
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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 897
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Alan,

Thatís an excellent depiction of the battle!

You should sell prints in the shop....

All the best,

AMB
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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1416
Location: Wales
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If anyone wants a digital copy, I'm sure I could send one via email.

Completely off topic, I thought I'd share a similar exercise I did which is in the rough area of Turner.


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AMB


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Posts: 897
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Mr Turner of the 21st Century!

AMB
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Survivors and wounded
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