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Ian Knight's blog

GUTTED LIKE SHEEP - The Questionable Fate of the 24th's Drummer Boys at iSandlwana

     It is probably one of the most enduring horror stories to emerge from the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 - a single incident of macabre brutality which stands out even among the carnage and horror of the bloodiest British defeat of the Victorian era, and one which still has the power to induce a frisson of horror over 130 years on.

JUNE 1st IN ALL ITS MELANCHOLY;

       It’s that time of year again when my thoughts stray away from my cosy study here in the south of England to a remote muddy gully in South Africa where – 136 years ago this week, as it happens – one of those small human tragedies which constitute the true nature of all warfare took place - but which, in this case, had rather far-reaching consequences and is therefore better-remembered than it might otherwise have been.

'ALL THIS WAY TO BE KILLED BY A BULLET FROM BIRMINGHAM!'

    Early on the morning of 22 January 1879 - the day of iSandlwana - Col. Pearson’s Right Flank Column blundered into a Zulu force lying concealed in the hills above the Nyezane river. The resulting battle was the first major engagement between a British column and Zulu royal amabutho, and it offered a number of interesting pointers to the future.

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