Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Winston Churchill and the Armoured Train (1899)

Receipt of 'The Churchill Factor' by Boris Johnson as a Christmas present has prompted me to update my blog with a brief report on the Armoured Train incident near Estcourt in Natal, South Africa. I visited the site a couple of months ago with a group of friends including Boer War expert Major Paul Naish.
Fort Durnford at Estcourt, Natal
In 1899 at the start of the 2nd Boer War, Estcourt was a small town of about 300 houses some 25 miles South of the main Tegula River crossing. It's importance lay in the fact that the town was still on the main Durban to Johannesburg railway line. In November the nearby town of Ladysmith was successfully invested by the Boers and Estcourt became something of a front line staging post with a mandate to maintain communications with the British garrisons at Colenso and Frere further up the line.
The Railway Line near Frere, Natal
As the Boer's consolidated their hold on Ladysmith, so the need for intelligence on their movements increased. To this end an armoured train was sent out from Estcourt daily with the intention of spotting the Boers. This was becoming a dangerous exercise. Indeed in his book 'Thank God we kept the flag flying', Kenneth Griffith recalls soldiers referring to the train as 'Wilson's Death Trap'.

Armoured Train Incident - Location Marker
At this time Winston Churchill was operating as a journalist and on the 15th Nov 1899 he managed to secure a place on the train. In his book 'Buller's Campaign', Julian Symons describes the train as an ordinary engine with roofless trucks which had been reinforced with boiler plates with loopholes cut in them for rifles. On the 15th the train was manned by a company each of the Dublin Fusiliers and the Durban Light Infantry. In addition there were a few sailors (required to man the onboard artillery piece) and some plate layers for repairs.
Paul Naish explains the Armoured Train incident
On the day of the incident the train got as far as Chieveley to the North of Frere before being ordered to turn back by Colonel Long. On the way back the train hit an ambush. Part of the train was derailed and the men came under fire from Boers armed with a Maxim and supporting Mausers. After forthright action including engineering work whilst under fire, the engine and tender were able to get back to Estcourt. Even Griffith (a stalwart admirer of the Boers) commends Churchill for his leadership during this heated skirmish.
The excat spot where Churchill was captured
Four British soldiers lie buried by the track and 70 men were taken prisoner. Churchill and Captain Aylmer Haldane were amongst this number. The spot where Churchill was actually taken is a little way from the crash location and the local landscape has been altered over the years because of groundwork undertaken by a local farmer. The line of the railway has been altered slightly too. 

Footnote: Churchill was taken to Pretoria as a POW but escaped after only four weeks. He rejoined the British forces for the rest of the War. Churchill recalled the incident in his memoirs: "Nothing was so thrilling as this: to wait and struggle amongst those clanging, rending iron boxes, with the repeated explosions of shells and the artillery, the noise of projectiles hitting the cars, the hiss as they passed in the air ... all this for 70 minutes by the clock with only four inches of twisted iron work to make the difference between danger, captivity, and shame on the one hand ... safety, freedom and triumph on the other".

For the Battle of Elandslaagte click here.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Return to the Taku (Dagu) Forts, China

A couple of years ago I found time to visit the Taku Forts area of Tianjin during a family holiday in China. Time was limited and I did not have an interpreter with me so my battlefield walk consisted of a cursory exploration of the area immediately surrounding the recently built Taku Forts Museum. Earlier this year I was invited back to China by Chinese State Television (CCTV) to re-enact my original walk (and more) for the benefit of an Asian television audience.
The view from my Hotel in Tianjin
This fantastic trip provided access to the resources I needed in order to undertake a 'proper' battlefield walk covering not only the actions at the Taku Forts but also the subsequent events in Pekin (now Beijing). I also found time to visit some truly wonderful places such as the totally bizarre Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park (covered in a previous entry). Some of the trip was tightly choreographed by the Chinese authorities whilst at other times I had a free hand with just one cameraman tracking my movements.
Filming at the Wei Bastion

My starting point was the Wei Bastion. As far as I knew this was all that remained of the largest of the forts on the south side of the Hai River (Peiho). This is the structure that has been incorporated into the new museum. It was good to meet the museum staff  although the long days of filming in the hot sun were quite demanding. In between takes I managed to get access to the local archive and although I don't speak or read mandarin some of the pictures and maps were easy to interpret.

The film Crew in action

The whole area has been transformed into a major international port. Waterways have been re-routed, land has been reclaimed and the causeways and paddy fields of the 19th century are now buried under high rise flats, fast food restaurants and urban freeways. Indeed the site of the Northern fort where the British and French troops broke Chinese resistance is now marked by a shopping mall and massive McDonalds restaurant.

In the archive I'd spotted a map which interested me. It showed the Wei Bastion as part of a string of three forts on the south side of the river. 
The Three Bastions - Southern Bank
I'd seen this on Elgin's Campaign map in the National Archives at Kew but the Chinese map was good validation. On the campaign map back in London the river was spanned by a string of submerged junks which appeared to be part bridge and part barrier. In modern Tianjin the line of these junks is now marked by a massive road bridge. 

Lunch with the Director
On the second day of filming the film crew and I crossed this bridge to visit a local restaurant for lunch. As we headed east I looked to my right and saw two areas of disturbed ground on the foreshore. My intuition told me that they were connected with the military history of this area. 

Lunch with the Crew
The Museum Director and TV personnel were adamant that there was nothing left of the Forts apart from the single bastion in the Museum grounds. Despite protestations that further investigation would be a "waste of time" and (rather mysteriously) "dangerous"  I eventually convinced my hosts that if they wanted my ongoing co-operation then they would need to let me take a walk down to these sites. I was accompanied by a mobile cameraman and some of the footage is available on You Tube (see below).

The Port Area - Hai River

Outside of the sanitised area of the Museum, the ground is blighted by industrial refuse and to get to the areas I'd seen it was necessary to pass through a wreckers yard where workers were dismantling huge sea going ships with the use of lump hammers and oxyacetylene equipment.

The Zhen Bastion
However, my intuition was right, the remains I had spotted from the road were those of the middle Bastion known as the Zhen Fort. How do I know this? When I asked my Chinese companion to interpret the words on a rusty old sign near the structure, he confirmed this site as the Zhen Bastion. Eureka!

I knew there were three Bastions originally and sure enough I could now see the final strongpoint known as 'Hai' further along the coastal path immediately adjacent to the road bridge. On the picture above the Zhen Bastion is on the right of the picture and the Hai is to the left in the distance.
The Zhen Bastion

 The Zhen Bastion had obviously gone through several iterations. The structure which I explored having navigated my way through a barbed wire fence, was early 20th century with hard protection and loop holes for heavy machine guns as well as coastal artillery.

In many ways the Hai Bastion is the most impressive. It is accessed via a causeway from the busy highway leading onto the modern road bridge. There is evidently a network of underground turrets as at several vantage points there are concrete cupolas which originally provided fire positions for various calibers of gun. The picture shows the highest cupola being used as a mooring position for a tanker in the breakers yard below.

Cupola on the Hai Bastion
I ended the day feeling pretty pleased with myself. I'd not only had a fascinating walk through territory that, in every aspect, was totally unfamiliar to me but I'd also identified and photographs important elements of the surviving sea defences on the Peiho River that would otherwise have been overlooked. The reality is that three Taku Forts remain - a somewhat surprising fact given the huge amount of development that has occurred in Tianjin Province.

The next day I explored the Northern shore. This was the area fought over in 1860 where the most Easterly Fort was the scene of a major battle in which my Great, Great Grandfather (67th Regiment) was involved. There is nothing left of the sea defences in this area. The whole topography is totally transformed by modern development.
The Hai Bastion - End of the Walk
There is plenty more to tell. After the Taku Forts, we travelled to Beijing in an hour or so using the local 300 Km Per Hour bullet train (it took Elgin two weeks to make the same trip in 1860). In a future entry I will talk about the trials and tribulations of filming in Beijing and the hugely sensitive Old Summer Palace.

For the Mystery of Thomas Strong at the Taku Forts click here.
To read about the 67th Regiment in China click here.
To read about the wonderful Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park click here.
To read my first post on the Taku Forts click here.
To watch the Tianjin Military History documentary featured in my blog click here.
To see me discovering the Zhen Bastion click here.
To see me remembering the fallen at the Taku Forts click here.
For a small number of photos from the trip click here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ulundi - The End of the Old Zulu Order (1879)

The road up to Ulundi from the old Natal border winds through the Zulu heartlands. The beauty of the landscape is breathtaking and the towns en-route are marked by the hustle and bustle of the local culture. We stopped off to admire the fantastic landscape of Twin Peaks and when we reached the top of the the adjoining plateau it felt like we were on top of the world.
Crossing the Tugela River
Twin Peaks
The British column that trod this route in the Spring of 1879 had one objective only. To defeat the Zulu Army in a decisive battle and put an end to Cetshwayo's rule. The Zulu king had tried in vain to negotiate but after the debacle of Isandlwana Lord Chelmsford was a man with a reputation to restore and nothing was going to get in his way.
Ulundi Battlefield Memorial Park
For the final fight in Ulundi Chelmsford deployed a total of 5,317 men in the form of a rectangle bristling on each side with formidable fire power. The infantrymen were supported by two gatling guns, four artillery pieces and three squadrons of cavalry. This 'square' was formed up and then moved, in formation, up to the King's kraal where some 15,000 Zulu warriors stood ready to fight.
The Ulundi Mausoleum
The battle lasted less than hour with hundreds of warriors killed outright as they tried in vain to penetrate the defensive walls of the 'laager'. The left horn got to within nine paces but most the Zulu rushes stalled 300 or 400 metres out. As the Zulus faltered Chelmsford released his cavalry reserve - the 17th Lancers - who put the survivors to flight. 
The Path to the British Cemetery
It is estimated that the Zulus lost about 1,000 killed and a similiar number wounded. Sadly the names of these fallen warriors are lost in antiquity. British losses were modest - just eleven killed. A Captain and farrier from the 17th Lancers, two from Shepstones Horse, an interpreter, an artilleryman and six infantrymen. all are buried in a small cemetery on the battlefield.
Ulundi Military Cemetery
The battlefield park is in the middle of a vast Zulu township and it is only the area of the British position that has been preserved. This, in itself, is interesting though. The square was larger than the command position at Khambula but considerably tighter than the loose perimeter at Isandlwana where the defenders paid such a heavy price in January.
The End of the Old Zulu Order
The battle marked the end of the old Zulu order. Cetshwayo was captured shortly afterwards and was imprisoned in Cape Town before spending time in London and eventually returning to his Ulundi where a new Kraal was built to replace the original homestead which had been destroyed by the British.
The New Kraal at Ulundi
The old Zulu order was not to return however. The country was split into spheres of interest with chieftains nominated by Britain as the colonial power. Over several decades after the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War there were a series of bloody civil conflicts which served only to split the Zulu nation even further apart.

For the Battle of Hlobane click here.
For the Battle of Khambula click here.
For the Battle of Isandlwana click here.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Strange Story of Monty, the Papakha and the Bekesha (1947)

Last week I picked up a copy of 'The Last Six Months' by General S.M. Shtemenko in a local charity shop. The author was Deputy Chief of General Headquarters reporting to Stalin on a daily basis through the final six months of the second World War. The book is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the Soviet view of this critical period. It is also full of interesting anecdotes including the visit of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery to Moscow in January, 1947. I will quote the story of Monty's bekesha and papakha in Shtemenko's own words.

Field Marshall Montgomery with Gen. Shtemenko

But first an explanation of what a bekesha and a papkha are. A bekesha is a squirrel skin winter coat much favoured by Soviet era military officers. The papakha is a Caucasian fur cap made of grey Astrakhan. Astrakhan is the fleece of a newly born lamb. When Monty visited the Soviet High Command in 1947 these were the gifts chosen for him. The picture above shows Montgomery departing Moscow after the trip. Shtemenko is to the right of Monty.

"Montgomery was very pleased with the gifts. He looked them over at length and asked whether the squirrel skin was genuine and how much the fur had cost. No one could tell him the price, so I had to go to the telephone to find out. Then Montgomery decided to to try on the bekesha and the papakha .... the bekesha was too long. The so called reliable data we had used was sharply at odds with reality. The British Field Marshall, not being distinguished by a hero's frame, simply swam in the bekesha. Vasilevsky said soothingly, "we can fix that. By tomorrow morning the bekesha will be delivered to you properly taylored". But this wasn't enough for the Field Marshall. He wanted the bekesha shortened right there and then, while he waited. The rest of us exchanged puzzled glances .... I went out and returned forty minutes later with a tailor. Measurements were taken, and in the reception room of the General Staff, the tailor set down to work with his sewing machine. Meanwhile, the time allocated for the official part of the visit had elapsed."

Monty with M Koniev. Hugh Lunghi stands between them.

Shtemenko goes on to recall "On the eve of Montgomery's departure, Stalin gave a dinner in the Field Marshall's honour. Some twenty persons were invited .... when Montgomery arrived, the door opened, and he entered the reception room, wearing his bekesha and papakha. "What's the matter? we asked rushing to meet his escort. "Why didn't you take off his coat and hat in the cloak room?" "He categorically refused" was the answer. Montgomery noticing our puzzlement said "I want Generalissimo Stalin to see me in Russian uniform". At that moment Stalin entered. Montgomery explained what was going on. Stalin laughed and had himself photographed with Monty (as the British call him)". 

You never know what you are going to find on the shelves of a charity shop. This dusty old book is a real treasure.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Khambula - Cetshwayo's Nemesis (1879)

Our drive to Khambula following the route of Evelyn Wood's invading force on the left hand flank of Chelmsford's invading army took us through pine forests and along sandy roads to a point which was less than a day's march from Mount Hlobane where the British had been defeated by the Zulus on the 28th March 1879. It was at Khambula a day later that the lessons learnt so harshly at Isandlwana would be applied - with severe implications for the Zulu nation. For Khambula was most certainly the turning point in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
British Redoubt facing the Zulu Right Horn (Zinguin Hills top right).
Unlike Isandlwana the British camp at Khambula was compact and well prepared for close defence. The picture above shows part of the outline of a redoubt constructed on the crest of a dominant ridge. This position which accommodated the commander, two companies of infantry and two 7-pounder guns of the Royal Artillery was about the size of two tennis courts. The perimeter was built up using rocks, stones and sods of earth.
About 150 yards to the West of this redoubt, about 100 transport wagons had been parked nose to tail to form a lopsided square. This main laager was defended by about 1,000 men from the 1/13th and 90th Light Infantry. Within the laager was a hospital, all supplies and about 700 saddled up horses. Around the perimeter the defenders could make use of a defensive trench and a double height firing step.

A further small laager of about 40 wagons was fortified to protect oxen and cattle. This was defended by a single company of the 13th Light Infantry.
The main British Firing Line looking South from the crest of the ridge. 
The attacking Zulus were at the height of their confidence. They had defeated the British at Isandlwana two months earlier, bottled up the army protecting Chelmsford's right hand flank in Eshowe and had achieved impressive tactical victories at Intombe River and Hlobane. The army was 21,000 strong with it's fighting heart made up of the 6,000 strong Nkobamakosi regiment, average age 24. A formidable force set on crushing the 2,086 men under Wood's command.
Sharing information with the locals.

In his excellent book 'Blood on the Painted Mountain - Zulu Victory and Defeat: Hlobane and Kambula 1879' Ron Lock (whom I had met on Spioen Kop a few days earlier) quotes an extract from Cetshwayo's battle orders; "You are not to go into the hole of a wild beast or else you will get clawed - wait until the soldiers come out of their laager and then fall upon them'.

On the 29th March the Zulu army had been observed all morning. The defenders were ready at midday when the Zulus deployed along a six mile front. Rather than wait for the Zulu commander, Mnyamana, to pick his lines of attack Wood decided to provoke a premature charge. A couple of troops of horsemen did the trick by dismounting 300 yards in front of the massed Zulu ranks and firing a powerful volley. The Nkobamakosi came on and the others followed.
Battle of Khambula by Melton Prior
The resultant ill disciplined attack achieved little and the Nkobamakosi retreated to an outcrop of rocks some 400 yards distant. The remaining bulk of the Zulu army attacked some 45 minutes later. The momentum forced the British defenders of the cattle kraal back. Zulu snipers managed to find shelter in the dead ground immediately below the lip of a ridge running parallel to the British positions (see pictures above and below).
View from the lip of the Ridge at Khambula
A counter attack with fixed bayonets by the 90th Foot retook the cattle kraal. The battle then moved into its' critical phase with waves of Zulus coming on in the face of massed fire from the main Kraal and the smaller hill top redoubt. The tide turned decisively when two companies of the 13th LI were deployed on the edge of the ridge to fire into the Zulus who were massing for a final charge. The position is shown from the side in Prior's painting and looking towards the Zulu Lines in my photo - both images above. As the Zulu army faltered the British cavalry and mounted infantry - some 600 strong - moved to attack the retreating warriors.
British Cemetery at Khambula
All was finished by 6:30 in the evening and the next day a review of the casualties showed 83 British killed and wounded. The Zulus lost 800 in the immediate vicinity of the British camp and as many as 1500 along the lines of pursuit. The Zulu nation would never be quite the same again.

Click here for the Battle of Hlobane.
Click here for photos of Kambula.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Blood on the Painted Mountain (1879)

'Blood on the Painted Mountain' was the description used by Ron Lock as a title for his authoritative book about the Zulu victory at the Battle of Hlobane on the 28th March 1879. Published in 1995, the book tells the story of Hlobane and the subsequent British victory at Kambula - just one day later. Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Ron - albeit on a battlefield belonging to a different generation - Spion Kop.
Hlobane Mountain
The Zulus in this part of their homeland (the abaQulusi) were separated by some distance from the main Zulu power base in Ulundi. No.4 Column of the British invading force under Evelyn Wood had been charged with eliminating what was felt to be a relatively isolated Zulu force. There were an estimated 1,000 Zulus on the mountain with a large number of cattle. Wood attacked with a contingent of 614 mounted troops. The picture above shows the mountain from end to end. The lower plateau on the right was the objective of Lieutenant Colonel John Cecil Russell. The upper plateau on the left - or to the East - was to be taken by Lieutenant Colonel Redvers Buller.

Two Bottles for Dirk 
Our small group was being advised by Major Paul Naish, a longstanding friend of mine and an authority on African military history. Paul managed to secure a 4x4 vehicle in exchange for two bottles of whisky and we were therefore able to cover all of the main areas of interest on this fascinating battlefield without several hours trekking from point to point.

The entry point is through a decaying mining town called Vryheid and we parked up our vehicle and switched to an open backed truck in the old coal yard. Our first stop was above the Intyentika Nek where a force of about 80 men from the Border Horse along with Barton's Squadron of the Frontier Light Horse were cornered by Zulus (only 7 escaped).
Intyentika Nek

Unfortunately for Wood and his relatively small command, the opposing Zulu force had been massively bolstered by an army of more that 20,000 warriors heading for No. 4 Column's camp at Kambula, just a few miles away to the North. The colonial riders had been caught by surprise and had nowhere to go.

On the opposite side of the mountain lies the main track up to the plateau. This had been the route taken by Buller as he executed the attack on the Eastern end of the mountain. Wood and a small group of his staff officers had followed the route shortly after Buller had made the ascent. This understrength party were astonished to find themselves opposed by Zulu  (abaQulusi) snipers hidden in the rocks just below the skyline.

It was here that one can find the only remaining British war graves. Those of Captain Ronald Campbell of the Coldstream Guards and Llewllyen Lloyd a civilian interpreter. Both were killed when they tried to press forward unaware of the fact that the Zulus had arrived in strength and frustrated that the Border Horse contingent were moving away from the scene of battle having become separated from Buller's main force. (A few days earlier we had come across a memorial to Lloyd in St John's church, Mooi River back in Natal).

It is a bumpy ride up to the high plateau. On the top the ground is rocky but flat. We travelled up in winter time but in the summer I am told that it is a sea of lush green grass.

Buller's force, realising their predicament, fought a fighting withdrawal away from  their route of ascent but towards the intersect with Russell's force which they assumed would have secured the lower plateau. Unfortunately Russell had withdrawn from the mountain having received an ambivalent order from Wood who was now aware of the size of the opposing force. Buller was on his own!

The Devil's Pass, Hlobane Mountain
The fighting on the top of the mountain was intense with the British force desperately trying to link up with Russell and find a way off the mountain. Russell was gone, so the only way out for the survivors was via a steep decline known as the Devil's Pass which lead down to the lower plateau, known as Ntendeka Nek and shown on the photograph above.

Myself on Hlobane Mountain - Position of A Squadron FLH
It is difficult to imagine how mounted men could have navigated their way down this slope - and many never made it. The survivors made for Kambula hotly pursued by Zulu warriors. I will cover Kambula in a future blog entry.

My Flickr photo set for Hlobane is here.
The story of the Fugitives Trail at Isandlwana can be found here.
The Battle of Kambula can be found here.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Aftermath of the Battle of Isandlwana (1869)

Last week I fulfilled one of my ambitions by walking the Fugitive's Trail in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The trail marks the route taken by survivors fleeing from the British Camp at the base of Isandlwana following its' destruction by a 20,000 strong Zulu Army on the 22nd January 1879.
War Graves at Isandlwana Camp
The British force at Isandlwana was in excess of 1,300 strong and the most accurate analysis of historical records gives an estimate of only 65 survivors. Half of the casualties occurred during the defensive battle around the environs of the camp. The other half occurred after the camp had been destroyed as the survivors took the trail back to what is now known as Fugitive's Drift on the Buffalo River which, at that time, marked the boundary between Zululand and Natal.

Younghusband's Cairn
The start of the trail is above the site of the Colonial Cemetery (near the Wagon Park as located during the Battle). On the right the cairn marking the last stand of some twenty soldiers from soldiers of C Co. 24th Regiment can be seen half way up the hill. The battlefield is littered with cairns marking the graves of the fallen and it is easy to discern where the fighting was fiercest as the firing line folded and the panic set in. This area marks the spot where the Zulu Army right hand 'Horn of the Buffalo' swept onto the battlefield via the rear of the defending troops.

The Start of the Fugitive's Trail
Heading down towards the River Manzinyama we passed a line of cairn's which purported to mark the place where Lieutenant Edgar Oliphant Anstey fought to the last with remnants of F Co. 24th Regiment. Anstey's body was recovered by his brother two days after the battle and now lies buried in Woking, England.
Anstey's Last Stand, Fugitive's Trail

The two guns of N Co, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery were lost near this spot as the gunners desperately tried to take them to safety. The horses were killed in their trails and the guns were hauled back to Ulundi as tribute to Cetawayo. I will cover their recovery in a later entry on this blog when I write about the Battle of Ulundi and the final days of the Anglo - Zulu War.

Dry River Course
The section of the walk through to the crossing point on the Manzinyama is fairly straight forward. Mainly a traverse across even ground through rough, rocky scrub. The cairns are less evident after a time but my friend, Major Paul Naish, told me that there were originally many more - some on the Natal side of the Buffalo river. Over the years they have been washed away or have fallen into disrepair.

Abonga Points the Way
The second part of the walk is uphill through open scrub. Hot work in the sun and a little more difficult to navigate. Luckily our local Zulu Guide, Abonga, was able to point the way. At the top we were rewarded with a view of the Buffalo River. At this time of year, very low and easy to cross. On the 22nd January 1879 the water was 20 feet deep and fast flowing. A challenge for the horsemen involved. I say horsemen because to have a chance of escape, a horse was absolutely necessary. Those on foot soon fell victim to the pursuing Zulus.

View of the Buffalo River from the North Bank
The Crossing Point at Fugitive's Drift
The final section of the walk is the most difficult. It's a steep descent through thick, prickly bushes slipping and sliding on loose shale and rocks. Stiflingly hot too! However, easily achievable in the peace and quiet of modern times during Winter. I cannot begin to imagine how the original fugitives coped with this route - gunning their horses on and skirmishing with Zulu warriors. At the river the we paused to splash about in the crystal clear water near the beach where Smith Dorrien (of WW1 fame) crossed on a requisitioned transport pony hotly pursued by twenty Zulus (according to his autobiography).
Melvill & Coghill Grave

The end of the trail is marked by the impressive memorial to Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill. Both were awarded VCs for their actions on the 22nd January 1879. Melvill who was the Adjutant of the 1st Bn, 24th regiment had taken the Queen's Colour when the camp collapsed and, pursued all the way, managed to get this iconic object half way across the Buffalo river. He was accompanied by Coghill who was also on Colonel Glyn's staff.

Three of us completed the 10km trail - One Brit, one Russian and one Zulu. The scenery was magnificent and the history almost overwhelming. A fantastic experience on a truly momentous battlefield walk. The others in our party took time out to explore the wider attractions of Fugitive's drift including the cool beer available in the bar at the nearby Fugitive's Lodge! Incidentally, for accommodation I would recommend Isandlwana Lodge overlooking the site of Isandlwana Camp. A wonderful place to stay.

For photographs relating to this walk click the following links:
- Click here for pictures of Isandlwana and The Fugitive's Trail.
- Click here for our Pre-Walk Research.