As a recent follower of this forum, please forgive me if I am resurrecting an old chesnut which has been long debated and resolved many years ago, but I am interested in unit source of the majority of the Jameson Raiders. It is clearly the MMP, but does the first 'M' stand for 'Matabeleland' or 'Mashonaland'?
My own researches lead me very firmly to 'Matabeleland' for a number of reasons:
1. In a despatch of 28 January 1896 from the Governor of the Natal Colony to the British Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, the Raiders are described as coming from the Matabeleland Mounted Police (and the disbanded Bechuanaland Border Police);
2. Various editions of the Times giving accounts of the raid (22 and 24 January 1896) and the return of the raiders (24 February 1896) refer to Matabeleland MP;
3. When giving evidence to the first trial at Bow Street, two or three rank and file witnesses state they were in the Matabeleland MP (and none that I have so far found to the Mashonaland MP);
4. In a letter to the Times of 25 February, four senior officers on trial give their affiliation as the Matabeleland MP;
5. On this web-site's list of raiders, 54 have a Matabeleland domicile and only 6 Mashonaland;
6. Matabeleland is much closer to the starting point of the raid than Mashonaland; and
7. In the absence of the Raiders, it was the Matabele that rose first, not the Mashonas.
Against this, many later references including the descriptions attached to medal awards on this web-site refer to the Mashonaland MP. To my mind though, these are not primary references, and certainly not written at the time. The major reference to the Mashonaland MP seems to be the book written by Hugh Marshall Hole in the 1930s (and cited on Keith Case’s excellent web-site). I’ve exchanged a few very friendly mails with Keith and he has pointed out that Marshall Hole was a private secretary to Jameson for a while, and that his book seems to have been thoroughly researched. He also notes that Marshall Hole uses the phrase: “…the Mashonaland Mounted Police to give them their official title…”: it could be that he is right and everyone else is wrong!
Any thoughts or illuminations welcome, and apologies again if this is an exhausted topic.