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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Churchill & Haldane 7 months 1 week ago #79889

  • Neville_C
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The Haldane Map:



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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 6 months 3 weeks ago #80071

  • Rob D
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Neville posted an interesting picture: "Indeed, pieces of the armoured train became sort after souvenirs immediately after the disaster.
These wounded officers, homeward bound on board the Hospital Ship Maine, were photographed which such a fragment, already neatly engraved: "PART OF ARMOURED TRAIN No 53 STRUCK BY 9LB SHELL AT CHIEVELEY NOV 15TH 1899 BOER WAR"."

.[/quote]

In Bennet Burleigh's "The Natal Campaign" p 246
archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.206732/page/n293/mode/2up
he writes of the idle period between Colenso and marching to the Upper Tugela:
"There were point-to-point matches and many more besides, all hotly contested, over smooth or rocky slopes. The prizes included the Tugela Plate, value £50—a piece of boiler-iron blown from Frere Bridge in its demolition by the Boers. Besides that, there was the Railway Plate, a similar souvenir from the wrecked armoured train..."
I suspect the souvenier photographed on the hospital ship Maine is the Railway Plate.
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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 5 months 3 weeks ago #80518

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Neville_C wrote: Another photograph by René Bull - this time showing the Dublin Fusiliers on board the armoured train at Estcourt. Was this taken on the day of the ill-fated journey?


An update regarding the above.
This photograph was not taken on the day of the ill-fated reconnaissance, as can be ascertained from the following, taken from "Black and White", Dec 9, 1899, p. 822:

On the following day [November 5th] an armoured train, containing two companies of infantry, and also platelayers and telegraphists, advanced from Estcourt to Colenso with the object of recovering some stores which had been left there by our troops in their retreat from the Boers. This is the reconnaissance which our correspondent [René Bull] accompanied; and as our information hitherto on the subject was most meagre, his photographs and sketches must excite great interest. The infantry found a party of Boers looting, and killed at least one of them. Then our soldiers advanced to Fort Wylie, found the bridge intact (this was on November 5th), and managed to secure three wagon-loads of stores. Our correspondent’s statement, that the information to be obtained from natives is most untrustworthy, should be held in mind.

This and the image I posted here were therefore taken of 5th November 1899.


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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 5 months 3 weeks ago #80539

  • Rob D
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Neville, I only have Black & White Illustrated (Black & White Budget) so I can't seem to find the story - does your version mention the name of the officer in charge of the Dublins? In "The Natal Campaign", Burleigh writes:'In the On the occasions when I journeyed therein, Captain Hensley, of the Dublin Fusiliers, who was in charge usually, was wont to stop the train, dismount, and proceed with one or two men on foot to scout the more dangerous overlooking hills, before steaming beyond them.'
I think the Dublins officer in your photo is Captain Hensley, who was killed on Tabanyama on 20 January 1900, but I know you are unconvinced.
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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 5 months 3 weeks ago #80542

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Rob,
The article is in "Black and White" magazine, not "Black and White War Budget". Unfortunately there is no mention of the officer in charge of the Dublins. I have transcribed all that was written about the reconnaissance in the post above.
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Armored Train Ambush 11-15-99 Chuchill & Haldane 5 months 3 weeks ago #80546

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I have now found a full version of René Bull's account of the reconnaissance of the 5th November.
This and other articles describing the event state that Major Morgan was in command on the 5th. Hensley is reported to have commanded the next excursion, which took place on the 7th.
The report written by René Bull clearly states that the photographs were taken on the 5th (when Morgan was in command).



Black and White, December 9, 1899.

A LETTER FROM NATAL
WRITTEN BY OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, MR RENE BULL

November 10th
Last Saturday night I took the train to Estcourt, arriving there about 4 a.m. Sunday morning. I saw the general commanding, and obtained permission to travel on the armoured train which was to leave in a few hours to see how near the Boers were and if it would be possible to get to Colenso, where there still remained a quantity of stores, fodder and mealies. I send you photos and developed films taken on the train. They are rather unique.
The journey till we neared Colenso was safely accomplished. Frequently we stopped to ask natives how far the enemy were off, but their information was always vague. I send a good negative of a Zulu being interrogated. In the front of the armoured train you can see some of the officers searching the horizon with their glasses, while others are questioning the Zulu.
As we came round a bend in the line near Colenso we noticed several Boers in the village, who immediately mounted their horses and galloped for protection to the houses, and fired on us. The train was pulled up, and we started firing back. The enemy were about forty or fifty strong. I saw a man and horse drop. Their bullets were tapping against our armour-plates without doing any damage, and for a short time the fire was very hot. I was thankful there were no shells fired at us; we should have had little chance, as there was no covering to the armoured cars.
The Boers managed to escape, and our men disembarked from the train and searched the houses. The Boers had looted everything. Shops were burst open, and goods scattered about the streets. The only living objects were some unfortunate dogs, one of them shot through the chest, and two pigs, which were shot by some officers with their revolvers, and brought back for the mess. I never could have believed a pig was so hard to kill; three bullets in the head seemed to have no effect whatever. There were several trucks on the siding, filled with stores, which we found at the station, and brought back. We arrived at Estcourt after our eventful day at 7.30 p.m., and at 10.30 I embarked again on a train for Maritzburg
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The sketch accompanying this report has the caption: “On Sunday Nov. 6th [sic] we advanced to Colenso on the armoured train under Major Morgan’s command. The Boers were holding the town but were soon dispersed. We brought back to Estcourt a quantity of fodder and mealies”.


The same reconnaissance is described in the London Daily News, 9th Nov. 1899:

Sunday (Nov. 5), Evening.
The armoured train left on another trip at 11 this morning. It is to go to Pieters, the station beyond Colenso, and is, if possible, to repair the line which is said to have been broken up in that part. The train took a company of the Dublin Fusiliers with Major Morgan in command.


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