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UNITS OF THE ZULU WAR 1879

UNITS OF THE ZULU WAR 1879

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80th Regiment of Foot

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80th Regiment of Foot

The 80th Regiment of foot had been in South Africa since 1877 under the command of Major Tucker. They wore the usual infantry equipment and uniforms but with buff facings rather than the green of the 24th. A couple of months after Rorkes Drift a similar number of infantry from the 80th saw action at the battle of Intombe. They were transporting supplies across a river and had problems moving the wagons. They set up camp on the river bank making a crude laager of wagons which did nothing to stop a surprise Zulu attack that ran through the camp slaughtering the commanding officer present and all the men who were waking up in a daze. The infantry on the other side of the river gave covering fire while men tried to escape across the river. Lieutenant Harward mounted a horse and abandoned his men as Zulus crossed the river in pursuit. Sergeant Booth who was from Nottingham took command of 40 or so survivors and led them in a retreat for three miles to the safety of a farm house. Every time the Zulus drew close Booth would control the mens fire to see them off. He would later receive the VC for saving his men while Harward resigned his commission after a court marshal. The Zulus ransacked all the supplies back at the camp before they could be stopped. Its interesting that 500-800 Zulus defeated over 100 British troops such a different result to Rorkes Drift. The 80th later thought at Ulundi the closing battle of the war.

80th Regiment of Foot

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