|This chromolithograph postcard must be the most unusual depiction of the Battle of Isandlwana that I have come across. While neither the
battle or the 24th Regiment of Foot are mentioned by name in the Japanese text, there can be little doubt as to the action that is being
depicted. The green facings on the British uniforms, the fallen African warrior, the Zulu-style shield next to him and the Martini-Henry rifle all
point to the greatest defeat suffered by the British during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.
The text is in an old style Japanese that is hard to translate. Basically the story mentions the British troops marching bravely into hostile
territory and being attacked by the native warriors. The British soldiers are then overwhelmed by showers of spears while the steadfast
drummer boy stays at his post until the very end.
The original source of the painting used on this post card was something of a mystery until I was contacted by Mr. Dave Shorter of Western
Australia. Mr. Shorter who is a veteran of both the British and Australian armies came across a copy of the book that the image originated in.
Titled On Guard, the book appears to have been a digest of boys adventure stories published around the turn of the 20th Century. Mr.
Shorter was also kind enough to scan the entire story that accompanied the image. The story titled The Drums of the 24th follows the
adventures of two 24th Regiment of Foot drummer boys in the events leading up to and through the fateful battle of Isandlwana. Special
thanks to Mr. Shorter who was kind enough to scan all twenty-plus pages of the story which I am including below.
|Below: Scans from On Guard and the short story Drums of the 24th which have been kindly provided by Mr. David Shorter.