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One Hundred Years On


Aug 8/9 Baden-Powell leads the entire column on their last action in the Matopos, on a night-time march to Tshingengoma which does not go exactly according to plan - that the column survived at all is possibly due to the AmaNdebele being as confused with their manoevures as they were. The column spends the following night camped out in the open, on an exposed hilltop, with no blankets (the mules carrying the blankets had strayed). Not only is it cold and windy, with rain towards midnight, but the AmaNdebele make several attacks on their position.

Baden-Powell’s version of the night of 9 August - the hats worn are similar to the later “Boy Scout hat”.
tshingengoma battle
A Comfortable Corner on an uncomfortable evening

When the enemy opened fire on our camp in the evening, it will very refreshing in see how quietly the men took it. Only those belonging to the face of the square that was being fired at, took any practical notice of it. The remainder went on cooking and eating as if nothing were happening.

The Horse Guard
horse guard

Vedettes are invariably posted in different directions while the horses are grazing, to ensure their not straying, and to guard against their surprise and capture by she enemy.

It will turn out, however, that these are the last shots that will be fired in the Matopos Hills.

Aug 10 The column arrives back at Sugar Bush Camp and Baden-Powell rides the 30 miles back to Bulawayo. He spends the remainder of the month in Bulawayo1 recovering from fever (which could have been anything from malaria to dysentery).

Sep 8 Baden-Powell leaves for Somnabula by way of Inyati, where he is to take command of the column already engaged there.

1 The Bulawayo Club is in possession of an engraved canteen presented to it by Baden-Powell and the other senior Imperial officers, in apprecation of the hospitality shown to them.

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Acknowledgements:-Dave Anderson
Colin Anderson
Author : Barry G. Knight