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Major-General Sir William Penn Symons
( Isandula Collection)
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 Proof , Proof , Proof

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90th

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PostSubject: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:24 am

Posted on behalf of a friend .

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:17 am

Gary all I get is Yahoo asking me to sign in /register
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90th

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PostSubject: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:03 am

Ok Frank
I'll see what I can do . Salute Salute
90th Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:25 pm

I clicked on it and it went to my Yahoo mail page and that is empty?
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:19 pm

Yup and me....... Joker
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:34 pm

Gary,

Begs the question what do you need proof of?

JY
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:10 pm

It's just a can of aussi lager!
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:17 pm

If it were a bottle of Bundy I might have been interested that’s 57% proof...

JY
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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:38 am

From a friend of 90th's / Gary

There is no truth?

First up can I say as a guest how much I enjoy this forum, the new photographs, discussions and documents that are posted up by avid collectors and enthusiasts. However one thing I really struggle with on the forum (and this is not directed at a particular individual but a general theme) and it has been discussed very recently on another thread, is this entrenched idea of ....

Fact, fact, fact. Truth, truth, truth. Proof, proof, proof. We MUST have proof!!!

Well , I totally agree and I wish we had such luxuries but unfortunately when looking at Isandlwana such certainties just aren’t there. In order to put across what I mean, and before anyone starts throwing things at their computer screens, I would like to tell a hypothetical little story about a typical incident which I have unfortunately had to deal with on too many occasions. So please bear with me and read the whole story.

The story begins with a HGV speeding towards some road works on the outskirts of a small country village. Travelling in the opposite direction is a coach containing a reserve driver and 5 passengers. The workmen had forgotten to switch on the temporary traffic lights at the road works and, as a result, a head on collision occurs killing both the lorry driver and the coach driver. The reserve coach driver ,who is asleep in his rest area, and the passengers survive and escape through various exits and smashed windows.

There are three people in the nearby post office, one drunkard walking down the street, the three workmen at the road works, a lady having her hair done in a salon opposite and a man asleep upstairs having worked a night shift. Only the workmen, the lady in the salon and the drunkard actually witness the collision.

Now lets look at what happens when the police turn up and start trying to workout what happened.
The people at the post office will swear blind to you that they saw the accident but actually only heard the bang and then ran outside seeing only the immediate aftermath.

The man on night shift will also claim to have witnessed the accident when really the bang woke him up. He got up, put on his dressing gown, found his slippers, walked downstairs, unlocked the front door, and walked out onto the street.

The drunk isn’t really sure what’s going on but his alcohol soaked brain will try and make some sort of sense from what he saw and he will be very vocal at the scene. He refuses to give a statement but tells his mate in the park the next day who mentions it to a passing police officer, adding his own little embellishments.

The lady in the salon will be in complete shock and her brain will take in what the the woman doing her hair with her back to the window thought happened, and she will then construct her own story around this.

The three workmen, well, they are mainly responsible for the collision and so are not going to be telling the truth and will be backing up each other’s stories about the coach driver running a red light (as they had quickly turned the lights on after the collision).
The most crucial witnesses are the coach and lorry driver but they both died so their evidence is lost.

This just leaves the reserve driver, who should have been driving but his mate let him have an extra hour’s sleep, and he, hoping the passengers know nothing about tachograph regulations, will claim he was in his own designated rest period and his mate was a very careful and conscientious driver.

At the time of the accident four of the passengers were either asleep, staring at their phones, or reading a book. The fifth one was right at the back of the coach but WAS looking forward and saw the lights weren’t switched on. He is a useful witness, but how do we know this when his statement is mixed in with all the others? Despite being in the crash the first four will have seen very little, but as they were involved will claim to have seen it all. Though they may give some useful evidence of how the driver was driving before the incident. Their statements will be mostly about how they evacuated the stricken vehicle.
The collision was down to the speeding lorry driver, over tired coach driver and incompetent workmen.

Now imagine trying to work out what has happened to prepare this for a death by dangerous court case.
If we ONLY look at all those who claim to be witnesses and ONLY use their testimonies and nothing else, then we will be laughed out of court and the families of the dead will be putting in a law suit against the police.
We have to look at EVERYTHING we have in order to find out what happened.
We have to look at the road conditions, weather conditions, drivers’ records, performance characteristics of the vehicles, possible vehicle defects, levels of toxicity of the two drivers’ blood, debris, road side furniture, skid marks, roadwork authorisations, possible CCTV in nearby shops, drivers’ history and also the witnesses. The witness statements have to be studied very carefully and can have a certain value but only if we the look at them in context of the scene and also the motives behind the statements.
Now because of technology such as digitachs, studies on how vehicles behave in an impact and CCTV we have the luxury today of being able to ascertain ‘real’ facts. Obviously we don’t have that luxury with Isandlwana.

So now, think about the above scenario and then think about preparing a court case for the battle of Isandlwana . Due to the very limited information we must use ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING we have to work out what happened. We must study the terrain and more importantly,walk the terrain. We must look at the the equipment, possible equipment defects, the commanders, the relationship between each of the survivors , levels of blame, outside witnesses who were on the periphery and not part of the battle (and their motives), weather conditions, witness details and everything else I may have missed.

Like the collision above, all the survivors will have their own agendas. Taking their statements as gospel proof is very, very dangerous and CANNOT be relied upon unless put into context. We do have some hard but very basic facts about this battle. For example it did happen in South Africa on the 22nd January 1879 between the English and the Zulus at Isandlwana. Chelmsford did split his force and the Zulus did attack. The 24th Regiment was there etc , etc.
However when we try and say exactly what happened during the battle itself using just a few survivors’ accounts, and a landscape either naturally or unnaturally moulded over a period of 139 years then we have a very difficult task in front of us and we can’t afford to discount anything from our study. Some of it will be rubbish, some partially useful and some very useful. But we must consider everything. (In fact what we consider rubbish now may suddenly become relevant if new information comes to light, so we shouldn’t just discount ideas and material just because everyone one else has in the past.)

When looking at a battle like Isandlwana in which we have very little to go on we must look at all aspects of the battle to try and come up with as accurate a picture as possible and cannot just look at one particular strand or account in order to prove or disprove a theory.

Which brings me to my point (hooray I hear you cry)
WE have NO hard facts , we have NO hard truths and we have NO hard proof about how this battle unfolded.
Personally I don’t believe in gospel truths that have become established over the decades as they may have become gospel through perpetuated myths. We must keep re-examining this event and all the evidence, which is where this forum is very valuable.
All we have are individual theories put together over the decades by individual historians, scholars and enthusiasts based on very threadbare evidence.
We CAN reinforce our theories with meticulous research, to the point were people think ‘Yeah that sounds about right’ but they still remain just theories. And such theories and suppositions will continue to be put forward in the coming decades as more information comes to light. But we must keep looking into this and keep driving towards what we perceive as proof. If we are really lucky we will find more witness accounts but then they themselves could be unreliable. Even an archaeological dig with the passing of so much time, could be horrendously inaccurate.
To say one person’s theory is wrong (as long as its not too ridiculous) which seems to happen on this forum, just because there is no proof is both narrow minded and short sighted.

One of the main reasons for telling the little story above is to show the serious unreliability of people who claim to have witnessed an event. Now in relation to Isandlwana, some accounts may be more credible than others. Letters to newspapers smack of glory seeking and back covering. Those to loved ones back home more credible but then accounts could be downplayed so as not to alarm the reader. Diaries talking of the events are good sources BUT any references to the actions of others still has to be viewed with suspicion due to the relationship between the writer and the person/people he is writing about.
I’ve spent nearly 30 years dealing with members of the public who have either done something wrong and who lie to hide their offences, or witnesses who claim to have seen everything but in fact saw very little at all. I don’t believe anything about this battle unless it is put in complete context with everything else and I certainly don’t trust the witnesses especially when they contradict one another. But then that is just my theory.

Now feel free to start throwing things at the computer screen.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:39 am

Give me the ocular proof;
Make me see't; or at least, so prove it,
That the probation bear no hinge, nor loop,
To hang a doubt upon.
Shakespear.

or in for a penny etc

In the eyes of a wise judge, proofs by reasoning are of more value than witnesses.
Cicero.

Therein lies the rub. One great man wants physical evidence the other supports deduction.

And our friendly police lady seemingly supports speculation!

Cheers one and all
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:16 am

Quiet day in Cape Town then Frank.

Steve
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:52 pm

Damn but your good !
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:53 pm

Actually marking time before I catch a flight to Durban then up to RD for the weekend with a bunch of friends out from the UK.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:54 pm

We can theorise, we can speculate, we can assume. But as to the facts, as to the truth those have been lost or politely hidden in mists of time since Wednesday, 22nd January 1879.

I have no doubt we will add to our knowledge to the events of iSandlwana by the discovery of documents or long-forgotten newspaper reports and articles. But such things are from the pen of those who wrote them, and therefore cannot be without bias. Who alive today can say that the lily was not gilded.

The truth is we will never know the truth of iSandlwana, and that is what makes it so intriguing.

Just my two pence worth, and my opinion.

JY
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:55 pm

Going to be interesting to see Ngubu's folly rising out of the graves. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:57 pm

One upmanship there John, Im in for a penny and you up the anti to tuppence. Shuu !
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:25 pm

With all of history I think we bump up against the same major obstacle to establishing truth. We cannot interrogate the writer and hear their words in response. We each form a judgement on how much credibility might be attached to written evidence, taking into account all of the factors mentioned. What I find interesting is the basis on which we trust some historical commentators much more than others, even though we have never interacted with them and usually only see a brief snapshot in their lives. We nevertheless form an opinion as to their character that can have no logical basis other than our desire to have good guys and bad guys. Some of us then seem willing to defend that judgement to the hilt with precious little basis for doing so. Some deep psychology going on here that I do not pretend to understand. The recent exchanges on the forum demonstrate just how misleading the written word alone can be. But if we knew all the facts there would be nothing to discuss.

Steve
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:03 pm

Frank,

Sorry mate you have lost there with your one upmanship comment, as I stated they are my views. The full truth of iSandlwana has yet to be written, and in my opinion it never will.

So no need to up the ante, keep your 1d. in your pocket.

JY
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:17 am

I believe Graves is partly right but not wholly.
You can establish through research and new discoveries individual verifiable 'truths' about what happened.
Collectively these can be built up to form a picture, an incomplete jigsaw if you will, which can be passed on to others who will add to it, now and in the future.
Finding the pieces of the jigsaw and fitting them together is what fascinates me.
Sometimes you also find pieces from other jigsaws which have got mixed up with the one you're working on. You also have to develop and exercise an ability to recognize and set them aside.
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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:53 am

Hi  All,


I like the analogy posted on this thread vis-à-vis a case study on accident investigation and explaining how  difficult it is getting to the bottom of it all when witnessis have vested interests. This  is always  a great challenge.
In this there is indeed a parallel in the Isandlwana  fiasco in which ;


* glory seekers who were not even present at the battle wrote there own version of events.
* the very skittish  Natal population were exaggerating the news reports from the regions  ( ie the rumour mill was very alive and well).
* newspapers embellished and glorified nearly everything they covered in their news reports.
* post the battle supposedly honourable officers and leaders put forward mendacious stories to protect their own integrity;  the most noteworthy of which was Chelmsford conniving with others to cover their own battlefield  mismanagement and thorough incompetence.  
*  those really involved in the action and who could throw light on the  cause of the defeat could not speak as they had all succumbed in the battle.

*  ...and finally, latterly, a tendency by some to follow the pronouncements and views of their  preferred authors, who , to   most studying the  subject , were clearly out of touch with the real events.



Now by contrast , the RD battle fought the following day,  was the antithesis of Isandlwana  in terms of accurate reporting.




regards



barry


Last edited by barry on Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:49 am; edited 2 times in total
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:44 am

Barry
A cynic might say 'how is that different to today then?'
I might also say that in the main there were among the survivors mostly grateful-to-be-alive, honest, truthful, badly-shaken and sometimes courageous men.
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barry

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PostSubject: Proof, proof and more proof   Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:47 am

Hi JW,

Indeed human nature has not changed. I am not being critical of those times, just acknowledging that they had the same problems then.
One other factor which I did not mention was that the sheer terror of Isandlwana drove many on the periphery of the action
to a very precarious mental state and  they suffered  from PBS, shell shock, or were Bossies ( an SA term for troops who have mental problems deriving from being traumitised by very brutal warfare). Their testimony could, sadly, not be given too much credence either.
So, with all the problems detailed  historians can only gather as much credible evidence as there is available, add to that circumstance,  overlaying that  with any physical reports produced by the battlefield archaeologists etc  and of course any enemy reports on the action. Then, when the murk is quite thick, apply the chance and probability/ possibility theories.



regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Proof , Proof , Proof    Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:15 am

You know Barry, I often find that what proves to be more enlightening in survivors' accounts are the chance remarks, the unimportant, the unaccentuated, the 'throwaway', the seemingly irrelevant. These can often throw light on, suddenly make sense of, or corroborate another's account, The credence you wrote of is always established by cross-referencing and corroboration between accounts from individuals from different units and made at different times. That really does to help pin down events and their sequence.
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