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Film Zulu Quote: Lieutenant John Chard The army doesn't like more than one disaster in a day. Bromhead Looks bad in the newspapers and upsets civilians at their breakfast
 
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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History
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 Did Gardner Desert.

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nthornton1979

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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Wed May 23, 2018 4:31 pm

Quote :
I can say we do not know if he had it or not

100% correct Simon.

We cannot ask AG what he was feeling at the time and therefore cannot make a definitive conclusion one way or the other.

Also, a man's subsequent actions and/or acts of heroism hold no bearing on whether a man was or was not suffering emotionally (from PTSD) at the time. In my WWI research I have found countless examples of men who have completely fell apart - with the loss of the movement of limbs to hysterical laughter to complete breakdowns and more, only for them to regain their composure minutes, hours, days, or months later. Many of these men went on to perform gallantly (many were decorated for their bravery after their episodes), and live successful 'symptom-free' lives thereafter (either that or not show any visible signs).

It is also worth noting that the term PTSD and what it covers has (and is) evolving all the time, and many of those now suffering with PTSD would not have been considered as suffering from it in years gone by.


Neil
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Wed May 23, 2018 8:32 pm

I am sure any serious student of Isandhlwana already knows that Gardner was not running away and neither was he suffering from the Victorian equivalent of PTSD. He may well have been a little rattled by his narrow escape but he was cool enough under the circs to think about RD, Helpmekaar and Wood and to do something about it.
The thread title I imagine was simply an attempt to play devil's advocate.
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Wed May 23, 2018 9:53 pm

Hi

I think there are two points to this thread.

The first being was AG a coward (as the thread title suggests) and the second - which has been brought up today is was he suffering from short term PTSD (or Acute Stress Disorder/Reaction as the short term versions called) - which may have accounted for his actions just after Isandlwana.

I do not believe that someone suffering from PTSD can be a 'coward' - possibly wrongly at the time he may have been branded it - because not enough was known about such things and to do 'a runner' but to blast out orders and appear to be the heroic messenger (to try and disguise the fact) does not seem to be that actions of someone in mental trauma.

I do not know enough about psychology to look at his actions (or rather accounts of his actions) and say yea or nay to the ASD scenario

I will say I doubt the former (coward scenario) is the case - simply because (as Les says) - he had the Victorian Officer mentality (as had presumably JB Carey)

I wonder how many serious students of Isandlwana (some years ago)  - were sold on the idea of QMs & screwdrivers, or it all being the fault of the Natal Natives (on the bend) or even (today) the M5H

As Julian says he (AG) was steady enough to think of RD and Helmekaar and do something about them - but were his decisions correct under the circumstances.......hindsight will say yes but at the time?

I'm not sure we will ever 'know' much about the past (particularly about someone's thoughts or state of mind) - the best we can say is 'all the evidence points to' but that's a bit of gob full

Cheers

Sime
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Wed May 23, 2018 10:35 pm

Xhosa
The comments were fairly enough and I am sure placed in a spirit of seeking answers and reasons when someone else had expressed doubts.
Fairlie's comment about Gardner being 'out of his head' might easily be explained as being in a state of excess excitement and it was Gardner's news that spread panic not the man himself. In other words the remarks have been taken out of context.
I see nothing wrong in Biecher's remarks. I am sure I would implore all and sundry to assist me if I thought was in a tight fix with no means of escape other than by someone else lending me a hand. Gardner knew by that stage what it was like to have a narrow escape...remember...his nickname wasn't Lucky (to please JY, it wasn't Kelly either).

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nthornton1979

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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Wed May 23, 2018 11:48 pm

Yep, I can agree with that Julian. He certainly didn't desert in my opinion; he acted admirably, and almost certainly did not ride off due to PTSD, and I've made various posts on the internet stating this in the past. Of course, this doesn't mean he wasn't somewhat 'in a funk' during his ride and upon his arrival. Exhaustion and the shock of what had happened would have no doubt played on him, to what degree and for exactly how long is up for debate.

I will expand a little on what I was eluding to in my first post (although I'll probably ramble before getting to the point)

In my opinion the phrase, 'PTSD', has grown and expanded to include numerous things that would not have been considered PTSD in the past. An article in my local paper recently claimed that a man had PTSD because he was assaulted (punched in the head) and is now scared to go outside.  

Some people 'judge' a person's behaviour by following the beliefs and attitudes of the time, whilst others apply modern day understanding and thought-processes to events in history. Different people tend to apply different contexts, meaning they are reading from different hymn sheets whilst trying to sing the same song.

It has been suggested by some that Bromhead was suffering from PTSD after Rorke's Drift. Many people, had they been in the same position, would no doubt have felt the same way (sick, depressed, fed-up, quiet, uncommunicative etc). Although these are symptoms of PTSD (in today's understanding of the word), they are also the characteristics of somebody who has just been through a trying experience who is not suffering from PTSD. People tend to judge Bromhead's state of mind by today's standards. If people are happy to do this then they must also do the same across the board. They can't pick and chose who to apply modern sentiment to, and this muddies the water somewhat.
  Chard was said to have lived the battle over and over in his head and had nightmares about it. If this was the case Chard would probably be diagnosed with PTSD by todays standards. However, you can bet your life that thousands of men who fought in the world wars, and indeed any war, relived it over and over again. Does this mean that everyone who fights suffers from some form of PTSD?
  At the time, men who committed suicide were classed as been 'temporarily insane', or 'of unsound mind'. It is popular now to re-evaluate the condition of these men and say they had PTSD - but did they? This would mean diagnosing them by today's standards and not by the standards of their own time. So do we evaluate Gardner's state of mind by today's - in my opinion 'relaxed' - standard or not? Unless there is a uniformed criteria, it all begins to get very complicated.

In WWI the term 'in a funk', or 'bomb happy' was used to describe men who have lost control due to being under heavy bombardment and who were jibbering wrecks, with no control over their nervous system. On the flip side, the terms were also used for men suffering much less serious symptoms.
  I have an account from one officer who led an attack and held a captured enemy position for two days under constant bombardment without sleep. At first he was petrified, but by the time another officer finally arrived with a relief, he related that he had completely lost all sense of danger and was not 'right'. Upon been greeted by the relieving officer he jumped up onto the parapet amidst the shells and offered to show him around the position. He was laughing hysterically at the time and said that he had gone temporarily insane due to the shellfire and the strain on his nerves, or words to that effect. The other officer just looked at him in astonishment. He survived the battle and was back to his normal self once he got out of the line and had a good sleep. This officer is clear in his opinion that he had a moment where he was not himself, and that he was suffering from 'shellshock' (modern day PTSD), or whatever other term one may apply to it. By his own admission he was giddy, so does this mean someone is suffering from PTSD if they have a wobbly moment during or after an action?

Words and sayings such as PTSD, shellshock, battle-weariness, 'in a funk', bomb happy, battle fatigue etc, cover a massive spectrum and how the symptoms and actions are seen depends on what parameters the assessor is using to form their decision.  

There aren't any signs (in my opinion) to show that Gardner had PTSD, but others - making a judgement using a different set of parameters (ie today's standards), may perhaps disagree. Actually, I am quite sure that a few of my associates and friends who have served and who suffer from PTSD would have differing opinions.

I realise a lot of the above is not directly linked to Gardner, who, as stated by Julian, was probably just shook up by his experience, but it (hopefully) explains why I prefer to sit on the fence - or rather sit on one side whilst keeping a toe on the fence - when giving an opinion on a man's state of mind and whether or not he had PTSD (or the Victorian-era equivalent). It is a very complex thing and in honesty I'll be damned if I know what PTSD is anymore, and that's why I refrain from forming a definitive opinion which I profess to be 100% accurate.

(yup, I rambled...)

Neil
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Thu May 24, 2018 8:18 am

...and at a distance of 139 years...it's all a bit of a tall order really.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Thu May 24, 2018 10:04 am

For me, the modern use of PTSD is too often a stalking horse for what are essentially political views. In recent times, the underlying text often seems to be, "politicians should never have exposed our sevicemen and women to that particular conflict' or, "the government does not do enough to look after our veterans". Both may be true, but PTSD as a widespread diagnosis is a means to an end in those circumstances. It is, after all, just a convenient label and means no more than a disorder that occurs after a stressful trauma and is debilitating. I cannot see how the impact on an individual is any different now to what it has been throughout history - we have simply called it different things. But what has undoubtedly changed, and for the better, is that we no longer blame the poor souls who suffer from it, or tell them to pull themselves together, or worst of all brand them a coward. I think we have been getting better at that since the low point of the 1WW and for which I largely blame the popular press of the time (and don't start me on what you can blame the popular press for now). I think you can even argue that "blame" was less prevalent in Victorian times at least in the ranks. As for applying such a fluid diagnosis retrospectively, we simply do not have the tools to do it. And anyway why would we need to - other than to "prove" one set of historians right and another wrong.
Just to throw in a final squib, was Chelmsford suffering from PTSD after Isandhlwana?

Steve Reinstadtler
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Julian Whybra



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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Thu May 24, 2018 10:44 am

Very true. War is not an easy ride.
As for LC - was it PTSD or like the rest of the column an acute melancholy that their friends and comrades had died plus a sense of 'there but for the grace God go I' plus uniquely in LC's case a guilty conscience?
But that's another argument on another thread...
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Did Gardner Desert.    Thu May 24, 2018 8:05 pm

The house Alan Gardner's gt grandfather (Admiral Garner) was born in.

Also during the '45 - the Duke of Cumberland stayed here, whilst army was billeted around the town, before advancing North to Scotland

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