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 Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.

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24th

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PostSubject: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:16 pm

I have always thought of those that left Isandlwana during the fighting as cowards. But I came across this, and after giving it some serious consideration; the writer doe’s have a point. I put myself in Henderson position, and realised I would have probably done the same. I supposed it was easy for the defenders at Rorkes Drift to frown upon Henderson and his actions but then they never witness what he did at Isandlwana.

"Henderson paused and spoke to Chard, he stated that his men would no longer obey orders, and he could not convince them to stand and fight. But their desertion must be considered in the light of their previous actions at Isandlwana, where they had fought virtually from first to last before quitting the field, now they were low on ammunition. They must have thought that a fort built from biscuit boxes and mealie sacks, could do little to deter the Zulus flushed with the success of Isandlwana."

I would be interested to see what other member’s thought of those that refused or by-passed Rorkes Drift after escaping from Isandlwana.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:47 pm

They all knew what to expect when they signed up. What they didn’t expect was the Zulu Victory at Isandlwana. Henderson would have done well to avoid Rorkes Drift all together; if he had he would never have gone down in the history book as a deserter.
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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:14 am

An old post I know but thought I'd come out of the shadows and add my thoughts.

Quote :
I would be interested to see what other member’s thought of those that refused or by-passed Rorkes Drift after escaping from Isandlwana

I can't pass judgement for them not staying to defend RD, but I certainly don't hold them in disregard for their actions. What they went through and what they witnessed is unimaginable so I feel it would be wrong for me to form an opinion of them.

It happened in WW1 where frontline troops retreated through their reserve lines when overwhelmed. I'm sure it's happened in many conflicts, where men have failed to stop at 'the next line of defence' after been involved in such a battle but I wouldn't label them all as deserters.

I've read that Chard and Bromhead were all for making for Helpmakaar but Dalton pursuaded them to stay and defend their position at the Drift. If this is true, it does highlight the fact that brave men don't always want to stay and fight when they have other options. To the men who made it out of Isandlwana, it must've seemed impossible that so few men could stand any chance. Not that it matters but, out of curiosity, did Henderson know the number of zulus heading to RD or would he of been under the impression that 20,000 of 'em were on the way ?

An interesting thread and just my two pence worth :)

Neil
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90th

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PostSubject: did they not have the right ..............   Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:51 am

Hi nThornton1979.
I dont think Henderson had much of an idea of the numbers , but I'm sure he thought it was thousands !. As you say
you cant blame those who fled that were lucky enough to have escaped the carnage at Isandlwana . They no doubt
thought it lunacy to try and hold the Drift after what they had witnessed . Suspect .
cheers 90th.
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nthornton1979

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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:18 am

Thanks 90th,

That's what I thought. So Henderson & Co may have assumed the entire Zulu Army was heading towards RD from Isandlwana. I'm suprised they stopped at all !


Neil

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:06 am

90th
After Henderson arrived at RD didnt his troop go around the mountain to report on the advance of the Zulu's?
If that was the case he would have had a pretty good idea of the threat, and its size.

Also Hendersons troop had been in action almost from the beginning in Durnfords retirement, the fight from the donga and then the flight itself.
When does the phrase 'enough is enough apply'?

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: did they not have the right ..............   Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:58 am

Hi Springbok.
I would imagine in Henderson's case , never a truer word was spoken :lol!: .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:52 pm

Back then, the escapees of iSandlwana might have been considered cowards, but of course, our attitudes today are more informed and educated these days. Today, they would be stood down immediately and sent to the rear after what they had gone through and not expected to fight, unless in a life or death last stand.
They would have been a waste of space and ammunition at RD where it is documented that the small company of men "made every bullet count."
Chard had obviously decided to stay and defend RD, he had the chance to abandon the post, but chose to stay. This was not a life or death fight, as iSandlwana was. There, the men had to stand and fight for their lives with little to no preparation or warning, or means of retreat.
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:57 pm

Hi ,
Personally I think the fleeing of the NNC and Hendersons Horse was a blessing in disguise.
thanks Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:55 pm

I completely Joe!

They would have been a liability, a hindarnce, not a help.
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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:41 am

that was supposed to be "I completely agree, Joe!
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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Did they not have the right to desert Rorkes Drift.   Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:19 pm

If the NNH had joined the garrison what good could they have done? They where almost out of ammo and i think i remember reading that their guns didnt fire Marti-Henry ammuntion. The fitting on their gun allowed a hunting knife to be attached but that would be much good against a fully armed Zulu warrior.


Any ideas????????????????
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