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 Durnford was he capable.1

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Dave

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:44 pm

Not wishing to cause any disrespect, but was Durnford capable of commanding at Isandlwana. I have read about his account a Bushman's River Pass, which did not seem to go to well.

During the Zulu War Lord Chelmsford threatened him with loss of command.

He either didn't know or failed to tell his troopers where their ammo point was located as Isandlwana.

And here’s is his Military Background

Durnford was born in to a military family at Manor Hamilton, Ireland. His father was General E.W. Durnford, Colonel Commandant of Royal Engineers. His younger brother, Edward, also served in the British military, as a lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Marine Artillery. During his formative years he lived with his uncle in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Durnford returned to England to enter the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Royal Engineers in 1848. Between 1851 and 1856 he served in Ceylon, stationed at Trincomalee, where he provided distinguished assistance in designing the harbour. In 1853 Durnford was instrumental in saving portions of the harbour defences from destruction by fire.

Durnford volunteered for service in the Crimean War but was not accepted. However, he was transferred in 1856 to Malta as an intermediate posting. However Durnford did not see active service either in the Crimea or in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. He saw duty in Malta as adjutant until February 1858, when he was posted back to Chatham and Aldershot in England. Between 1861 and 1864 Durnford commanded No. 27 Field Company, Royal Engineers, at Gibraltar. In 1864, promoted to captain, he returned to England in order to take up a posting prepare for a transfer to China, but was invalided back to England while in transit. After his recovery, Durnford spent the next six years at Devonport and Dublin on routine garrison duties. In 1871 he received a posting to South Africa.


Source: Wikipedia

Not really that impressive.

Dave.
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rai



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:52 pm

Hi all,
You ask was Durnford capable, because he had no true command or active military evperience, other then Bushman's Pass in 1873, but this can also be said of Pulleine at Isandlwana, or even Chard and Bromhead at Rorke's Drift, you don't know until you are put in that situation.
There are numerous instantcies of Royal Engineer and Royal Artillery Officers being in overall command of Military Forces, commanding Columns, Divisions, or even whole commands, to name a few Kitchener, Roberts, Bindon Blood, Charles Warren, and Gerald Graham. obviously they all had the same training as Durnford at Woolwich.

regards rai
keynshamlighthorse
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 7:28 pm

Would Chelmsford have had access to the Military records of the men under him. (ie) A look into the background of the officers.

G.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:39 pm

I think it’s quite obvious he was out of his depth when it came to commanding a real army in a combat situation. But to his credit he probably knew this, thus answering the question why he was not over keen to take command from Pulleine. It is said that Chelmsford was wrong to split his forces, is that not what Durnford done. He would have taken more Soldiers with him but was prevented doing so. He then drags the Rocket battery way of from the camp, and then hangs them out to dry. Those poor souls had no way of making it back to the camp. He then gets himself into trouble and retreats back to the camp, forcing the British line to become over extended we know the rest.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:16 pm

Its also common knowledge, that if Chelmsford had followed his own standing orders, Durnford would never have been in the position. And why did Durnford leave the camp, to engage the enemy he thought was going to attack Chelmsford column. And what you a missing is that Durnford could have quite easily left Isandlwana with his men they were all on Horseback but he didn’t he retreated back to the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:49 pm

You can read what you will into this. But I know how I perceive it. Read between the lines.

FRAUDS IN ORDNANCE ACCOUNTS.

MR. WHITESIDE
I wish to call attention to the facts proved on the recent trial in Dublin of Hamilton Conolly, a clerk in the Ordnance Department, and of John M'Ilvaine, a contractor with the Government; and to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Secretary to the Treasury, to explain in what manner the Ordnance Accounts are kept and audited, which allowed the proceedings by the parties convicted at such trial; and whether any and what changes have been effected in the mode of keeping the Public Accounts calculated to prevent a repetition thereof? These two persons were tried for conspiracy. The one, Hamilton Conolly, was a clerk in the Ordnance Department, drawing a very respectable salary, and bearing, of course, a good character. The other, John M'Ilvaine, was a contractor with the Government, and, according to the evidence of several witnesses who were called on his side, one of the most respectable men that ever lived. The frauds for which they were brought to trial and convicted were committed in the following manner:—It appears that when a contract is made in Ireland—say, for the repair of barracks—the estimate is considered and the prices are fixed in a most methodical manner. When the work is done, it is carefully examined. The head of the department in Dublin, Colonel Durnford, an officer of Engineers, and, I need hardly gay, a man of unexceptionable character, retains a facsimile of the Account, and gives the counterpart to one of the clerks to forward to the Ordnance Department in London. Conolly availed himself of this practice to alter the account before sending it away. Sometimes he inserted £300 or £400, or sometimes £500 extra. The account which bore Colonel Durnford's signature was next examined by a number of very able gentlemen in London. When, however, they were satisfied of the correctness of the account, they did not communicate with Colonel Durnford or any of the officials in Ireland, but sent a check direct to the contractor. In this case the contractor, M'Ilvaine, was in collusion with the clerk Conolly, and therefore, when he received a letter authorizing him to draw on the Treasury for a sum perhaps twice the amount of his account, it was thankfully received and immediately obeyed. In passing sentence on the offenders, the Judge enumerated some of the instances of fraud which occurred between February and July, 1861. A sum of £323 17s. was altered into £628 7 s.. 2d.; another of £271 11s. in £576 1s.; another of £361 14s. into £706 17s.; another of £221 16s. into £445 18s.; and another of £268 into £501. Of course, had the head of the department in Dublin caught sight of any of the altered accounts or orders to pay, the fraud would have been at once detected. But, with singular ingenuity, all the checks were arranged so that there was no safeguard whatever against conspiracy between a clerk and a contractor. It was chiefly in the items for slating that the figures were altered. A gentleman told me that there were charges for slates enough to cover the Isle of Wight. Any one who knew anything of the barracks for which it was pretended that these slates were required, could see at a glance that it was utterly impossible such a preposterous quantity could have been used. On the trial the Judge observed, that although he was, of course, bound to confine himself to the frauds disclosed in the evidence, he had a shrewd suspicion that they were but a small portion of the system which had been carried on in the department for a series of years. I have been told that these two gentlemen, one very religions, and the other a very fashionable man, have been making nearly £2,500 a year by their dishonesty. Indeed, they might, perhaps, but for an accident, have been still pocketing large sums. The report is, that the fraud was discovered only through a clerk from Dublin happening, when in the London office, to set eyes on one of the cooked accounts. Upon that the law officers were called in, and the two gentlemen were arrested, one of them as he was going to a dinner party, which was clearly very inconvenient for him, and very distressing to his feelings. It was discovered that the two rogues had an agreement to divide the spoils. They were convicted, and the justice of the country was vindicated. I wish to know from the Government what sums of money have been abstracted from the public treasury in this manner; and what steps, if any, have been taken to prevent a repetition of this systematic and long-continued plundering?


SIR GEORGE LEWIS
The statements of the right hon. Gentleman are perfectly correct as far as they went. The information I have received is, that a clerk named Conolly, who was formerly in the Ordnance Department, and afterwards on the Consolidated Staff of the War Department as chief clerk of his branch, conspired with a contractor named M'Ilvaine to defraud the Government. My information leads me to the belief that their frauds extended over the years between 1848 and 1861. It is plain that as the amalgamation of the Ordnance and War Departments took place in 1854, these offences were not due to that measure. The manner in which the frauds were committed was this:—The Commanding Officer of Engineers certified the value of the work done, and delivered the certificate to the chief clerk, who, in collusion with the contractor, increased the amount, and transmitted it to the War Office in London, where it was examined, and whence the order for payment on the paymaster was sent to the contractor. That was the system of checks; the chief clerk was supposed to be a check upon the officer of Engineers, and the contractor to be a check upon these two officers. It was the practice of the old Ordnance Office, and no alteration was introduced by the combined departments. The right hon. Gentleman said, that if payment had been made on the order of the officer of Engineers, the possibility of fraud would have been avoided. But, without intending to cast any imputation upon the honour of officers of the army, he must say, that if there bad been collusion between the officer of Engineers and the contractor, such a system would have led to a precisely similar result. [Mr. WHITESIDE: Then we have no hope?] Your hope is in this, that you may have a system of checks which will make fraud extremely difficult. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? No system of checks can be devised which, by means of forgery and conspiracy, may not be defeated. I believe that at first the frauds were not large, but impunity rendering the parties bolder in late years the amounts of which the public were defrauded became more considerable. As these persons were only convicted of frauds to the extent of £1,400, I feel some difficulty in stating, upon what may be considered official authority, the extent of the frauds which they actually committed, as they may have friends and relations whose feelings would be hurt by such a statement. If the House thinks I am justified in making the statement I have no objection to do so; but I will hot voluntarily state the amount, though I may say that it considerably exceeds that which was proved at the trial. The frauds were detected by a clerk in the office, who suspected something was wrong, and wrote to London. Inquiry was made, and the irregularity was at once found out. The rule which has been adopted to prevent the recurrence of such practices is, that the Commanding Officer of Engineers should send to the London office a duplicate statement, which will be a check upon the clerk. This will prevent the recurrence of any precisely similar frauds, but it is impossible to provide securities against every possible fraud which ingenious rogues may devise. Means have also been taken, with which I need not trouble the House, to prevent such frauds as these leading to the expenditure of more money than has been voted by this House.


SIR FREDERIC SMITH
said, that in England the system was very simple. The works were executed by contract and measurement, and when complete the contractor, the clerk of the works, and the executive officer of Engineers, each of whom kept a book, checked one another. The check was complete, for there must be collusion between all four persons before any fraud could be effected. It appeared that in the instance referred to the amount paid was more than the work could cost. It should be known that in these cases there was an estimate, and every sum paid upon it was entered in a hook. Now it was the duty of the clerk who made the entries, the moment there was an excess of payment over the estimate, to state the fact; and therefore the contractor would be called upon to know why there was an excess. He contended that the practice should be that no bill in which there was an erasure or interlineation should be paid, and he would suggest that there should be a positive order to that effect.

Source:HANSARD
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:50 am

CTSG
:lol!: :lol!: :lol!:
The mind boggles, how on earth did you find that.
Ok, so to extrapalate............. Durnford and Cetswayo were in cahoots to steal war office bullets for sale to a scrap merchant of ill reput rumored to be second cousin to Lord Chelmsford. To that end Chelmsford establishes an alibi by going of into the bush on a safari with a bunch of winesses.
Durnford nips of to the back on Nqutu where the impi is waiting and tells them how to attack. Pulleine has a great english breakfast and falls asleep, the camps attacked and all the spent rounds are collected and sold of.
Brilliant mate. :lol!: :lol!: Gotta love it.
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rai



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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:18 am

Hi All,
Wrong Colonel Durnford, look at the date 1860, also our Durnford was only promoted Colonel in late 1878/79 and it was not known at the start of the Zulu War.
I wonder if this is his Father or Brother or even uncle who was also military.

Regards Rai
keynshamlighthorse
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:16 pm

Something has been bothering me since CTSG posted his reply; he made a comment that has caused me to revise by opinion of Durnford at Isandlwana.

As officer of Engineers Surly Durnfords first cause of action would have been to form some sort of fortification or at least look for the best defensive position? But instead it seems Durnford had no intention of remaining in the camp for whatever reason. There is the old argument as to whether or not he was to take command or reinforce camp; many agree he was to reinforce the camp. But actually he did neither, he left the camp.

The fact of the matter is it looks like Durnford did disobeyed a direct order. (Whichever order that was)

CTSG makes another comment. Chelmsford split his forces, Durnford did exactly the same. He may as well have stayed a Rorkes Drift when you think about it. No disrespect intended.


G Idea

Springbok enjoyed you reply. :lol!:
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:33 pm

Well said Mr G. Apart from the last bit.

Springbok. Your cahoots theory almost makes since until you involved the Good Lord Chelmsford.
But as Rai pointed out there is a possibility that the extract was pointing to Durnfords Brother or Father either way its Bad Blood which i'm told apparently is an inherited disease. Of coarse no disrespect intended.

I forgot to add. :lol!:
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:58 pm

Mr G. Not taking sides by Chelmsford had been at Isandlwana for 48hrs and made no attempt to fortified the camp. Is it really fair to say Durnford should have done what Chelmsford didn’t in four hours?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:41 pm

It appears there was an ill defined relationship between Durnford and Pulleine, Can anyone shed some light on this. If possible.

Dave
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:05 am

hi all.
The whole isandlwana debacle WAS caused by mistakes and complacency on the part of
ALL those involved , to blame one or another is totally unfair , but , I will say , who was actually
in charge of the whole fiasco and I dont mean the column commander Glynn . If you get my
drift Idea .
cheers especially to CTSG :lol!:
90th.
No disrespect meant in anyway shape or form .
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:14 am

Or possibly the arch typical mentality of the Victorian upper class in any dealings with savages. The belief of total superiority.
The inability to credit the Zulu,s with the bravery, the pride in their being, the unswerving loyalty to their monarch
Is it possible that that was the real cause of the defeat?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:52 am

No!! the answer is simple.Learn to obey orders!!! If your told to take command of the camp. (Then take command of the camp) If you’re told to reinforce the camp (Then Reinforce the camp) there is nothing else to do.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:59 am

Was a direct order given to Durnford to "take command of the camp " , i dont think it was .

Think back to Major Spalding at RD , whether he should have left is another question , but at least he clearly stated who was in charge in his absense.

At Ishandlwana no-one seemed to know who was in command of what .
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:08 am

What order was actually issued to Durnford as always been under debate. It was either take command or reinforce the camp. (Durnford did neither) And it was his retreat back to the camp that contributed to the collapse of the British line.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:29 am

I think recent investigation has found that Durnford received no specific orders regarding the camp, other than to move his column from Rorkes Drift to Isandlwana. Anything to the contrary was a fabrication by Chelmsford and Crealock to lay the blame for the disaster on a senior officer other than one of the 24th.
Pulleine was the officer in charge of the camp at Isandlwana.
Durnford was in charge of mounted men and did what all mounted units did during the campaign, that is to seek out the enemy and either engage or report their position. I do believe he probably thought that it was Chelmsfords column which was the one in danger.
In any case when locating the Zulu left horn Durnford and his men fought a fighting retreat considerably slowinging the Zulu. When they and other Colonial units made a stand in the donga the entire line was still holding. It was however far too extended and with the zulu right and left horns continualy pushing out around them, envelopment was inevitable.
When Durnfords men finaly withdraw from lack of ammunition, at the most it may have hastened the collapse by only minutes. By the time the general withdrawal was sounded the Zulu were already entering the rear of the camp.
The battle was won by a brave and resilient enemy using proven tactics. It was also lost the moment Chelmsford split his column and didnt use his own standing instructions of laagering or fortifying the camp.
Durnford was also a lowly officer of Engineers, and the not one of 'us' mentality would also have contributed to his being blamed.
He did however stand and die with the men when he could have easily ridden away like a number of other officers on that day.
Chelmsford in particular was embarrassed by the survival of so many officers. Wolseley was even more blunt. (cant remember his quote at this time)

Only new to the forum so hope noone minds my opinion. Dont hesitate to tell me Im wrong. RG
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:51 am

New or old doesnt matter Rob your entitled to an opinion.
CTSG
The exact orders are known. They were found on Durnfords body by Offie Shepstone and secreted. When they came to life, badly decomposed and stuck together with blood the RE Museum at Chattam had them separated and recorded.
They read :' You are to march to this camp at once with all force you have with you of No2 column. Major Bengoughs battalion is to move to RD as ordered yesterday..............'
No mention in there of take command !
Go back a pace to a further comunique from Chelmsford to Durnford: ' when a column is acting separatly in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he may receive from me, if information which he obtained, showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command.

While Im at it: in 1998 a report from Captain Stafford of the NNC came to light. He wrote' Col.Durnford and Capt Shepstone entered Pulleine's tent whilst I remained outside. From what I could hear, an argument was taking place betwen Pulleine and Dirnford as to who the senior was. Col. Pulleine apeared to give way and I heard Durnford say, . 'You had orders to draw in the camp'Alas there was no time for this as the fighting had already commenced. I can never understand to this day why this was not done.
So in short, Durnford wasnt ordered to take charge merely to bring his column forward.
Im pretty sure if he is sitting in heaven rite now hes not muttering 'Mea Culpa'
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:28 pm

Here's an interesting artical, further information would be welcome.

"On 28 January 1879, Haggard wrote a brief letter to his father informing him of the "terrible disaster that has befallen our troops in Zululand." In a more detailed letter that followed on the 31st, Haggard noted that "it was the old story of underestimating your enemy." He added that Colonel Anthony Durnford was being blamed for the defeat "who, though a nice fellow personally, was a headstrong rash man and, irony of fate, a violent Zulu partisan."
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:54 am

Taking into account "Zulu partisan." Durnford was well known and liked by the Natives.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:08 pm

Springbok.

Major Clery states: “I mentioned in the written instructions to Colonel Pulleine that Colonel Durnford had been written to to bring up his force to strengthen the camp.”

Ok so now we have 3 options. (Who knows there could be more)? But let’s look at the 3 available to us.


1. Take Command of the camp
2. Re-enforce the camp
3. Strengthen the camp

So which order did Durnford carryout??

Of coarse no disrespect intended.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:46 pm

CTMG
Valid argument.
Option 4.
Clery told Pulliene Durnford was to strengthen the camp,
But there is no record any place that says Durnford was told. Have to give thought that this was a major cock up and ever body was trying to cover their rear ends. Plus major loyalty to their senior officers. Durnford was the odd man out, Engineer, Irish, Not of the right school. And not there to defend himself. He was the natural patsie.
Dont expect we will ever agree, thats the beauty of this battle, theres room for a thousand interpretations. I still like mine about the cahoots theory. :lol!:

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:44 pm

Springbok, CTSG. I'm finding this discussion quite interesting as you are both raising some good points. I hope it continues. I must admit at the moment I'm swinging towards CTSG views. But I hope things change.
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:45 pm

hi sprinbok9
I like the " cahoots theory ", Cleary just trying to cover his own rear end !!!!, Positve I read somewhere he was
found out on other things he had denied he had said or done . Dont think he was a very nice person from what
I have read , but cant remember where .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:34 am

CTSG
Ok Take it back a stage.
Its been proven that the orders for Durnford from Chelmsford were fairly explicit. ( Not going to quote them again). He was never ordered to take command, strengthen the garrison, or reinforce the column. He was an independant entity ordered up to Isandlawana for future duties. That lots incontravertible from the evdience that survives. Every syncophant in Lord Chelmsfords column, swannning around near the Gorge had an axe to gring by supporting Chelmsford. Once he, Chelmsford had made his stance clear they all fell in behind him like good little officers and old school types should do.
The so called court of enquiry was rigged better than a Zimbabwe election.
Who to blame.
Again lets get brutal.
The foot soldiers for running away from the battle field? ( I would have run like hell)
The officers for deserting their men ( Wosley had a really good point there)
Pulleine, I suspect he was totally lost and tried to follow his last orders.
Durnford for being to brash and impulsive.
Chelmsford for being impresise.

???????????????

I believe its a touch of all the above. Except for the first, the squaddies were the least to blame.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:06 pm

The only blame that can be laid on The Good Lord Chelmsford Doorstep is the placing of two in-experienced officers in command of the camp at Isandlwana on the 22nd January 1879.

Springbok.
Quote :
He was never ordered to take command, strengthen the garrison, or reinforce the column. He was an independent entity ordered up to Isandhlawana for future duties.

Weather this is true or not he was senior to Pulleine therefore the responsibility of defending the camp fell to him. (That’s the way is works and always has done) The matter still stands he left the camp and got himself into trouble with the advancing Zulu’s he and his men then began to run low on ammunition and withdrew to the camp leaving the British flank vulnerable. This coupled with orders from Pulleine to fall back towards the camp led to a collapse of the British line. The Zulus were able to get between the British and the campsite. Overrun, British resistance was reduced to a series of desperate last stands as the 1st Battalion and Durnford's command were effectively wiped out.

Quote :
The foot soldiers for running away from the battle field?

The foot soldiers would have been relying on guidance from the officer's. The best example of this was our good friend Younghusband who stood with his men until the last. Ask yourself this question. If Durnford had not taken it upon him to leave the camp would the British lines have held? (I think yes they would have). As for Pulleine, well maybe he felt it was his responsibility to support Durnfords retreat fearing reprisals if he had not. But the combination of both brought about the disaster at Isandlwana. Nothing to do with The Good Lord Chelmsford what so ever.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:38 pm

CTSG
Again all fair comment.
Save and except, by the time Durnford got himself into trouble, freely admitted, the camp itself was allready in trouble because of the right wing coming over the saddle. At that point the battle was over. Cant blame Durnford for that.
Chelmsfords immediate reaction when seeing the disaster was, words to the effect of, 'I left enough men in the camp to defend it'.
He also left a fairly rigid book of engagment with instructions on how to engage the Zulu. The formation taken up by Pulleine was exactly according to those instructions.
As Adrian Dreaves points out, the fact that Durnford backed down in his argument to draw in the lines, or indeed non of the other officers present did, is a good pointer that he, Pulleine, was obeying standing orders. Incidentally at Nyezane Pearson used exactly the same formation.
Also in the standing orders is express instructions, gleaned from Chelmsfords conversations with the Boer before hand, to fortify the camp.
He, Chelmsford was at paints afterwards when ctisisised to point out that this wasnt done, and so his orders were not obeyed. Elswhere in this string one of the good members also castigates Durnford for not ensuring that the camp was dug in.
Chelmsford held control of the camp on arrival at Isandlawana untill a few hours before the attack, he made no attempt to carry out his own instructions.
Instead he tried to lay the blame on first Pulleine, in charge for miniscule time, before the battle and later Durnford who was present for even less time.
A summary.
When Durnford arrived at Isandlawana,
The early stage of the battle had commensed.
Intelligence reported a massing of forces heading towards the last known site of Chelmsford.
Command of the Camp, and Instructions on how to depend, and position the troops had been left by Chelmsford.
Durnford considered his duty lay in trying to protect the left flank of Chelsfords column.
Pulleine had drawn up the forces as per his book of standing orders, theres a copy for sale on e bay at present.
No cognisanse had been taken on defending the rear of the camp.
Durnford moves forward, retires in ignomy.
As he retires Popes man come under fire
The camp is allready taken over the saddle.
The rest is history.
To many mistakes before the battle started.
Many mistakes after it had started.
But as we all know, and task/job is made easy with the right preperation.

Regards.
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:38 pm

When Chelmsford made reference to leaving a 1000 men in the camp he was mainly referring to the modern firepower the British Army had available to them.

With reference to the formation as laid down in the standing orders, this would have been effective if the line had not been over-extended which it was caused by Durnfords retreat. As for the fortification of the camp as stated by Chelmsford it would have taken weeks due to the rocky ground. Ok a small laager could have been formed, but this could have quite easily have been done by Pulleine at the early stages of the battle but he missed his chance.

I do believe Durnford and Pulleine were to busy arguing as to who was in command over breakfast before actually getting down to business.

Like you say
Quote :
“The early stage of the battle had commenced.”
That’s a good reason not to leave the came.

In another topic somewhere on the forum, Neill Aspinshaw clarified that if a lager formation had been taken up on the NEC the firing line would have held.

We must also remember, When Chelmsford was at Isandlwana the camp was not under attack. The situation dramatically changed to a life and death situation.
The officer in command? Should have been experienced enough to realise that a change in tactics was necessary. Unfortunally there was no one available to make the necessary arrangements. A good commander would have brought in his pickets, established ammunition points within the camp area formed up the defensive firing lines as depicted in the standing orders and waited for the enemy to advance and not advance towards the enemy.

Like I have stated, Durnford should never have left the camp. If he felt the need to leave he should have left and not returned, therefore the firing lines would not have become over-extended and the British may have had a better chance of survival.

For what its worth Chelmsford should have left Captain Yourhusband in command. He seems to have been the only one we know about that had the commonsense to move to a position that could be defended. If the others had followed suit. Then the Zulu would have found it a lot harder to overcome the British on the slope and may even have given up. Unfortunally Younghusband just did not have the manpower to accomplish this.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:06 pm

Must agree with sas1. Interesting discussion. Lets hope it doesn't end in a stalemate. Good work you two.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:08 am

CTSG
Point by Point.
The formation dictated by Lord Chelmsford was adopted at the outset of battle.
The left horn of the Zulu was reaching across the plain. Assuming Durnford had not come back as suggested. Pope ( on the end of the line) would have been outflanked so much sooner.
On formations, the botttom line is they were wrong tactics, Chelmsford was fully aware or the Zulu 'Horns of the Beast' tactic. On a linear formation he wasw always going to be outflanked.
Durnfords presence was therefore not the issue.
Before being withdrawn Durnfords men were allready being outflanked with the Zulu left horn allready at the foot of the Kopie.
Standing orders are there to be obeyed. It didnt matter that ' Chelmsford wasnt under attack then', he should have consolidated his base the moment his troops moved into the camp position. Thats the Norm for any Army on the move.
The point Im making about the standing orders is, Lord C blamed all and suddenly, probably including the Mess barman, for not obeying his standing orders, wrongly.
To repeat, Durnford was an independant column not under orders, with express latitude given by his caommanding officer to excersise his own judgement. So wrong or right isnt the issue, the point is he had the right.
According to Stafford, witness to the tent conversation, the main topic wasnt who was in charge but what was being done. Durnford was furious that that the line of defences was established the way it was ( done by Pulliene at the EXPRESS ORDERS OF LORD C HELMSFORD ).
If it was merely about who was in charge, a simple Q and A, ergo, when were you commisioned, I was commisioned etc would have sufficed.
Stafford is very very clear on his observations and his quotes.
We do agree that Pulliene was the wrong man. However by rank Younghusband was way down the pecking order.
Could be interesting to establish what that pecking order was actually.
I have a feeling that next in line would have been Major Smith.
Personally I would have rather had Anstey, he proved by his fighting retreat he could command a force.
Lastly, decided to go and spend time on the beach yesterday, temp was 37, so missed all the who ha with Kieth Smith. Pity.
Regards
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:43 pm

Hi Springbok.
For a moment I though you had retreated. (Pity i have only just seen this) I will reply to your last post. By the way some good points raised there. But it's late so I will reply tomorrow. You didn't miss much. Some of us on the forum Jumped the gun so to say. Gave Keith a bit of a hard time. But i have apologised.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:43 am

CTSG
Some time ago I was discussing the battle, much as we are at present, and I described it as a 'cock up'.
It was pointed out to me that I should have rather been politically correct and called it " an unauthotised deviation from criteria based standards."
Look forward to your reply

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:47 am

:lol!: .
cheers 90th.
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rai



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PostSubject: Wolseley Officers Running away   Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:08 pm

Hi All,
Does Wolseley have a point, about Officers running away at Isandlwana,
Of all the Imperial Officers at the battle, all the 24th Regimental officers who had commands, ie Pulleine C/o of the camp, W Degacher senior officer of the 1/24, in the absence of Pulliene camp c/o, the company commanders, Younghusband, Wardell, Cavaye, Mostyn, and Porteous, all the companies junior officers, Atkinson, Anstey, Hodson, ,Daly, and Quartermaster Pullen, Paymaster White, and the Officers of the 2/24th, Pope, Godwin-Austen,Dyson Quartermaster Bloomfield,, and Lt Dyer and Griffith 2/24th who returned to the camp were ALL KILLED WITH THERE MEN,
we assume Melvill was told to leave the camp with the colours or took it upon himself to save them,
None of these Officers were found on the Fugitives trail, other then Anstey all were found in around the camp area, This is obvious to me that they all stayed with there men, and were killed with them?
As for Anstey who was seen at the Manzimami stream the watercourse behind Isandlwana, but it is also said he was in charge of a fatigue party behind Isandlwana and therefore this was the reason for being where he was.
It is obvious to me that none of the above left there men they all stayed being very brave to the end as were all the Nco's and Privates!
Well Wolseley was he wrong or was he only talking of the survivours this is another guestion?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:58 pm

Hi rai
Interesting trying to get into Wolsleys mind. As a stab Id say a traditionalist, old school etc. So didnt take kindly to officers surviving.
But in the cold light of day the fugitive officers were not attached to a particular group of men for the battle, is supernumeries the right word?
With the exception of Curling I dont think any one was front line.
If I have a problem, funnily enough I do, its with the time frame.
Ive tried to explore a time frame of the fugitives, everything leads me to suspect that Coghill, god rest his soul, was leader of the pack. That is my problem. There is sufficient evidence to confirm that, SD, Essex and Curling.
My personal hero is SD himself and considering the risks he took later in life I cant see him as a coward.
Mellville? I wouldnt assume he was told to leave, no evidence whatsoever, but he was regarded as a first class soldier and knowing the value placed on the colors I would give him the nod.
Essex, came in for alot of stick, and dogerel, Lucky Essex they say.
Higginson, without doubt the proverbial dark one in the wood pile.
If we assume all the escapees had good reason and hung around to the very bitter end, until all hope was gone, why do none of them mention the last stands? Durnfords, plane view from the elevated saddle? Younghusband, even planer view glancing up from the saddle right down the trail. And Anstey, the most determined and steadfast.
See my point? They all had to have left before those last stands developed so at the point they left there had to have still been hope.
Maybe Wolsley thought the same way in his good old school bluff sort of way he couldn countinance it!
Just some thoughts that may provoke some wrath.

Regards
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Springbok. Can we first determine if this is the case.
Quote :
"Durnford was an independant column not under orders"

Extractsfrom the : Court of Inquiry held to take evidence regarding the disastrous affair of Isandlwana.



Major Clery Senior Staff Officer to the 3rd Column

The General first ordered me to write to Colonel Durnford, at Rorke's Drift, to bring his force to strengthen the camp, but almost immediately afterwards he told Colonel Crealock that he (Colonel Crealock) was to write to Colonel Durnford these instructions, and not I. Before leaving the camp, I sent written instructions to Colonel Pulleine, 24th Regiment, to the following effect:—" You will be in command of the camp during the absence of Colonel Glyn; draw in (I speak- from memory) your camp, or your line of defence"—I am not certain which-"while the force is out: also draw in the line of your infantry outposts accordingly; but keep your cavalry vedettes still far advanced." I told him to have a wagon ready loaded with ammunition ready to follow the force going out at a moment's notice, if required. I went to Colonel Pulleine's tent just before leaving camp to ascertain that he had got these instructions, and I again repeated them verbally to him. To the best of my memory, I mentioned in the written instructions to Colonel Pulleine that Colonel Durnford had been written to to bring up his force to strengthen the camp. I saw the column out of camp and accompanied it.


Colonel Glyn, C.B., Corroborate Major Clery's statement.



Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Regiment,

states: I am employed as transport officer with No 2 Column, then under Colonel Durnford, R.E., on the 22nd January, 1879, the column marched on that morning from Rorke's Drift to Isandlwana in consequence of an order received from the Lieutenant General. I do not know the particulars of the order received. I entered the Isandlwana camp with Colonel Durnford about 10 A.M., and remained with him as Acting Staff Officer. On arrival he took over command from Colonel Pulleine, 24th Regiment. Colonel Pulleine gave over to Colonel Durnford a verbal state of the troops in camp at the time, and stated the orders he had received, viz., to defend the camp, these words were repeated two or three times in the conversation. Several messages were delivered, the last one to the effect that the Zulus were retiring in all directions—the bearer of this was not dressed in any uniform. On this message Colonel Durnford sent two troops Mounted Natives to the top of the hills to the left, and took with him two troops of Rocket Battery, with escort of one company Native Contingent, on to the front of the camp about four or five miles off. Before leaving, he asked Colonel Pulleine to give him. two companies 24th Regiment. Colonel Pulleine said that with the orders he had received he could not do it, but agreed with Colonel Durnford to send him help if he got into difficulties. Colonel Durnford, with two troops, went on ahead and met the enemy some four or five miles off in great force.


Captain Essex's Evidence. Rorke's Drift, January 24, 1879.

SIR,
I HAVE the honour to forward for the information of the Lieutenant-General Commanding, an account of an action which took place near the Isandlwana Hills on the 22nd instant. After the departure of the main body of the column, nothing unusual occurred in camp until about eight A.M., when a report arrived from a picquet stationed at a point about 1,500 yards distant, on a hill to the north of the camp, that a body of the enemy's troops could be seen approaching from the north-east. Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine, 1st Battalion 24th Regiment, commanding in camp, thereupon caused the whole of the troops available to assemble near the eastern side of the camp, facing towards the reported direction of the enemy's approach. He also dispatched a mounted man with a report to the column, presumed to be about twelve or fifteen miles distant. Shortly after nine A.M., a small body of the enemy showed itself just over the crest of the hills, in the direction they were expected, but retired a few minutes afterwards, and disappeared. Soon afterwards, information arrived from the picquet before alluded to, that the enemy was in three columns, two of which were retiring, but were still in view; the third column had disappeared in a north-westerly direction. At about ten A.M. a party of about 250 mounted natives, followed by a rocket. battery, arrived with Lieu tenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., who now assumed command of the camp.


And to reflect my comments about the Rocket Battery beinghung out to dry. this from Captain Nourse.

Captain Nourse, Natal Native Contingent, states :

I was commanding the escort to the Rocket Battery, when Colonel Durnford advanced in front of the camp on the 22nd to meet the enemy. Colonel Durnford had gone on with two troops, Mounted Natives. They went too fast, and left us some two miles in the rear. On hearing heavy firing on our left, and learning that the enemy were in that direction, we changed our direction to the left. Before nearly reaching the crest of the hills on the left of the camp, we were attacked on all sides. One rocket was sent off, and the enemy-was on us; the first volley dispersed the mules and the natives, and we retired on to the camp as well as we could. Before we reached the camp it was destroyed.

So as you can see, Durnford was under someones orders.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:06 pm

rai

Sorry just picked up on your comment of Anstey being in a fatigue party behind the mountain, thats fascinating, where does it come from?
Really adds grist to the mill in that if Anstey never joined the battle, he would have been first to engage the right horn.
When Neil was at Isandlawana in January he explored what apeared to an old kraal, close to Ansteys last stand. He half proposed a theory that this could have been a defensive post and that the defenders, Anstey, wer buried some distance away because the ground was to stoney for digging. Thats the famous L shaped series of cairns.
Your thoughts?
Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:19 pm

CTSG

Sorry typing and thinking as fast as I can.

Firstly Clery and Glyn out and out lied.
The orders have survived as I pointed out earlier. Durnford had been acting as an independant column.
The orders did not change that structure.
As I said earlier, Chelmsford had told Durnford that he would expect any officer to disobey his orders if it was felt neccesary
Cochrane freely admits he didnt know what the orders said, he assumed.
Essex never justified his comments, so heresay.
And I fully agree the rocket battery was a sacrificial lamb, if I had been part of it I would have been a tad cross at Durnford.
Something to think about.......... You arrive in camp, puff out your chest and inform Pulliene that your senior officer and will take charge of the camp ( with me so far) You then tell Pulliene that you want two companies to accompany you on your sortie ( still with me?),. Pulliene, YOUR JUNIOR, says sorry mate you aint having them !!!! Thats heresy! A junior officer talking down a senior officer? Wouldnt happen. The only circumstance Pulliene would refuse an order from Durnford would be if HE was in charge of the camp and would have the full backing of Lord C when he returned. Dont forget that no one knew at that point that it was pointless buying a long playing record.However Ive never said he was a paragon of virtue, frankly I think he was a rubbish soldier. That doesnt change my argument that HE was hung out to dry by the old boys network......... Not just Lord C, but the lot of them, Clery, Glyn et al.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:01 pm

I think your find. Pulleine would have quite happily hand-over the troops to Durnford.It was only when Melvill let rip at Durnford was it decided not to take the troops.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:45 pm

Greetings Mr G

............Mellville let rip" ? Dont quite understand that . Could you go into that a touch more?
Regards
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:42 pm

It clearly states here that Pulleine's orders were to defend the camp.

"As far as I could make out, the gist of Colonels Durnford and Pulleine's discussion was that the former wished to go out and attack the Zulus, whilst the latter argued that his orders were to defend the camp, and that he could not allow his infantry to move out."

Source: Memories of Forty-Eight Years Service
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:01 pm

CTSG Chelmsford failed to ensure that the unity of command was preserved at the camp. Lieutenant Colonel Pulleine orders were to remain at the camp and defend it with his regiment. Chelmsford concurrently issued unclear orders to Durnford to "march to Isandlwana at once with all the force you have," Chelmsford did not specify the purpose for Durnford's attendance at the camp. Consequently, Durnford arrived at Isandlwana not knowing if he was expected to follow Chelmsford's main body in expectation of battle or if he was to linger at the camp. Furthermore, Durnford outranked Pulleine, Therefore Durnford expected to take command upon his arrival.

Pulleine had received orders that the camp and its security were his responsibility; Pulleine had no intention of renouncing his command or complementing Durnford's column with his troops. This misunderstanding over who was really in charge prevented either man from establishing command and control and subdued efforts to establish safety measures and a clear logistical support regime.


You have quoted statements from Chelmsford’s Court of enquiry. So you maybe interested to know.

"Queen's Regulations the conditions under which the Court sits— A Court of Inquiry may be assembled by any officer in command to assist him in arriving at a correct conclusion on any subject on which it may be expedient for him to be thoroughly informed. With this object in view, such Court may be directed to investigate and report upon any matter that may be brought before it; but it has no power (except when convened to record the illegal absence of soldiers as provided for in the Articles of War) to administer an oath, nor to compel the attendance of witnesses not military. A Court of Inquiry is not to be considered in any light as a judicial body. It may be employed at the discretion of the convening officer to collect and record information only.”

E.H
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:21 pm

"Chelmsford concurrently issued unclear orders to Durnford to "march to Isandlwana at once with all the force you have," Chelmsford did not specify the purpose for Durnford's attendance at the camp."

Come on Elizabeth lets keep this serious. The British had just invaded Zululand. Why on earth would the commander of the entire British Force, direct an officer of Engineers to a position within enemy lines without a purpose?.

Chelmsford was aware that Durnford was of senior rank to Pulleine and more experience. He was also aware of Pulleine’s administrative background. I doubt very much if it even dawned on Chelmsford that Pulleine would get up-set when it came to handing over command to Durnford.

I cannot prove that orders were issued to Durnford in respect of what the History books say. But then again no one can prove orders weren’t issued.

Don’t quote me but I do believe some documentation was found years later, which contained evidence of the orders but evidently the pages were stuck together apparently with Durnfords Blood. But until someone manages to get the pages open we will never know. But taking into account Durnford’s back ground I tend to think orders were issued. (Could be wrong)
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:24 pm

CTSG.
Quote :
Don’t quote me but I do believe some documentation was found years later, which contained evidence of the orders but evidently the pages were stuck together apparently with Durnfords Blood. But until someone manages to get the pages open we will never know. But taking into account Durnford’s back ground I tend to think orders were issued. (Could be wrong)

Can you name your source please?

S.D
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90th

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PostSubject: durnford was he capable.   Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:20 am

hi all.
If you go to page 1 of this thread and find springbok9"s post on the 26th feb at 9.51am , you will see mention of
the orders found on Durnford , I have read these orders but cant tell you which book or paper as I have over 80
publications . I will have a look at the AZWHS journals they may be there. Nothing like a good CONTROLLED
discussion . I am still firmly of the opinion , its ludicrous to place the blame at one person , there are many who
should have been answerable . Starting from the VERY top all the way down Idea
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:29 am

Hi All
Great to see an involvement from so many.
The papers found on Durnfords body were concealed by Offie shepstone. There is a whole chapter on them in 'Isandlawana' by Adrian Greaves. The papers plus various document trails are explored extremely thouroughly by Adrian. In the book are photos of the papers.

Ive quoted from them at the beginning of this thread, sorry CTSG there is no shadow of doubt on the WRITTEN orders received by Durnford. From those orders and the prievious missives sent to Durnford by Chelmsford, all correspondence has survived and is proven, its clear that Durnford was acting independantly and under no orders to take control of the camp.

Staffords evidence is indisputable, its not based on heresay, Essex etc. He clearly comments that the discussion in the tent was devoted to the dissposition of fources, not who was in charge.

I conceed Durnford was senior officer. but arriving at the camp, being informed of the situation I believe that he opted to continue with his independant command, obey Chelmsford s orders and leave Pullein in command and try and support hic commander in chief.

Again im of the opinion that pulliene had been placed in command by Lord C and was not prepared to deviate from those commands or orders.

90th

I fully agree with your comments about multiple fault. However the beauty about these discusions is of the various sub plots.
Gotta love it.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:09 am

Dave

So after a lengthy discusion its back to your original question, " Was Durnford capable....."
I would say no.
I think as a soldier with combat experience ( limited I will grant you), he was obligated to over rule Pulliene.
He arrived in the camp area when reports were coming in from all and sundry of the Zulus in three cols, advancing along the ridge, retiring in places. In short to what sounds like shear confusion in the intelligence gathering.
I think he should have taken control, brought in the troops closer to camp, sent out more scouts to find out what was happening and then taken clear and decisive action. Whatever that may have been.

90th has pointed out that the blame needs to be shared by many. I think in this thread we have established that Lord C was at fault for a number of issues, Pulleine definitly at fault for his preparations and disorganisation.
Durnford for his rashness and inability for calm rational thought.
Ive no doubt that there are more figures that could share the consequences. However to my mind those three are the keystones that held the whole debarcle together, or not, as the case may be.

Great thread and extremely enjoyable, well done DAVE.

Regards
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:45 pm

Quote :
blame needs to be shared by many

Durnford, Pulliene and Raw.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:03 pm

:lol!: Go get em CTSG :lol!:
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Durnford was he capable.1
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