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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:32 am

Hi OH
Actually we do know, the orders have suvived in Crealocks notebook so we know exactly what Durnford was ordered to do.

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:03 pm

Hi OH.
The original orders have been quoted on here many times a couple by myself and I think only the other day by DB14 .
Not sure what thread it was on , I've no doubt if you went through this thread all the way back to page 1 you will come across them several times . Salute
Cheers 90th.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:12 pm

Thanks 90th. Is it the one that was found in a draw by Jackson.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:26 pm

OH
No it was taken from the note book of Crealock, that was found on the battlefield.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:11 pm

Thanks Springbok..

DB would you be kind enough to post it again. Salute
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:31 pm

Hi OH.

This is the order.

"You are to march to the camp at once with all the force you have with you of No 2 column, Major Bengough's Battalion is to move to Rorke's Drift as ordered yesterday, 2/24th, artillery, and mounted men with the General and Colonel Glyn move off at once to attack Zulu force about ten miles distant".

Martin. Salute
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:07 pm

Thanks Martin. So this is the note that was found in Crelocks note book.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:09 pm

90th wrote:
Hi OH.
The original orders have been quoted on here many times a couple by myself and I think only the other day by DB14 .
Not sure what thread it was on , I've no doubt if you went through this thread all the way back to page 1 you will come across them several times . Salute
Cheers 90th.

90th, search "Crealock's notebook" thread. Worth a re-read. I quote Springbok, from that thread,

"On the 18th May 1882, Crealock admitted, after reference to his note book, that Durnford had not received orders to take command of the camp."
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:11 pm

Where was his note found. And how long after the battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:19 pm

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Read the opening post on the thread above.

In answer to it, Crealock's notebook turning up was bad for the cover-up as it revealed that Durnford had NOT received orders to take command of the camp.


And I apologise for repeating myself here from the other thread, but Don't forget that Chelmsford was complacent, did not think there was any real possibility of the camp being attacked, let alone taken and he would have infected his officers - Crealock his secretary being one of them - with those same thoughts with the shear strength of his formidable personality.
Imagine how they all felt, when the magnitude of their misjudgement became apparent to them.
With the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy cover up unmasked in the news today, please do not underestimate the lengths of the collusion these guys would have gone to in order to get their stories straight and if this necessitated the blaming of the silent dead for the tragedy in order to get their own sorry arses off the hook and to acquiesce with their own senses of misguided loyalty, then that is what they would have done.


Last edited by tasker224 on Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:28 pm

Thanks Tasker.

DB posted.

Quote :
"Major Black found the note book at Isandlwana in June and returned it to Crealock
"

This brings to mind another dicussion. Regarding ammuntion packaging not being found, because it was said, it decomposed. How then could his note book have last for over 5 months in the same element conditions aa the packaging . scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:33 pm

old historian2 wrote:
Thanks Tasker.

DB posted.

Quote :
"Major Black found the note book at Isandlwana in June and returned it to Crealock
"

This brings to mind another dicussion. Regarding ammuntion packaging not being found, because it was said, it decomposed. How then could his note book have last for over 5 months in the same element conditions aa the packaging . scratch

I am guessing the notebook was much sturdier! Books can put up with a lot of punishment.
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:37 pm

Hi OH.
Read the previos posts about the packaging , the ammo wrappers were flimsy , books , cheque books were made of much sturdier paper , in other words built to last , ammo wrappers weren't !. This has been covered previously .
Cheers 90th. Salute
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:23 pm

Quote :
books , cheque books were made of much sturdier paper , in other words built to last.
:lol:

90th I'm sure you were Crealock in your first life... :lol:
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:32 pm

Well we all know 90th's chequebook is pretty substantial :lol:
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:47 am

Hi Tasker .
One can only wish my friend !. Salute .

John.
:lol: :lol: , I think ?. :lol: :lol:

cheers 90th. Salute
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impi

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:37 am

It seems Crealock didn't know a lot of went on, or was ordered to.


1. Statement of Lieutenant-Colonel J. North Crealock, Acting Military Secretary.

1. Soon after 2 A.M. on the 22nd January I received instructions from the Lieutenant-General to send a written order to Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., commanding No. 2 Column, to the following effect (I copied it in my note-book which was afterwards lost): " Move up to Sandhlwana Camp at once with all your mounted men and Rocket Battery—take command of it. I am accompanying Colonel Glyn, who is moving off at once to attack Matyana and a Zulu force said to be 12 or 14 miles off, and at present watched by Natal Police, Volunteers, and Natal Native Contingent. Colonel Glyn takes with him 2-24th Regiment, 4 guns R.A., and Mounted  Infantry."

2. I was. not present during the conversation between Major Clery, Staff Officer to Colonel Glyn, and the Lieutenant-General, but the evening before, about 8.30 P.M., on this officer asking the Lieutenant-General if the 1-24th " Were to reinforce Major Dartnell in the Magane Valley," he said " No."  The General received, I believe through Colonel Glyn, a subsequent representation which caused the fresh orders at 2 A.M. the 22nd, and the orders to Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford. (What were the new orders)
3. Lieutenant-Colonel Durnford, R.E., was not under Colonel Glyn's command at this time; he had been moved from his original position before Middle Drift, with some 250 Mounted Natives, 200 of Sikalis footmen, the Rocket Battery, and one battalion of the 1st Regiment Natal Native Contingent to the Umsinga District, on the Lieutenant-General's seeing the ease with which the Natal frontier could be passed in that part of the Buffalo River. The Lieutenant-General's order was therefore sent to him by me, being the only Head Quarter Staff Officer (except the Aide-de-Camps) with him. These details formed part of No. 2 Column under his command.
4. I sent the orders to him by Lieutenant Smith-Dorrien, of 95th Foot, with directions to leave as soon as he could see his way. I expected him to find Colonel Durnford at the Bashee Valley; it was delivered and acted upon. (Why did he expect to find Durnford in the Bashee valley)

5. Although I was not aware at that time of the Lieutenant-General's grounds for ordering the troops from camp, yet it was evident to me that he wished to close up to the camp all outlying troops, and thus strengthen it. He would naturally also consider that the presence of an officer of Colonel Durnford's rank and corps would prove of value in the defence of a camp, if it should be attacked.

6. The Lieutenant-General had himself noticed mounted men in one direction (our left front) on the 21st. A patrol of the Mounted Infantry had found another small body of the enemy in our front, and Major Dartnell, we knew, had a strong force before him on our right front. It was evident to me that the Zulu forces were in our neighbourhood, and the General had decided, on the evening of the 21st, to make a reconnaissance to our left front. ( should I read this neighbourhood ie Isandlwana)

7. It did not occur to me that the troops left in camp were insufficient for its defence. Six Companies British Infantry, 2 guns, 4 Companies Natal Contingent, 250 Mounted Natives, 200 Sikalis men, and details of Mounted Corps appeared to me—had I been asked—a proper force for the defence of the camp and its stores.

8. I subsequently heard Major Clery state that the had left precise instructions to Lieutenant-Lionel Pulleine "to defend the camp." Such instructions would, I consider, as a matter of course, be binding on Colonel Durnford on his assuming command of the camp.

9. The first intimation that reached me on the 22nd of there being a force of Zulus in the neighbourhood of the camp was between 9.30 and 10 A.M. We were then off-saddled on neck facing the Isipise range, distant some 2 miles from camp. During  the three previous hours we had been advancing with Colonel Glyn's Column against a Zulu force that fell back from hill to hill as we advanced, giving up without a shot most commanding positions. Major Clery at this time received a half sheet of foolscap with a message from Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine informing him (I think it ran) that a Zulu force had appeared on the hills on his left front. Our own attention was chiefly bent on he enemy's force retiring from the hills in our front, and a party being pursued by Lieutenant Colonel Russell three miles off. This letter was not addressed to me, and I did not note on it the time of receipt, but one I received from Colonel Russell soon after is noted by me (I think, for it is at Pietermaritzburg) as received at 10.20.

10. Lieutenant Milne, R.N., A.D.C., shortly after this descended a hill on our left, whence he had been on the look-out with a telescope. All the news he gave regarding the camp was that the cattle had been driven into camp. I believe this to have been nearly 11 A.M.

11. In the meantime information reached the General that the right of our force was smartly engaged with the enemy's left. Two companies of 2-24th and the 2nd Battalion of the Natal Native Contingent climbed the hill to our right, and, striking across the flat hill, joined the Volunteers who were still engaged. Colonel Glyn accompanied them, having first ordered back the four guns and two Companies 2-24th to the wagon track, with instructions to join him near the Mangane Valley. (So they had their own little battle to contend with) He had also sent back instructions by Captain Alan Gardner, 14th Hussars, to Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine. I was not informed of their nature. I took the opportunity of ordering our own small camp to proceed and join us, as the General intended to move camp up to the Mangane Valley, as soon as arrangements could be made.

12. The 1st Battalion Natal Native Contingent had been ordered back to camp, and to skirmish through the ravines in case any Zulus were hanging about near the camp.

13. Not a sign of the enemy was now seen near us, and followed by the remaining two Companies 2-24th, we climbed the hill and followed the track taken by the others. Not a suspicion had crossed my mind that the camp was in any danger, neither did anything occur to make me think of such a thing until about 1.15, when Honourable Mr. Drummond said he fancied he had heard (and that natives were certain of it) two cannon shots. We were then moving back to choose a camp for the night, about 12 miles distant from Isandhlana. About 1.45 PM., however, a native appeared on a hill above us, gesticulating and calling. He reported that heavy firing had been going on round the camp. We galloped up to a high spot, whence we could see the camp, perhaps 10 or 11 miles distant. None of us could detect anything amiss; all looked quiet. This must have been 2 P.M.

14. The General, however, probably thought it would be well to ascertain what had happened himself, but not thinking anything was wrong, ordered Colonel Glyn to bivouac for the night where we stood; and taking with him some forty Mounted Volunteers proceeded to ride into camp.

15. Lieutenant-Colonel Cecil Russell, 12th Lancers, now joined us, and informed me that an officer of the Natal Native Contingent had come to him (about 12 noon, I think) when he was off-saddled, and asked where the General was, as he had instructions to tell him that heavy firing had been going on close to the camp. Our whereabouts was not exactly known, but the 2-24th Companies were still in sight, and Colonel Russell pointed them out, and said we were probably not far from them. This officer, however, did not come to us.

16. This information from Colonel Russell was immediately followed by a message from Commandant Brown, commanding the 1st Battalion Natal Native Contingent, which had been ordered back to camp at 9.30 A.M.—( What took Brown so long to get to the camp if he left. 09:39) (the Battalion was halted a mile from us, and probably eight miles from camp)—to the effect that large bodies of Zulus were between him and the camp, and that his men could not advance without support. The General ordered an immediate advance of the Battalion, the Mounted Volunteers and Mounted Infantry supporting it.

17. I am not aware what messages had been sent from the camp and received by Colonel Glyn, or his Staff; but I know that neither the General nor myself had up to this time received any information but that I have mentioned.

18. At 3.15 the Lieutenant-General appeared to think that he would be able to brush through any parties of Zulus that might be in his road to the camp without any force further than that referred to, viz.:—1st Battalion Native Contingent and some 80 mounted white men.

19. At 4 P.M., however, the Native Battalion again halted, and I galloped on to order the advance to be resumed, when I met Commandant Lonsdale, who remarked to me as I accosted him, "The Zulus have the camp." "How do you know?" I asked, incredulously. " Because I have been into it," was his answer.

20. The truth was now known, and every one drew his own conclusions; mine were unluckily true, that hardly a man could have escaped. With such an enemy and with only foot soldiers it appeared to me very improbable that our force could have given up the camp until they were surrounded.

21. The General at once sent back Major Gossett, A.D.C., 54th Regiment, to order Colonel Glyn to advance at once with everyone with him. He must have been five or six miles off. It was now 4 P.M. We advanced another two miles, perhaps. The 1st Battalion, 2 Regiment, Natal Native Contingent, deployed in three ranks, the first being formed of the white men and those natives who had firearms, the Mounted Volunteers and Mounted Infantry on the flanks, with,scouts to the front.

22. About a quarter to five we halted at a distance, I should think, of two miles from camp, but. two ridges lay between us and the camp, and with our glasses we could only observe those returning the way they had come. Colonel Russell went to the front to reconnoitre, and returned about 5.45 with a report that "All was as bad as it could be;" that the Zulus were holding the camp. He estimated the number at 7,000.

23. The troops with Colonel Glyn had pushed on with all possible speed, though the time seemed, long to us as we lay and watched the" sun sinking. At 6 P.M. they arrived, and, having been formed into fighting order, were addressed by the General. We then advanced to strike the camp and attack any one we found in our path back to Rorke's Drift.

24. I consider it but just to the Natal Native Contingent to state that it was my belief that evening, and is still the same, that the two Battalions would have gone through any enemy we met, even as our own British troops were prepared to do. I noticed no signs of wavering on their part up to sunset, when I ceased to be
able to observe them.
(Signed) J. N. CREALOCK,
Lieutenant-Colonel, A- Mil.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:50 am

Impi
let me try and answer some of your questions.
Para 1
We now know this was not true. When the orders were found the actual wording was discovered.
Para2
He refers to the orders sent at 2 am. There were no other orders sent, only those by Smith Dorean.
Para 4
He refers in Para 3 to Durnford being sent to Middle Drift, thats in the Bashee valley.
Para5
In a court of law that would be described as heresay. Its an opinion garnered after the fact and is speculative, designed to assist Chelmsfords defence.
Para6
Yes it was on the Nqutu plateau
Para8
He is quite correct. However at the same time Durnford wa leading a seperate column, no instructions were given for him to assume command. IF he had elected to stay then this statment is correct.
Para11
It was a very minor skirmish, mainly with the Mounted volunteers and police. I dont think the imperial troops took any active part in it.
Para 16
Dont really understand the question. Browns movements for the day are: He skirmished untill he was called to Chelmsfords breakfast, approx 9.30 to 10. He was told to take his regiment back to the camp to assist in the move.
He then had to get his regiment to Mangeni flats and march 12 miles back across the plain. This after no sleep, no food and a morning spent skirmishing over Magogo hills.
He got within sight of the camp ( Ive posted photos of the ridge he stopped on) and saw the battle raging ( approx 12.30 to 1 ). So all the above activity took the space of 3 hours, and you want to know what took so long??????

Hope that helps.

Tasker/90th

I did hear a story once that 90th hurt himself jumping of his wallet :lol: :lol: :lol:

Regards
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90th

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable    Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:11 am

Hi Springbok .
:lol: :lol: Best I undo the purse strings then and lodge a bid on Conductor Hamer's zulu war medal ! :lol: :lol: . I wish !!.
Cheers 90th. Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:01 am

Hi OH.

You are welcome mate.

Yes, those were the orders that Durnford received, Crealock later lied about it in an effort to put the blame on Durnford and cover Chelmsford's backside, however, his book was found, and the actual wording of the orders was discovered (see springbok's post above).

Hi Gary mate.

Best put that wallet in a wheelbarrow and push it around pal, it must get a bit heavy carrying it in your pocket all the time. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:38 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:35 am

Quote :
You are to march to this Camp at once with all the force you have with you of No 2 column – Major Bengough battalion is to move to Rorke’s Drift – as ordered yesterday.

2/24: artillery & mounted men with the General I Colonel Glyn move off at once to attack a Zulu force about 10 miles distant

if Bengoughs battalion has crossed the River at Hands Kraal it is to move up here (Naugwane valley)”

If this is the case, then why did Durnford interfere with Pulliene's command.
Why was he sending men out of the camp.
Why was he asking for Compaines of the 24th.
Why did he leave the camp.
He may have been an independant commarnder. By the order clearly states "You are to march to this Camp at once with all the force you have with you of No 2"
It does not say you are to march to the camp, and then leave. The fact that the word command has been taken out doesn't alter the fact, that his behaviour weaken the camp.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:44 pm

Chard
Did he interfere? In what way?
Again, did he? We still dont know who ordered the First company onto the ridge, The second company was sent up after Durnford left.
He requested the companies, his request was turned down.
His opinion, wrong or right, can only be judged after the event, that he had to support his OC. The orders he had preceeding the 22nd would seem to support his task.
He did just that, he was initialy ordered to base himself at the Bashe Valley, these orders were changed for him to move forward. He did exactly that
The word command wasnt taken out. it was never put in. Only in retrospect can yo say 'his behaviour weakend the camp. At the time there was no begging and pleading from Pullein or any of his highly experienced officers for Durnford to remain. And thats a key issue that shows the confidence Pullein had in his force and also the lack of any perceived threat to the camp. Pullein did in fact remark that he was sorry that Durnford had arrived at all.

So where was the threat that Durnfords should have stayed to defend?

At 11 oclock on Wednesday the 22nd Jnuary 1879 it did not exist.
Cheers
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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:19 pm

You can read all about the threat, in TMFH.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:46 am

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Actually we do know, the orders have suvived in Crealocks notebook so we know exactly what Durnford was ordered to do.

Regards[/quote]

I have read that Colonel Crealock actually wrote that order. Has it been established that Chelmsford actually reviewed what he wrote before it was dispatched?

I well understand that it took the wind out of the sails of the "scapegoat Durnford" camp, (or should have,) but I am wondering how much plausible deniability the General had during the inquiries after the battle. He was of course ultimately responsible, but did he pretend to have issued specific orders regarding seniority at any point?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:28 am

CTSG
Unfortunatly Pullein didnt have access to TMFH. :lol:

Salute

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:36 am

6pdr

Really all we know is that Chelmsford told Clery to issue orders to call up Durnford. Crealock overhead and correctly pointed out that a Major should not be issuing orders to a Colonel. Chelmsford agreed and told Crealock to issue the order. There is allways the possibility that Chelmsford and Clery discussed the order to Durnford, Crealock missing part of the conversation and sending of the eventual order.
One would have thought that having been part of a conversation in which it was pointed out that Majors didnt issue orders to Colonels, Clery would have learned his lesson and not issued orders to Pullein.
We have no proof if Chelmsfords orders were mangled or they were issued verbatim. I can really imagine the chaos of that 2am rush to get on the road.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable ?    Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:47 am

Hi Springbok .

'' Unfortunately Pulleine didnt have access to TMFH '' . :lol: :lol: x A Lot .
Cheers 90th. Salute Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:14 pm

springbok9 wrote:
I can really imagine the chaos of that 2am rush to get on the road.

This raises a good point. The uses and abuses of historical imagination in the writing of history. It seems to me, WRT Durnford, one "scene" that is pivotal in evaluating his "suitability" for command is his conduct at the donga -- the one where he is reported to have strode up and down exhorting his troops and extracted the odd jammed cartridge with his teeth. I think it's fair to characterize this conduct as "leading from the front" but I can also understand, in an academic sense, the accusations of grandstanding. In your opinion, to what degree was his conduct in keeping with the training/conduct of the typical Victorian line officer? How much of your evaluation, if any, is mitigated by the troops being "irregulars?"

Also, should he have left the donga earlier than he did to parlay with Pulleine? (And, since there seems to be some dispute in the minds of some folks about his movements, did he leave the donga after the vast majority of his men had retreated?)

Thanks in advance for any time spent answering these questions.
- 6pdr
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:38 pm

6pdr
Interesting questions.
Unfortunatly we have so little to go on in assessing the individuals at the battle. AS my good friend 90th once pointed out the battles like a jigsaw with 90% of the pieces missing.

Looking back in Durnfords military history he was without doubt an individualist. He didnt seem to make friends very easily but made enemies without to much trouble. He didnt endear himself to the colony or the Boer Republic in his pronouncements on the border dispute or the Bushmans pass incident.
So its really in that light you have to judge some of the comments made about his command style. 'One of the boys'? possibly in his familiarity with his subordinates, prone to panic, possibly to strong a word, more harassed easily would be better.
His retreat to the Donga was, in my humble opinion, a bad call. He would have served himself and the camp better by getting back there as fast as possible and organising the defence. Hy a fast withdrawl he would have made up some 20 to 25 minutes. That could have been crucial in organising a decent defence line. So yes he is culpable there.
He had enough senior officers with him to have left them to arrange the defence at the Donga and liase with the imperial forces. Would it have had any effect? No idea.

Theres no doubt in my mind that a certain amount of panic set in. I believe that he was unsuitable for command at anything more than a small column. He did make some bad calls in tactics, Chelmsford rebuked him quite sharply.

Possibly there is a suitability to the fact that he commanded irregulars and colonial forces only.

Threading together various witness snippets, he did leave the donga early but then seems to have returned when the retreat had started ( a witness, Barker? reported loosing his horse and Durnford handing it to him).

At the end of the day you really have to make up your own mind. Theres probably 20 different opinions on this site alone of Durnford. Maybe 21 if you include his biggest fan in CTSG. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:50 pm

springbok9 wrote:
6pdr
He did make some bad calls in tactics, Chelmsford rebuked him quite sharply.

I assume by this you mean Durnford's precipitate surge across the border after receiving a hot tip from a local cleric. Though some contemporary management theory might laud his initiative and see Chelmsford's reaction as a bit heavy handed -- especially given the lack of any real consequence -- it more typically seems to be regarded as a psychological "tell" the Durnford was too hot to trot.

So, if you regard his foray from the camp as "bad tactics" Chelmsford's reprimand fits that narrative. That said, I can't help wonder why Durnford doesn't get more credit for carrying out an impromptu reconnaissance mission, which, judging by later events, was long overdue. Yes, he was caught flat footed, and the participation of the rocket battery borders on farce, but the right flank was where the the most direct hidden threat to the camp would eventually come from. One could argue he instinctively sensed that vulnerability, despite having only recently entered the camp, and then sought verification.

Also, in considering Durnford's foray, how much weight should be given to the report that the Zulu were retiring from the field?
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:34 pm

Quote :
how much weight should be given to the report that the Zulu were retiring from the field?
Very good question and observation. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:52 pm

From where did it originate that the Zulus were retiring.

I have had a read thought the various witness statements from the court of enquiry, and unless I have missed it, I can find nothing regarding the Zulu retiring.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:43 pm

Dave wrote:
From where did it originate that the Zulus were retiring.

I have had a read thought the various witness statements from the court of enquiry, and unless I have missed it, I can find nothing regarding the Zulu retiring.

Well, we know now that the Zulu army as a whole was definitely not retiring.

But apparently at some point after his arrival in camp that morning Durnford sent Lieutenant Walter Higginson (1st/3rd NNC) to a piquet position on the slopes of Isandlwana. According to the source I currently have at hand, (and about which I have many reservations,) somebody then sent down a report indicating that the enemy was "retiring everywhere." This was presumably Higginson but the provenance of the report is unclear.

Durnford MAY have been reacting to that information as he had previously shown concern about what was happening behind the escarpment. It was men under his command -- Shepstone/Barton/Raw and Roberts who scouted to the Northeast after Durnford ran into a worried Chard on the wagon path. Durnford had also had reports from Captain Barry, who was with the amaChanu earlier on Mkwene hill northest of the Tahelane Spur, of enemy activity in the area. Under the circumstances it does not seem unreasonable to me that these things would be of concern to a prudent officer.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:14 am

I have been having a look see. And it appears there is only one account that states the Zulus were retiring. Higginson..
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:22 am

Hi Dave and 6pdr.

If you have got the book 'Zulu Rising' by Ian Knight, go to page 381, where it states that reports were coming in of the enemy are in force behind the hills to the left, the ememy are in three columns, the ememy are retiring in every direction, the columns are separating, one moving to the left rear, and one towards the general, this is what alerted Col Durnford, did they intend to cut off Chelmsford? He had to act on this, he remarked to Jabez Molife, "If they are going towards the General we must stop them at all hazards".

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:40 am

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
Hi Dave and 6pdr.

If you have got the book 'Zulu Rising' by Ian Knight, go to page 381,

Actually on p. 328 I have, "According to Cochrane, 'Constant reports came in from the scouts on the hills to the left, but never anything from the men on top of Isandlwana hill, that I heard. Some of the reports were: "The enemy are in force behind the hills on the left", "The enemy are in three columns", "The enemy are retiring in every direction", "The columns are separating, one moving to the left rear, and one towards the General."'

The footnote (#27 in Chapter 19,) says Higginson, Official Report.

Knight writes that this seemed to strike Durnford immediately. Later he quotes Cochrane as saying that the Colonel intended to prevent the force that had been spotted from joining the supposed main impi that Chelmsford was pursuing. Later he writes that, "Durnford simply told his men that the enemy was retiring, and that he intended to follow them up." (p. 331)

And finally, on page 332 there is the Jabez Molife quote that, "we must stop them at all hazards."

So, overall I think we have Higginson's report but also both Cochrane's and Molife's testimony as witnesses to its impact on Durnford and his subsequent intensions. Knight also stresses, btw, that Durnford had every right to make these decisions based on his rank and also because he was an independent column commander with recent information of a changed situation.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:37 am

6pdr
'Contemporary management theory'
Quite right however, again we need to avoid applying modern norms and interpretations onto Victorian times and personalities. At the time Durnford was given specific orders and chose to disobey in pursuit of rather flimsy intelligence. Again with hind sight Durnford had other options rather than taking his column on a wild dash.
His actions at Bushmans point to a similar modus. So although Chelmsford did use a sledgehammer to swat Durnford possibly he, Durnford, did need that level of sharpness. Chelmsford despite his faults did have a reputation for man management and would have known his subordinates.

Without getting sidetracked from your original question: I believe that Durnford had every right to leave the camp, his reasoning stands up to scrutiny.

The debate on the intentions of the Zulu groups on the ridge is a separate issue. Higginson did report the zulu withdrawing, History tells us he was right, they were, there was no attempt to attack the camp at that time. Ive never believed the story that the early movements were a regiment that 'jumpstarted' after hearing Chelmsfords forces firing in the Mangeni Valley.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:17 am

Quote :
I believe that Durnford had every right to leave the camp,

I can't understand why you think that. He was ordered to the camp.
The fact that he left showed nothing by total disregard to the others in the camp. And let's face it no sooner had he left, he was chased back again, only those on horse back with him had a chance of getting back.

We keep being told, he was not in Commarnd but quite a few accounts show he was dishing out orders right left and center. Again ths could be construed as said before interfearing with Pullienes orders.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:23 am

24th
What orders was he issuing" left right and centre". Would love to know one?

He left, admittedly on an abortive mission, to protect the rear of his commanding officer. The fact that he was going to be chased back wasnt know to him at the time.

As Ive said earlier, there was no attempt to stop him leaving by any senior officer. There was no perception by Pullein that he was about to be attacked and so implore Durnford to remain.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:28 am

I'm at work at present, Look at Gardeners statement court of enquiry. He takes some men down to Bradstreet, and Durford orders them back. thats just one.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:12 am

24th
I dont recall the incident you mention. What I do recall is Gardner taking the men down to the donga and leaving them there. Not to long afterwards Durnford orders the withdrawl and when queeried by Gardner tells him that the position was to extended.
In terms of your initial statement. 'Left right and Centre'
This situation occured after Durnford had left the camp and returned, He had ordered his men, along with Bradstreet to withdraw, as was his right to do.

PS. get back to work. :lol: :lol:

Cheers Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:48 pm

springbok9 wrote:
6pdr
His actions at Bushmans point to a similar modus.

Your point of view is very persuasive. I wonder however if you could expand upon your view of his role at Bushman's Pass. I have read relatively detailed accounts of what supposedly happened there and for the life of me, I think he was put in fairly untenable situation much like Pulleine at Isandlwana. To me it just seems like he had neither the time nor the tools (personnel) to do what was being asked of him. Perhaps I'm letting him off the hook too easily but can you explain why?
Regards,
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:36 pm

6pdr
Although Durnford was badly savaged by the residents of Natal it boiled down to his blaming the volunteers for the defeat. But the key issue is should he have got himself into that position in the first place?
He had issued orders that food be carried by the individual, that wasnt done but carried on packhorses. With such a small tight force he should have seen this.
The packhorses bolt and he splits his command to send searchers out. He proceeds without rations up some really bad terrain, without food or water in pretty warm conditions he losses more of his command, eventually ending up at the pass with around half of his men. Again he splits his force to try and occupy both sides of the valley and sends out skirmishers.
When all this activity has taken place he ends up being surrounded by a superior force with a demoralised group of volunteers.

Possibly he had been put in that position, never having any experience of front line command, by virtue of his lobbying of Charles Gordon?

Does show his keen yearning for combat experience doesnt it? Laudable in its way but could be construed as 'Gung Ho'?

Doesnt this sound all to familiar?

Cheers

Sorry Admin getting way of the subject. Salute

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:56 pm

6pdr.

We must have different editions of Ian's book.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:21 pm

springbok9 wrote:

Does show his keen yearning for combat experience doesnt it? Laudable in its way but could be construed as 'Gung Ho'?

Surely a yearning for combat experience is not a unique failing among military officers. For many it would seem like the price of admission. My understanding is that officers in Britain's Victorian army were tripping over one another to serve under Chelmsford (or better yet, in Afghanistan) precisely to gain it. And while Durnford may have been gung ho, he was not really a thruster, was he?

You say, "Laudable in it's way..." Indeed, Durnford suffered very painful injuries and continued to try to execute his mission despite repeated setbacks, some of which were visited upon him by circumstance. A more grounded personality would have turned back...but that would be judged a failure too.

As you wrote I can't help suspecting that the settler community disliked/blamed him because he held up a mirror to them...as you wrote. If there was a common failing in his conduct between Bushman's Pass and Isandlwana I would posit that it was being too earnest in the pursuit of his duty. That does point to a romantic temperament. In retrospect it also makes him an almost willing scapegoat...but contemporary historians have the luxury of hindsight and perspective.
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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:23 pm

All.

Durnford's orders were to go to the camp, there was no mention of taking command, there was no mention of reinforcing the camp, there was no mention of him staying at the camp, it is more than likely that he expected Chelmsford would have left further orders at the camp in the care of Pulleine, It is also more than likely that he expected that Chelmsford would want him to follow on to support his (Chelmsford's) portion of the centre column, however, there were no orders left at the camp for him, and also the situation at the camp had changed since Chelmsford left in the early hours. When Durnford got the report of Zulus heading in the direction of Chelmsford, what other option had he but to follow up on this and try to find out where they were going?

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:37 pm

6prd
A trap we all fall in to in trying to make sense of iSandlwana, hind sight and perspective. Its what leads to a taking sides phenomena. Durnford isnt to blame for the defeat neither is Pullein or Chelmsford, individually.
I remember a conversation between those two wonderful warriors, Willy Garvin and Modesty Blaze. A number of separate issues had come together to form a whole. As Willy said "its the flux.'
iSandlwana is just that, a lot of people each making mistakes that came together in time for that magnificent man Ntshingwayo ka Mahole to work his magic. Frankly even if Chelmsford hadnt left the camp I doubt if the column would have stood up to the impi, not as long as the back door was left open that is.

"earnest in pursuit", hmm possibly to his own detriment.

Martin

100% mate. ( Now wait for the backlash) :lol: :lol:

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PostSubject: Durnford was he capable.   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:45 pm

Hi Springy.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Yes, I know mate, it's a case of "WAIT FOR IT".

But thanks for the 100% my friend. Salute

Hope you are feeling much better, and that you are relaxing in the easy chair with a bottle of something good, Very Happy

Cheers mate. Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable.1   Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:48 pm

Ian Knight also raises the possibility that Chelmsford (who had no expectation of an attack,) simply wanted to keep Durnford close enough to keep an eye on him. I have to admit that has the ring of truth for me, but if that's so it demonstrates a considerable disregard for command prerequisites and the consequences of seniority. Chelmsford may not be completely to blame -- flux is a good way to understand the constantly changing dynamics of a battlefield -- but a lot of debits accrue to him due to his own scramble to come to grips with the enemy, no?
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