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 General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.

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PostSubject: Sir Redvers Henry Buller ,   Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:04 pm

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Born: 7-Dec-1839
Birthplace: Crediton, Devon, England
Died: 2-Jun-1908
Location of death: Devon, England
Cause of death: unspecified


Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Military

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Chief of Staff during Boer War

British general, son of James Wentworth Buller, M.P., of Crediton, Devonshire, and the descendant of an old Cornish family, long established in Devonshire, tracing its ancestry in the female line to King Edward I, was born in 1839, and educated at Eton. He entered the army in 1858, and served with the 60th (Kings Royal Rifles) in the China campaign of 1860. In 1870 he became captain, and went on the Red River expedition, where he was first associated with Colonel (afterwards Lord) Wolseley. in 1873-74 he accompanied the latter in the Ashantee campaign as head of the Intelligence Department, and was slightly wounded at the battle of Ordabai; he was mentioned in despatches, made a C.B., and raised to the rank of major. In 1874 he inherited the family estates. In the Kaffir War of 1878-79 and the Zulu War of 1879 he was conspicuous as an intrepid and popular leader, and acquired a reputation for courage and dogged determination. In particular his conduct of the retreat at Inhlobane (March 28, 1879) drew attention to these qualities, and on that occasion he earned the V.C.; he was also created C.M.G. and made lieutenant-colonel and A.D.C. to the queen. In the Boer War of 1881 he was Sir Evelyn Wood's chief of staff; and thus added to his experience of South African conditions of warfare. In 1882 he was head of the field intelligence department in the Egyptian campaign, and was knighted for his services. Two years later he commanded an infantry brigade in the Sudan under Sir Gerald Graham, and was at the battles of El Teb and Tamai, being promoted major-general for distinguished service. In the Sudan campaign of 1884-85 he was Lord Wolseley's chief of staff, and he was given command of the desert column when Sir Herbert Stewart was wounded. He distinguished himself by his conduct of the retreat from Gubat to Gakdul, and by his victory at Abu Klea (February 16-17), and he was created K.C.B. In 1886 he was sent to Ireland to inquire into the "moonlighting" outrages, and for a short time he acted as under-secretary for Ireland; but in 1887 he was appointed quartermaster-general at the war office. From 1890 to 1897 he held the office of adjutant-general, attaining the rank of lieutenant-general in 1891. At the war office his energy and ability inspired the belief that he was fitted for the highest command, and in 1895, when the Duke of Cambridge was about to retire, it was well known that Lord Rosbery's cabinet intended to appoint Sir Redvers as chief of the staff under a scheme of reorganization recommended by Lord Hartington's commission. On the eve of this change, however, the government was defeated, and its successors appointed Lord Wolseley to the command under the old title of commander-in-chief. In 1896 he was made a full general.

In 1898 he took command of the troops at Aldershot, and when the Boer War broke out in 1899 he was selected to command the South African Field Force, and landed at Cape Town on the 31st of October. Owing to the Boer investment of Ladysmith and the consequent gravity of the military situation in Natal, he unexpectedly hurried there in order to supervise personally the operations, but on the 15th of December his first attempt to cross the Tugela at Colenso was repulsed. The government, alarmed at the situation and the pessimistic tone of Buller's messages, sent out Lord Roberts to supersede him in the chief command, Sir Redvers being left in subordinate command of the Natal force. His second attempt to relieve Ladysmith (January 10-27) proved another failure, the result of the operations at Spion Kop (January 24) causing consternation in England. A third attempt (Vaalkrantz, February 5-7) was unsuccessful, but the Natal army finally accomplished its task in the series of actions which culminated in the victory of Pieter's Hill and the relief of Ladysmith on the 27th of February. Sir Redvers Buller remained in command of the Natal army until October 1900, when he returned to England (being created G.C.M.G.), having in the meanwhile slowly done a great deal of hard work in driving the Boers from the Biggarsberg (May 15), forcing Lang's Nek (June 12), and occupying Lydenburg (September 6). But though these latter operations had done much to re-establish his reputation for dogged determination, and he had never lost the confidence of his own men, his capacity for an important command in delicate and difficult operations was now seriously questioned. The continuance, therefore, in 1901 of his appointment to the important Aldershot command met with a vigorous press criticism, in which the detailed objections taken to his conduct of the operations before Ladysmith (and particularly to a message to Sir George White in which he seriously contemplated and provided for the contingency of surrender) were given new prominence. On the 10th of October 1901, at a luncheon in London, Sir Redvers Buller made a speech in answer to these criticisms in terms which were held to be a breach of discipline, and he was placed on half-pay a few days later. For the remaining years of his life he played an active part as a country gentleman, accepting in dignified silence the prolonged attacks on his failures in South Africa; among the public generally, and particularly in his own county, he never lost his popularity. He died on the 2nd of June 1908. He had married in 1882 Lady Audrey, daughter of the 4th Marquess Townshend, who survived him with one daughter
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PostSubject: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:36 pm

General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.Died: 2-Jun-1908 Crediton, Devon.
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Grave of General Buller, Crediton, Devon

Photos provided by 1879Graves and  Andy Lee.


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PostSubject: General Redvers Buller   Tue May 25, 2010 10:02 pm

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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:27 am

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Lt.Col. R. Buller VC 3rd Btn 60th    Rifles (King's Royal Rifle Corps), present at Hlobane, Khambula & Ulundi  -   Memorial Effigy (Winchester)

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Lt.Col. R. Buller VC 3rd Btn 60th     Rifles (King's Royal Rifle Corps), present at Hlobane, Khambula & Ulundi   -   Victoria Cross Memorial (Union Jack Club, London)

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Lt.Col. R. Buller VC 3rd Btn 60th     Rifles (King's Royal Rifle Corps), present at Hlobane, Khambula & Ulundi   -   Memorial Plaque (Exeter)


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Lt.Col. R. Buller VC 3rd Btn 60th     Rifles (King's Royal Rifle Corps), present at Hlobane, Khambula & Ulundi     (Crediton)

Lt.Col. R. Buller VC
Photo By Tim Needham & Graves1879


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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:19 am

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This grand statue at the junction of Hele Road and New North Road was unveiled on 6th September 1905, by the 3rd Earl Fortescue, Lord Lieutenant of Devon, with General Buller, his wife, Lady Audrey and daughter Georgina and thousands of people in attendance.

To raise funds for the statue, 50,000 people subscribed towards its creation. The work of Captain Adrian Jones (1845-1938), a former vet and cavalry officer, the statue is a typical, although lively, bronze of the type produced in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. It was cast at a foundry at Thames Ditton before conveyance by cart to the Brentford Goods Yard and transportation to Exeter by a GWR train. Jones was also responsible for the four-horse chariot in bronze at Hyde Park Corner.
The statue weighs 4½ tons and stands on a Cornish granite plinth on the site of what was known as the Edinburgh Tree - controversially for the people of Crediton, it faces away from the town, which some thought was a deliberate slight. The granite pedestal, carved by Messrs Pethick of Plymouth, weighs 35 tons and was a gift from Lord St Levan to commemorate the General's connection with Cornwall. The statue depicts Buller astride his horse, 'Biffen', while commanding his troops in South Africa. On the base is inscribed "He Saved Natal".

In 1900, General Buller was presented with a sword of honour in a jewelled scabbard by the men and women of Devon for his exploits. It has been put on permanent loan by the Buller family to Exeter and is now part of the city's civic regalia.
Born at Downes near Crediton, Buller was a prominent benefactor in Crediton and Exeter.


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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:35 pm

There is an excellent account of Buller's life with pictures, along with an account of his funeral with further pictures on the local church's website at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

If members are visting Crediton, you can have a drink at the General Sir Redvers Buller pub in the high street!

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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Sun Feb 27, 2011 5:22 pm

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"Redvers Henry Buller was born at Crediton, Devon, the son of MP James Wentworth Buller and Charlotte Buller.

Buller was initially sent to Harrow but was expelled thereafter entering Eaton. In Morris' Washing of the Spears Buller is mentioned
returning home from Eaton on Christmas holiday to be met at the station by his severely ill mother only to have her collapse and
then spending two days with her on a screened off bench in the terminal until she died in his arms.

After completing his schooling he was commissioned into the 60th Rifles (King's Royal Rifle Corps) in May 1858. He took part in the
Second Opium War and was promoted to captain before taking part in the Canadian Red River Expedition of 1870. In 1873-1874 he
was the intelligence officer under Lord Wolseley during the Ashanti campaign, during which he was slightly wounded at the Battle of
Ordabai. He was promoted to major and awarded the C.B.

He then served in South Africa during the 9th Cape Frontier War in 1878 and the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. In the Zulu war he
commanded the mounted infantry of the northern British column under Sir Evelyn Wood. He fought at the British defeat at the
battle of Hlobane, where he was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery under fire. The following day he fought in the British victory
at the battle of Kambula. After the Zulu attacks on the British position were beaten off, he led a ruthless pursuit by the mounted
troops of the fleeing Zulus. In June 1879, he again commanded mounted troops at the battle of Ulundi, a decisive British victory
which effectively ended the war.

His VC citation which appeared in the 17 June, 1879 issue of The London Gazette reads as follows:

"For his gallant conduct at the retreat at Inhlobana, on the 28th March, 1879, in having assisted, whilst hotly pursued by Zulus, in rescuing
Captain C. D'Arcy, of the Frontier Light Horse, who was retiring on foot, and carrying him on his horse until he overtook the rear guard.
Also for having on 1he same date and under the same circumstances, conveyed Lieutenant C. Everitt, of the Frontier Light Horse, whose
horse had been killed under him, to a place of safely. Later on, Colonel Buller, in the same manner, saved a trooper of the Frontier Light
Horse, whose horse was completely exhausted, and who otherwise would have been killed by the Zulus, who were within 80 yards of him."

In the Transvaal War (First Boer War) of 1881 he was Sir Evelyn Wood's chief of staff and the following year was again head of
intelligence, this time in the Egypt campaign, and was knighted.

He had married Audrey, the daughter of the 4th Marquess Townshend, in 1882 and in the same year was sent to the Sudan in
command of an infantry brigade and fought at the battles of El Teb and Tamai, and the expedition to relieve General Gordon in 1885.
He was promoted to major-general.

He was sent to Ireland in 1886, to head an inquiry into moonlighting by police personnel. He returned to the Army as Quartermaster-
General to the Forces the following year and in 1890 promoted to Adjutant-General to the Forces, becoming a lieutenant-general in
1891. Although expected to be made Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the British Army by Lord Rosebery's government on the
retirement of the Duke of Cambridge in 1895 this did not happen because the government was replaced and Lord Wolseley appointed
Commander-in-Chief of the Army instead.

Buller became head of the troops stationed at Aldershot in 1898 and was sent as commander of the Natal field force in 1899 on the
outbreak of the Second Boer War, arriving at the end of October. He was defeated at the Battle of Colenso, where he had forbidden
his troops to dig trenches or foxholes for fear of damaging the pleasant countryside aesthetics, and similarly warned them against
muddying their uniforms by crawling along the ground.

Defeats the Battle of Magersfontein and Battle of Stormberg also involved forces under his command. Because of concerns about his
performance and negative reports from the field he was replaced in January 1900 as overall commander in South Africa by Lord
Roberts. Defeats and questionable ability as commander soon earned him the nickname 'Reverse Buller' among troops. He remained
as second in command and suffered two more setbacks in his attempts to relieve Ladysmith at the battles of Spion Kop and Vaal
Krantz. On his fourth attempt, Buller was victorious in the Battle of the Tugela Heights, lifting the siege on 28 February 1900. Later
he was successful in flanking Boer armies out of positions at Biggarsberg, Laing's Nek and Lydenburg. It was Buller's veterans who
won the Battle of Bergendal in the war's last set-piece action.

Buller was also popular as a military leader amongst the public in England, and he had a triumphal return from South Africa with
many public celebrations, including those on 10 November 1900 when he went to Aldershot to resume his role as GOC Aldershot
District, later to be remembered as a Buller day. However, his reputation had been damaged by his early reverses in South Africa,
especially within the Unionist government. When public disquiet emerged over the continuing guerrilla activities by the defeated
Boers, the Minister for War, St. John Brodrick and Lord Roberts sought a scapegoat. The opportunity was provided by the numerous
attacks in the newspapers on the performance of the British Army. The matter came to a head when a virulent piece written by The
Times journalist, Leo Amery was publicly answered by Buller in a speech on 10 October 1901. Brodrick and Roberts saw their
opportunity to pounce, and summoning Buller to an interview on 17 October, Brodrick, with Roberts in support, demanded his
resignation on the grounds of breaching military discipline. Buller refused and was summarily dismissed on half pay. His request for
a court martial was refused, as was his request to appeal to the King.

There were many public expressions of sympathy for Buller, especially in the West Country, where in 1905 by public subscription a
notable statue by Adrian Jones of Buller astride his war horse was erected in Exeter on the road from his home town of Crediton
(facing away from Crediton to the annoyance of the inhabitants of Crediton.)

Brodrick was soon moved from the war ministry by Arthur Balfour in 1903, and subsequently lost his parliamentary seat when the
Liberals returned to power in 1906. The new government showed their appreciation of Buller by offering him a seat. However, Buller
refused the offer and continued his quiet retirement, until on 29 May 1907 he accepted the post of Principal Warden of the
Goldsmiths' Company which he held until his death in 1908. He died on 2 June 1908, at the family seat, Downes House, Downes,
Crediton, Devon, and is buried at Holy Cross churchyard, Church Street, Crediton, Devon.

At least one recent historian has been kinder to Buller's reputation:

"Buller's achievements have been obscured by his mistakes. In 1909, a French military critic, General Langlois, pointed out that it was
Buller, not Roberts, who had the toughest job of the war – and it was Buller who was the innovator in countering Boer tactics. The proper
use of cover, of infantry advancing in rushes, co-ordinated in turn with creeping barrages of artillery: these were the tactics of truly modern
war, first evolved by Buller in Natal."

The town of Redvers, in Canada is named after him, as is the Royal Logistic Corps barracks at Aldershot.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, England."


Source: Soldiers of the queen.
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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:17 pm

Been skipping through the " The Life of the Right Hon, Sir Redvers Buller". And had to post these two extract from the book. Really conjures an image of the good man himself. Of all those that took part in the Zulu War, I would liked to have known Sir Redvers Buller personally “ could say he really is my hero of this period”

A correspondent, writing from Kambula on the 15th of April, gives a picture of Buller at this period. He wore

" What has been a large broad-brimmed soft felt hat of light colour, wrapped round with a distinguishing puggaree of red cloth, a coloured flannel shirt, nothing round
his neck, a tweed shooting jacket, cord breeches cased with leather round the knees, brown-leather butcher boots, and spurs, and a revolver, bestriding a stout pony of fourteen hands that looks barely up to his weight. The clothing of his men followed no exact rule, but the most usual was a cord jacket, trousers of a peculiar olive-brown tint, high-low boots, and gaiters. Round the soft felt hat was worn a distinguishing puggaree, that of the Frontier Light Horse being red, the same as worn by their commander."


We have another portrait of him, at about the same time, describing his appearance whilst in action. During a reconnaissance the Zulus had allowed the main body of the party to pass on, with the intention of attacking them from behind. Evelyn Wood detecting the ruse ordered twenty men to wheel about and charge the enemy gathering in his
rear. Buller headed the charge:

" Leading his men at a swinging canter, with his reins in his teeth, a revolver in one hand, and a knobkerrie he had snatched from a Zulu in the other, his hat blown off in the
melee, and a large streak of blood across his face, caused by a splinter of rock from above, this gallant horseman seemed a demon incarnate to the flying savages, who slunk
out of his path as if he had been — as indeed they believed him — an evil spirit, whose very look was death."
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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Wed May 25, 2016 11:06 pm

General Buller's Visit to Manchester (1901) 1901

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PostSubject: Re: General Sir Redvers Henry Buller.   Tue May 31, 2016 9:33 am

I found this an interesting resume of his career.

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