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 Who knew what at Rorkes Drift

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:02 pm

Who knew what at Rorke’s Drift?
On the morning of the 22nd January 1879 a series of events unfolded at Rorke’s Drift that was to have a lasting effect on historians, scholars and authors alike. There are a number of accounts left of that morning, more so than Isandlwana, but there are still tantalising gaps that are open to interpretation.
What we do know are the following:

Lord Chelmsford marched across the Buffalo River on the 11th March to invade Zululand.

       Camp was made on the Zululand side of the river approximately 5 kilometres from the border.

        On the 19th January Colonel Durnford received the following message from Lord Chelmsford, delivered to Sandspruit by Major Spalding:
No 3 Column leaves tomorrow for Isandlwana hill and from there as soon as possible to a spot about ten miles nearer to the Qudeni forest. From that point I intend to operate against the two Matanyas if they fail to surrender. I have sent you an order to cross the river at Rorke’s Drift tomorrow with the force you have. I shall want you to cooperate against the Matanyas but will send you fresh instructions on this subject.
The order signed by Spalding says:
3. Major Bengough with his battalion of Native Contingent at Sandspruit is to hold himself in readiness to cross the Buffalo at the shortest possible notice to operate against the chief Matyana etc…………………… (Order reconstructed by david Jackson and Julian Whybra)
4.Information is requested as to the ford where the above battalion can best cross, so as to co-operate with the No3 column in clearing the country occupied by the chief Matyana.

            On the 19th January Lt Chard RE arrived at Rorke’s Drift and made camp on the banks of the river to the North of the track and some 800 metres from the drift itself overlooking the deep water pond.

            The Column moved up to Isandlwana on the 20th January.
            On the 20th January Colonel Durnford arrived and established camp on the ridge 5 kilometres inside Zululand      overlooking the river.

            On the 21st January Durnford sent George Shepstone to the camp at Isandlwana requesting further instructions.
            He mentions this in a letter to his mother:
             ….I have sent on to ask for instructions from the General…….
There is no record of any instructions having been sent or received, possible because Lord Chelmsford was out on the Nyoni plateau he missed Colonel Durnfords messenger. Neither Clery nor Crealock make mention of any orders. In view of the contra temps on the morning of the 22nd it is highly unlikely that any instructions would have been passed by Clery and there is no copy in Crealocks note book.

                On the morning of the 22nd Colonel Durnford left his camp to forage for transport wagons on the Biggarsberg.

                 Lt Chard and 4 Sappers left his camp and moved east to Isandlwana.

                  Lt Smith Dorrien delivered a message from Lord Chelmsford to Captain Shepstone at the camp on the river.

                 The note was carried to Colonel Durnford by  Lt Henderson.

                 James Hamer was sent forward to Isandlwana by Colonel Durnford with a request for further orders.

                 Colonel Durnford returned to camp and set off towards Isandlwana at around 7.30 am

                 At around 8 am Smith Dorrien was with Lt Bromhead when the heard sounds of gunfire. After borrowing ammunition Smith Dorrien then set of back to Isandlwana. Smith Dorriens memory of time has played a few tricks on him. It would be virtually impossible for him to have ridden from Isandlwana to Rorke’s Drift, conducted his business and got back to Isandlwana as he says by 8 o’clock. And again for him to have mentioned he arrived at the same time as Colonel Durnford.

                Smith Dorrien must have met Chard on the road, not feasible that they would have missed each other but neither of them mention this.

                At 9.30am Chard left Isandlwana to return to Rorke’s Drift meeting Colonel Durnfords column on the way around a quarter of a mile from the camp. Somewhere around the crossing of the stream. At the same point he met his own wagon and Sappers and after instructing them to walk up the hill towards the back of the Isandlwana mountain rode off to Rorke’s Drift. This casts doubt on Smith Dorriens account in terms of the timing.


               Chard arrived back at Rorke’s Drift around mid day and spoke to Major Spalding.

               Major Spalding left for Helmakaar around 12.30 after having ascertained the senior officer present.

               Chard has lunch and  writes a letter home.

               At around  3 o’clock two separate parties arrived. Adendorff crossed at the ponts and reported the Isandlwana battle to Chard and a Trp Fletcher  delivered a message to Bromhead from Gardner.

There are some key points here that could cast some light, or darkness, on events that have come up for discussion recently.

1) The note sent to Colonel Durnford outlining the objectives and future plans of Lord Chelmsford has generally been taken as an order directed at Colonel Durnford as to actions he would need to take against the Matanyas. I would disagree with this as it is qualified by the phrase: “ but will send you fresh instruction on this subject.”
We don’t know of any other instructions sent amplifying this or further explaining the roll Lord Chelmsford would require. So yes I would agree the series of orders/instructions need to be read as a whole but again would disagree that it is a direct instruction as to action required from Colonel Durnford for a specific instant.
To interpret this order as a direct instruction to Colonel Durnford is in error, if anything it is an instruction to Major Bengough who was effectively operating independently from Colonel Durnford. In that item of the order listed as item 3 no mention is made of Colonel Durnfords force, only Major Bengoughs and its pretty explicit. That is reinforced in item 4 in no uncertain terms when the reference is made to …..the above battalion can cross so as to co-operate with no3 column in clearing the country occupied by the chief Matyana. A pretty clear and concise instruction to Bengough but not including Durnfords detached force.

2) The timings from Smith Dorriens memories cannot be relied on. They would be impossible to be adhered to in firstly a return journey, half in the pitch darkness, from Isandlwana to Rorke’s Drift and secondly in the various activities he fitted in while at Rorke’s Drift.

3) In such detailed memoirs from Chard and Smith Dorrien, why do neither of them mention meeting on the road?

4) What was the gun fire Smith Dorrien reports while he was with Bromhead around 8 am? It couldn’t have been from the camp at Isandlwana, far too early, and I would question and sounds reaching Rorke’s Drift from the Mangeni area.

5) Colonel Durnford sent Hamer to the camp for further instructions. This despite knowing full well that the General had left the camp in the early hours of the morning ! If there were instructions left for him then he would get them when he arrived at the camp and if they were so urgent as to affect his march to the camp then surely the would have been attached to the orders delivered by Smith Dorrien! So why was Hamer sent?

6) Despite seeing Durnford ride of to ‘reinforce’ the camp and I would assume having also heard the sounds of gunfire that Bromhead and Smith Dorrien heard, why would Major Spalding  want to leave his command and spend an uncomfortable couple of hours in the saddle to conduct a mission that any messenger could have undertaken? He wasn’t to know if he would be required also to pack up his command and ride of to Isandlwana!

7) Chard had personally seen the large Zulu contingent at Isandlwana and yet he was quite content to enjoy his lunch and relax writing letters home?


Just a couple of questions that keep stirring the grey matter.
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6pdr

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:15 pm

springbok9 wrote:

                Smith Dorrien must have met Chard on the road, not feasible that they would have missed each other but neither of them mention this.

This one has always bedeviled me as well.  ASSUMING the times SD use are correct I guess he might have missed Chard but it seems quite unlikely given everything else we know. What are the  possibilities?

1) Either SD or Chard had the time very wrong.
2) Either SD or Chard were lying or otherwise mistaken about their whereabouts.
3) One of them went behind something to relieve himself...but then in all likelihood their respective mounts would be visible, no?
4) Or...I suppose...neither of them thought the other significant enough to merit a mention in passing.

Thought this seems trivial it really does throw all the timings off.  Did SD mention seeing Chard's men with the tool wagon ("sappers)"?

Quote :
               
2) The timings from Smith Dorriens memories cannot be relied on. They would be impossible to be adhered to in firstly a return journey, half in the pitch darkness, from Isandlwana to Rorke’s Drift and secondly in the various activities he fitted in while at Rorke’s Drift.

I agree with this as well.  It's also odd to me that he entrusted the ultimate delivery of his message to Henderson and then hung around RD for a chat with Gonny...but then hurried back to Isandlwana.  The delivery of his 25 wagons had been cancelled.  I guess we are to believe that he was riding to the sound of the guns.

Quote :
4) What was the gun fire Smith Dorrien reports while he was with Bromhead around 8 am? It couldn’t have been from the camp at Isandlwana, far too early, and I would question and sounds reaching Rorke’s Drift from the Mangeni area.

What makes this seem even MORE strange is that SD tells us his boss Essex was actually at Isandlwana in his tent and had no idea the battle had actually started AFTER SD arrived back in camp.  We are told again and again that the acoustics of the area/battlefield are deceptive (and I experience that myself while visiting) but what can SD possibly have been hearing at 8AM?  Thunder?

Quote :
5) Colonel Durnford sent Hamer to the camp for further instructions. This despite knowing full well that the General had left the camp in the early hours of the morning ! If there were instructions left for him then he would get them when he arrived at the camp and if they were so urgent as to affect his march to the camp then surely the would have been attached to the orders delivered by Smith Dorrien! So why was Hamer sent?

My GUESS is that Durnford hoped/believed there would be orders waiting there for him to join Chelmsford.  Since he never had the slightest interest in giving up his freedom of action he hoped Hamer would deliver back to him those orders without his having to ride all the way to Isandlwana and get bogged down in the camp.  In other words it was possible Hamer would return while the Durnford was still on the march. Rather than riding all the way north it might have saved his command some time and hassle by letting them branch east sooner -- which is where he would assume he'd be needed.

Quote :
6) Despite seeing Durnford ride of to ‘reinforce’ the camp and I would assume having also heard the sounds of gunfire that Bromhead and Smith Dorrien heard, why would Major Spalding  want to leave his command and spend an uncomfortable couple of hours in the saddle to conduct a mission that any messenger could have undertaken? He wasn’t to know if he would be required also to pack up his command and ride of to Isandlwana!

Many seem to assume Spalding wanted no part of a fight with the Zulus.  Whether of not that is true his conduct throughout can never be portrayed as heroic.  Like Pulleine he doesn't go missing entirely but he wasn't assertive or visible enough when it counted.  

Quote :
7) Chard had personally seen the large Zulu contingent at Isandlwana and yet he was quite content to enjoy his lunch and relax writing letters home?

You find that strange...but again, WHAT ABOUT "LUCKY" ESSEX?  He was a lot closer to the action than Chard!
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:02 pm

6pd
Charles from the RD Hotel has long had a theory that there were two separate routes from RD to Isandlwana, and I believe Ken G agrees with him. One route would be close to the present day road and used by the wagons, and a second more direct route for mounted men.
This circumstance lends credence to that theory in that SD using the Bridle trail and Chard et al using the waggon road.

Why I mention Chards actions, as opposed to Essex is that Essex was part of the action and like everyone in camp did not believe they were in trouble. Chard on the other hand had limited information and seemed to believe that there could be an impi heading for RD. At least that's his justification for leaving Isandlwana.

Don't forget SD not only hung around for a chat he also spent some time working on his riem stretcher. So a fare amount of time, and seeing as he had spent his breakfast time on the road I would imagine he had time to eat.

In terms of Spalding we do know that chard reported back to him, is it likely that he forgot to mention the Zulu impi supposedly heading towards them? Or had he by that time rationalised the issue in his ownmind and decided he was wrong? Or possibly the unthinkable? He told Spalding and he decried any alarm then calmly decided he was need else where. Spalding is not my favourite character Im afraid.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:38 pm

springbok9 wrote:

Why I mention Chards actions, as opposed to Essex is that Essex was part of the action and like everyone in camp did not believe they were in trouble. Chard on the other hand had limited information and seemed to believe that there could be an impi heading for RD. At least that's his justification for leaving Isandlwana.

Yes, I forgot the context of your post: Who knew what at RD. It's interesting that SD headed for Isandlwana when he thought a fight was in the offing. I think he actually left his bed roll etc...at RD. OTOH, the prospect of a fight with the Zulu sent Chard the other direction. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that neither man turned out to be skittish in battle.

Quote :
Don't forget SD not only hung around for a chat he also spent some time working on his riem stretcher. So a fare amount of time, and seeing as he had spent his breakfast time on the road I would imagine he had time to eat.

Yes, that's EXACTLY what I was forgetting. I think he and Gonny sat down to a meal as well. I think that's when the rounds were exchanged. But in any case the riems would have taken a great deal of time to see to. SD's timeline makes no sense whatsoever...

Quote :
In terms of Spalding we do know that chard reported back to him, is it likely that he forgot to mention the Zulu impi supposedly heading towards them? Or had he by that time rationalised the issue in his ownmind and decided he was wrong? Or possibly the unthinkable? He told Spalding and he decried any alarm then calmly decided he was need else where. Spalding is not my favourite character Im afraid.

Unlike Chard and SD, Major Spaulding proved fairly skittish when he got his chance...pretty much leaving the garrison -- his garrison -- at RD to its fate. It's interesting how little focus his actions get in most books.
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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Wed Sep 17, 2014 3:01 am

Hi 6Pdr - Springy
From memory Spalding had gone long before there were any shots fired in anger , he had after all gone to chase up Rainsforth's co as it was due I think later the previous night or very early in the morning . I think you may be assessing Spalding's conduct in the light of hindsight , like a lot of this war is based upon . You and everyone must remember the Zulu army had to get past the 3rd Column before finding their way to RD , which to everyone , and I mean everyone , with a modicum of command , it was was unthinkable that this may occur ! Shocked Shocked .
Cheers 90th agree
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:06 am

Morning 90th
Yep Spalding left very soon after Chard arrived back, just before lunch. And that after hearing Chards report. I would disagree that "You and everyone must remember the Zulu army had to get past the 3rd Column before finding their way to RD , which to everyone , and I mean everyone , with a modicum of command , it was was unthinkable that this may occur ! Shocked Shocked ."
On the contrary Chard had witnessed and commented on the impi 'bypassing' the camp and heading towards RD. I believe it was passing this info to Durnford that caused Durnford to send back a support troop to his wagons.
In that event Chard himself was worried enough to break away from the camp in a hurry to get back to RD, and makes a specific point of that in his report to the Queen. So my point being really that 'if' the information he passed to Spalding was to contain that very issue ( ie: the camp had been bypassed) there certainly was every reason to believe in a touch of readiness. But that's really the issue isn't it, did Chard pass on that information? Its strange that at 9.30 he was concerned at an impi heading for RD and suddenly at 12 he wasn't? In reviewing any history it is by its very nature an exercise in hindsight but coalating that information available to the characters of the time is more an investigation into actuality.
And yes I agree the ostensible reason for going was to chase up Rainsforth, but in the normal course of events surely the system was to issue an order and send a messenger, a la Smith Dorrien?

Would it not have been more incumbent on him to be carrying out Chelmsfords instructions of fortifying RD? Im not at home so cant get to the books but Im sure that I recall a mention from Chelmsford that in answer to question he said he had left orders for the camp at RD to be protected? And we do of course believe what he says...........don't we?

Cheers Mate

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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD.   Wed Sep 17, 2014 4:37 am

Hi Springy
I doubt there was much urgency in wanting to fortify RD when there was no possibility of an attack happening in Natal ! . As I said it would only have eventuated if the 3rd Column was destroyed , which , of course , wasnt on the radar according to anyone in command , LC's biggest problem in his eyes was getting the zulu to offer themselves for mass destruction as he sort of coined it ! . Things obviously changed very quickly after the survivors rode into RD informing them there of the reverse ! . The times are always speculation which is a dangerous thing when attempting to try and set times and movements in concrete scratch . Something I doubt that can ever be proven or agreed on with 100% surety agree
Cheers 90th

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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:04 am

Hi Springy
From Ian Knight's  ' Then and Now ' the only entrenching mentioned was to be by Rainsforth's company once they arrived from Helpmekaar which was to take place at the Ponts  after they relieved Capt Stevenson's detachment , who were guarding the ponts on the morning of the 22nd . When Chard arrived back at RD he told Spalding what he'd seen , Chard then states Rainsforth's company should have already been at the Drift . Spalding once he hears this info decides at once to go and find  where Rainsforth and his men are in an effort to have them in the camp quickly , to hurry them up was the official line . Seems as the way Chard tells the story Spalding went instantly ( long before any danger to Isandlwana or RD ! ) . Chard says Spalding consulted his copy of Hart's Army list to see who was senior , he then tells Chard it's him , he then leaves . Chard goes on to say that he went to his tent on the river and had lunch comfortably ( no urgency as nothing was happening which would indicate there was any action at Isandlwana ! ) , he also says he was writing a letter home when his attention was drawn to two horseman riding toward the Drift , it could have been two or more hours earlier when Spalding left , we will never know .   I dont have a problem with Spalding leaving as he to me was attempting to hurry them up , how much pull would anyone else have had ? . Smith Dorrien had no doubt left earlier as he was well gone and isnt mentioned as being in the camp when Chard leaves to go to Isandlwana , I seem to remember SD got to RD about dawn or earlier .
Cheers 90th You need to study mo
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:35 am

90th wrote:
The times are always speculation which is a dangerous thing when attempting to try and set times and movements in concrete  scratch . Something I doubt that can ever be proven or agreed on with 100% surety  agree

True. And ironically it is Springbok who showed me that. With regard to the timeline it would be a mistake to claim that somebody had finally "locked it down" once and for all. There are too many conflicting factors and unknowns.

With regard to Spaulding, Springbok makes a good point. We don't know what Chard told the major...but it would be odd if he made a point of returning because he felt his base was threatened by a Zulu flanking movement and yet somehow failed to inform his superior of that threat. I suppose since Chard was young and a recent arrival in Africa (not to mention an engineer) Spaulding may have discounted his story. As you say, a big attack was certainly not expected.

But I disagree with you that the defeat of Chelmsford was necessary before RD could be threatened. The fact that RD was garrisoned suggests, however remote, the possibility of an attack existed in their minds. The worst anybody feared however was probably a raiding party...not the king's guard.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:43 am

90th wrote:
Smith Dorrien had no doubt left earlier as he was well gone and isnt mentioned as being in the camp when Chard leaves to go to Isandlwana , I seem to remember SD got to RD about dawn or earlier.

I may be wrong but I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. Frank is saying that Chard should have come across Smith-Dorrien on the road (assuming there was only the one!) when SD was returning to Isandlwana after talking to Gonny, not on his way from Isandlwana to RD.  Salute
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PostSubject: Who knew what I meant    Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:56 am

Hi 6PDR
No I think I've got it right but may not have it explained it properly . I think you'll find SD had well and truly left RD for his return to Isandlwana well before Chard left the drift for his own ride to Isandlwana , therefore SD would've been back at Isandlwna well before Chard arrived at Isandlwana ? . Hope this makes sense ? Very Happy . Sorry I beg to differ , if they thought there was any danger they would've laagered at Isandlwana wouldn't you think ? , let alone 10 miles away on the opposite side of the river !
The entrenching I mentioned is straight from Chards own report in ' Then And Now ' by Ian knight , Chard quotes the camp orders for the 22nd January, no mention of entrenching the camp at the drift , only the ponts , which are a mile or so from the river from memory . and as I posted , this was to be where Rainsforth and his men were to be placed , hence , Spalding's prompt action leaving to ' Hurry them up ' as Chard mentions .
cheers 90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:55 am

Hi 90th/6pd
Chard left iSandlwana at 9.30, his statement, and met Colonel Durnford around 1/4 mile from the camp, again his statement.
Smith Dorrien, Memories of 48 years service - I got into camp around 8 am just as Colonel Durnfords force arrived. Colonel Durnford was having a discussion with Col Pulleine........ Durnford got into camp around 10.30 with his waggons etc arriving some 45 to 60 minutes later. I would interpret SDs words as meaning he got into camp as the wagons and balance of his men arrived, this as Durnford was already talking to Pulleine.
Therefore I would be tempted to put Smith Dorriens arrival time at around 11.15 or so. As Chard had left at 9.30 for the 2 hour plus ride they would have both been on the road at the same time.
Does that make sense ?
In connection with the Larger at RD. Im pretty sure that in answer to a question in Parliament Chelmsford pointed to an order he had issued that the camp at RD had to be fortified.
My issue however remains that Chard was concerned. From his report - " An NCO of the 24th lent me a field glass, which was a very good one, and I also looked with my pwn, and could see the enemy moving on the distant hills, and apparently in great force. Large numbers of them moving to my left, until the lion hill of Isandhlwana, on my left as I looked at them hid from my view. The idea struck me that they might be moving in the direction between the camp and rorkes Drift and prevent my getting back, and also they might be going to make a dash at the ponts."
So very clear that he was worried about a possible attack on the drift. A worry that had to have been reported to Spalding - " I went at once to Major Spalding on arrival and told him what I had seen."

The morning orders are
1) The force of Lt Col RE having departed a guard of 6 privates and 1 NCO will be furnished by the detachment 2/24th on the ponts.

A guard of 50 armed natives will likewise be furnished by Captain Stevensons detachment at the same spot. The ponts will be invariably drawn over to the Natal side at night. This duty will cease on the arrival of Cat Rainforths company 1/24th Regiment

2) In accordance with para 19 Regulations for Field Forces in South Africa. Capt Rainforths Company 1/24th Regiment will entrench itself on the spot assigned to it by Column Orders para-dated.

It was to these Column Orders that Chelmsford was I think referring to in the Parliamentary debate.

But the issue of fortification of the camp wasn't part of the brief for Rainforth, his orders, as mentioned by Chard, were to entrench at the ponts ( Para 2 Chards report to Queen Victoria) The fortification of the post was the responsibility of Spalding, and he had B company available for that.

So it wasn't a situation that arose later in the day when the threat was real ie Zulus pouring around the hill. There were column orders saying entrenchment should take place, Chard had reported a potential threat, why wasnt Bromhead kept in the loop and told to arrange a defence at that time.

As to Spalding being senior enough to chivvy Rainforth up, A message signed by a senior or ranking officer was or should have been enough. It was for Chelmsford in sending an order to Durnford surely.

Sorry mate doesn't wash for me Im afraid.

Cheers

PS of on that lecture tour tomorrow.

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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:43 pm

Hi Springy
One would think an order signed by an officer may've been enough , however as Rainsforth should've been there long before Spalding left , he was no doubt wanting to urgently see where Rainsforth's company actually was , so he took it upon himself , a subordinate may not have acted with the same haste or urgency on the road as Spalding . SD said he arrived in camp at 8am , he may well have done so ! , whose not to say he was confused as to the time when he saw Durnford talking to Pulleine ? . He may have lost a couple of hours ? . I think he got there at 8am as he states , we know he travelled to RD in darkness , he mentions it was so dark he couldnt really see where he was going . I doubt very much he would've hung around RD for 5 or so hours , which would mean he had to do so if he arrived at Isandlwana at 11.15 as you believe . Didnt SD hand the orders to Shepstone or another Colonial Officer to find Durnford , as he was pressed for time and wanted to get back to the camp ? .
Sorry mate , the timing doesnt wash for me also Rolling Eyes Salute
Cheers 90th No
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:56 pm

The timing is really bad, looking at the basics:
He left iSandlwana around 4 ish.
Arrived at Rorkes Drift after dawn, Durnford had already left the camp.
He then carries on to the RD camp and starts working on his Riem stretcher. When that's going to his satisfaction he hunts down Bromhead and has Breakfast. During breakfast he hears the sound of guns. ( Not a clue where from )
He then decides to leave for the 2 to 2 1/2 hour ride back to Isandlwana. So at least 6 hours in the saddle plus breakfast plus a spot of work, all before 8?????? Nope hes very wrong.
It was also impossible for Durnford to have been in the camp at that time, looking at his movements and the fact he was escorting a wagon train for a large part of the trip. And again Chard puts his meeting with Durnford at after 9.30.

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PostSubject: Who knew what at Rorkes drift    Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:18 pm

Hi Springy
I know what you are trying to say , whose to say B'fast wasnt very early in the morning , Durnford had ridden back further into Natal looking for forage or wagons from memory , that was why SD didnt pursue him , and gave the orders to Shepstone or another to give them to Durnford once he was located . Do we know if he left Isandlwana at 4 ish , is it documented as being so ? . If SD leaves before 4 am , say 2 or 3 am , he's at RD at well before 6 or earlier , hands the orders off to Shepstone or another , does some work on his Riem has a Breakfast , not a banquet , no doubt it was quick 10 -15 minutes ?? , as he wanted to get back to the camp , he may well have arrived back at 8 or a tad later . Do we know for sure what time SD left Isandlwana ??? . It's very difficult to try and match events with specific times , to much specualtion . Also I'm thinking SD's trip back was much quicker than his trip there in the dark to RD , I doubt he'd take 2 - 2 1/2 hrs to get back to the camp once it was light . Sorry mate I'm not convinced Shocked Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:29 pm

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
SD in the worlds first 4x4.......turbo.
In his own words he got back at the same time as Durnfords force arrived. And that's nowhere near 8 in the morning. For a good breakdown of that time have a look at your 'Studies in the Zulu War', the one you've just finished reading. (Page 14) and we do know that Durnford left RD for iSandlwana at around 7.30 to 8, that's according to Cochrane and Harry Davies.
Durnford had left RD to go to the Biggarsberg around 5am ( Davies) They were 4 miles along the road when Henderson caught up with them. They returned getting back at 7, so assuming Durnford would have been keen to get moving I would comfortably say they spent less time getting back than going out. Say 60 /40 or 80minutes out and 40 back, not an unreasonable estimate? Assuming then that Henderson also was pretty quick getting to them say around 30 minutes? So if they got back at 7 it would mean they turned at 6.30, less the time it took Henderson to get to them, 30 minutes ? That would mean that Henderson got the message to deliver at 6.00 which does fit with the riding time ( in the dark mostly ) from isandlwana.
Having conjecturally established the time SD passed the message and what I would estimate as that ride time that would mean he left isandlwana around 3 to 3.30. And again that timing works with the activities at the camp, Chelmsford waking, giving orders, SD being dragged out of bed etc etc.
So having delivered the message SD then rides over the Buffalo to RD itself, plays around with his Reim stretcher and has a breakfast, hears the gunshots around 8 ish and heads of to isandlwana arriving on his rather blown ( his words) horse at just after 10. All conjecture I know but the estimates are fare and realistic.
Next March pop down for a beer with Charles and go for a ride along the bridal trail to Isandlwana with him. We did it at a reasonable canter/walk believe me 2 1/2 hours is very fare. Wink ( it took Durnford 3, and Addendorf 2 1/2 and he was scared witless)

Cheers Mate

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Wed Sep 17, 2014 5:23 pm

90th wrote:
If SD leaves before 4 am  , say 2 or 3 am  , he's at RD at well before 6 or earlier , hands the orders off to Shepstone...  

I think SD awoke at 2:30AM or 14:30.  If he leaves immediately after seeing Chelmsford and the riding time is less than a 2.5 hours then he should have arrived at RD before Durnford departed, and of course then there is no reason to give his message to Shepstone/Henderson.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 2:52 am

Hi Les
I probably maligned the poor chap, not intentional I assure you. The point I was trying to put across was that even fleeing for his life it still took a considerable time to cover the distance from isandlwana to RD. But your quite right he does deserve more respect. By the way I would queerie that he was the only man at both battles.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:10 am

Nah Frank its me jumping in before i think, as usual!
i swear its a form of tourettes. lol, i know your hung
up on the timeline thing, i dont go as deep as you,
mine is more of an overall view of the whole war and
i try to leave the minutiae to researchers and historians.
as usual i'm burning the candle at both ends so i'm off
to sleep awhile.stay well. interested who else you think
stayed for the double.
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PostSubject: Who knows what happened at RD    Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:48 am

Hi Springy Very Happy Very Happy
My thoughts are that SD could well have been back by 8am if he left at the times I mentioned . His remark of him getting there with Durnford already in the camp , may , after 48 yrs , have become clouded ! Salute . In other words he might have remembered it that way , although it might not have actually been that way . We have been critical on SD and others who have written reports 40 or so years after the event , Christ , I get things mixed up from months ago let alone what it must be like after 48 yrs !!! scratch scratch . If he did , as he said got back the same time as Durnford arrived wouldnt he have mentioned he went back with them or at least passed them ? . Happy to be corrected . As I've said previously the times stated / recorded by those on the spot make it very , very difficult , to line up events as in comparison to other events of the day . Salute Salute I dont have my books with me as I'm not home agree You need to study mo .
Cheers Mate , 90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:09 am

90th wrote:
As I've said previously the times stated / recorded by those on the spot make it very , very difficult , to line up events as in comparison to other events of the day.

Yes in general that is true, but in this case I believe others witnessed/commented upon SD's arrival...so there is an objective correlative I believe.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:45 am

Do we know what time Lt Chard left Isandlwana to go back to RD?
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:54 am

Hi Ray
Yes we do, from his report to Queen Victoria, he left around 9.30 and met Durnford 1/4 mile from the camp.

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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:57 am

Hi Springy
In your reply to Ray's question you say Chard left Isandlwana to return to RD at 9.30 , if that's correct , why didnt he ( Chard ) run into SD , on his own way back to Isandlwana , if you think SD is correct in saying he arrived there the same time as Durnford scratch . I think SD was confused when he states he arrived at Isandlwana the same time as Durnford . I'm not home to check anything . I read Chard's report to Queen Victoria in Knight's 'Then and Now ' yesterday , no times were stated by Chard from memory ! scratch . As usual I'm happy to be corrected . I have Morris on hand , will see what he makes of it .
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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:06 pm

Hi Springy
Davies says he and Durnford along with 40 or so men left their camp on the zulu side of the river about 2 miles from RD , at 5.30 am , they had gone 4 miles ( that made us two miles into Natal ) when Henderson caught up them and handed over SD'S dispatch ordering Durnford to Isandlwana . Davies said this dispatch arrived shortly shortly after they started at 5.30 am , so SD was there very early in the morning . Davies says they arrived at their camp about 7am , I assume this being their own camp , two miles into zuluand and not RD ? . They are ordered by Durnford to have a meal , this they do and head off at 7.30 am . I'm thinking SD is well on the way back to Isandlwana by this stage otherwise Davies or another would've mentioned seeing SD on the road . If Chard left Isandlwana at 9.30 he to would've seen SD on the road wouldnt he ? . No , I'm afraid SD is back at Isandlwana around the time he states about 8 ish . It's very hard to speculate as we are all aware . Then the complete reverse is possible ! , SD did arrive around the same time as Durnford at Isandlwana and his camp arrival at 8am is incorrect ! . Who knows to be honest , if he did arrive with or about the same time as Durnford , that would mean SD spent at least 9 or 10 hrs on the road , and at Various camps , Durnford's camp two miles from the river in zululand , then RD itself . He had already had a big day if he arrived at Isandlwana the same time Durnford , especially , as he more than likely left Isandwana about 2 - 3 am ? , which seems about the approximate time he left because he got to RD after dawn I think you mentioned Springy .
Very confusing Dutchie !!
Cheers 90th Don\'t agree
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:11 pm

Hi 90th
Like you no where near the books at present. I will need to look up the time reference for Chard leaving. The question of Chard running into SD was the one I posed to start the thread, why didn't they meet? Ive answered that by mentioning the two routes between RD and isandlwana.
A pointer to the timing of Chards departure otherwise is that he met with Durnford 1/4 mile from the camp. Remember when you were driving from RD to isandlwana and you drove down that slope towards the stream and the mountain was in front of you? that's 1 1/4 miles. So with Durnford arriving around 10.30 work out how long it would it have taken for them to meet up?
Im in two minds with the whole SD thing really. I have so much respect for him as a man that I want to believe everything he says but even in other areas he doesn't add up, and not because he is lying, just I think with the passage of time his memory has faded. And again in his defence that day was ruching around being chased coming close to getting killed running a marathon in wet boots. So perhaps its understandable. Its really for that reason I tend to look at the other sources rather than rely to much on his time keeping abilities.

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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Thu Sep 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Agreed Springy , I dont have SD's book as it didnt get many favourable reviews from the AZW fraternity from memory .
It has been said or proposed might be a better word , that his time keeping ability is / was off the mark not to mention his recollections of the time as well . scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:17 pm

90th wrote:
Davies says he and Durnford along with 40 or so men left their camp on the zulu side of the river about 2 miles from RD , at 5.30 am

Was that camp 2 miles up the path from the river? Wow, I hadn't realized it was so far away from RD!
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:23 pm

Its really not known exactly where Durnford camped but its speculated that it was on top of the ridge looking down on the Buffalo, so yes pretty close to 2 miles or so. Don't forget that the RD camp wasn't on the river, its set back quite a way.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:27 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Its really not known exactly where Durnford camped but its speculated that it was on top of the ridge looking down on the Buffalo, so yes pretty close to 2 miles or so. Don't forget that the RD camp wasn't on the river, its set back quite a way.

True, the farm structures were built some way from the river. I'm just surprised that Durnford would have set his camp so far from a convenient water supply...but maybe they were seeing rather too much water from the sky not to seek higher ground.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:46 pm

Its also not far from where Chelmsford camped, that area would have been a bit of a churned up mess.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:27 pm

So 15mins to cover quater of a mile. So 09:45 arrival at the camp.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:27 pm

Up hill after crossing the river, at least 30 min Ray


Hi Ray
I was in error earlier about the source for Chards leaving time. It was a time calculated because of his sighting of the Zulus moving across the ridge. Timing here like most issues is pretty difficult. But its now a consensus that Durnford arrived between 10,30 and 10,45. Keith Smith has done an excellent essay on it. Assuming then ( working backwards ) that it took him 2o to 25 minutes to cover the 1 1/4 mile that would put him leaving chard at just after 10. Chard reported what was happening in the camp and inturn accepted instructions from Durnford on passing info down his line of waggons, say tem minutes. Chards riding time to where he meet s up with Durnford would be around 20 to 25 minutes ( going downhill ) so that puts him leaving the camp beyween 9.30 and 9.35.
All conjecture but that's why we are here. Very Happy















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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:17 pm

Chard himself says it was ' about ten ' when he borrowed some
glasses of an nco of the 24th.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:25 pm

Hi Les, probably there abouts or so.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:37 pm

Hiya mate. agree
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:05 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

SD says above, that he could see Zulu watch fires some 6 miles off, thinking the Zulu were going to attack, but found out later they had attacked RD. How far is Helpmakaar from RD could they have seen the fire of the hospital burning at RD.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:45 am

LH
Yes they would have been able to see the flames, mabe not the actual flames but definitely the 'glow' in the area.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:02 am

This could explain why SD missed seeing everyone else.
The bottom route is the 'Bridal trail' , the centre one the new road, and the top one the waggon trail or military road.
A lot of the time discrepancies can be explained ( also for the men escaping isandlwana ) if the bottom and faster route was taken.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:52 pm

Hi Les
Yes and no. The early fugitives left by road and I believe at least some of them left by the Bridal trail, that's the shortest route.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:52 pm

Thanks for that Frank, every time i think of the horror of that
flight a shiver goes right through me! and thanks to the 90th
for posting me the above image!.
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PostSubject: Who Knew What At RD    Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:00 pm

HI Springy
Cant say I've ever heard of more than the one road to Isandlwana , Ken never mentioned it when I was with him in Durban .
Cant say I've heard Ian Knight mention it either , none of my books mention it as far as I can remember ? . Is it Charles own theory or does he have some basis of fact ? .
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:48 pm

hi 90th
The top road, the Military Road was actually charted by Ken. There is archeological evidence of the bottom road as well, so no not just a wild flight of fancy, there is similar proof of a second route to Helpmakaar.
Both those roads have been extensively chartered by the researchers at the Talana Museum.
If you look at the map you will see that the military road is actually featured on the older maps.
Unfortunatly it seems at times that Ian is regarded as the Guru and I don't believe that's the case every time and he is Im sure the first to admit it. Lovely man that he is. Drop him a line and ask him. Unless Im mistaken there are photos in various publications of the Bashe crossing, the original one that is.

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:05 pm

90th
Have a look at the Military survey map by Anstey 13th November 1879 also Snook has a photo of the original crossing opposite Sihayos kraal. Im sure Ian would have shown you the view from the high ground of the isandlwana rd towards the Sihayo kraal. From that position there are signs of the old road.
In similar vein when you climb out of the Manzimyama valley and the road cuts around to the right at the top, that's where the old track peels of to the left. While Im on about that if you stand in the Manzimyama valley and look right of the road there is a water pump house, just to the right is the original road that runs up to the saddle.
Good job your going back in March, lots more to see Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:03 pm

That from Norman Holmes Silver Wreath..but i have yet
to look at other sources..
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:52 pm

Les
Your quite right, I did say earlier that I had posted in error. The time of 9.30 for his departure was worked back from his sighting of the impi he refers to. Elsewhere that was postulated as being around 9 to 9.30.
I cant at this stage get to look that up but shall do.
I don't believe its germain to the original point that I stand by, SD could not have got back to isandlwana by 8 oclock and met Durnford. 90ths prepared to say that SD made a mistake in saying he arrived back with Durnfords force but not prepared to say he could have been wrwong with the time. A careful look at Sds book will tell you he arrived back with Durnfords force, not Durnford. He goes on to say Durnford was with Pulleine, arguing who was senior. And that puts his arrival time even later than 10.30.
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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:58 pm

clip from the excellent Isandhlwana Zulu Battlefield..copywrie
Lock and Quantrill, available now..really informative!

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PostSubject: Re: Who knew what at Rorkes Drift   Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:43 pm

Now that looks like a very good video. Pity the preview was short!
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PostSubject: Who Knew What At RD    Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:14 am

Hi Ray
Last week or so I posted a link for the Lock & Quantrill DVD , which , as Les has mentioned .... '' It's all over EBAY UK ''
As I've said several times over the years it's well worth having , and it's not expensive , I'm sure you could find the 10 quid or so to get one agree , if not straight away , save for it . I doubt you'll be disappointed Salute
90th
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PostSubject: Who knew what at RD    Sat Sep 20, 2014 4:34 am

Hi Springy
I still believe SD could've possibly got back to Isandlwana at 8 or thereabouts , as I posted earlier he arrived at RD not long after 5.30 am from Davies recollection , and if you are correct , that there was more than one trail or track to Isandlwana , and one of the those , is as you said a '' faster '' option to return , he may well have taken the said track to get back even quicker !
Just to stir the pot as you say ! Very Happy Shocked . I checked my Anstey map of the area around Isandlwana drawn up on the 11/11/79 ( Armistice Day 39 yrs later ! ) , had the magnifying glass out and he hasnt labelled any roads scratch Which map are you looking at , did he produce another ? .
Cheers mate , 90th Very Happy Salute
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