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 Durnford was he capable. 3

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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:58 pm

No No No 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:01 pm

So enlighten us as to what you would have done.

Try to get into Durnsford mind-set.

1) recently reprimanded by LC with the threat of having his command taking way.

And the way he was feeling!

"I'm "Down" because I'm left behind, but we shall see"  Rolling Eyes 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:47 pm

Dave.

I am not trying to put you on the spot mate, but what you have to take into consideration is that LC had issued orders to Durnford telling him that he would want him along with Bengough to support him in a move against the zulu's (Matyanas). Now when Durnford got the order of the 22nd, it told him to move up to the camp, it also told him that Bengough was also to move via a different route. The order also said that LC was moving against the zulu's and would be about 10 miles off. Now, what is Durnford to make of that, it does not say that he is to reinforce the camp, it does not say that he should stay at the camp, however, it does confirm that LC has started to move against the zulu's and it does confirm that Bengough as also to move, so Durnford would interpret that as LC's plan against the zulu's is under way, and that he is being moved up to the camp to be close at hand to support LC. Don't forget that LC had told Durnford that he would advise him of any changes to those plans regarding his support against the Matyanas, but LC had not mentioned any changes to those plans in his order of the 22nd, so Durnford would still be under the impression that he was required to support LC in that move.

If LC had wanted Durnford to stay at the camp to reinforce it, he should have made that perfectly clear in the order of the 22nd, or left further orders at the camp with Pulleine to give to Durnford on his arrival, but LC did not do this. LC was that eager to leave the camp with over half the column that he failed to organise proper orders for either Pulleine or Durnford, Clery and Crealock made the mistake of taking it upon themselves to interfere and that is how the confusion came about.

After the disaster, LC, Crealock and others realised that there had been big mistakes with the orders and tried to say that Durnford had disobeyed them, a web of lies and deceit followed and the blame was put onto the scapegoat Durnford to save LC's and their own backsides.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:14 pm

Speculation Martin, your interpretation. But It was pointed out by a knowledgeable member that if Durnford had misinterpret the order and acted on a prior order to operate against the Matyanas, he was going in the wrong direction.

"5th Evidence.—Lieutenant Cochrane, 32nd Regiment, states: I am employed as transport officer with No 2 Column, then under Colonel Durnford, R.E., on the 22nd January, 1879, the column marched on that morning from Rorke's Drift to Isandlwana in consequence of an order received from the Lieutenant General. I do not know the particulars of the order received. I entered the Isandlwana camp with Colonel Durnford about 10 A.M., and remained with him as Acting Staff Officer. On arrival he took over command from Colonel Pulleine, 24th Regiment. Colonel Pulleine gave over to Colonel Durnford a verbal state of the troops in camp at the time, and stated the orders he had received, viz., to defend the camp, these words were repeated two or three times in the conversation."

Binding on Durnford, these would have been the fresh orders you wanted Martin.
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Mr M. Cooper

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:26 pm

impi.

Speculation and interpretation are words that you should know very well.

As far going the wrong way, that has been explained to you scores of times, so I am not going to explain yet again.

Binding on Durnford? Again, this is your speculation and interpretation.

Pulleine's orders were for Pulleine,,,, Durnford's orders were for Durnford.

Answer this, if LC had intended that Durnford should reinforce or stay at the camp, then why did he send orders from Mangeni addressed to Pulleine and not Durnford????
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:57 am

I think you should not be influenced by Chelmsford's actions after the event when trying to judge his actions before he left the camp.

His last order to Durnford could mean two different things. The first, which was uppermost in his mind, was to order Durnford up to the camp so he could act in support of him should Chelmsford succeed in bringing the enemy to battle (that had been his plan prior to 22 Jan. and that's what he left the camp to do).

The second was for Durnford to be available to reinforce the camp should it be attacked. Which, so far as Chelmsford was concerned , was so unlikely it was not in his mind at all. It was even left to Clery, who at least thought it might happen, to order Pulleine to defend the camp. The problem was that neither scenario was spelt out in the order to Durnford (and thats why there are two groups of forum members who, like Durnford, think they know what the order meant but cannot convince each other).

For what its worth, I think Durnford was justified in interpreting the order as he did, he thought the Zulu were about to attack Chelmsford and he had been told in no uncertain terms what to do in that eventuality. We all know now he made the wrong call, and paid for it. So did Chelmsford, but didn't pay for it, at least not in the same way.

The bottom line is that Chelmsford should have been crystal clear as to what he wanted Durnford to do when he reached the camp. He wasn't and that's why the blame rests with him.

Equally, Durnford could have exercised his initiative to look to the defence of the camp,  he got it wrong, but for the right reasons. He was nowhere near as culpable as Chelmsford, but of course could not make his case after the event.

Unless further information is unearthed, that's where it rests.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:37 am

Mr M. Cooper wrote:
impi.

Speculation and interpretation are words that you should know very well.

As far going the wrong way, that has been explained to you scores of times, so I am not going to explain yet again.
Perhaps you could enlighten me, he's either going the wrong way or he's not?

Binding on Durnford? Again, this is your speculation and interpretation.
Military protocol, and if you read my post above that is an eyewitness account,that show he did take command, and there are others as you know

Pulleine's orders were for Pulleine,,,, Durnford's orders were for Durnford.
I agree, Pulleine was in command of the camp, Durnford was to go there.

Answer this, if LC had intended that Durnford should reinforce or stay at the camp, then why did he send orders from Mangeni addressed to Pulleine and not Durnford????
Because Pulleine was in command of the camp. Why would he address it to Durnford. It's a good job it was addressed to Pulleine, he got the message because he remained in the camp as per his order. At the time the message arrived at Isandlwana (Colonel D's) troops were heavily engaged to the left of our camp, beyond the hill, and were being driven back perhaps LC prempted Durnford wouldn't obey simple instructions, going by past experience..


Last edited by impi on Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:13 am

rusteze wrote:
I think you should not be influenced by Chelmsford's actions after the event when trying to judge his actions before he left the camp.

His last order to Durnford could mean two different things. The first, which was uppermost in his mind, was to order Durnford up to the camp so he could act in support of him should Chelmsford succeed in bringing the enemy to battle (that had been his plan prior to 22 Jan. and that's what he left the camp to do).

The second was for Durnford to be available to reinforce the camp should it be attacked. Which, so far as Chelmsford was concerned , was so unlikely it was not in his mind at all. It was even left to Clery, who at least thought it might happen, to order Pulleine to defend the camp. The problem was that neither scenario was spelt out in the order to Durnford (and thats why there are two groups of forum members who, like Durnford, think they know what the order meant but cannot convince each other).

For what its worth, I think Durnford was justified in interpreting the order as he did, he thought the Zulu were about to attack Chelmsford and he had been told in no uncertain terms what to do in that eventuality. We all know now he made the wrong call, and paid for it. So did Chelmsford, but didn't pay for it, at least not in the same way.

The bottom line is that Chelmsford should have been crystal clear as to what he wanted Durnford to do when he reached the camp. He wasn't and that's why the blame rests with him.

Equally, Durnford could have exercised his initiative to look to the defence of the camp,  he got it wrong, but for the right reasons. He was nowhere near as culpable as Chelmsford, but of course could not make his case after the event.

Unless further information is unearthed, that's where it rests.

Steve

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What could be more clearer than the above. Why does there have to be anything else for Durnford.

Question: What would Durnford had done, if the camp wasn't attacked.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:26 am

springbok9 wrote:
Just to clarify a point, Chelmsford did NOT issue any orders to Pulleine. Clery, a major did.

Cheers

This is what some members are failing to comprehend. They think the blame only goes two ways. Chelmsford and Durnford.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:46 am

Les

The matter rests where it is not because I say so, but because the order was ambiguous. Unless something else comes to light it will remain ambiguous.

Impi

The order to Durnford of 22nd does not say what he should do when he gets to the camp. Two interpretations are possible, he picked the wrong one.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:28 am

Steve I'll let you go with the two interpretations. To me there is only one. "Move to the camp" when the realisation of the Battle was apparent, it all changed again. Even Gardner tried to advise Pulleine to disregard his orders. Militray common sense. Something Durnford and Pulleine lacked.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:25 pm

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PostSubject: To be moved   Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:30 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:35 pm

Read the Durnford rebuke carefully!! if he was a lot of things...
he was not Stupid, he carried out his orders faithfully
on the 22nd, BUT.. the Zulu had other orders and carried them
out! end game.

Yes, less of the groups, that does not help, and it simply is not
the truth!.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:01 am

Hi Les.

Actually, there was no need for the rebuke, Durnford had already been given permission from LC to act independently. The reason why LC sent the rebuke (the one that ctsg and others on here just love to use against Durnford), is because Durnford was acting on a piece of information that was given to him by a clergyman (and we all know how LC felt about some of the clergy). LC must have felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, and in a fit of sudden anger he saw red, and this is what prompted him to send the uncalled for rebuke to Durnford. Durnford had not disobeying anything, he had already been given permission from LC in an order to use his own initiative, and that is just what he was doing.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:20 am

Martin.
Me thinks your getting your time line mixed up surely? The rebuke came after Durnfords had started to investigate the suupposed invasion intell, so no he didn't have permission to act outside the parameters set by Chelmsford.
Cheers mate
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:20 pm

Hi Springy.

No mate, I have not got my time line mixed up, see below.

This was discussed between LC and Durnford on the 4th Jan, and later confirmed by sending the written order to Durnford on the 8th Jan.

Quote.

"On the receipt of this memorandom you will at once remove your two strongest regiments to Sand Spruit valley, and take up such a position as will be best to ensure the protection of the Natal border from raids accross the Buffalo river between the Sand Spruit and the junction of the Buffalo and Tugela rivers. Should you consider that a counter move accross the Buffalo river will be afficacious in preventing an inroad of zulus into Natal, you are at perfect liberty to make it, but with the understanding that it is made with a purely defensive purpose, and that the force making it returns to its former position on the completion of the duty entrusted to it.

About 50 horsemen should be left with the battalion at Middle Drift, the remainder should accompany the two regiments".  


This confirms that LC had given permission to Durnford to act independently and use his own initiative.


 Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:44 pm

Martin
Youre taking that from Drooglever, and taking it way out of context. If Durnford had carried out his intentions and crossed the Thukela it would have been tantamount to breaching the terms and conditions of the Ultimatum. Chelmsford had specifically issued an instruction ( 8th January ) to send two of his strongest battalions to support Glynn. His not doing so and riding of to invade Zulu land was a direct refusal to obey a command. So I disagree that he had tacit approval and your trying to carry that forward to the 22nd January, a totally different set of circumstances is stretching the reasoning a tad. Sorry Mate cant even come close to agreeing. Maybe Chelmsfords response was a tad over the top, but to try and blame it on a dislike of clergy??????? Clutching at straws springs to mind.

Cheers

Cheers
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:41 pm

If we don't like "groups", can we have "two schools of thought" about what was meant by Chelmsford's order to Durnford early on 22 Jan?

Some think it meant, "come up and defend the camp", others think it meant "come up and support me". Hence some people think he disobeyed the order,  others think he did not. The order was ambiguous. It remains so and that's the problem.  

Is that not a reflection of where various people are coming from, or am I missing something?



Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:47 pm

Springy.

What am I taking out of context?

LC had given permission to Durnford to act independently and use his own initiative, then when Durnford received covert information from the bishop about zulu movements that he wants to investigate, he informed LC of his intentions, but then gets the rebuke. scratch 

What was the point in LC telling Durnford that he was at perfect liberty to cross the river, then when Durnford informs him of his intentios, LC gives him a rebuke? am I missing something here? And it has been suggested on the forum a number of times that it was because Durnford was given the information by a bishop, and that this might have annoyed LC because of the pro zulu stand by bishop Colenso.

Cheers.


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:50 pm

Frank

This business about ordering Durnford to Sandspruit is interesting. While I agree with you about the problem of Durnford crossing at Middle Drift (and hence Chelmsford's rebuke), I see that Knight says in Zulu Rising that Durnford  (having sent his strongest force towards Sandspruit in response to the order) had them turn around because Chelmsford changed his mind. I can't see any reference to Chelmsford's second change of mind though. What do you think?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:55 pm

rusteze wrote:
If we don't like "groups", can we have "two schools of thought" about what was meant by Chelmsford's order to Durnford early on 22 Jan?

Some think it meant, "come up and defend the camp", others think it meant "come up and support me". Hence some people think he disobeyed the order,  others think he did not. The order was ambiguous. It remains so and that's the problem.  

Is that not a reflection of where various people are coming from, or am I missing something? Steve

I think that's a reasonable summary of why the two camps can't agree, but the mere existence of two completely opposed interpretations/camps does not make them equally likely in my mind. (That is the problem with the way the media handles the debate about "climate change" here in the USA. Scientists line up over 99:1 in favor of it taking place but in the media it's always framed 1:1.) That said, personally, I think you are being eminently reasonable. IF you are missing anything, I would point to Durnford posting lookouts (on Isandlwana etc...) and sending out scouts virtually the minute he arrived in camp. That is strong evidence that he WAS defending the camp. Unfortunately for him he received a lot of misleading information as a result of doing so...which led to the "wrong" decision. - 6pdr
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:05 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Maybe Chelmsfords response was a tad over the top, but to try and blame it on a dislike of clergy??????? Clutching at straws springs to mind.

Springbok -- I also wonder why you feel this is so "over the top." He would have been well aware of Durnford's relationship with the Colenso family and due to his bosses' distaste for both parties, perhaps hypersensitive about that. We can't prove that but at the same time I can't see how you can dismiss that possibility out of hand either.

Also, I don't think there is anything so unusual about a commanding officer and a subordinate who have never worked together before having different interpretations of exactly what "freedom of action" was allowed. Had something like occurred before the battle of Ulundi it might indicate a refusal to accept authority but not at that early date. Chelmsford's response was IMHO obviously loaded.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:21 pm

Hi Martin
Let me give you Prof Labands take on that issue.
On 8th January Chelmsford had instructed Durnford to send two of his strongest battalions to Sandspruit to support Glyn and not to advance across Middle Drift un til Pearson had occupied Eschowe. However in terms of the discretion he considered Chelmsford had allowed him, Durnford prepared on 13th January to advance across the Tugela with all his force to forestall an unsubstantiated Zulu plan to invade Natal.

There are a number of issues with this episode. Durnford had been given direct orders on a couple of points.
1) Suppport Glyn in his advance
2) Do not cross the Buffalo until Pearson had reached Eschowe.
Two direct orders that were disobeyed on an unsubstantiated rumour. Yet another example of Durnford going of 'half cocked'. He had no solid intell of the so called invasion and made no real effort to obtain it before launching himself.
He had deliberately potentially left Glyn in the lurch, shades of Pullein
Read the whole message in context. Durnford was instructed to take up a fixed position at a predetermined point and whilst at that point act in the best interest. The message is very clear that any actions will be directed from that new position, not swanning of down stream as he intended to do leaving an unguarded area. Its crystal clear with no suggestion of ambiguity, unless you use selective analysis. You are adamant that the message of the 22nd has to be read as a whole and not in part, this message has to be read in a similar vein.

Steve
I need to look at that, straight of the cuff doesn't ring any bells at all. Who are we to argue with the great Man though  Very Happy 

6pd
I don't believe that the strength of his message had anything to do with the Bishop, and I don't believe that Chelmsford in the position he was in would have wanted any negative publicity to accuse him of that. Yes I think threatening Durnford with removal was a bit to much and could have been handled better. But possibly it does show how strung out Chelmsford was. There are undertones of arrogance about Durnfords behaviour at times, almost an 'I know better than you', its what lead mike Snook to accuse him of being a Cowboy, I don't perchance follow that reasoning but look back from this distance of 130 odd years at the situations he found himself in and ask yourself if they were self made crisis or not?
Whilst Im not a Durnford detractor Im not going to be seen as a whitewash specialist making excuses for his every foible and error of judgement. And THAT seems to be the prevailing vogue.

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:24 pm

Hi Steve.

You are right, the order was a bit ambiguous. But look back a bit, any discussions or orders between LC and Durnford had always been about Durnford co-operating with and supporting LC along with Bengough in the move against the Matyanas. So now look at the order of the 22nd, it is informing Durnford that he is to bring up to the camp all the force he has, and it is also telling him that Bengough should now make his move, also, it says that the general will be about 8 miles distant, there is no mention of reinforcing Pulleine and there is no mention of taking command, so what is Durnford supposed to deduce from that order. As I said, the previous discussions and orders had been about Durnford co-operating with and supporting LC in the move against the Matyanas, so to all intents and purposes the order is telling him that this move is now under way, ie: Bengough is to move via one route, LC is heading off in another direction, and he (Durnford) is to bring up his men to be close by to give support to LC.

I could understand the other school of thought if the order said specically that Durnford was to come to the camp to reinforce Pulleine or take command, but there is no of mention of anything like that anywhere in the order, so as far as Durnford is concerned he is being brought up to the camp to be close at hand to support LC. Pulleine had command of the camp, Durnford had command of his own column, Pulleine was ready to give command of the camp to Durnford when he arrived, however, Durnford told Pulleine he would not be staying at the camp, so does this not show which way that Durnford had interpreted the order.

Cheers.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:53 pm

springbok9 wrote:
I don't believe that the strength of his message had anything to do with the Bishop, and I don't believe that Chelmsford in the position he was in would have wanted any negative publicity to accuse him of that. Yes I think threatening Durnford with removal was a bit to much and could have been handled better. But possibly it does show how strung out Chelmsford was. There are undertones of arrogance about Durnfords behaviour at times, almost an 'I know better than you', its what lead mike Snook to accuse him of being a Cowboy, I don't perchance follow that reasoning but look back from this distance of 130 odd years at the situations he found himself in and ask yourself if they were self made crisis or not?
Whilst Im not a Durnford detractor Im not going to be seen as a whitewash specialist making excuses for his every foible and error of judgement. And THAT seems to be the prevailing vogue.

Springbok - I can only say that believing Durnford had an independent streak (which in and of itself does not make him a "cowboy,") and also believing that he was not culpable for the disaster that occurred are NOT mutually incompatible attitudes.  Did Durnford have a mercurial side?  It would seem so.  Did he do anything militarily unreasonable at Isandlwana other than sacrificing his life when he might have escaped? No. Correlation does not prove causality.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:25 pm

Hi Martin

No, I don't think you are wrong about how Durnford interpreted the order and therefore he pursued Chelmsford in support. But it could easily have meant the opposite 'defend the camp". Durnford needed to exercise his judgement at the point when the Zulu force was discovered - he chose to believe his orders still meant he should leave the camp in case Chelmsford was attacked or cut off. A wiser choice would have been to stay put and defend. Wrong call on his part, but the culpability (as I have said) is Chelmsford's for allowing Crealock to issue such an incomplete order in his name. Particularly as he believed (rightly or wrongly) that Durnford could get things wrong.

Frank

Zulu Rising page 224 second para.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:34 pm

Would anybody care to read the order again!
i posted it in its entirety a few pages back!
there is no ambiguity there!!! no vagueness,
its short, concise, and conveys his Lordships
wishes entire! Chinese Whisper's, when i'm
not p off in this place, i'm giggling up my cuff!
fortunately for the most part i'm being educated
and informed..
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:37 pm

6pd
"Did he do anything militarily unreasonable at Isandlwana other than sacrificing his life when he might have escaped? No. Correlation does not prove causality."
Oh Indeed he must share culpability. Look back on this thread to page 36, I outlined my own position on the good Colonel of Engineers. And again I would stress that I in no way am attempting to blame him for everything, merely reinforcing my point that he is not the impeccable soldier others on the forum would have us believe. He was as fallible as the rest of us and did have some inner demons. When does an independent streak become reckless? Look at page 36 with an open mind and answer that.
Argument has been made that he was following orders dating back over 14 days, that may very well be true to say he had those orders and believed what he wanted, freedom of action was a current theme. But if as his defenders say he did have brief to assist in attacking the Matanyas, why didn't he do it? He elected instead to go of on his own crusade, so that prievious order does not feature in any justification. Between receiving the orders from Smith Dorrien in the early morning and arriving in the camp he had decided that he was going hunting, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing it was brought up in his initial conversation with Pulleine, his mind was made up 'before' he got to iSandlwana, and probably reinforced when he met up with Chard. Without a doubt he was a brave man, but those inner demons......................
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:41 pm

As for the rebuke, Durnford more than asked for that!
he stepped beyond the bounds of his lordships wishes,
in hindsight we might think that Durnford acted in the
best wishes of the invasion plan! but he was missing
one vital factor, ( or was he? ) Chelmsford was by then
certainly showing the strain of his command, the details
of which he forwarded to london at the first opportunity
after Isandhlwana,
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:44 pm

Les
C'mon mate giggle out loud, be bold................ Very Happy 

My issues are not with that order, believe what you will in terms of interpretation. My issues are the ones Ive raise on page 36. Everything about the 22nd January is wide open to interpretation, you cant get annoyed because there are divergent viewpoints.
I would welcome a logical repudiation of the points Ive raised based on fact not emotive stretching of the truth liberally laced with interpretation. At that that point Im happy to hang my head throw my hands in the air and carry a signboard reading mea culpa.  agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:44 pm

Steve, is this what you are looking for?

'At the last minute, Chelmsford dithered regarding the roll he had for Durnford's column. As the deadline for the invasion drew near, he toyed with the idea of deploying it on the offensive after all, using Durnford as a light flying column to support the advance of Col Pearson's No1 column, on his right flank and down to the Thukela mouth. Then he changed his mind, and ordered Durnford instead to move his men closer to the centre column to take up a position on the Sandspruit, where the third NNC had assembled. This change of plan was apparently the result of an apprisal Chelmsford had made after reaching Helpmekaar on the 4th January. He had made an hasty tour of the border defences, and had ridden as far as d'Almaine's to discuss No2 column's roll with Durnford personally. He confirmed his new requirements in writing on the 8th January in terms which-nontheless, and significantly-suggested that offensive action on Durnford's part might not be ruled out entirely should the strategic situation require it'.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:50 pm

Steve I did some research a couple of years ago on the forces at Sandspruit, I need to look back at the notes, I don't know why but I have a gut feel that there were some contradictory orders issued by ( Crealock ?) Sorry when senility slips in memory slips out.
I will get back to you.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:56 pm

Les
C'mon mate giggle out loud, be bold................ Very Happy

My issues are not with that order, believe what you will in terms of interpretation. My issues are the ones Ive raise on page 36. Everything about the 22nd January is wide open to interpretation, you cant get annoyed because there are divergent viewpoints.......definitely not aimed at you! i always read
your input with attention..you know i'm a straight talker, cant be any other way, people should be
able to guess who get right on my ....and again why i want to giggle..your view/slants are fascinating
always giving me food for thought!.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:13 pm

Steve
Durnford met with Chelmsford on the 10th January, it was then that Chelmsford says: "I directed this officer (Durnford) to move one of his three battalions to watch and eventually cross at the gates of Natal between Rorkes Drift and the Umsinga Mountains while he and the mounted men and Rocket battery were to join me with No3 Column. I directed the remaining two battalions to cross at Middledrift as soon as Col Pearson with No 1 Column had reached Ekowe. This could very well be the contradiction/mind change Ian refered to.

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:23 pm

Ah! Now I see what you are getting at springy.

"If he had a brief to assist in attacking the Matyanas, why didn't he do it?"

He had been told by Chelmsford that if there were any alterations he would issue fresh instructions, so when he got the order to move up to the camp, he would no doubt be thinking that the move against the Matyanas was now under way, and that if there was any alterations there would be new orders or 'fresh instructions' waiting for him at the camp. On his way he met Chard who advised him of zulu's near the camp, on arrival at the camp there were no fresh instructions, however, after speaking with Pulleine, he could see that the situation had altered since LC had left, so he placed lookouts and sent men out to scout the area. A report came in of zulu's heading in LC's direction, he had already sent Raw and Barton to the left to sweep the hills, and must have thought that they had disturbed the Zulu's and that they were now heading towards LC, probably to either join up with the Zulu's that LC had gone off to confront, or to cut him off or attack him. With Barton, Raw sweeping over from the left, he must have thought it best to head off to the right and then to come over towards Barton and Raw to form a sort of trap for the Zulu's and thus keep them from heading towards LC, maybe that is why he himself didn't head directly towards LC.

You say that from receiving the order from SD and arriving at the camp, he had decided he was going 'hunting', and that his mind was made up 'before' arriving at the camp? A little confused here mate? How do you reach that conclusion? Is there a source for that, or is it your own opinion?

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 5:58 pm

springbok9 wrote:
Between receiving the orders from Smith Dorrien in the early morning and arriving in the camp he had decided that he was going hunting, it wasn't a spur of the moment thing it was brought up in his initial conversation with Pulleine, his mind was made up 'before' he got to iSandlwana, and probably reinforced when he met up with Chard. Without a doubt he was a brave man, but those inner demons......................

Springbok,

I went back and reviewed your 8 points. #1 and #5 struck me as most salient. I cannot argue that Durnford's treatment of the RB was callous but I think he probably understood that unit was something of a joke and so, without entirely realizing it, simply dismissed it from his mind. That's not to excuse him -- it was a blunder -- but simply an attempt to grapple with what was or was not running through his mind.

We really have very different interpretations of #5. First, I was surprised to read your assertion that Bradstreet & Co. were already positioned in the donga when "Durnford's Basutos" arrived. I had thought the reverse was the case...but perhaps that harkens back to Morris or something. Regardless, it can be argued that Durnford was doing the right thing by trying to delay the left horn from linking up with the right horn for as long as possible. Falling back directly on the camp would not have even had the potential to achieve that end. As for foresight, Durnford may well have understood that sooner or later he would have been outflanked, so initially his access to ammunition was not the foremost thing on his mind.

But really your key point -- and most contentious in my mind -- is that Durnford should have left Bradsteet in command of the donga and taken command of the camp. Personally, I do not believe that Durnford EVER had any inclination to exert command over Pulleine or the Regulars. He saw himself 100% as responsible for the irregulars, the forces that he had personally raised. In the end, he was not so much trying to exert authority over Pulleine (who may have been dead for all he knew,) but attempting to restore order from chaos or really, do damage control. And that is ultimately how he met his end -- seeing to it that a few more would make it out of the cul de sac -- most especially the forces he had personally brought there. I regard your critique of Durnford's showboating at the donga as logically valid -- but also as a rather textbook way of viewing the situation. He was a doomed soul but he was not doomed by his tactics/ego or he never would have made it back to the donga, let alone the camp. He would have died like Custer did -- in the middle of nowhere for no valid reason. Durnford may not have been a "hero" (which is, in any case, a matter of semantics) but he had a relatively solid grasp of the situation -- there was simply nothing he could do about it with the scant forces at hand -- and that was not his doing.

So, yes, his mind was made up throughout the battle NOT to take control of the camp. Call that a failing if you will, but I see a man ahead of his time. The British Army simply had no organizational construct or position yet for men like Durnford or, later, Laurence of Arabia. BY WW2 however, it had worked all that out.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:08 pm

Knight says Chelmsford met Durnford at d'Almaine and issued an order two days later (8th Jan) for Durnford to  proceed to Sandspruit.

Knight then comments on Durnford receiving the warning from Schreuder (13 January) when he was at Middle Drift. He says  "Durnford could hardly afford to ignore the warning. He knew and respected Schreuder's deep knowledge of Zulu affairs: moreover, the Zulu timing seemed apposite since Durnford's recent movements had left the drift only thinly defended. In response to Chelmsford's orders of a few days before, Durnford had marched the bulk of his command towards the Sandspruit, only to turn around again when Chelmsford changed his mind. That morning most of the No2 column was scattered across a wide swathe of country between the Sandspruit and their old headquarters on d'Almaine's farm.

So, did Chelmsford meet Durnford twice, (on 6th and 10th January), have him march for Sandspruit, only to send him back, and then have him march again? No wonder he was confused !

When discussing Durnford's exchanges with Pulleine at Isandlwana about taking 2 companies of the 24th with him, Knight says "This is a deeply revealing conversation. It is clear that, despite the veneer of professional courtesy, Durnford's request had been so startling that officers of considerably junior rank had been moved to object. That Durnford was trying to intervene in a clearly established chain of command says much about his own determination to act decisively - and the demons that drove him. The laxness in Chelmsford's orders had created an ambiguity which he did not hesitate to exploit ....."

Not just me who says the orders were ambiguous.

6 pdr

Love your final flourish, sweeping across 70 years in two lines! (Lawrence by the way).

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Nothing better than debating on three fronts. But not this evening, going out to dinner with the love of my life, but tomorrow is anther day gentlemen.
 agree 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:44 pm

rusteze wrote:
Love your final flourish, sweeping across 70 years in two lines! (Lawrence by the way).

Thank you!  Wink  You know what we need? A new emoticon for somebody patting himself on the back. Pretend you see that here:  Very Happy 

Actually, I'm sure the British Army unofficially had many other Durnfords, both before and after Anthony. But my overall point is that they were seldom understood as such, let alone appreciated...and that seems to color our thinking today. He was a square peg for a round hole. The result is that instead of seeing what Durnford did accomplish, we tend to focus on his "flaws" as a regular officer. I think he should be evaluated by what he was instead of what he wasn't. If we did so, the discussion would not devolve so quickly into whether he was a "hero." To me he was a builder and leader of irregular forces; IMO His "Basuto" formations came off better in the battle (vis a vis expectations) than the 24th or the Colonials. That was due to the qualities of his leadership and it's quite a STRIKING accomplishment.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:27 pm

I prefer to stick to the known facts!,and what is in the public domain
by and large has been there a very long time! speculation can lead
to discovery, but i have yet to see it manifest it self but very rarely,
the one that sticks out, is the discovery and restoration of AWD's
( lost! ) orders...
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:06 pm

Order It was lost and found!

6pdr What did Durnford accomplish?

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:14 am

If you look at Durnford's past career it appears Lord Chelmsford placed considerable confidence in him, commissioning him to raise the NNC foolishly giving him command of no 2 column. 

Durnford's misinterpretation of the order gave way to him using his own initiative. When reports of Zulu movements close to the camp came in, not only did he disobey a simple instruction by leaving the camp, he also provoked the Zulus into attacking a fatally weakened camp.

The only crime Lord Chelmsford is guilty of, if giving Durnford a second chance, when everyone else had given up on him. Apart from the colenso's that is!. As I have said before he was a Heavy Gambler, Drinker, and full of self pity. 

"I'm am down because I'm left behind, but we shall see" 

We certainly did see, didn't we. !!!!!!!

"Character and domestic life

"Anthony Durnford stood six feet tall and was of slim build. He was becoming bald by his late thirties and sported a distinguished moustache that drooped to his collarbones. Anthony was high-principled and committed to social issues, especially showing a great concern for the underprivileged. But he was also ambitious for military glory and prone to be over-enthusiastic and even impetuous.

While stationed in Ceylon in 1854,
he married Frances Tranchell, the youngest daughter of a retired colonel who had served in the Ceylon Rifles. Of three children born to the Durn- fords, two died in infancy, causing both parents huge distress. Their marriage, already under strain due to Anthony’s modest wages, gambling habits and transfers overseas, came to an end in 1860."
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:34 am

"Frederic Augustus Thesiger, 2nd Baron Chelmsford of Chelmsford was born on 31 May 1827. He was the son of Frederick Thesiger, 1st Baron Chelmsford of Chelmsford and Anna Maria Tinling. He married Adria Fanny Heath, daughter of Maj.-Gen. John Coussamker Heath and Adria Emma Dun, on 1 January 1867 at Kurrachee, Scinde, India. He died on 9 April 1905 at age 77 at United Services Club, Pall Mall, London, England, from an aneurism while playing billiards.3 He was buried on 13 April 1905 at Brompton Cemetery, Brompton, London, England. His will was probated on 24 May 1905, at over £68,000 gross and over £66,000 net.

He was educated between 1840 and 1844 at Eton College, Windsor, Berkshire, England. He was commissioned in 1844, in the service of the Army. He gained the rank of Captain in 1850 in the service of the Grenadier Guards. He fought in the Crimean War in 1854. He gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in 1858 in the service of the 95th Foot. He fought in the Indian Mutiny. He was Deputy Adjutant-General at Bombay in 1861. KHe gained the rank of Brevet Colonel in 1863. He fought in the Abyssinian War between 1867 and 1868. He was Aide-de-Camp to HM Queen Victoria between 1868 and 1877. He was invested as a Companion, Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 14 August 1868. He was Adjutant-General to the Bombay army between 1869 and 1874. He gained the rank of Major-General in 1877. He fought in the Kaffir Wars in 1878, in command of the British forces. He held the office of Lieutenant-Governor of the Cape of Good Hope between 1878 and 1879. He succeeded to the title of 2nd Baron Chelmsford of Chelmsford, co. Essex [U.K., 1858] on 5 October 1878. He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) on 11 November 1878. He fought in the Zulu War in 1879, in command of the British forces. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, Order of the Bath (G.C.B.) on 19 August 1879. He was Brigadier-General of the 1st Infantry Brigade.He held the office of Lieutenant of the Tower of London between 1884 and 1889. He was Colonel of the Sherwood Foresters (formerly 45th and 95th Foot) between 1898 and 1900. He was Colonel of the 2nd Life Guards between 1900 and 1905. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.) on 9 November 1902."

Out- Standing!  Salute


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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:54 am

CTSG,

So outstanding that wherever you cribbed that from couldn't manage to spell his given name correctly - Frederic rather than Frederick!

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:27 am

CTSG
Well done mate I see that 'How to be a spin doctor' correspondence course is going well.  Very Happy Very Happy 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:24 am

springbok9 wrote:
CTSG
Well done mate I see that 'How to be a spin doctor' correspondence course is going well.  Very Happy Very Happy 

Thank you springbok. My head is still spinning!!

John thank you for your in-put.  Rolling Eyes 
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:42 am

Hi Steve
Chelmsford wrote to Durnford on the 8th January ordering the two regiments on to Sand Spruit. On the 10th January Durnford met with Chelmsford, those two regiments on the way to Sand Spruit were directed to go to Middle Drift. He with his mounted men were ordered to join with him at Rorkes Drift.
On the 14th May Durnford and his men after receiving word from Bishop Schreuder rode of to intercept the 'invading impi at Middle Drift. He sent a note to Chelmsford informing him of his intentions.
Captain CD Hay NNC was with him at the time he received the reprimand from Chelmsford and said interestingly: " although we all guessed what his intentions were, to march straight to Ulundi with his native Column, every man was ready to follow him."
On the 17th January Durnford eventually started his move to Rorkes Drift as ordered.

Martin
Just looking carefully at all the available sources fro Captain Hay onwards, every one points to Durnford spoiling for a fight. Virtually the moment he arrives at iSandlwana he tells Pulleine that he wont be staying. So yes he had already made his mind up before he arrived at the camp.
In terms of his orders, earlier justification for him leaving the camp has always been that he was following earlier orders from Chelmsford. Your stance at present is that he, Durnford, reacted to changing circumstance and instead of 'Obeying' those orders elected to go ahead on his own mission.
Surely then we have a further situation that Durnford has expressed ' individuality' yet again? He did seem to make a habit of doing so, in fact his history of that period is littered with examples, as I have pointed out in earlier posts.
6pd
to carry forward that last paragraph and direct at your comments on his 'free thinking' approach. He seemed to glorify in his self confident approach that said effectively 'I know better than you'. So I would disagree when you comment that he wasn't doomed by his ego. On the contrary his ego/arrogance were his worst enemies.
I would agree that his organisational skills and his rapport with his Native Contingent was remarkable, not so much with his European officers though ( Archie Henderson amongst others) But yes he does deserve kudos for putting together his force. There again he was an Engineer and used to that sort of environment.
Bradstreet was at the Donga before Durnford. ( Gardner ) there are a couple more references but for ease of purpose look at Zulu Rising p373. I would like to believe that any senior officer would be able to think ahead and plan accordingly, Durnford didn't, re supply was left to the last possible minute. Frankly I don't believe that it would have made the slightest difference if they had an entire wagon of ammunition at the donga. They were outflanked not over run.
Its not a case of weather or not Durnford wanted to take command ( And I don't believe that at all, his ego wanted that ) he had something that a few of the other forum members have been saying repeatable, a duty! He was then senior officer, he was in the camp till the end, he had the experience, IF he had got back to the camp sooner he would have had the time. He didn't get back in time because he was engaged in far to many unfruitful activities, the retreat, wondering around shouting words of encouragement, clearing jammed rifles. To paraphrase Archie Henderson, "he lost it."

These are of course only my own views, or possibly I enjoy looking at both sides.
Anyway have fun

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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:42 am

Martin
Just looking carefully at all the available sources fro Captain Hay onwards, every one points to Durnford spoiling for a fight. Virtually the moment he arrives at iSandlwana he tells Pulleine that he wont be staying......well i should hope he was! we know why he left the camp! intel.spoiling for a fight..
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PostSubject: Re: Durnford was he capable. 3   Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:35 am

Hello Springbok,

You often say about DURNFORD" he had the experience".
The experience of fighting??? The "Langibele affairs" is his only experience... scratch 
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