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 Character of the Men

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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:06 pm

Hello all,
As a relative Newbie I would be interested in the opinions of everyone with regards to the characters of the the main protagonists AZW on both sides: Cetshwayo,Chelmsford, Durnford etc. where they deluded, over-optimistic, or just plain stupid? Hopefully with a view to expanding both my own & others knowledge.



Regards
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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:35 pm

Phew, that's a tall order! What we have is caricatures, most of which were created at the time and that still survive into the threads on this forum. Chelmsford is an arrogant but well meaning fool, Durnford is a misunderstood hero (you can reverse that depending on what you believe), Crealock is a villain, Glyn is a nonentity and Cetshwayo is a noble leader who was hoodwinked. Judging true character at this far remove is, to my mind, pretty impossible.

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:52 pm

rusteze wrote:
Phew, that's a tall order! What we have is caricatures, most of which were created at the time and that still survive into the threads on this forum. Chelmsford is an arrogant but well meaning fool, Durnford is a misunderstood hero (you can reverse that depending on what you believe), Crealock is a villain, Glyn is a nonentity and Cetshwayo is a noble leader who was hoodwinked. Judging true character at this far remove is, to my mind, pretty impossible.

Steve
Durnford.

Womaniser
Gambler (In Card games & Men lives)
Drinker
Sympathizer
No combat experience (Unless you count Bushman’s pass)
Loose Cannon
Ignores orders
Relied on information given by a Bishop



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rusteze

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:05 pm

Loved his mother and was kind to animals. I do hope most of that was tongue in cheek!

Steve
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:25 pm

Whew! Do feelings still run so high?
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:02 pm

Just a tad. Very Happy
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:27 pm

Hi M/H,

I think that there are many hints to the characters of the main players written throughout the numerous books that have been published. I think that you will probably need to do some detective work and pull together your findings in order to establish an idea of the attitudes, beliefs and values held by the main protagonists. I am also interested why you have asked the question about their characters! IMHO, I think that understanding the nature of these men will help others to understand why they behaved the way they did. I think that it is also very important to remember that these men lived in a society with vastly different social values than our own. I understand that LC is viewed as being 'arrogant' but his behaviour and decision making has to be understood in the context of the time that it happened. Don't let the sweeping statements and generalisations that have been made prevent you from looking into an aspect of the AZW which is often overlooked. These men/soldiers were all real, with real emotions, needs and hopes.

Good luck with your research.
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:31 pm

Dear Waterloo I am aware hindsight is 20/20, my motivation is to understand, to flesh out these individuals. After all their decisions affected the lives of the men who had to fight that war, & the Zulu's whom you could say deal with the repercussions to this day. The AZW still casts a long shadow.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:00 pm

Decisions were made, but they will, only work if men under those who make the decisions abide by the rules and follow orders. Those that don't risk not only their lives but also the men under them. Durnford's actions is a prime example of those who don't obey orders.

Martinti, Hypothetically take Durnford out from the Battle of Isandlwana, and you will see the out come may have been different.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:04 pm

I think its fair to say that Durnford for example is relatively well understood, we know that he had suffered the loss of two of his young children and that he wasn't able to sustain his relationship with his wife. We know that he suffered bouts of ill health and that he suffered from low moods. With all of the personal issues Durnford was dealing with he chose to concentrate on his work (Don't we all behave like that) He liked the odd drink and he had his eye on a particular woman, he was far to much of a gentleman to ever make this public, he needed to avoid scandal, also out of respect for his wife and his reputation. He clearly wasn't afraid to get into a fight, he was definitely an impulsive man, hit first ask questions later.

I happen to like Durnford, he didn't suffer fools and he always managed to find a way forward.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:12 pm

Well done Waterloo a nice damming account. So not the kind of man you would want to follow into battle. To much baggage. But being serious, yes he liked a fight, but at who's cost. Twice he used the battle cry. " Come on men, who will stand by me " wasn't it Durnford men who covered those escaping across the river. So what time did they leave, if they were already across the river.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:33 pm

Its like the point a made earlier about seeing the men in the context of the time. We have to remember that what an officer did on the battlefield reflected on his social and political standing at home. Durnford had every reason to search for glory, some may argue that Durnford was just a product of his time. The point is, that we are able to discuss Durnford because we understand his character. We have other reports of the character of these men. Take Major Clery for example, his description of Crealock as 'Swaggering, feeble, self-sufficient, superficial and flippant is probably based on nothing more than a bitter jealousy but for me, that comment says more about Clery than it does Crealock. With respect, I take you point about the river but I don't think that this thread is about who is to blame.
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:30 pm

Waterloo wrote:
Durnford had every reason to search for glory

That's a bit of a sweeping statement. Search for glory yes! But don't sacrifice other mens lives doing so.
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:50 pm

Hello John,

Why do I feel that you were chomping at the bit, waiting for me to make a 'Sweeping Statement', I suppose what I should have said, is that it is my opinion that Durnford acted in a manner that if successful would have benefited his military career and given him the recognition that he wanted. I honestly believe that a great many officers were at pains to prove that they were worthy of a higher commission. Durnford wouldn't have been any different to any other officer involved in the AZW. I can't prove it, and I know that this won't make me Mr Popular but I suspect many officers of this period would have sacrificed their men if the outcome benefited their career, you can see the same type of attitude from the officers during WW1. I have never believed in true altruism, there is always a benefit/pay off for the individual and officers are no exception to that rule.
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:15 pm

Perhaps I just failed to see, how some see Durnford as a hero. When the true hero's like Younghusband get very little mention. If I wasnt in the mind that the Zulus had intended on attacking on the 22nd, I would say it was Durnford that caused the diaster, it was his men that attacked the Zulus, which led to the Zulus retaliating. His actions led to the men at Isandlwana becoming over extended to subdue the on coming Zulu Attack.

His " I'm down because I'm left behind, but we shall see" Statement is quite fightending considering his position and his actions at Isandlwana. And of course the out come of the battle was the proof in the pudding.

My personal opinion is making a hero out of Durnford, does nothing more than distort the true about the battle of Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:54 pm

Hi John,

I have taken your opinion on-board and understood the point that you have made but having followed the TMFH thread with great interest and considered the very strong arguments for the 23rd, I have to say that It appears that the attack was planned for the 23rd. I also feel that the scouting force did what they were supposed to do.

Kind Regards

Waterloo
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:43 pm

Really, fire on 30,000 + Zulus Rolling Eyes events shows not a good choice!

That's how Durnford saw it, didn't he say " When we see Zulus, we should attack them"
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:32 am

I thought it was either 15.000 or 20.000 Zulus, I think what Durnford said was more along the lines of ' If they are going towards the General we must stop them at all hazzards'. When the Zulus were discovered, the plan was to draw them to the camp. It matters not that shots were fired, the Zulus had been discovered and they would have been forced to attack.
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:51 am

M/H

Sorry, we seem to have gone off topic. Off Topic
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:35 am

Far be it from me to censor anyone. IMHO they were all flawed & yes everyman who stood & fought in that war were heroes on both sides! However, the main players had an impact on the lives of others. So I feel it would be fruitful to explore the "Characters of the Men."
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:59 am

It's estimated 30,000 + at Isandlwana. Well that's what I have read anyway.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:15 am

24th,

I'm not sure of the numbers, I read somewhere that there were 24.000, I don't suppose anyone had the time to stand and count them. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:18 pm

Sihlahla estimate 16680, 417 companies.
Mehlokazulu estimate 13718, 335 companies
The uNokhenke deserter 20000

These figures taken from David Jacksons 'Hill of the Sphinx'.

Cheers
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:22 pm

There is also a paragraph in the Hill of the Sphinx that states ' the Zulu sources give a strength of between ten and sixteen thousand for the front-line units actually involved in the attack on the camp.'
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:44 pm

Hi at the risk of sounding churlish..I feel we have wandered a bit off topic with regards to the personalities involved. Let's just say there were a "lot" of Zulus at Isandlwana.

Very Happy
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:50 pm

M/H

No problem, sorry about that, I guess we were at risk of getting back into the  'who was to blame for Isandlwana debate again'. Salute
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:02 pm

30419. So 30,000 +

Wonder why they sent so many against the 3rd column
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Figures   Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:47 pm

That kind of comment is un-necessary, and causes arguments.
Please read the forum rules. [/color]
ADMIN
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:57 pm

M/H

Your last post was a little less cordial than usual....PMSL
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Martini-Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:46 pm

Apologies to all, things went a bit awry. Especially to the individual concerned
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:53 pm

I'm failing to see what was wrong with 24th post that warranted that comment.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:32 pm

24th,

M/H started the thread because he wanted to discuss the characters of the men involved, I read your thoughts on Durnford. I am interested to know if you have an opinion about Younghusband, was he one of the true hero's as John stated in his earlier post? I only ask the question because I want to understand more about the personality's of the men involved.

Regards

Waterloo
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:11 pm

Bonjour,
I am not sure that it was really Captain Younghusband who was "the tall man" who leaded the charge on the slope of the mountain...
Cheers
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:17 pm

Brave man no doubt but no different from most of the officers and men, I wouldn't put him down as an individual hero though, at least not on current understanding of the battle.

Cheers

Welcome back Frederic, you've been missed
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:28 pm

...and Frank (ALLEWELL) pointed in the past on this forum some interesting questions / doubts on this subject. Very Happy

Frank, thank you for your kind words.

Cheers
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:51 pm

Its difficult to come to any conclusions about bravery and heroism. Younghusband was obviously fearless and the description given by a man of the uNokhenke of seeing an induana with a flashing sword 'which he whirled around his head as he ran', would add credit to those who feel that Younghusband was 'The True hero'. My feeling is that Younghusband had fought himself into a corner, it wasn't so much that he led a charge but that he led an escape, his safest bet was to get down from the high ground where he was being over run and head for the defences of the camp. The point is, was Younghusband acting in a manner that we would view as bravery or was he acting on impulse and fighting for his life? I think that there is a fine line between heroism and self-conservation. I know that there were other instances where Younghusband showed courage but the last few moments of his life, I think, showed the real character of this man. I admire Younghuband greatly but I don't know if he could be called 'a true hero.'
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:19 pm

Hi Waterloo
Its an interesting point in the battle because we have only one vignette, the one you mention. There are a number of graves high up on the slope and quite a number leading along the scree slope towards his stand. The ones high up seem to blend with the graves along Shepstones retreat its lead me to believe/summise that Shepstone and Younghusband retreated together and separated below the massive. Shepstone carrying on around the buttress and Younghusband doing a 'backs to the 'wall, stand. Again Ive often speculated that at the height he fought from he could have easily seen the Chelmsford force paused out on the plain and possibly thinking rescue was at hand decided to try and fight his way through towards the main stand on the saddle. Just daydreaming really.

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PostSubject: Character of the men    Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:39 pm

Hi All
I've sent some photos from May this year to my resident poster ''Graves '' showing the area of the Younghusband retreat and last stand area , hopefully , he may post them , once he remembers he has them ! LOL Very Happy Very Happy Salute Salute
Cheers 90th agree
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:44 pm

I find the discussions about where particular events took place, based on personal knowledge of the ground and many hours pondering the literature very interesting and I look forward to Gary's pictures and Frank's further comments. I have to say though that trying to analyse which of these people were brave or just trying to survive I find a little distasteful. We have a miniscule amount of information on some and nothing at all on others on which to base such views. They died in horrific circumstances and who knows what went through their minds as the end came near. Is anybody fearless in such circumstances? And if they were petrified do we think any less of their character? Selfless acts in order to save others are worthy of our admiration, but labelling people based on so little is likely to do them a disservice.

Just my view.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 7:57 pm

rusteze,

I have never and will never intentionally show any disrespect to the men who fought in the AZW, just because the subject of heroism and bravery has been debated does not mean that I think any less of their characters. I said in an earlier post that it is hard to come to any conclusions about bravery and heroism. This thread is about the character of the men, I made a statement in which I said 'there is a fine line between heroism and self-conservation' and I stand by that. Just because I do not feel that a certain person was not a hero does not mean that I think any less of them. You are certainly entitled to your opinion and quite rightly so, I can also understand that the subject may be 'distasteful' and I for one will endeavour to be a little more sensitive to the points that you have raised in future debates. It was never my intention to be anything other than respectful.

With respect

Dave
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:26 pm

Dave
I understand your remarks and respect your position.
Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:06 pm

I guess they felt the same way as the Zulus did who fought against them. Possibly more so considering what the Zulus were going up against, state of the art weapons. We know the Zulus had rifles but their main weapons are design for throwing or stabbing, up close and personal.
I just wonder if there comes a time in a battle when you except your fate, a good example would be the member of the Naval brigade (His name escape's me) Astey I think. He was seen with cutlets drawn and laughing, had he lost it or just accepted his fate?

I feel the Zulus are done a great injustice when discussions about Isandlwana are discussed. They tend to be forgotten. Perhaps it would be beneficial for members to read some Zulu accounts not just relating to Isandlwana.
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:23 pm

John,

I agree with your comments, If I was to be totally honest, I would have to say that I am one of those members who could benefit from a better understanding of the Zulu perspective, can you suggest a book that would give an in-depth view?
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:38 pm

John

Signaller 1st class W.H AYNSLEY (IK "Companion to the AZW p.147)
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:54 pm

There is a very good account from a Zulu who took part in the Battle  of Kambula, where he talks about the effect of the Gattling Guns on the Zulu ranks. I will,  try and source, I think it's mentioned in my favorite book by Mitford.

Good point John, regarding the Zulu's perhaps that's why Zulu War discussion are limited. The Zulu perpextive is often overlooked.

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:00 pm

Frank Allewell wrote:

Ive often speculated that at the height he [Younghusband] fought from he could have easily seen the Chelmsford force paused out on the plain and possibly thinking rescue was at hand decided to try and fight his way through towards the main stand on the saddle. Just daydreaming really.

Cheers

So, Chelmsford was already in the plain when Younghusband (or another Officer) ordered the charge...
Interesting point of view about the traditional "timeline" of these two events, "the end" of the main fights in the camp...
Not a conventional perspective of the sequence of events this day....

Waterloo
From the zulu perspective, see John Laband books.

Cheers

Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:14 pm

This is off topic, but the question of what could be seen on the plain from the slope is an interesting one. Could they also see from further onto the saddle do you think?  What do we think the gun smoke would have been like, and white or black smoke?

Steve
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:24 pm

Just a quick post relating to Durnford's character.

"Private William Johnson, 1st Battalion, 24th Foot, one of the few survivors of the massacre at Isandhlwana, later Sergeant-Major and Drill Instructor to 7th T.F. Battalion Liverpool Regiment.

"The statements, held in the Regimental Museum, of the six private soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment, who escaped from the battlefield of Isandhlwana, 22nd January, 1879, were published for the first time in Medal Rolls of the 24th Regiment of Foot, South Wales Borderers by Norman Holme (J. B. Hayward & Son 1971) and subsequently in The Silver Wreath by Norman Holme (Samson Books 1979), to whom acknowledgement is hereby given for that reproduced here. The following is the statement of 299 Private William Johnson, 1/24th Regiment:

‘[i]I was one of the Rocket Battery under command of the late Captain Russell, R.A., which was attached to Colonel Durnford’s Column. We got to Isandhlwana Camp about 11 a.m. on the 22nd January 1879. We halted there about 10 minutes when Colonel Durnford came down from the Camp of the 1/24th Regiment and gave orders that, as the Zulus were retiring fast, the mounted men should advance up a hill about two and a half miles from Camp, and that the Rocket Battery supported by the Infantry of the Native Contingent should follow in rear of the Mounted Basutos.

About two miles out we met a ‘vidette’ of the Natal Carbineers who reported that the Mounted Basutos were heavily engaged on the opposite side of a hill on our left, at the same time offering to show us a short cut to the place where the engagement was going on. The Captain galloped up the hill and before he returned to us shouted ‘Action front’.

While we were getting into action the Zulus kept coming out of a kloof on our left, which the big guns had been shelling from the Camp. We had time to fire our rocket when they came over the hill in masses, and commenced to fire on us.


As soon as they opened fire the mules carrying the rockets broke away. The Native Contingent, who were in the rear of us, after firing a few shots ran away. I observed that a great number of them were unable to extract the empty cartridge cases after firing, and offered to do so for some of them but they would not give me their rifles. Before this the horses had broken away and I tried to help Captain Russel from the field, but he was shot before we had gone many paces.

I made my escape to a donga held by some of the Police, Mounted Infantry and Carbineers. On my way to this place I met Colonel Durnford and he asked me where my battery was; I told him that the battery was cut up and the Captain shot, when he said you had better go back and fetch him. I then pointed out to him that the enemy had already nearly surrounded us.
At this time he was mounted as well as his orderly who had a spare horse, and he retired with a few Basutos towards the left of the Camp
. Just below the Camp I met Privates Trainer and Grant with Bombardier Gough, they gave me a horse. We then went up to the Camp and found the Police extended in front of it and they were shortly afterwards driven in.

The Camp was now almost completely surrounded and I made for the Buffalo following some of the Police and other mounted men, and crossed it below Rorke’s Drift. I afterwards met Major Spalding on the road to Helpmakaar, and turned back and joined the Companies 1/24th under Major Upcher. We met a lot of natives on the left of the road to the Drift but could not make out what they were for certain"

Question (1) Why on earth would anyone expect a man to go back and fetch a dead officer.
Question (2) Why didn't Durnford give him the spare horse.
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:35 pm

From memory, about the smoke, there are testimonies from Mansel and Hamilton-Browne.
Ian Knight on this forum gave some answers about the Mansel report and in another post the possibility of a few survivors in the camp at the arrival of Chelmsford in the plain (Trooper Fred Symons of the Natal Carbineers made comment about this eventuality).
I read somewhere (i don't remember where) that the "last survivor" in the cave (probably a soldier of Younghusband's Coy) could not see the arrival of Chelmsford from his position.
Therefore, i am very interested by the arguments given by Frank on this subject.
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waterloo50

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PostSubject: Re: Character of the Men   Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:35 pm

If Younghusband was able to see Chelmsford's force then perhaps the Zulus that were over running his position also could. I wonder if that would have added more impetus to the Zulu attack.
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