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 Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen

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Roselier

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PostSubject: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:49 pm

May seem a completely dip-dap question, so apologies in advance!

Just how bad were Pope's and Godwin-Austen's eyesight? Have their respective prescriptions ever seen the light of day (no pun intended)?

Could this be the reason that (be it either) Pope/Godwin-Austen received his fatal blow, because his shots at the induna failed to kill him as a consequence of his poor vision?

Don't know why but I've always wondered how their eyesight may have impacted on them albeit they would have perished bad eyesight or not.
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PostSubject: Eyesght of Pope & Godwin -Austin    Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:33 pm

Roselier
You are correct it's a dip - dap question ! hahahahaha , if their eyesight was extremely poor they wouldn't have been in their position of command , or even in the army for that matter , as for his poor shooting it was difficult enough to hit anything with a pistol , good eyesight or not , let alone the pressure of 20,000 screaming Zulu's coming at you to slit your gut ! .
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SRB1965



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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:36 am

I wonder how much 'live firing' practice officers went through in their career?

Probably very little and I assume if things got to pistol/revolver range, something had gone a little wrong with the overall tactical situation......

I always find it fascinating that Bromhead lent HSD 11 rounds of revolver ammo....seems such a strange number - even if HSD was using a 5 chamber Adams (and I don't know what 'piece he was packing'!).....

What made Bromhead settle on 11 - did it leave him with a certain number of 'loads' or did it make HSD up to a certain amount of loads? More importantly did HSD ever re-pay him????
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:58 am

Well, unless there are reports to the contrary, they both seem to have kept their monocles in situ. That in itself is remarkable! Faced with said horde, I don't think I could have managed that particular balancing act!!
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SRB1965



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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:24 am

Hi,

Inspired by to your post, I looked up monocles on Google.....damned interesting things particularly the later ones.....even the ones worn in the 1870s could be 'fitted' to the individual, to make them less likely to pop out......

Cheers

Sime (Royal Society of Armchair Opthalmists)
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:49 am

The other thing I pondered, for no good reason, was the arc of the sun at that time of year with the direction of Zulu advance being more or less with the sun behind them and directly in the face of the British line. I'd be squinting, surely that wouldn't have helped.
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 11:45 am

Personally, I don't believe that poor eyesight was too much of an impairment in the British Army of the 19th Century.

This chap made it through much of his service with just one eye.

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(John Young Collection.)


Here's Frederick Godwin-Austen, circa 1876, note the cord of his monocle around his neck, running down by the netted olivet. (Toggle button - lay man's terms.)

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(John Young Collection.)


The photograph of him in mufti that appears in MacKinnon & Shadbolt shows the monocle cord in greater detail.

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:18 pm

Not the best quality, but here they are blazing away.

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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:27 pm

Henry Godwin Austen (brother of FGA) had superb vision....he found a mountain....
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PostSubject: Eyesght of Pope & Godwin -Austin    Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:02 pm

Hi Roselier
Cant help with the sun at that time of year , but I think it would be high enough in the sky to not have had any effect on the troops , those who survived have never mentioned it being a problem . It was a hot day about 33 Cel , not sure if you are aware but there was an eclipse ( Partial ) on the day , which has been covered on the forum previously .
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:09 pm

True but his fellow traveller started a double glazing business, as well as naming a mountain! Joker

John Y.
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:19 pm

SRB

Found? I hear he walked into it!!

90th

Yes very aware of the eclipse but thought as the Zulus came down from the heights, the sun's arc at that time of the year would have been directly North, North West. May have impacted on parts of the line if the line of sight was up rather than straight as the Zulus advanced.

John

Yes, I have that book. Not just any book either. It's a M&S book!
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PostSubject: Eyesght of Pope & Godwin -Austin    Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:33 pm

I'm certain there wasn't a problem as the troops weren't looking up , no need to have done so , the plain has a lot of dead ground so if anything the troops would be looking down into the dead ground , or straight ahead , the ridge would've been inconsequential once the Zulu had descended , the ridge is a fair distance off , so its not like they were looking up into the hills etc . If the battle started about 11am or nearer to midday the sun would be quite high in the sky . It's light very early in the morning during Jan , so it would've been highish in the sky , those who've been there either on Jan 22 , or in Jan , would certainly know . Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Eyesight of Pope and Godwin-Austen   Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:05 pm

I have but it was overcast! That was the only time that I went on the anniversary, other times were in May and didn't pay attention to the sun because I was dribbling with excitement!

Ok, so taking the fight onto the saddle, for anyone that has been there on a sunny January day at around the time the battle took place, does the sun, by then, behind the mountain cast a shadow across much, if any, of the saddle? That, together with a partial eclipse could certainly make it appear very dark as reported. I've read on here that there were no such reports of darkness at RD. Shiyane was facing the sun in that respect.

Sorry, the sun intrigues me!

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