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 In the Defence of Col: Durnford.

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 10:59 am

I see Coll on the RDVC has come to the defence of Col: Anthony Durnford. Unfortunately Mike Snook (Author) As put forward one of the best discussions with reference to Durnfords failings. However he is not blaming Durnford entirely, but states that he too should shoulder some of the blame. Regardless of my user name on this forum. I do find myself agreeing with Mike Snook. His statement of fact makes sense, and let’s not forgets Edward was Durnfords brother so he will try a point the finger away from Durnford. I think Coll takes the Durnford issue way beyond the boundaries of his knowledge regarding Durnford. He is like most of us limited to what he knows or believes what happen.
Mike Snook is obviously in a better position, and able to put forward a argument that is more nearer the truth than most of us are ever likely to be.

This is the Letter from Edward Durnford. I would appreciate any opinions from other members.


To the Editor of the "Times" 23-1-80
Sir
My attention has just been called to an article in your issue of yesterday-the anniversary of “Isandhlwana”.
I beg leave to point out some important inaccuracies in your short-description of the battle. The Native Horse were not supported by a company of regulars nor was such a detached company “surrounded, outnumbered, & cut-to-pieces”.
The The Native Horse moved out-2 troops to reconnoitre the hills to the left front of the camp, & 2 troops direct to the front. Colonel Durnford accompanying the latter. A company of the 24th was posted on the hills to the left of & about 1200 yards from the camp, & on the Zulu army moving unexpectedly to the attack, this company was reinforced by another, but in a few minutes the whole were ordered to retire, & did retire eventually to the spot chosen for the defensive line which was about 300 yeards in advance of the left, & extended (at a slight angle) across the (page 2)
front of the camp, which was about half a mile in extent. This spot afforded the only cover that was to be obtained; the camp as it stood being absolutely indefensible.
Captain Essex’ account of the movements of the 24th is very clear & detailed, & the report made by Colonel Black (who buried the dead of the 24th) completely disproves every accusation that a detached company was cut to pieces. The troops to appear to have been in line when drawn up for the final stand.
The concentration contemplated was not “within the camp”, where there was no possible “vantage ground’, but on rising ground to the right, where those who made the last gallant stand, covering the only line of possible retreat, fell.
The causes of the disaster were plainly (page 3) the fatal situation selected for the camp, enclosed as it was on three sides by hills in the absence of all defensive precautions, the absence of proper scouting, whereby 20,000 Zulus were enabled to approach on the 21st (their mounted scouts being actually seen on the Ngquatu sic hills by the General & Staff on that day, when it was intended on the next to make a reconnaissance in that direction),-the absence of proper communications with the camp, & neglect of warnings; & finally the recall of a force actually on the march to the relief of the attacked camp.
Over these causes of disaster the officers who fell at Isandhlwana had not control; nor can it with any justice be said that they were tempted by “contempt (page 4) for a native African soldiery” to throw away any “advantages” they possessed.
They fought under circumstances almost without parallel--did their duty- & knew how to die like British soldiers.

I am Sir your obedient servant,

Edward Durnford
Lieut Colonel
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90th

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PostSubject: defence of Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:33 am

hi ctsg.
The way i see it , there is plenty of blame to go around, you cant blame one more than another, starting
with Chelmsford and all the way down the chain of command. The only sure thing , we will never know exactly
what happened with regards to orders given and possibly not recieved . Conjecture, conjecture and , yes , you
guessed it conjecture. I do find it hard to believe why Pulleine was placed in charge as he had never commanded
a combat force, ( seniorority obviously) as for Durnford i think he was trying to locate the enemy and it was well known that the enemy were afraid of cavalry, he could also be seen as trying to locate the good lord c"ford to see that he hadnt ran into trouble.
Just a lot of incidents which led to a catastrophe if your british , or superb victory if you are not. One other main point is
the booklet produced by the war dept or Chelmsford BEFORE the invasion was that the " SQUARE " was not to be the
way of defending camps or forts IT WAS CONSIDERED OLD HAT , my words , cant remember the military terminology.
That is why COL PULLEINE set the firing line in a dog leg formation. And before he could change his tactic , it was to late.
We must remember it was over fairly quickly. Looking forward to other members views, and dont be afraid to post.
People will have their own views and if we dont think they are right, so be it, i have my views. Each to his own.
cheers 90th

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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 11:40 am

I was just looking at the debate on the RDVC. Mike Snook raises a valid point, which in my opinion must be agreed with by all.

With regards to the Zulu Army.

1. Outmanoueuvred the British surveillance effort so completely that they achieved total surprise in terms of their final avenue of approach.
2. Exercised excellent command and control over a host of 25,000 in twelve amabutho (without the benefit of radios - pretty impressive let me tell you!)
3. Launched a closely synchronized assault with such faultless timing and such great rapidity that it succeeded in entirely unhinging the enemy's decision-action cycle, compelling the British to fight, if I may express it this way, 'with their pants down'!!
4. Were not at any point defintively stalled - even when the chest was pinned momentarily against the 1/24, other amabutho kept manoeuvring for advantage on the flanks.
5. Made superb use of ground to gain the British right flank (left horn) and rear (right horn).
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24th

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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:09 pm

littlehand I agreed with you, But thats how the battle was won. Like 90th has stated.

"We will never know exactly what happened with regards to orders given and possibly not received"

And that will always be the case. Pete (Admin) as said in the past and of which I agree. The only ones that really know what happen on the spur are the Zulus. (The Winners) Even Essex was not there at the end. So his statement is only relevant to a point.

Coll finds it necessary to protect Durnford for whatever reason, but he and everyone else as an opinion of which they are free to state.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:23 pm

Hi all

This is my opinion of it all, Chelmsford is to blame for Isandlwana. He was too confident that the Zulus would not fight, and left the camp with inadequate forces and commanders. Durnford was in the wrong time and place and got the blame because he could not answer back.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:56 pm

Thank you all for your replies Graves1879 let me draw you attention to a letter Chelmsford sent to Durnford. Which may or may not ascertain Durnfords disregard to orders.

The dispatch from Chelmsford was forthright and to the point:

Dear Durnford,
Unless you carry out the instructions I give you, it will be my unpleasant duty to remove you from your command, and to substitute another officer for officer for the commander of No. 2 Column. When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command. Your neglecting to obey my instructions in the present instance has no excuse. You have simply received information in a letter from Bishop Schroeder[sic], which may or may not be true and which you have no means of verifying. If movements ordered are to be delayed because report hints at a chance of an invasion of Natal, it will be impossible for me to carry out my plan of campaign. I trust you will understand this plain speaking and not give me any further occasion to write in a style, which is distasteful to me.


So it is quite clear that Durnford had an issue with carrying out orders. Like Mike Snook, I’m not saying Durnford was to blame entirely. Maybe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But as senior officer at the camp of Isandlwana on the 22nd Jan 1879 some of the blame should fall on his shoulders.[b]
And maybe Coll should get off his high horse. And learn from those that know.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:23 pm

Hi Chelmsfordthescapegoat

I have to agree with you somewhat, looking at the bigger picture, The man at the top, who took the better force with him, should be ultimately to blame. But I have to agree that Durnford should take some of the blame for the decision he maded during the battle, but then so should Pulline.

I do believe that if Chelmsford knew that Durnford was having problems with taking orders, Chelmsford should have removed him and not put him in a position where he could cause such a problem. Please do not get me wrong, I am in no way defending Durnford here, I am just saying that Chelmsford and his decisions are to be blamed (with hindsight). I am also using modern day values, which I know I should not.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:46 pm

Pete. I for one would welcome Coll to the forum. But do you not think that we all benefit from the knowledge that has been researched by those that have written books on the subject. Coll has admitted he is an armature compared to Mike Snook. So why not just sit back a listen to what these people have to say. Surely any forum would benefit.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:19 pm

CTSG.

I don’t think anyone is questioning Snooks ability or knowledge on the subject. He has just been asked in a polite way to

Quote :
Quote Coll
Can you, possibly for the umpteenth time, give a more detailed explanation about what you say in your post, as in - 'Colonel Anthony's private battle in the Qwabe valley'.

Snooks has evaded the question.


S.D
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:37 pm

Good to see you S.D.

This is one of the best accounts i have read. I have put who its from so hopefully its ok. Its in four parts.

Brevet Colonel Anthony W. Durnford, Royal Engineers
Account written by John Young, Chairman, Anglo-Zulu War Research Society


Anthony William Durnford was born on 24th May, 1830, in Manor Hamilton, County Leitram, Ireland. The eldest son of Second Lieutenant Edward William Durnford, Royal Engineers, and his wife Elizabeth Rebecca, nee Langley.

Initially, Anthony was schooled in Ireland. At the age of twelve he was sent to Germany to pursue his further education.
In September, 1846, at the age of sixteen he entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, as a gentleman-cadet. In April, 1847, whilst Anthony was receiving his martial education, his father, who had achieved the rank of captain, was serving as the Executive Engineer in a maritime and land expedition, under the command of Admiral Inglefield and General D'Aguilar, up the Canton River in China. Edward Durnford's skilful assessment of the enemy's fortifications would lead to the capture of eight forts. The Chinese authorities sued for peace after the British force occupied the city of Canton on 25th June, 1847.

On completion of his studies, Anthony was commissioned into the Corps of the Royal Engineers with the rank of second lieutenant on 27th June, 1848. He then attended a course of further instruction at the Corps' Headquarters at Chatham, Kent.
His first posting was to Scotland, in December, 1849, where he served at Edinburgh Castle and Fort George. His next would be an overseas posting to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in October, 1851. The monotony of this far-flung outpost of the British Empire proved too much for the young officer, in an effort to relieve the boredom he took to gambling.

On 17th February, 1854, he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. That same year he married Frances Catherine Tranchell, the youngest daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Trancell, formerly of the Ceylon Rifles, at Saint Stephen's Church, Trincomalee.

By 1855 in addition to his military duties Durnford would be appointed as Assistant Commissioner of Roads and Civil Engineer of Ceylon. Elsewhere in the world the British Army was engaged in less pacific duties - a bitter war was raging in the Crimea peninsular. British had allied itself with the French and Sardinian forces in support of the Turkish authorities, against Russian imperial expansion.

Durnford yearned to play his part in the campaign and applied for a transfer to the theatre of operations. Permission was not granted until November, 1855, however his departure was delayed by a bout of fever. Eventually he reached the island of Malta in March, 1856.

On the 31st of March, a peace treaty was concluded between the warring countries, by the end of April the war was officially over. There would be no chance of glory for Durnford, who had to content himself with the position of adjutant to his father, who commanded the Royal Engineers on Malta.

Whilst he serving in the Malta garrison, Frances Durnford gave birth to a son, sadly the child died in infancy. Durnford was devastated by the loss. In 1857, that loss was softened by the birth of a daughter, Frances.

Durnford returned to Britain in February, 1858. On the 18th of March, 1858, he was promoted to the rank of second captain. He served in Aldershot and at the Corps's Headquarters at Chatham. Whilst at Chatham he made the acquaintance of Captain Gharles George Gordon, who had recently returned from serving on the Turco-Russian Boundary Commission, in the wake of the Crimean War. Gordon was destined for martyrdom at Khartoum in 1885.

In 1860, a second child - a daughter would die in infancy. Distort with anger and self-guilt, Durnford and his wife parted company. In an effort to apparently lose himself in his work, Durnford accepted the command of 27th(Field) Company, Royal Engineers, which was stationed in Gibraltar.

On 5th January, 1864, he was promoted to the rank of first captain. In August of that year he returned again to Britain. By now Charles Gordon had achieved an international reputation at the head of his "Ever-Victorious Army" in China. Durnford was apparently intent on joining "Chinese" Gordon, and in the latter part of 1864 he sailed for the Orient. Wicked fate again intervened with Durnford's plans, he was taken ill with heat exhaustion and had to be disembarked at Ceylon. So severe was the complaint he remained hospitalised for three months. Durnford's biographer, his brother Edward, alleges that Gordon nursed Anthony back to health.

By January, 1865, he was considered fit enough to travel, and he was invalided back to Britain, where he spent the next five years on home postings. During this time that Durnford's father was promoted to the rank of Major-General, with effect from 6th March, 1868.

In 1871, Anthony Durnford was ordered to Cape Colony, he arrived at Cape Town on 23rd January, 1872, and from there he boarded another ship, Syria, for Port Elizabeth on the eastern seaboard of the colony. On disembarking he made for King William's Town.
Whilst serving in Cape Colony, Durnford became a keen observer of the African people who populated the area, paying particular attention to their habits and culture. On 5th July, 1872, he was promoted to the rank of major, following a revision of the ranking structure within the Corps of the Royal Engineers.

In January, 1873, he was ordered to return to Cape Town, and he was stationed at the Cape Castle. In May, 1873, he was posted to Fort Napier, Pietermaritzburg. It was in Pietermaritzburg, that Durnford made the acquaintance of The Right Reverend John William Colenso, D.D., the Bishop of Natal. Colenso was an indefatigable, if somewhat controversial Christian. The Zulus knew of him, they called him Sobantu - the father of the people. Durnford and Colenso appear to form a firm friendship. But the gossips of day inferred that a closer relationship was formed between Durnford and the Bishop's daughter, Frances.

In August, 1873, Durnford accompanied Theophilus Shepstone, the Secretary for Native Affairs, into KwaZulu. He was present as the senior British officer at the "coronation" of the new Zulu monarch, King Cetshwayo kaMpande, on 1st September, 1873.

Scarcely had Durnford returned KwaZulu when he was ordered to report to Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Milles, of the 75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot, the senior officer at Fort Napier. A potentially dangerous situation was developing in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains. A local chieftain, Langalibalele, of the amaHlubi, had refused to register a number of firearms, which his people had acquired whilst working in the Diamond Fields, to the local magistrate. The magistrate duly informed the Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, Sir Benjamin Pine of the matter, and Pine issued a summons for Langalibalele to report to Pietermaritzburg. This too went unheeded. Pine was now left with a military option to bring to heel this recalcitrant upstart, who had dared to challenge him.

The forces placed at Milles's disposal were:- two companies of the 75th; some one hundred and fifty European local volunteers and at least two thousand 'pressed' African levies. Durnford was appointed Chief of Staff. The whole force moved off to the vicinity of the amaHlubi reserve.

Milles, now with the rank of Colonel, planned to block the mountain passes with two mobile forces to prevent Langalibalele escaping into BaSotholand, thus turning the amaHlubi back towards Natal and into the main body of the troops. The conspect of the plan was sound, however knowledge of the terrain on which it was to enacted was somewhat flawed.

One of the mobile forces consisted of five hundred of the African levies. Durnford was given command of the other. Durnford's unit was comprised of fifty-five Natal volunteers armed with breech-loading carbines, and twenty-five mounted Africans of baTlokwa people - of whom seventeen men carried a firearm of sorts, whilst the rest were armed with more traditional weapons. To enable Durnford to communicate with the African troops an interpreter was provided, his name was Elijah Kambule, a mission educated African.

At last Durnford had a field command, but it was a command marred by incompetence from the outset. Durnford had ordered the senior volunteer officer, Captain Charles Barter, of the Natal Carbineers, to ensure each of the Natal volunteers carried rations for three days and forty rounds of ammunition. Barter however had taken it upon himself to have the rations and the ammunition placed on packhorses. During the night of 2nd/3rd November, 1873, the baggage animals strayed off. Durnford sent off a search party to recover the lost animals, which in turn became detached from the command.


Last edited by John on Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:37 pm

In the morning the baTlokwa were forced to share their rations with the white troops. Durnford pressed on towards his objective of the Giant's Castle Pass. The rugged terrain began to exact its toll on the men, some of who fell out with exhaustion.

Durnford's horse, 'Chieftain', lost its footing sending Durnford tumbling from the saddle, and onto the rocks. Over and over he fell for some fifty yards, until he landed heavily against a tree limb. His injuries were severe - a dislocated shoulder, two cracked ribs and a badly gashed head. Although racked with pain he was determined to fulfil his mission, to prove his worth, and so he pressed onwards and upwards.

As the force halted that night Durnford despatched six of the baTlokwa, to go on ahead to scout for the whereabouts of the amaHlubi.

In the early hours of 4th November, Durnford roused his men, their numbers were now depleted to some thirty-odd volunteers and some fifteen of the baTlokwa, they pressed onto the Bushman's River Pass, where they discovered a large body of the fugitive amaHlubi tending their cattle, Durnford recounted what happened next shortly after the event: -
Having reached the Bushman's Pass at 6.30 a.m., on the 4th November, with one officer, one sergeant, and thirty-three rank and file of the Carbineers, and a few Basutos, I at once formed them across the mouth of the pass, the natives in charge of cattle already in the mountain flying in every direction. Possibly there may have been one hundred at the outside, about half of whom were armed with shooting weapons. Having posted my party, I went with my interpreter to reassure the natives. Calling for the chief man, I told him to assemble his people, and say that Government required their Chief, Langalibalele, to answer certain charges; that his people who submitted to Government should be safe, with their wives, children, and cattle; that all loyal people should go to Estcourt, where Mr. Shepstone, Minister for Native Affairs, was, and make submission, and they should be safe. My interpreter was recognised as one of Mr. Shepstone's attendants, and the Induna thanked me in the name of the people, saying they would all go down and tell my words to the tribe, who were not aware of the good intentions of Government and were afraid.

I told them to take their cattle and go down. The Chief said they would, but begged me to leave them, as he could not answer for the young men, who were excited, and might injure me. I left him exerting himself, so far as I could judge, in carrying out my wishes.

Seeing that the natives were getting behind stones commanding the mouth of the pass, I turned their position by sending my small party of Basutos on the one side, I taking half the Carbineers to the other - the other half guarding the mouth of the pass. All were then in such position, that had a shot been fired, I could have swept the natives down the pass. Their gestures were menacing, but no open act of hostility was committed.

About this time I was informed that many men were coming up the pass, and, on reaching the spot, found it was the case. On ordering them back, they obeyed sullenly. Matters now looked serious, and I was informed by the senior officer of volunteers present that the Carbineers, many of whom were young men, could not be depended upon. They said they were surrounded, and would be massacred. I have reason to believe that this panic was created by their drill instructor, an old soldier of the late Cape Corps, up to whom they naturally looked. Upon this, as the only chance of safety, and in hopes of saving men's lives, although perfectly aware that it was a fatal line of policy, I drew in my outlaying party, and gave the order to retire. There was nothing else to be done. I had no support. As I was about to retire by alternate divisions, the first shot was fired by the natives, followed by two or three, when, seized with panic, the Carbineers fled, followed by the Basutos.

My interpreter and three Volunteers were killed. There were probably two hundred natives present at the time the first shot was fired. The firing was never heavy, and their ammunition soon became exhausted. The orders I received were "not to fire the first shot." I obeyed.
A.W. DURNFORD,
Major Royal Engineers.

During the course of the skirmish a spear had pierced Durnford's already injured left arm at the elbow severing the nerve, and a bullet had grazed his cheek. His baptism of fire was hardly an auspicious event, although he had attempted, in vain, to save the life of Elijah Kambule, and had shot two amaHlubi, his command had quit the field in disarray.

Nearly a fortnight after the skirmish Durnford led a burial detail to the Bushman's River Pass. The bodies were recovered and buried, the committal service being conducted by the Reverend George Smith, the Vicar of Estcourt and Honorary Chaplain of the Weenen Yeomanry, who would find lasting fame for his part in the Defence of Rorke's Drift.

Meanwhile resentment was growing in Pietermaritzburg, Durnford had criticized the mettle of the Carbineers who had been present in the action. He acquired the sobriquet of "Don't Fire" Durnford, and with the hindsight of the events of 1879, the colonial press would refer to the skirmish at Bushman's River Pass as "Durnford's First Disaster".

Rough justice was meted out on Langalibalele's adherents, and also exacted on the amaPutini, the indigenous people of the area. Shepstone had falsely accused them of supporting an act of treason. Two hundred amaHlubi were killed, five hundred prisoners were taken and pressed in forced labour for the local European farmers.

Langalibalele was betrayed and captured by elements of a Cape Colony force. He was led back to Pietermaritzburg in chains. In January, 1874, he was charged with murder, treason and armed insurrection. The trial turned into a farce and a travesty of justice, the outcome was a forgone conclusion - he was guilty no matter what! John Colenso voiced his concerns but justice as well as being blind, had also become conveniently deaf. Langalibalele was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

In addition to his military duties Durnford had been given the post of Acting Colonial Engineer, with effect from 1st November, 1873. On 11th December, 1873 he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

The year 1874 would see the implementation of the Confederation Policy, by the Earl of Carnarvon, the Secretary of State of the Colonies. It was a policy of unification of the whole region of southern Africa, which was then composed of fragmented tribal kingdoms and chieftainships, two Boer Republics and the British territories, together under the Union Flag. It was a policy, which would be met with resistance, by both black and ultimately white people.

Durnford was in the meantime tasked with blocking the Drakensberg passes, in order to prohibit in order preventing a repetition of the amaHlubi incident, and any possible incursion from the BaSothos on the other side of the mountains. He had an available labour force in the amaPutini men who had unjustly been accused of conspiracy with the amaHlubi. Durnford bargained for the rights of these tribespeople, urging the Colonial Administration to repatriate to their dispossessed lands. Having successfully completed the task of blocking the mountain passes, the amaPutini set to road work, and the reputation of the work gang grow, so much so that Africans were actually volunteering to work for Durnford. Throughout 1874 they tolled.

Early in 1875 Sir Benjamin Pine was replaced by Major-General Sir Garnet Wolseley, that "Very model of a Modern Major-General", as he would later be personified by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Wolseley was in Natal to ring the changes and hasten the implementation of the confederation plans. His attitudes and bigotry would soon rankle Bishop Colenso; this in turn would have an effect on Durnford, because of his affinity with the bishop, and his alleged liaison with the bishop's daughter, Frances. Wolseley personally reprimanded him for siding with the liberal cleric. He added in a veiled threat unless Durnford conformed he would place his position of Acting Colonial Engineer in jeopardy.

Wolseley's machinations were coupled with a media inspired feeling of resentment still held against Durnford over the Bushman's River Pass affair. Neither did little to enhance his career or his prospects.

In September of 1875 Wolseley was replaced by Sir Henry Bulwer as Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, but the die was already cast for Durnford to be ousted. On 10th October, 1875 he was officially relieved of his civil appointment by Captain Albert Henry Hime, of the Royal Engineers. Durnford was acutely embarrassed at being relieved by a junior officer of his own corps, especially by one who had only been a captain for eighteen months.

In May 1876 he was replaced as Commanding Royal Engineer, Natal, by Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Thomas Brooke, another subordinate. On 27th May he embarked for Britain, it was his intention to seek specialist opinion on his disabled arm. On advice he "took the waters" at a spa in the Black Forest, Germany, but he found
the regime tedious, and hastened to return to army life.

His next posting was uninspiring he was tasked with maintaining the three forts, which commanded Queenstown harbour, Ireland. The cold and the frequent Atlantic storms did little to relieve his physical suffering, to, which was added mental torment, as he grow more and more morose. It all proved to be too much and he collapsed with exhaustion. On medical advice he left Ireland.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:39 pm

Apparently with the help of the intercession of his old friend, Charles Gordon, he was re-appointed as the C.R.E., Natal. He departed from Southampton on 8th February, 1877 onboard the Danube, the same ship which two years later, almost to the day, the Prince Imperial of France would embark on to meet his destiny in KwaZulu.

When Durnford arrived in Pietermaritzburg on 23rd March, 1877, he found the colony in a state of excitement; the now ennobled Sir Theophilus Shepstone had left Natal in late January for Pretoria, the capital of the Boer Republic of the Transvaal. Accompanying him was a small escort of twenty Natal Mounted Police. Shepstone was acting with the full authority of the recently appointed Governor General of the Cape, and High Commissioner for southern Africa, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, who had been directed to advance the Confederation Policy.

The Republic was financially weakened and attempt to suppress the warlike ambitions of the baPedi chieftain, Sekhukhune, had ended in defeat for a Boer commando.

The day after Durnford's arrival in Pietermaritzburg, five companies of the 1st Battalion, 13th (1st Somersetshire) Prince Albert's Light Infantry arrived at the town of Newcastle, close to the Transvaal border, and twenty-five men of the Natal Mounted Police.

Durnford together with Colonel Charles Knight Pearson, of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd (East Kent - "The Buffs") Regiment of Foot, arrived in Newcastle, on 10th April. It was apparent to all those present that Shepstone intended to annex the Transvaal, under the manifesto of the Confederation Policy.

On the following day, fearful for Shepstone's safety, Durnford entered the Boer republic covertly, in the guise of a property speculator. Durnford arrived in Pretoria on 15th April, only to discover that Shepstone had claimed the Transvaal as a British colony on 12th April. Shepstone asked Durnford to have the troops move on Pretoria, for although there had been no show of resistance from the Boers, he was uncomfortable that something might happen. Durnford rode back towards Newcastle, and was met by Pearson who was moving the forces at his disposal on towards the border. Durnford marshalled the remaining forces and supplies at Newcastle, before returning back into the Transvaal.

Having assured himself all was going well Durnford returned to Pietermaritzburg on 26th April, 1877. With the annexation of the Transvaal the British inherited a dispute over a strip of border territory between the Transvaal and the independent Kingdom of KwaZulu. Late in 1877 Frere launched an unprecedented propaganda campaign against King Cetshwayo. He labelled the king 'a despot', and his army were branded as 'man-slaying gladiators', Frere was attempting to draw the amaZulu into a war, but it was not the time as the British forces were already embroiled in the Ninth Cape Frontier War, against the amaXhosa in the Transkei.

In February, 1878, a boundary commission was formed to unravel the complexities of the claims and counter-claims of the Transvaal/Zulu dispute. Durnford was selected to serve as a member of the commission, together with John Wesley Shepstone, the acting Secretary for Native Affairs and the Natal Attorney-General Michael Gallwey.

The first meeting to consider evidence from the respective parties was convened to take place on the Natal side of the Buffalo River, at a former trading post, known to the Zulus as KwaJim, close to a river crossing called Rorke's Drift in early March of 1878. The commission heard the evidence from the respective claimants - Zulu and Boer.

The meeting at Rorke's Drift coincided with another event, the arrival in southern Africa of the newly appointed General Officer Commanding Her Majesty's Forces in southern Africa. Lieutenant-General (Local Rank) the Honourable Frederic Augustus Thesiger, replaced Lieutenant-General Arthur Cunynghame, who had been replaced as a consequence of political pressure.

For weeks the three commissioners heard and reviewed evidence from both parties, the submissions were finally concluded on 11th April, 1878. Despite differences of opinion between the members of the commission, they completed their report on 20th June, 1878. They found in favour of the Zulu claim of title to the land. Their conclusion was sent via Bulwer to Frere for approval. Frere conveniently shuffled the papers to the bottom of the pile; the findings did not quite gel with his own intentions towards the amaZulu.

There had been a change in Whitehall; Sir Michael Hicks Beach had replaced Lord Carnarvon as Colonial Secretary. Despite the change, or maybe because of it, Frere stepped-up his propaganda campaign against the Zulu.

In July, 1878, an event occurred that added credence to Frere's crusade. One of the wives of the border chieftain, Sihayo kaXongo, who lived on the Zulu side of the Buffalo River at Rorke's Drift, became pregnant by a lover. The unfaithful woman and her lover fled into Natal. Shortly afterwards another unfaithful wife, also expectant, followed. The first wife took up residence in the kraal of a border guard, Mswaglele. The subsequent incursion into Natal by Methlokazulu kaSihayo and his followers, and the killing of the two women gave Frere the excuse he was looking for. The Natal Government sought reparation for the raid, and the surrender of the ringleaders. Sihayo offered to pay a fine of cattle, which his own monarch, King Cetshwayo, had levied on him, but this was dismissed as too lenient a penalty.

Durnford was tasked with completing a feasibility study of bridging the Tugela River, should the prospect conflict with the amaZulu become a reality.

Durnford also recommended the formation of an African pioneer corps. Bulwer however had other opinions, and began to frustrate the designs of Durnford and the General Officer Commanding. Bulwer had been instilled with a sense of distrust of armed, organized bodies of Africans by colonists who still harboured a sense of hatred after the Langalibalele affair. Thesiger had no option but to complain to Frere over Bulwer's lack of co-operation. The raising of two companies of Natal Native Pioneers was eventually permitted with the full knowledge of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, the Duke of Cambridge.

By October, 1878, Bulwer was still reticent to permit the general conscription of the African populace. Frere was aware that Thesiger, (who that same month become the 2nd Baron, Lord Chelmsford) desperately needed the additional manpower. These men were to be deployed as light skirmishers and scouts, as proposed by Durnford. Their local knowledge would be an asset or so it was thought.

Eventually after much debate and argument Bulwer permitted the raising of three regiments of a force which would be designated the Natal Native Contingent. Durnford was assigned to the overall command of the three battalions, which would compose the 1st Regiment.

It is not the purpose of this article to assess the worth of the N.N.C., merely the role of Durnford in their organisation. I believe it was the man's charisma, which caused many to flock to follow him. Hundreds of amaPutini came, as did the baTlokwa, even Langalibalele's amaHlubi came. Drawn to this man who unlike many did not appear to resent the colour of their skin.

A booklet was published for those Europeans who would be entrusted with the command of the N.N.C. and published as GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF NATIVES, FOR THE GUIDANCE OF OFFICERS APPOINTED TO THE NATAL NATIVE CONTINGENT, AND OTHERS WHO MAY HAVE NATIVES PLACED UNDER THEM.
Some of these instructions are worthy of note:-

1, The Natal Zulu may be looked upon as an intelligent, precocious boy, with the physical strength of a man. ...

4, Insist on unquestioning obedience, and be careful that your order is carried out. Avoid, however, unreasonable, contradictory and when possible, unnecessary harassing orders....

6, Never use epithets of contempt such as niggers, Kafirs, &c. Call them "abantu"(people), "amadoda" (men), or "amabuti" (soldiers). ...

10, When drilling Zulus avoid all nagging - many of them are often stupid and inattentive, and much practise is required to teach them. ...

17, Esprit de corps is well understood by Zulus, and every use should be made of it. Each battalion should be given a native name, which, no doubt, the men themselves will soon select. ...

Sadly some of those tasked with the position of command were hardly worthy of such office. Some were drawn from the lower echelons of colonial manhood, and were no respecters of human life, black or white.

In addition to the N.N.C. and the Native Pioneers, mounted well-armed African volunteers were formed into troops of the Natal Native Horse. Numbered amongst these men, were those who had been present at the Bushman's River Pass, and their descendants. Langalibalele's own brother, John Zulu, rode at the head of the troop from the Edendale Mission Station. Such was the personal loyalty and affection to Durnford.

On 11th December, 1878, under the branches of a wild fig tree on the Natal side of the Lower Tugela River, an indaba had been called, King Cetshwayo sent his own emissaries to finally receive the findings of the boundary commission. The Zulus listened attentively as the result in their favour was announced. After this followed Frere's haughty ultimatum which was filled with great rhetoric which could only lead to war.

Durnford did his utmost to shape his regiment into a cohesive fighting force in the short time he had left. His force started to assemble at Greytown. Dalmaine's Farm, a short distance from Greytown was selected as his headquarters. From this position Durnford's force, now designated as Number 2 Column, could command the Middle Drift of the Tugela.


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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 7:43 pm

On 1st January, 1879, Durnford received orders from Lord Chelmsford ordering him to remain at the Middle Drift until the invasion, scheduled for the 11th January, was under way. When Durnford would be expected to co-operate between Pearson's Number 1 Column, which was to cross at the Lower Drift, and Colonel Richard Thomas Glyn's Number 3 Column, which was to ford the Buffalo River at Rorke's Drift.

On the afternoon of 11th January, Durnford paid a visit on Lord Chelmsford, who had now attached his headquarters to Glyn's force. He acquainted the General with some intelligence gleaned from messengers loyal to the Lutheran Bishop Hans Schreuder, before returning to his designated position.

At this time rumours and counter-rumours as to the Zulu dispositions were rife. Schreuder wrote to Durnford warning him of a threat of a Zulu incursion over the Middle Drift. Durnford received the message on 13th January. He hastily wrote a dispatch to Chelmsford apprising him of the supposed threat, and that he intended to meet the enemy on the Zulu side of the Middle Drift.

At 2 a.m. on 14th January, Durnford roused his men, and readied them for a forced march at 4 a.m. As Durnford was on the summit of Kranz Kop preparing to descend into the valley leading towards the drift a galloper from Lord Chelmsford met him.

The dispatch from Chelmsford was forthright and to the point:

Dear Durnford,
Unless you carry out the instructions I give you, it will be my unpleasant duty to remove you from your command, and to substitute another officer for officer for the commander of No. 2 Column. When a column is acting SEPARATELY in an enemy's country I am quite ready to give its commander every latitude, and would certainly expect him to disobey any orders he might receive from me, if information which he obtained showed that it would be injurious to the interests of the column under his command. Your neglecting to obey my instructions in the present instance has no excuse. You have simply received information in a letter from Bishop Schroeder[sic], which may or may not be true and which you have no means of verifying. If movements ordered are to be delayed because report hints at a chance of an invasion of Natal, it will be impossible for me to carry out my plan of campaign. I trust you will understand this plain speaking and not give me any further occasion to write in a style which is distasteful to me.Chelmsford.

The following day Durnford was ordered to the vicinity of Rorke's Drift, with a few companies of his N.N.C., five troops of the N.N.H., and a rocket battery under the command of Brevet Major Francis Broadfoot Russell.

On 19th, Durnford received further orders to relocate the force under his immediate command to the Zulu bank of Rorke's Drift. On the 20th Number 3 Column reached Isandlwana.

On 21st, Lord Chelmsford sent out a two-pronged reconnaissance to ascertain the whereabouts of any Zulu forces. Elements of the reconnaissance came into contact with Zulu forces late in the afternoon. Messages were passed back to Chelmsford at Isandlwana requesting reinforcements.

In the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, 22nd January, 1879, Chelmsford made the decision to divide Number 3 Column, leaving one half at Isandlwana, whilst marching out with the other to meet the Zulu threat.

At 3 a.m., Lieutenant Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, of the 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot, a special service officer detailed to transport duties, was ordered to return to Rorke's Drift. He carried orders for Durnford, instructing him to reinforce the camp at Isandlwana with the forces at his disposal.

Durnford received the orders at about 7 a.m. Durnford moved on towards Isandlwana with his mounted troops, having given orders for his infantrymen to follow on.

About a quarter of a mile from the camp at Isandlwana, he encountered a fellow Engineer officer moving in the opposite direction, his name was John Rouse Merriott Chard, a lieutenant from 5th (Field) Company. Chard informed Durnford that Zulus had been seen on the hills to the north of the camp. Durnford instructed Chard to inform the two N.N.C. companies to hurry on to Isandlwana.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Durnford arrived in the camp. He had with him some two hundred and fifty N.N.H., 'D' Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment, followed on behind escorting Russell's rocket battery. Bringing up the rear was Captain Walter Stafford and his 'E' Company, 1st/1st N.N.C. acting as the baggage guard.

An obvious problem was presented with Durnford's arrival, who was in command? Durnford was a substantive Lieutenant-Colonel; it is feasible that he may not have been informed of his brevet promotion to the rank of colonel on 31st December, 1878. Lord Chelmsford had left behind in command of the encampment Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pulleine of the 1st Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot. Pulleine had distinct orders to defend the camp.

Reports were coming in from outlaying piquets and vedettes of increasing Zulu activity. On e report stated that a Zulu column was moving off in the direction that Lord Chelmsford had taken his half column. Fearful that the General's force might be attacked on two fronts Durnford took matters into his own hands. He informed Pulleine that he intended to sweep the area thus drawing out the Zulus. He asked Pulleine for some of his imperial infantry to assist him in the task. Pulleine objected to the request, again stating his task was to defend the camp. Durnford then asked for support should his force encounter difficulties to which acquiesced.

Durnford sent two troops of his N.N.H. off on to the Nquthu plateau, under the command of Captain W. Barton. Whilst he himself went out with two troops of N.N.H. along the track the General's half column had taken. Following in the wake of the horsemen came Major Russell and his rocket battery, supported by 'D' Company, 1st/1st N.N.C. under Captain C. Nourse. Durnford had had the foresight to order Lieutenant Richard Wyatt Vause and his No.3 Troop of Sikali's Horse to reinforce the baggage guard.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the finer points of Isandlwana, and so what follows is only a synopsis of events.
Lieutenant Charles Raw commanding No.1 Troop, Sikali's Horse, chanced upon the concealed Zulu impi of some 25,000 warriors in Ngwebeni valley, thereby pre-empting the attack of the Zulus planned for the following day. Battle had commenced.
Durnfordwagedafightingretreatinan
effort to turn the Zulu left horn. He and his men took up a position in a donga on the right front of Isandlwana. Here he was seen exalting his men, and standing on the lip of the donga in total disregard for his personal safety. Lieutenant Alfred Henderson of Hlubi's Troop, N.N.H., was drawn to the conclusion that he had lost his head. Others would recall how Durnford would deftly free the fouled breeches of his men's carbines, with his one good hand.

Durnford's men were reinforced by detachments of the Natal Mounted Police, the Newcastle Mounted Rifles, the Buffalo Border Guard and the Natal Carbineers. At this moment in time, members of the corps who in the past had included Durnford's bitterest critics were at his side.

Desperately short of ammunition Durnford and his mounted men were compelled to abandon their position, just as Lieutenant Charles Pope, commanding 'G' Company, 2nd/24th, was endeavouring to reinforce him. The left horn crashed into the lines of red soldiers and they were soon swallowed up.

Durnford rallied his mounted men in one last desperate stand, but the sheer weight of Zulu numbers told and he died surrounded by the enemy.

Initially his body was interred on the battlefield. However, on 12th October 1879, at the behest of the Colenso family his body was re-buried with full military honours at the military cemetery at Fort Napier.

In death he is as much an enigma, as in life he was a conundrum. Like his close friend Charles Gordon, he received a martyr's death, facing enemies with whom he had a marked affinity. Many have spoken since Isandlwana both in praise and to the detriment of Durnford. I will not sit in judgement of Anthony William Durnford. However close to where he died is the memorial to the Natal Carbineers who perished that day, and if I may misquote it - neither praise nor blame add to his epitaph.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:05 pm

Must agree with you John. Certainly full of information.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:46 pm

Sir Henry Bulwer, Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, sketched a true picture of this man when he said:

'Colonel Durnford was a soldier of soldiers, with all his heart in his profession; keen, active-minded, indefatigable, unsparing of himself, and utterly fearless, honourable, loyal, of great kindness and goodness of heart. I speak of him as I knew him, and as all who knew him will speak of him'.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:10 pm

Post deleted.

(Admin) Personal attacks are not permitted on this forum. Please keep to the forum rules and regulations.


DTSG & CTSG I have sent you a P.M
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:20 pm

I’m sorry but I cannot accept this.!!!!!

This is nothing but a personal attack on an author that cannot defend himself, Col: Mike Snook is not a member of this forum. Mike Snook is a well-known author and a serving officer in the British Army. I have nothing against book reviews but unfounded personal attacks I cannot abide. There is nothing constructive in your post that can benefit this forum. You have obviously had a run in with Col: Mike Snook putting my head on the block I would say (On another Forum) For the sake of this forum I hope Admin takes the correct action. Authors are always in dispute, but its these people that make history what it is. Col: Mike Snook has written books on the subject; that we on this forum find interesting. He has proven along with all the other authors that he knows what he is on about and we can learn from him.

I would like it to be known that I will not be responding to any of your posts or topics, because your attitude is wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:16 pm

Admin. Sent you a P.M
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:32 pm

I was discussing a book that is in the public domain.
What is omitted from the book is a discussion of the dilemma Durnford found himself in. Was he to batten down the hatches and act purely on the defensive or was he to go to the aid of Chelmsford. For in the fog of war that covered the field there was a real chance that his Lordship was about to be taken in the rear by the Zulus that were known to be in the vicinity between the camp and Chelmsford's column. I am pretty sure if Chelmsford's column had been attacked in extended formation whilst
Col's Durnford and Pulline had been busy laagering the troops there would have been as big a disaster as happened anyway. Personally I feel Durnford was dammed if he did and dammed if he did not.
We simply do not have enough first hand documentation to fill in the gaps in our knowledge and I simply ask the same for my hero as others ask for theirs. Respect and understanding for brave but obviously falable men.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:48 pm

Extract from :Like Wolves to the Fold (The Defence of Rorkes Drift)
Author- Lieutenant Colonel Mike Snook

"Durnfords retreat left the right flank hanging in the air. One accusing finger is directed towards Durnford who was reckless and yet courageous in his ill intentioned stands, but part of the responsibility also rests on the shoulders of Lord Chelmsford, the chain of command, and an arrogance that was to cost the 24th dearly."

I can't see where Lieutenant Colonel Mike Snook is totally blaming Durnford..
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:55 pm

If Chelmsford had not tried to cover the mistakes in the way he did. We would not be having this discussion. DTSG. Is defending a person that was unable to defend himself on that day 22nd Jan 1879. Chelmsford took advantage of the fact that both Pulleine and Durnford were dead. He took advantage of that fact to cover his mistakes.

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:03 pm

Good to see we are back on topic. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:12 pm

Look's like I missed something. Drat !!!!
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:41 pm

From HCMDB page 157
Published Greenhill Books
2005

" He would end his career on a high note, in a state of professional fulfillment,and with a salvaged reputation. These were dark psychological demons and may have lurked in the deepest recesses of his mind, but nothing could or would dispel them"
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:27 am

I have read that Chelmsford regretted the lost of life that day. And no doubt wished the turn of events had turned out differently. The memory of their faces must have been with him until the day he died. This alone would have been punishment enough for any man.

With all the discussions relating to Chelmsford and Durnford, what would other members like to have seen happen to Chelmsford if he had been held 100% responsible for the lost of the camp at Isandlwana?
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:44 am

This from The Epic Anglo Zulu War on Canvas
By William Watson Race


[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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PostSubject: in defence of durnford   Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:10 am

hi olh2.
Further to your post concerning chelmsford from " the epic anglo zulu war on canvas " . If i remember rightly he died from a
heart attack while playing billiards at his club.
cheers 90th.


ps. I want to buy this book , but cant find a copy anywhere on the net . I have even written to the author at his last known
address, waiting for a reply.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:54 pm

Correct In 1905, Chelmsford suffered a seizure and died while playing billiards at the United Service Club.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:44 pm

From Campaigns of a war correspondent. By Melton Prior

I selected this extract as it’s based on a reliable eyewitness account.

On my return down country to King William’s Town, I was fortunate enough to present at conference between General Thesiger and the different heads of the volunteer corps, Well-Known farmers, and Dutch and German Boers.
The conversation turned on the prospects of the Zulu War, as it was known that the nation was very disturbed.
The Burghers and Boers, who had fought the Zulus in days gone by, assure General Thesiger that any army fighting the Zulu’s would have to Laager at every halt made after the crossing the border.

General Thesiger said, “Oh, British troops are all right; we do not laager-we have a different formation,” The Boers again and again assured him that it would be absolutely necessary, and that no column ought to halt for breakfast or dinner under any circumstance without laagering
Again General Thesiger smiled at the notion, but I was very much impressed at the earnest and serious way in which the Boers explained the risk, and the necessity for this action, So firmly was I convinced that if General Thesiger, afterwards Lord Chelmsford, did command the British troop he would not take this sound advice and laager, that on my return to England, in conversation with Mr William Ingram. I explained this matter to him, and said “You take my word for it, if we do have a war with the Zulus, the first news we shall get will be that of a disaster”- and sure enough I was correct. We all must remember that the first serious news to reach England with regard to that campaign was the slaughter and annihilation of our column at Isandlwana.

If only Chelmsford had listened.

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:14 pm

This shows that if Chelmsford had listened Boers the Isandlwana outcome might have been different.

Lord Chelmsford laagered near the Gingihlovo on afternoon of 1st of April. Very heavy rain throughout evening and night. Zulus hovering about during evening. 6 a.m. on the 2nd, Zulus attacked laager, each side in. succession, two distinct forces were employed. Enemy advanced in most courageous manner, but never got within 20 yards of shelter trench. At 7.30 a.m. the attack was repulsed, and the enemy retired precipitately, followed for some miles by the Mounted Infantry Volunteers and Natives,
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:46 am

In 1885 during the Gordon Relief operations British troops relied on the square formation on several occasions to resist charges by Madhist forces. On two occasions squares were almost broken. Now I realize there were advances in weapons over that five year period, but how different was the situation in the Sudan to that in Zululand? What I am trying to say is that if Pulline had been a bit more proactive and pulled his line in to a smaller more compact formation with a regular supply of ammunition surely the days events would have transpired differently.
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90th

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PostSubject: in defence of col.durnford   Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:25 am

hi dtsg.
Cant remember where i read it , but the british army or chelmsford released a book or new standing orders
where the SQUARE was NOT TO BE EMPLOYED during the invasion into zululand . That is the reason PULLEINE
sent the troops out into the firing line in a dog leg formation , When he realised the number of zulus involved
and the distance required to travel for the ammunition he then tried to call them back to the camp area to form
a defensive position , but due to the zulus rapidity of movement this couldnt be done. One must also remember
the zulus had entered the rear of the camp as the troops were attempting to withdraw to the camp proper. if you read
LT CURLING"S story of the battle , he states that when he retreated back to the camp the zulus were already in
the camp doing dreadful work with their assesgais. Also on the same day as isandlwana at the battle of NYEZANE
much earlier in the morning , the SQUARE also WASNT ADOPTED. As the losses at ISANDLWANA forced a re-think of tactics required , the square was to be adopted in later engagements as gingindlovu, khambula and ulundi. i will attempt to find the
source.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: in defence of durnford and pulleine   Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:17 am

hi all.
These orders were found in Durnfords jacket , hand written and signed by Chelmsford. They are dated 23/12/78.
This point is in its exact form, there are 21 points . This is number 18. THE FORMATION WHICH SEEMS BEST ADOPTED
TO MEET SUCH AN ATTACK IS AS FOLLOWS -- British Infantry in Front Line , Deployed or Extended , with one or both
flank companies thrown back. Both flank companies thrown back - Native Contingent inline , in echellon WELL CLEAR
of each flank of british infantry and well to the rear of each flank. The guns in line and in front of British infantry. MTD INF
in rear of each flank, ready to move round the flanks, and rear of the enemy. British infantry in reserve well in rear of the centre.
This comes from the FIFTH EDITION , THE JOURNAL OF THE ANGLO ZULU WAR HISTORICAL SOCIETY , PAGES 1-5.
As i have posted previousy , with the attack on NYEZANE earlier on the 22nd jan, Pearson"s defensive tactics are exactly
the same as PULLEINE put into place a few hours later. If anyone can post the diagrams in this story please do so, as i have
no idea !!!. Chelmsford's drawn plan to meet the enemy is on page 2 and a representation of PEARSON'S and PULLEINES
PLANS are on page 4. A copy of these orders was given to officers in charge of colums entering zululand. The article was
presented by well known zulu war author DR. ADRIAN GREAVES. As we can see , no mention in the orders for formation
of a SQUARE , which if implemented may have saved the day. If anyone has access to this article , please read it , It will answer
many questions .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:19 pm

Thanks for those quotes.
My point is that to blame Durnford for the tactical failure at Islandwana becuase he rode out and precipitated the attack by the left horn ignores the fact that the actions of those remaining in the camp itself for whatever reason must also be blamed. The argument that if Durnford had sat tight there would have been a reverse but not a complete slaughter is the theme of HCMDB. Thus Durnford riding out turns a partial set back into a complete rout and disaster. I don't buy that at all. Once Durnford had left command resorted to Pulline. Yet he acted without appropriate urgency and allowed this over extended line to persist. The line held the Zulu advance for a while but as ammunition grew low there was a slackening in fire and the Impi drove home. So I hold the officers in the camp responsible in a significant way for the disaster that ensued. Surely an unsecured flank facing an enemy known to be fleet of foot and able to turn your flank must be considered poor soldiering.
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PostSubject: in defence of col.durnford   Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:32 pm

hi dtsg.
One point regarding Durnford"s actions on the 22nd , he cant be blamed for precipitating the attack of the left
horn for the simple reason he didnt even know it was there !. according to historian IAN KNIGHT , Durnford sent two troops
of his mounted men to the heights to the left of the camp , trying to ascertain the nunbers facing them , as they had seen zulus on the heights to the left front of camp. Another reason for this deployment was to make certain that the zulus hadnt cut C"FORD off.
Durnford hadnt got more than 4 or 5 miles from camp when a messenger from the heights rode up to Durnford and told him
what he was about to ride into, according to I. KNIGHT a short period of time elapsed and the left horn appeared not more than
a few hundred metres away, Durnford ordered a dismount , fired a volley , then retired in the direction of the camp. This information
is from " THE NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM BOOK OF THE ZULU WAR by IAN KNIGHT.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:23 pm

In situations like the disaster at Isandlwana the inclination was to find a scapegoat, and the one selected on this event, was Chelmsford. It was normal to chuck all the blame on the general commanding, and in nearly every instance it was right to do so if his orders were obeyed. On the night of the 21st of January the Zulu Army was roughly two miles from the camp at Isandlwana. The first intimation of large bodies of Zulus was at half-past seven. Colonel Durnford arrived at half-past ten. The distinct orders left by the General were that Colonel Pulleine should "defend the camp;" and had those orders been obeyed, and not distinctly disobeyed, the disaster, would never have occurred.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:47 pm

For once someone is point the accusing finger in the right direction. The command of the camp at Isandlwana on the 22nd Jan 1879 was the sole responsibility of Colonel Pulleine. His failure to follow direct orders, led to the disaster. That was one of the biggest British military blunders in history.

The only failings that can be laid on Chelmsford’s doorstep, is the fact that he left a totally incompetent officer in-charge. Colonel Pulleine.

When Chelmsford left the camp, he supposedly sent a written order to Colonel Durnford to come up and take the command of the camp. As we know the witnesses differed as to whether the order directed him to "strengthen" the camp; This message was wrote by his military secretary Crealock, to Colonel Pulleine to give the camp over to Colonel Durnford, and to "defend the camp."

At 10.30 Colonel Durnford arrived and took the command of the camp. It was apparent that a conversation took place between Colonel Durnford and Colonel Pulleine. Colonel Durnford supposedly said he had seen some of the enemy on his left flank, and he asked for a couple of English companies with which he would go out and look for them. "No," said Colonel Pulleine, "I dare not do so, for my orders are to defend the camp,"

Now if Durnford had received orders to take the command of the camp. Why the hell is Pulleine saying No! Soldiers obey orders. That’s what they do. Whether they think is right or wrong.

An officer in command would not “ASK” for a couple of English companies.
He would bloody well take them. (FACT)
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:10 pm

At this point. I think it would be good get a straight answer from other members of this forum. To whom they think was responsible for the fall of the camp at Isandlwana on the 22nd Jan 1879. I feel most of us have read nearly or the available evidence to be able to make a decision. All we need is the Name/s to get an overview on what we actually think. ???

I believe the disaster was down to:

1) Durnford
2) Pulleine
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:12 pm

Makes sense..

I believe the disaster was down to:

1) Lord Chelmsford.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:16 pm

Chelmsford and Pulleine.

S.D
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:22 pm

Based on what I have read. Messages here and Messsages there.

Chelmsford, Pulline, And Crealock.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:26 pm

For me. As it always as been.

General Chelmsford.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:36 pm

Henry Bartle Frere & Chelmsford.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:40 pm

24th What has Sir. Henry Bartle Frere, got to do with the fall of the camp. ('scratch')
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:13 am

Pulleine. Of Course !!!!

sas1
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 5:16 am

How much combat experience did Pulline have?
My understanding is that he was a very good administrator but had no real combat experience.
Mellville and Coghill had a reasonable amount of combat experience.
I would appreciate any information about Pulline.
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PostSubject: in defence of col durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:29 am

hi dtsg.
Pulleine had NO combat experience, he was essentialy a good organiser , in reference to my previous posts about
the formations of the troops , Pulleine followed to the letter what was set out in C"fords papers to the column commanders.
As i have said earlier , PEARSON same day , different time , same enemy, set his forces in the same formation as PULLEINE
did at ISANDLWANA . There is never any mention of pulleine forming the troops in-correctly, dont forget 5 officers survived
isandlwana , i have never read where they were critical in the way pulleine assembled his forces. why , because he formed
up in the formation he was supposed too. No mention of the SQUARE because it wasnt considered to be the right tactic for
fighting native forces. We must also remember the british had never fought against the zulu nation , so had no idea on the tactics
that would be needed to fight the zulu. Fighting against the other native tribes seems to have left the british somewhat complacent.
The other native tribes were"nt in the same league as the zulus , something like scunthorpe utd taking on man utd , hope that makes sense. For me its the INTELLIGENCE DEPT ( did they have one before the war ?) if they didnt have one , i think most
of the blame should fall on the column cmdr , C"FORD because he should have made sure the person he left in charge of the camp was competent enough to understand whatever situation may arise. Some blame must lay with other officers , pulleine for
the reason of not having enough mtd men on patrol in the areas that couldnt be seen from the camp, also for not having the tents
struck at the first sign of the zulu army. Cant really fault durnford , IF, he was trying to locate and gather information on what size
force confronted them and scouting to see that C'FORD hadnt been cut off. Other officers at fault in regards to speeding up the
ammunition flow etc, etc the mistakes just roll on. Once it started it couldn't be stopped.
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:12 am

And don't let us forget Chelmsford was annoyed and tried to blame Durnford for not fortifying the camp.

DTSG. You have not givening a name of who you think was to blame. Are you un-sure even after what you have said.

Click on his name Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Burmester Pulleine
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 9:56 am

DTSG.I can't post the link but if you click on this link.

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

You will come to a web-page at the bottom you will see.

[PDF]
Chapter Title
- 08:46
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
Photographs of the other commandants, other than Lieutenant Colonel Durnford, ...... Regiment, whom he knew, and there met Major Henry Burmester Pulleine. .

Open search Page. Open PDF or save to Desktop. Its by Keith Smith. It gots some interesting infoe: about Pulline.

Hope it helps>
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PostSubject: Re: In the Defence of Col: Durnford.   Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:35 pm

I will level with you guys.
It was HCMDB that first made me think about all this.
I always admired Durnford as I feel he was a far sighted man in terms of race relations. I like the way he befriended the Colenso's. I admire Colenso as he was a great "negrophile" churchman. There is a great tradition of this in SA, Rev Phillips, Trevor Huddleston, Hurley, Tutu.
SO when I read HCMDB I was struck by the extremely negative view of Durnford.
He was accused of going cowboy of abandoning the rocket battery etc.
Pulline who I had always thought came across as a bumbling hapless pencil pusher out of his depth, suddenly became a great leader rallying the troops to the colors dying in the midst of the battle, not in his tent writing a letter as Morris described him in TWOTS. Now I wish to be fair but I felt that the view point I have described is totally unfair on Durnford.
Quantrill and Locke are very critical of Chelmsford as they maintain that he deliberately orchestrated a cover up that pinned the blame of the dead Durnford who also happened to be an Engineer.
I think that Chelmsford is to blame for dividing his forces, but the whole army seems to be responsible for being so flat footed. He did leave 1000 men behind.
However even an amateur like me knows if one flank is up in the air and teh enemy are fleet of foot they are going to turn your flank and take you in the rear. So I am afraid that I feel a lot of the disaster rests with Pulline who still comes across and a bit of a" jobsworth" type of quartermaster chap not a blood and guts type soldier.
Just my five cents worth.
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