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Captain David Moriarity, 80th, KIA Ntombe
This photograph taken when he was in the 7th Regiment prior to his transfer to the 80th. [Mac & Shad] (Isandula Collection)
The Battle of Isandlwana: One of The Worst Defeats of The British Empire - Military History
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 Remit of a staff officer

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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Remit of a staff officer   Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:39 pm


What was the remit of a ’Staff Officer’?......I used to think that they forwarded their officers orders, maybe even wrote them for the officer....but....
.
Alan Gardner wrote a note to the garrison at Rorkes Drift, saying basically ‘hold your position’.....Gardner’s CO was I believe Glyn – who Gardner last had contact with in the morning of 22nd, when sent back to organise the camp break-up and forward move

Could a Staff Officer send orders in his 'own right', even to potentially a superior officer – remember as far as Captain Gardner knew, Brevet Major Spalding was the OiC of Rorkes Drift?

Gardner knew nothing of any defences being built, I feel that if RD would have fallen, there may of been some soul searching on behalf of AG.

I am just trying to ascertain what a SO could do.

Cheers

Simon
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:39 am

Incidentally Alan Gardner was the Gt Grandson of Admiral, Alan Gardner, who was born in (guess where) - Uttoxeter.....
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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:03 am

I'm a bit confused as to when exactly Gardners 'note' was written, was it prior to or during the attack on the camp at Isandlwana?

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90th

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PostSubject: Remit of a staff Officer    Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:10 am

Hi N.B.Forrest
I seem to remember Gardner scribbled the note after crossing the Buffalo river , which he handed I think to one of the Colonials while he went off to Helpmekaar to inform them of what had happened .
90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:06 am

Ah! so it was post the battle.Thanks 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:48 am

Yes, it was written at the start of the 'Alan Gardner Tour of Natal' - I believe AG went on Helpmaaker, then on to Utrecht.

There's a long thread about him, on the Forum, if you type in 'Gardner' in the search engine.

Cheers

Simon

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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:46 pm

Cheers Simon, I'll check it out!
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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:49 am

I spent 30 years in the British Army, including postings commanding troops and as a staff officer. Certainly in my era, any instructions issued by a staff officer would be on behalf of his commander, and not in his own right. Having said that, a staff officer might issue instructions (worded as on behalf of his commander) which he felt were in accordance with his commander's wishes, even if he was not expressly ordered to send such a communication. He would have to be pretty sure that his commander would back him retrospectively.

My instinct is that such principles of the relationship between commanders and staff officers was identical in the Victorian era.

Rod
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SRB1965

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PostSubject: Re: Remit of a staff officer   Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:12 am

Thanks Rod,

Apparently the order to RD was written by Gardner (he had a pencil & paper) but came from Essex (I believe 3 SO's met on the Natal bank of the river and held a 'ops meeting') but the principle remains the same.

I just find it concerning that a SO had issued orders to a detachment (especially potentially such a 'dangerous' one), whilst not truly aware of the current situation of the orders recipients.

Obviously, 'militarily' to hold RD was the 'right' (or at least correct) thing to do......but I feel that one of the trimuvate of officers (Gardner, Essex or Cochrane) should have actually gone there and assessed the situation (easy to say from my sofa, I spose)

Does anyone know the rough routes of Essex or Cochrane after splitting from AG - if they did all split up?

Ta

Simon
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