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 Seniority after the battle

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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyThu Oct 07, 2021 12:08 pm

Interesting issue. After the stategic withdrawl over the Fugitives Drift Captain Gardner, whilst the junior to Captain Essex, seems to have taken control by sending warnings of to RD etc. Surely that was Essex duty? Or did Essex order Gardner to do so. Maybe Gardner was the only one with dry paper? Later Gardner seems to have drifted away from Helpmakaar without consultation with Essex? If indeed Essex did assume control, and that seems to be the case from the statements of other survivors, why is it not mentioned that Essex gave Gardner the nod to ride of?
Is there a case to be made that Gardner did not seak permission from his senior officer?
Sorry Kate, just thoughts.
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyFri Oct 08, 2021 5:50 pm

Now, now Mr Allewell, less of your spleen.
K Wink
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John Young

John Young


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyFri Oct 08, 2021 6:12 pm

Wasn’t Alan Frank’s Troop commander when he was in the “Cherrypickers”?

Joker Joker Joker
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptySat Oct 09, 2021 4:54 am

Ah yes remember him well, had a habit of jumping on his horse in the middle of the night and riding of into the woods. scratch Joker Joker Joker Joker Joker Joker Joker
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptySat Oct 09, 2021 6:49 am

Don't you mean riding off to find Wood's?
K Very Happy
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptySat Oct 09, 2021 7:31 am

It was a gentle pun Kate. Very Happy
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Simonsole




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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 8:01 am

As ever I defer and to write about Gardner with Kate on the thread is terrifying!! I think the clue is that Gardner was a staff officer to the commander whereas Essex was a transport officer with technical responsibilities. Thus Gardner would not have cared about seniority in this moment but by taking the lead would have been carrying on his core duty to lubricate the command chain by passing information. I cannot speak with authority about then but now it would be quite normal for a junior staff officer of a senior headquarters to be firing off instructions to his seniors in rank, in theory in 'the name of his commander' naturally. Also, there is now, and probably was then, a sort of snobbery about logistic/technical officers being technicians and thus carrying less authority to direct fighting matters.
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John Young

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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 9:45 am

Simon,

Both Alan Gardner & Edward Essex had passed through the Staff College, Camberley.  Gardner in December, 1872, and Essex in December, 1877.

Both were selected to serve as “Special Service Officers” in Southern Africa.

Essex had some knowledge of the Natal/Zulu border having served in Natal with the 75th Regiment, although he was on home leave at the time of the Langalibalele Uprising in 1873.  I suspect this local knowledge might have had some influence on the role to which he was appointed.

Essex had no useful experience as to the duties of being the Transport Officer of No. 3 Column, the role was equally unfamiliar to his young subordinate, Lieutenant Horace Smith-Dorrien of the 95th.

As to Gardner, he was also initially appointed to the role of the Sub-Director of Transport in Pietermaritzburg.  It would not be until 3rd January, 1879, that he was appointed to Glyn’s No. 3 Column to perform General Staff Duties.

Who better than a former artillery officer, now dashing hussar, to be Glyn’s general dogsbody, especially in the absence of regular cavalry?

JY
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Simonsole




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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 11:53 am

John. Great points. So the snobbery aspect might apply less if both went to Staff College etc but still Gardner would have secured the more prestigious post and would have felt more justified taking the lead. In the modern Army there is a very strong cultural hierarchy between fighters and supporters, (including those from combat arms) who happen to be in supporter ie logistic roles.

Also, I am not familiar with the detail of what he sent but I think it makes a difference if he was passing information, than if he was giving instructions.
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 1:43 pm

Simon I would refer you to Bromhead and Chard.
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Simonsole




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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 2:08 pm

Hi Frank and good point. Yes I did think of Bromhead and Chard as I was writing but I think their situation was different. First Major (Spalding??) had made a specific effort to pre designate the commander in light of his rather odd decision to go back to Helpmekaar at that moment. This might have been his sheepishness about going back or it might have been because he did not trust Bromhead. But more relevant was neither was in a staff position. Given both were in command roles and had troops under command it would be more normal to resolve that conflict formally and once the Seniority List came out there was only one outcome. Also, Royal Engineers, did occasionally rise to command positions over combat troops.

I am postulating that it was the nature of their staff roles ( and not their seniority) which determined their relative influence and made it natural that Gardner would lead despite being actually junior. He had the smart staff position and the ear of General, Essex being transport officer; a role that got him on the campaign but perhaps not one the ambitious young staff officer would have sought out.

Kate raises a good point but I think is a plausible explanation. Interested to hear others.
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyTue Oct 12, 2021 5:54 pm

Folks
In relation to who let Alan go.
I've not mentioned who in my book as my prime concern was clearing Alan's name by looking at his relationship with Essex. A man whom I believe was one of the main instigators in attempting to destroy his reputation.
But I have written when he went. and the reason for the exclusion was that the decision as to whether Alan  could have gone or not was not down to  Essex in the first place.

If you read Alan's letters he did not leave Helpmakaar till after the 2 companies (D and G 1/24th)under Brevet Major Russell Upcher (Captain 31st October 1871, Brev. Major 11th November 1878) and Captain Thomas Rainforth (Captain 1st April 1875) had returned.

Reading Major Spalding's official report he arrived back at Helpmaakar at about 9pm which ties in with Alan's 9.30pm timings in his 26th January letter.
(Lt. Heaton says it was about 11pm though compared with Spalding's timings he is about 45 minutes out which would in the pitch dark bring it nearer to Spaldings 9pm arrival)
Spalding also claims on the way back they met up with Colonel Hassard  R.E.
So there were plenty of officers about senior to Essex.
When Alan asked permission it would have been from one of these senior officers.
I can imagine him being told to find someone to take the message and the fact he says "No one would go" shows he did indeed ask.
With refusal the only option was for him to take the message.
An act of incredible bravery that Clery and his mob tried to denounce. Mad  Mad  Mad

Kate Very Happy
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 8:19 am

Damn Kate, you should write a book about it. Suoer cool. Very Happy Joker
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 10:26 am

How's the battlefield looking this morning, Frank?  Did the Hadedas wake you up?


Kate
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 12:59 pm

Hi Kate
Ive been out taking lots of photos, unfortunatly I will onlt down load when Im back in town. I can however confirm, and you will see it on the photos, There is a massive amount of space that could indeed hide an army 20 000 plus, and hidden from the piquets and videttes. Its reall quite amazing how accurate the so called 'Woods' maps are.
Look forward to sharing with you.
In terms of the area, the develoment taking place below the battlefield is starting to become threatening . The new homes are starting to push up to the fence lines. The area opened by the King as a tribute area, remember the 140th, is just a patch of long grass and weed, the only thing that hasnt been stolen is the fence itself.
But the hotel, Shane and Roz are still as chilled as ever. Roz is still taking great delight in feeding you as much as she can get into you, ditto that with Shane for the beer. Ah hum, just have to grin and bare it Im afraid. Pity I have to head back tomorrow to meetings in Pinetown. Sad
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John Young

John Young


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 4:49 pm

Frank,

Have you taken any photographs of the memorial garden? There were assurances made at the time to maintain that area.

How about the blue plastic sheeting?

JY
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 5:12 pm

John it virtually doesnt exist, its a fence and thats it. I have taken photos, I will e mail them on Friday for you.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 5:36 pm

Looking forward to seeing the pictures Frank.
Such a shame about the memorial garden. It was opened with such a thought provoking ceremony in 2019 that had me in tears Sad
When I was there last year a lot of the construction material from the Kings new palace/eduction centre on the firing line had 'disappeared' and it just looked like a spoil heap. Rolling Eyes
Kate Sad
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Seniority after the battle   Seniority after the battle EmptyWed Oct 13, 2021 8:04 pm

Hi Kate
I remember it well it was a very dignified event. Virtually all the 'construction' paraphenalia has gone, the power of Affirmative shopping. Now its exactly what you say half a dozen piles of fill that are also slowly being reduced in size. But thats a good thing.
As soon as I can on Friday I will post some photos and descriptions.
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90th

90th


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PostSubject: Seniority after the battle    Seniority after the battle EmptyThu Oct 14, 2021 1:45 am

Hi Frank
Cant say I'm surprised with what's happened to that area , I did notice at the Memorial Garden Ceremony in 2019 that it's longevity didn't seem to be much of a priority , from what I saw it was hastily put together , and never for a moment was it going to be around for any period of time . When I revisited 4 months later it was certainly deteriorating quite quickly , I remember I sent some pics to JY to show it's quickening demise ! . Please pass on my best to Roz and Shane .
90th Salute
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