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 Did Captain Shepstone do it?

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gardner1879
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Drummer Boy 14

Drummer Boy 14


Posts : 2008
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Age : 26

Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptyMon Dec 13, 2021 10:53 am

Hi all,

The one topic that really interested me when I started to research the war was the accusation that Captain Offy Shepstone removed a series of papers from Colonel Durnford's body when it was found in May 1879.

In terms of the evidence, we had Longhurst and Davis stating documents were removed. Shepstone's defence was based on the fact Durnford's body did not have a coat on but multiple people have given evidence that this was not true. Several Natal Carbineers who were present in May 1879 confirmed there was a coat and when Durnford's body was exhumed for burial in I believe October the Scott brothers recorded the body as having a coat on. One of the Natal Carbineers even stated they took a button from the coat.

My question is, why would Shepstone do this? He did not seem to personally benefit from this action but his comments about the body having a coat are very suspicious.

Any views welcome!

Many thanks,
Sam
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gardner1879

gardner1879


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Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Re: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptyMon Dec 13, 2021 11:40 am

Off the top of my head Sam and for what its worth, I would think if there was a coat and papers on the body, then their disappearance was part of the cover up to proportion blame to Durnford and away from Lord Chelmsford.
The Shepstones were heavily entangled in the upper echelons of the political society in SA which included Sir Bartle and Lord C.
If there were incriminating papers on his body that highlighted Lord Chelmsford's incompetence, it would be very 'convenient' for them to disappear.
Kate Very Happy
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peter@zuluwars




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Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Re: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptyMon Dec 13, 2021 2:53 pm

Colonel Durnford's Body:

Primary Source response from KDG's veterinary officer, Surgeon S. Longhurst in a letter dated
20 February 1882, addressed to Edward Durnford after visiting the battlefield; quote:

" Dear Colonel Durnford,

.......the first officer's body I saw was that of your brother, wearing his scarlet vest under his coat.
Captain Shepstone searched the body, and I saw him distinctly take from it two finger rings,
a pocket knife with your brother's name engraved on the metallic handle, also a packet of
letters from his coat pocket ........ but judging by the contours of the packet I am of the opinion
that there were official papers in it."

This sent in defense of Durnford.


Peter Q.


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Drummer Boy 14

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Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Re: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptyMon Dec 13, 2021 4:00 pm

Hi Kate, Peter,

Thank you for the replies and for that quote!

If from what I remember, Durnford was given the Order from Crealock while he was out riding and stated he was to travel to the camp at Isandlwana. Given he was mounted when he got the order I think it's likely he simply put the order into his coat pocket and returned to gather his men.

Then when he is killed later that day the order remains in his coat. I just don't know the specific reason's Shepstone would risk doing this.

It's one of the most interesting topics of the war for me the potential cover-up that happened.

Many thanks,
Sam
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24th

24th


Posts : 1862
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Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Re: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptySat Dec 18, 2021 10:09 pm

Crealock never gave Durnford the order.?
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90th

90th


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Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Did Capt Shepstone do it ?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptySun Dec 19, 2021 4:13 am

Hi All
Lt Smith - Dorrien handed the orders (Papers etc ) to Capt George Shepstone at Durnford's camp , Durnford was in fact across the Buffalo back in Natal , looking to procure Wagons and or Forage , Smith Dorrien then crossed the river himself and went onto RD .
90th
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Julian Whybra




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Location : Billericay, Essex

Did Captain Shepstone do it?  Empty
PostSubject: Re: Did Captain Shepstone do it?    Did Captain Shepstone do it?  EmptySun Dec 19, 2021 3:27 pm

Given the make-up of the Durnford Papers (incl. Chelmsford's Instructions to Column Commanders and the order of the 19th), their weathered state, the note in the accession book of the Royal Engineers' Museum pertaining to them that records them as "A bundle of papers belonging to Colonel Durnford picked up on the field of Isandhlwana by one of the burial party", the accompanying letter from the brother of Trpr. Pearse who found them, AND the fact that they ended up in Frances Colenso's possession there is no doubt in my mind that these were taken off Durnford's body.
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