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Lieutenant John Chard: What's our strength? Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead: Seven officers including surgeon, commissaries and so on; Adendorff now I suppose; wounded and sick 36, fit for duty 97 and about 40 native levies. Not much of an army for you.
 
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 Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner

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gardner1879

gardner1879


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PostSubject: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptySun Jul 17, 2022 8:10 pm

I'm sure most of us on this forum have seen this item up for sale and pray for a lottery win

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

Recently people have been saying that, thought it is fascinating, it gives us no real extra detail about the battle.

Personally I have to disagree and I refer to this line from the letter:-

“I was about ten miles behind guarding our stores when they came down on us but I had had one hours warning and you know I was a good hand at making holes in doors and walls when I was young at Thurlby. Well I did the same to the house I had to keep here and we kept them off till morning when the Column and the General came up and they bolted.”

There we have Bromhead himself for the first time stating how important that one hour was in order to get the post into some sort of defensive state.

That one hour being given to them by Captain Alan Gardner's warning.
The one he wrote on the banks of the Buffalo River after being forced back from the field at iSandlwana whilst trying to get through to Lord Chelmsford.

Bromhead's words tying in beautifully with Alan's own account:-

"Everyone else had forgotten them, and the happiest moment of my life was when I returned there, the officer coming up and thanking me for the warning. They knew nothing of what was going on but at once made prepartions."


Alan Gardner is often either forgotten or given a one line reference when authors and historians write about Rorke's Drift.
Well not anymore.
With the evidence in Rifle and Spear with the Zulu and Bromhead's letter, no future account of the battle of Rorke's Drift will be complete without giving full credit to Alan Gardner's professionalism in providing a timely warning  which ultimatly led to the garrisons survival.

The impact he had on the 22nd January wether it was reinforcing Durnford, guiding Pulleine, or giving the mission station defenders vital time can not be underestimated and he is in my opinion one of the most important characters of that fateful day.

Without Captain Alan Gardner there may not have been an heroic defence, just another slaughter and the subsequent overgrown memorial, no 11 VC's, no famous film and I would  proably not be typing this now as like most of us it was that film that got me interested in the first place.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:04 am

Wow😱
And with a sence of dread he jumps into the maw of the impassioned defender of the gallant Captain.
Kate! I have set out that I firmly believe Gardner did more at iSandlwana than is commonly accepted. However as his warning sent to RD arrived more or less simultaneously with Ardendorf the only additional time gained by his, Gardners, warning would have been the time it took for Chard to get from the river back to the camp. So around 10 minutes, hardly the drama you attach to it and it's affect.
I once took a stoll from the Rattray fence line in a direct line towards Helpmakaar and then cross country to the foot of the berg onto the old horse trail. That distance was pretty much equivalent to the distance to Rorkes Drift. So my wandering mind has always held the question;  as at the absolute time in question there was no perceived or confirmed thought that a battered zulu army would have crossed the river. Why didn't any of those brave Captains or lieutenants decide to ride to RD and offer their services to a garrison, ostensibly lead by a Major and a lieutenant. They definitely were in need this camp would have been and was the first point in line and as history proved in the most danger not a store depo on top of a rather steep mountain range. As a second point surely the duty of those  men was to report to the senior officer. Gardner appreciated that hence his dash to Wood later in the evening.
Sorry if I'm being pedantic. But thoughts have bounced around for years. And a quote directed at many brave men:
Hero's run towards trouble mere mortals run in the opposite direction'
I mean no disrespect to any of those 4 gallant officers but the questions are there. I do say 4 not 5 as Smith Dorrien ambled his way through history as a foot soldier following the leaders.


Last edited by Frank Allewell on Mon Jul 18, 2022 8:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:06 am

There we go 'spleen vented'. 😁😁🤔
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:27 am

Good morning Frank

I think what makes Alan's letter so important is who he was.

Hatless,dusty, colonials full of funk muttering in broken English about a British column being wiped out would probably  have been looked upon with a certain amount of suspicion by regular British officers.
(without opening a can of worms look at the reaction of Ardendorff's reports form the plateau in the camp earlier that morning amongst British officers)

An official despatch by a Staff Officer and Captain in the Hussars would certainly been believed and caused an immediate reaction.
An officer (surely Bromhead) thanked him later on for the warning. Would he have done if it was not important?

As for why he didn't go to RD. I think there are a number of reasons and I am using assumption in the abscence of hard evidence though looking at Alan's actions thoughout the campaign gives an idea of the sort of man he was which I think backs up those assumptions.

He would have known there was a senior officer present in command.
The supply base and garrison at Helpmakaar was even more lightly defended than the Drift which he would have known having been there and being a Satff officer.
He was proably quite shaken at this point (which is an understatement) and I think they stuck together to make sure they got back there.
Once he had assisted in forming a defensive position then he then goes off to warn Wood.

Happy for you to vent Frank. You vent away.
Time of a cup of scorch
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:44 am

Morning Kate
Yep a winter warmer of Coffee and rusks in hand.
As a fellow Hussar I have nothing but respect for the Captain and do as a rule scoff at the brickbats thrown at him.
But I have raised the above questions that have, as I say, wandered around the old brain for a whiile. And I still cannot come to terms with Gardner and Essex ( not to sure who was senior? ) following the course of action they did.
There were of course many considerations that were unknown to the Fugitive Group, had Rainsforths men arrived at Helpmakkar, how many men were at RD etc.
But my first point I made does still stand that the warning given to Chard by two men was enough to wake him up, put out his pipe and get up to the mission station where of course Gardners note had tipped the wasps nest. The note of course would have been addressed to 'The Officer in command'. That raises another thought, before the Major left the camp it was established that Chard was senior, and yet theres no known source that says Bromhead sent a notification down to Chard? Curious, or confused old duffer?
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 9:09 am

Tea just brewing.
To answer one of your earlier questions. I don't think Chard 'sprung into action ' and that there was only a 10 minutes time difference between the two messages.

Chard says in one of his accounts that when he arrives back at the Drift

"Lieutenant Bromhead had, with the assistance of Mr Dalton and the others present commenced barricading and loopholing the store buildings and the missionarys house which was used as a hospital and connecting the defence of the two buildings by a wall of mealie bags and two wagons that were on the ground"
That activity seems pretty advanced to me for 10 minutes scratch

Also they saw as they left iSandlwana the road to the Drift was blocked. By sending either a mounted native (Penn Symons) or a couple of IMI men to scout an altenative track and get a message through seems to me standerd military procedure.

I will bow to your military knowledge as a former Hussar but isn't it an officers duty to deligate  someone else to do a job rather than running round themselves?
Later Alan tries to get someone else to go to Wood and it is only when no one will go that he puts himself in great danger and goes himself.

The thing is, looking at all the evidence presented in Rifle and Spear with the Zulu, putting everything in context with Alan's actions throughout the campaign, the idea that he went off to Helpmakaar instead of the Drift because he was scared is, to put it bluntly, a complete nonsense.
There would have been a legitimate military reason for his actions on the banks of the river that morning.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 10:18 am

Hi Kate
Fully agree with your last paragraph and as I said no disrespect intended. I merely question the 'operational' aspect of the decisions and put them up for discussion. For this purpose we should leave out the issues therefore of the happenings at Helpmakaar.
The timings of the various people arriving at RD to give warnings etc are without doubt open to interpretation but for consideration I would suggest that Addendorf got to the Mzinyathi before Gardners message arrived. Chard was not, so it appears, the most energetic person and would I agree have taken some time to leave for the camp. That time difference could be accomadated in the earlier arrival at the ponts.
I would believe that the first inklings of danger were when Private Edward Evans saw stragglers approaching.
Harry Lugg recorded them as as saying " You will all be cut to pieces." It was at that point decisions were being made to fight or flight. Dalton seems to have taken charge and started preparations.
So without rancour Kate, Alan's note was not the instigator of the action taking place. It did of course add weight when it arrived, but in all honesty think of the weight that would have been added if he himself had arrived, with a couple of other officers to assist, possibly at that point sending one of those, possibly Essex up the pass to Helpmakaar. Ah, then Gardners name would have really gone down in history and added a further chapter to your book possibly describing how he was awarded a VC.
Just reading Neil Thorntons excellent work when he mentions Bromhead did send riders down to the river to warn Chard who had in the meantime been given the news by Adendorff.
There was an esssay published analizing the arrival times of stragglers arriving at Rorkes Drift. I must dig it out.
Regards

Frank

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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 2:52 pm

Frank
It was mine. The Brave Fugitive: p. 68.
I wonder whether anyone ever bothered to thank Adendorff for stopping by (and staying)? Where was his V.C.?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 4:22 pm

Thanks Julian found it around ten minutes ago. Adendorff should have had recognition for fighting in two battles.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 4:35 pm

And the world shouldn't have had all the continual groundless accusations of his cowardice at Isandhlwana and doubts of his presence at RD begun by Morris and perpetuated by other popular histories. Adendorff deserved better.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 5:27 pm

Ive actually got an essay prepared by a well known author that sites all the reasons for him to deny Adendorff, not to sure if I would be allowed to post it. Pete a ruling please!
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 6:47 pm

I agree Julian that he should recieve better recognition for his actions, there was no need for him to remain at the Drift but he did despite what he had been through but to be honest if an officer in one of Her Majesty's own Regiments, who did even more than Adendorff throughout the campaign is denied, through petty jealousies, back biting and character assassination, the merits he truly deserves for his heroic actions, a lowly colonial officer in a NNC regiment has got no chance.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 7:51 pm

Frank
I think I've seen the essay you refer to and it's full of holes. I don't think any purpose would be served by posting it here.
Kate
That's very true, though of course Gardner's later deeds would have had no bearing on the award of a medal for bravery specifically relating to RD. In that respect Adendorff and Gardner (if he had gone in person to the Drift) would have been equal in just the same way that the humble colonial Schiess was the equal of the humble Gloucestershire lad Hook.
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Tellgryn




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:31 pm

I will cast my stone upon the seas and wait to see were the ripples find knowledge that we all may move the course of history to right the wrongs of past deeds.

Kate, I think Alan acted correctly by his actions and deeds that day. He was correct in sending the messager to the Drift and moving on to Helpmakaar. Helpmakaar is the key point in the support and supply chain, also he may have known that 2 companies of foot are there.

As to, should he have been awarded VC; maybe but a lesser medal he should have been awarded for his action those few days.

I have asked one of you to take up the mantle of the issues of factions in this campaign as it plays a huge part in the future of our characters in this play. The Custer battle has its factions and the players in that play destroyed many good commanders' carriers. Reno and Benteen and the acts of the Libby faction plays in the future events. Wood destroyed many players carriers with his actions as do others in his faction.

I know Adendorff fought at Isandlwana and the Drift and he is another cast in a bad light at that time and by later players of this story and quiet wrongly so. He should be honored and someone in his family should be given the medals he rightly earned in blood and sweat. He to should have been awarded a much lesser medal for his actions at the Drift.

Julian, having now read in detail the article on the newspaper soldier's story: I agree it is Hall's story.

There are 3 men at Isandlwana that should have been awarded the VC and this I leave to the wind as some would strongly disagree.

Medals are fleeing much as morale is, the line broke and the end near only a few stood their ground and grouped up.

The panic of the Zulu's rushing in brought with it terror, no one leaving the field of battle at that time should ever had to be cast in a bad light.

And those that stood and fought so some could live will never truly be honored.

We write history and history is normally only what can be agreed on, but how do you show the terror, blood and sweat. A life time of drill and training falls to the wayside at times like these and only the best can keep the terror away.

I have not forgotten the brave Zulus who fought that day, wish we knew more of their tells of the battle.

This was a clash of Iron, ancient warfare meets the modern heartless machine. The machine failed due to command and the ancient warriors won due to better command and control.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 8:59 pm

H,
Your second para. talks about "acting correctly", whatever "correctly" means.  Gardner certainly didn't act "incorrectly".
I think in fact each person acted as his conscience dictated, acted in terms of what was right for him at that moment, and as moments progressed no doubt each person's actions changed, and who are we to gainsay him?  The judgements made on the hoof (literally) in not stopping to pull up Band-Sergt. Gamble on the back of a horse, probably saved the rider's life.  The split-second decision not to stop and examine Macleroy, as Shepherd did, saved his fellow carbineer's life.  At the same time Smith-Dorrien stopped to help McDonald and it was pure chance that his life was spared (and McDonald's wasn't).  The examples of do or die from the AZW are endless and not one of us is fit to judge these men in their choice between heroism and foolhardiness, being right and being wrong, indeed one might easily argue that Smith-Dorrien, Muirhead, et al. (even Hall) were both right AND wrong in the decisions they made.
"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."


Last edited by Julian Whybra on Tue Jul 19, 2022 10:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Tellgryn




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyMon Jul 18, 2022 9:50 pm

None and repeat none of the other regular officer even thought to send word, they felt to Helpmakaar, and none thought to send word to Wood or any others.

Allan is the only officer to act as an officer should, that is why he acted correctly.

Split second choice in a matter of life and death is a horse of a far different color and matter.

This is why I posted on those that choose to stay and tried to save others with their sacrifice should be honored.

I was hoping anyone would get the difference, oh well next time live and learn.

So, I may have to go into a much longer version.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 7:44 am

Do you not think that split-second decisions were involved when Gardner stopped to write a pencilled note, order an enlisted man to take the message, and decide not to ride to RD but to Wood's camp instead? Even though he was on the Natal side of the river, he was still in danger.
You are right in saying that Gardner acted as duty dictated, call it 'correctly' if you will.
Generally speaking I find it hard to criticize anyone's actions while escaping from Isandhlwana.
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 9:25 am

Interesting comment Julian. Do you think Gardner made that decision whilst at the Fugitives Drift, ride to Wood that is?
If he did, why not send of a messenger, as he did for RD? If he had ridden direct it would have saved a lot of time and effort.
I would believe he made his choice when he saw the rather pathetic state of Helpmakaar.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 9:55 am

It is difficult for us to crtisize anyones actions that morning as (thankfully) none of us have been in that situation.
However when other officers who were there started pointing the finger and levelling accusations of cowardice then we have to look at all the survivors and their own motives of why/how they escaped.
One simple procedure is perhaps to look at the possible locations of the survivors and how easy it made  their escape.

1/ Alan was on the extreme right attempting to rally mounted men and get back to Chlemsford to warn him. After extensive field work in 2018 and 2020 I have written a short article explaining how I think when the mounted men wouldn't rally with him he was forced over the saddle south of Black's Koppie and the down onto the trail. The last Imperial Officer to leave the field.

2/ Essex and Smith Dorrien. Well as we know they were galloping about all over the field dishing out orders and ammunition etc. As directors of transport they could have made their way to the nek to rally their conductors or wagon drivers or perhaps try and get some of their wagons away. This places them in a convenient location to then head down the trail.
They appear to have acted independantly throughout the battle though and make little mention of their responsiblities as transport officers.

3/ Curling. Galloping back with the guns towards the Nek and along with his Smith continues along the trail after the guns overturn. So far so good.

4/ Cochrane. I have real problems with Cochrane.
As one of Durnford's staff, his second in command I believe during the battle, he manages to escape. Location wise he is in the right spot to get away having fallen back from various dongas towards the Nek. However his commanding officer is killed near the Nek surrounded by a a mixed bag of odds and sods. There was no need for Cochrane to be anywhere else, nor to gallop off to another location to do anything because the pocket of resistance he was in was shrinking by the minute and part of that pocket was made up of his own unit.
If he was not with him (why not) he must have seen Durnford fighting hard.
In his account he brushes over his actual location and why  he left the field concentrating on the guns. The next minute he is at the river.

In Cochrane's example none of this would matter as as stated at the beginning of this post none of us can critisize the actions of those who were there that day. However when accusations of cowerdice start flying towards other survivors then we must shine the spot light on those making those accusations.
I have fully explored the motives in Rifle and Spear and firmly believe that the cheeky, chirpy chap Cochrane who was the life and soul of the ship always ready to get up or song an entertain (Harford) was the author of the slanderous poem written about Alan.
This is the action of someone I believe trying to shift the spotlight off themselves and onto a someone less popular in order to hide their own failings. (Those who have worked in any uniformed service will know what I mean.)
As a popular character, people would have fallen in with Cochrane's views and gone along with them.
Any academic work written about Cochrane must take a long, hard, critical, look at his actions that day.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 10:12 am

Frank can I refer you to this thread in which I explain at 5.54pm why and when he left Helpmakaar
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As for sending a note to Wood from the the river bank I think this is a little bit to much to expect from him. If you look at the note he did write to Wood (page 168 Rifle and Spear) I doubt he would  have had the time to do that  with the opposite bank filling up with Zulus.

I suppose as a professional staff officer he should also have sent off  a note to Pearson down at the coast and one up to Rawlinson in the north at the same time. Perhaps even one back to Viccy informing her of what had happend Joker Joker
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 10:42 am

Hi Kate. I really am aware of your passions in defence of the Captain but should this be allowed to cloud our judgement in discussing what options were available and why they werent taken. It isnt critisism its exploring the options and potential available, the object of this forum.

Quote
As for sending a note to Wood from the the river bank I think this is a little bit to much to expect from him. If you look at the note he did write to Wood (page 168 Rifle and Spear) I doubt he would have had the time to do that with the opposite bank filling up with Zulus."
I made no mention of him writing notes, to Wood or Pearson but suggested, in response to Julians comment that I did not believe Gardner made any decision to ride to Wood whilst at the riverbank and commented that if he had then a ride direct from that point, or sending a messenger ( Note: No mention of notes) would have been quicker and carried out more in daylight. `Hence my belief he decided to warn Wood only when he arrived at Helpmakaar.

Stop being so defensive and read what is written. And preferably without the sarcasm. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 10:45 am

Frank
I think what action was required would have been in Gardner's mind all the way from FD (if he escaped at all!) probably with alternatives depending on the scenario he met en route to and at RD, at Helpmekaar, etc. - a series of decisions made on the hoof. The actual time of writing of the note is in many ways immaterial. It would have been in Gardner's mind to do so at the appropriate moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 11:07 am

Crikey Frank!! No offence meant.  Shocked Shocked
I used the two jester emojis to show this comment about Pearson, Viccy etc was made tongue in cheek not an attempt at sarcasm. I thought that is what they meant, my computer skills arn't great.
Sorry if you thought I was having a go.

Am more than happy to discuss this and hear other peoples points of view and I did read your post and tried to answer your questions in a helpful way.If you have misread this then I am sorry.

"If he did, why not send of a messenger, as he did for RD?

That messenger like the one to RD would have carried a note, hence the mention of a note.
I agree he may have thought about the other columns at the time but not knowing the route up to Wood would have dismissed going straight there. It was only once an adequate defence was established at Helpmakaar that he thought about the next thing to do, warn Wood. As we know no one would go (despite bribery) so he went himself.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 12:25 pm

Salute
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 1:25 pm

For me it’s the minutiae of the day that is of interest. I leave the serious stuff to the people more knowledgeable than I.
Its that delving into statements and interactions that point the way to trying to unravel the mysteries of the 22nd.
As a classic example I believe that Sothondo’s drift is not the glorified place where everyone crosses after completing the ‘stroll’ from the Manzimnyama. Around 150 meter to the west is the traditional crossing point and it’s from here that I believe the earlier fugitives crossed, before the route that way was closed off. This is the point I think that Gardener et al crossed, the track from that point leads over the lower gradient hill and comes out at the present gate keepers post leading into the Rattrays property.
This being one of at least three crossing points explains a great deal in the visibility or lack of for fugitives following on, it also offers a far superior view of the northern approaches to the crossing.
A long winded way really of saying Gardner from this position would have been able to appreciate more than others the potential threat to Natal. Having this kind of over view would indeed have influenced his perception of the imminent dangers and his actions from then on.
As the advancing western most elements of the chasing Zulu impi hit against the Mzinyathi and started forcing the fugitives onto the area known as the ‘sandbank’ the crossing point became more limited and crowded. Again to a great degree with the various routes leading up from the Drift it could offer reasoning behind no help being offered to Melvill and Coghill by people such as Foley. He, Foley, was directly behind Melvill in the water and would have most surely seen him in difficulties in trying to get out of the water. As M and C were washed down stream, with Higginson, they then were forced to approached the egress from the valley to the east, Foley, Brickhill etc. would have taken the direct route out of the valley as did Gardner. So a possible reason for that lack of help in their abortive escape attempt could very well have been that they were too far of the main track.
There is still a traditional path down to the river at this particular point, last time I took it I was approached by a rather disgruntled giraffe that disagreed with my right of way. I bowed to his superior frame and retreated gracefully.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 2:42 pm

Frank
You are too modest. Allow someone to say that you are more knowledgeable than most!!
From reading survivors' accounts of the FD crossing it sounds sometimes as if different places are being described and comparing those descriptions doesn't always gel. It has long been apparent that the term FD was afterwards used to refer to a stretch of the river which was a couple of hundred yards long, not one specific place - the location of FD Lodge does not help in this matter. So it doesn't surprise me, indeed it pleases me, to read your views on this subject
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 2:50 pm

julian an interesting aside to this is that this would allow a 'dryer' crossing, hence Gardner having dry paper to write on. Nothing worse than trying to write with a pencil on wet paper. Suspect
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 3:25 pm

Pertinent!
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyTue Jul 19, 2022 6:09 pm

I will leave you two to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 10:45 am

The authenticity of this letter has been called into question because of the handwriting.
This is page 5 of a letter written and signed by Bromhead

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Hand writing looks very different
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 1:13 pm

Comments from  Ian Knight about the letter.

"So who wrote the letter being offered by C&T? To all appearances it does seem to be a contemporary document, so the likelihood is that it was copied by a family member from the original letter itself, either to circulate the information within the family (no email and CC in those days!), or to preserve it as a family record. This seems to have been quite a common Victorian practise, and even within the narrow field of Rorke’s Drift studies another example survives; at the Bonhams sale of 17 December 2020 a copy of John Chard’s account of the battle, made by his sister, was sold with a number of other pieces of Chard memorabilia.

This would mean, of course, that the information within the letter is still relevant – including the light-hearted likening of barricading the hospital at Rorke’s Drift to Bromhead having as a boy been ‘a good hand in making holes in doors and walls’.

For the sake of the future record, however, it is important to record that the letter offered by C&T Auctioneers is not in Bromhead’s own hand; and for anyone interested in bidding to be aware that they are buying a contemporary copy."
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 1:58 pm

Hi Kate
I would firmly agree with Ian as to its 'hand'. If it was copied for distribution ( I have Hicks Beech letters and others that were done so ) then Im sure it would have been merely annotated as being from Bromhead rather than an attempt to copy his signature.
Its intriguing but I would not offer up my hard earned cash for it.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 2:01 pm

I agree Frank.
Even if it is copied from an original and the text is relevant, it is still a copy.
Nice to have but not worth the asking estimate.
Be intersting to see what it does go for.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 2:11 pm

For future posterity this is how the auction house describe the letter

'Battle of Rorkes Drift Historically Important Personal Letter Written by then Lieutenant, later Major, Gonville Bromhead VC, Just Days After the Heroic Defence of the Mission Station at Rorkes Drift and the Disastrous Defeat at Isandlwana in January 1879, the handwritten letter was sent to his sister from the mission station on the 3rd February 1879, some 12 days after the battle took place. He begins the letter by showing concern that a previous letter had not reached his sister, to inform her that he was safe and well. He goes onto explain how the main column was attacked by the Zulus, “The Zulus took our camp while the majority of the column were out hunting for them. Only fancy we lost 21 officers and about 600 men besides all our goods”. He tells his sister some information about his position during the battle and how he used his experiences as a child to help him complete his duty, “I was about ten miles behind guarding our stores when they came down on us but I had had one hours warning and you know I was a good hand at making holes in doors and walls when I was young at Thurlby. Well I did the same to the house I had to keep here and we kept them off till morning when the Column and the General came up and they bolted.”
The making of holes in the wall, referring to the defensive firing positions that the garrison made in the hospital and store houses at the mission station, which were used to great effect to hold off the Zulu force until they were overrun and the hospital had to be evacuated. Bromhead then tells her of the after effects of the battle on him personally, “I can’t fancy myself in civilian life again. I have not slept out of my clothes for months. We all sleep on the ground now and our toilet is a slake in the morning. What were left of us only had what we stood in – the Zulus took my camp as well as the General’s as I had to go into the house to guard it.” In a separate paragraph he writes, “We all keep in wonderful health though the weather being warm. But the flies are awful from the number of dead bodies about I suppose.” This final statement about the bodies would indicate that the dead had not been buried at this point, some days after the battle, this was because they feared that the Zulu’s would come again. Bromhead was interested in how the British public had reacted to the news from Zululand, “If they take any notice of our fighting out here at home, send me a newspaper like a good girl as I am of course curious to know what they will say about it.” He ends the letter in quite a sombre attitude, reflecting on what had happened to him and the regiment, “I have not got over the blow yet – poor fellows – I knew them all so well having been twelve years with the regiment now, and it nearly seems like some of one’s own family being cut off”. He finishes the letter and signs it off “Your loving brother – Gonville”. This is a very historically important letter, written by one of the most famous recipients of the Victoria Cross and for one of the most historically well known British battles of the Victorian era. To find original correspondence from this time giving such first hand detail is almost never encountered in the private market. The letter has been placed in a protective sleeve and comes with a full typed up translation.'
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 2:25 pm

It's a very emotional letter. I would really love it to be based on an original.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 2:34 pm

It is then apparently an anonymous copy. Made when? Contemporaneously? 10 years later? 20? 100? What's to stop my making a copy of Bromhead's or Chard's letter and selling it 140 years later? Why wouldn't such a thing command the same sort of price? After all, a copy is just that, a copy. And an alleged copy is something even worse because there's no way of proving the existence of an original.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 2:51 pm

Shades of the chap you invented for an exercise Julian. Look how that was misused. ZIBANGA?
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyWed Jul 20, 2022 3:15 pm

Wrong tree being barked up with Zabange!  He was Oliver Ransford's creation for Blackwood's Magazine.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyFri Jul 22, 2022 6:10 am

Ive written to the Auctioneers, interesting that they have received 9 objections to its authenticity.
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PostSubject: Re: Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner   Bromhead's letter and Alan Gardner EmptyFri Jul 22, 2022 6:42 am

Some of you may have already received this via Ian's website.

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The letter has now been withdrawn from sale.
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https://www.1879zuluwar.com
 
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