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Subject: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:27 pm
An interesting scenario has cropped up during my reading of the book A Guide To Military Criminal Law by Michael J. Davidson. On page 70, an incident is described which should cause a bit of discussion, I hope -
'In June 1994 a B-52 at Fairchild Air Force Base crashed, due to the unsafe flying of a pilot with a reputation for reckless and daredevil antics. The colonel commanding the group was court-martialed, and convicted, of dereliction of duty for allowing the pilot to fly after receiving information that he was reckless and for failing to inquire into the pilot's reckless reputation.'
Now, I'm not taking any sides here, and also understand this is a more modern case study. but it does beg the question, should Chelmsford have been court-martialed for dereliction of duty, going by the above example ? Namely, having Durnford not only command a column, but have him move into hostile territory in support of the invasion as an independent unit, knowing his reputation for being rash, reckless and daring. Not only he, but many knew what kind of man Durnford was, including several if not all his faults. Durnford himself could therefore be forgiven for being put into a situation like Isandhlwana, when higher command considered him able, as it was his duty to obey, not to question. So, was Chelmsford then guilty of not only selecting Durnford, but Pulliene, to be in roles beyond their personal capacity ? Any thoughts ?
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:23 pm
But it could be argued, with the rank of Colonel goes responsibilities along with a job description. The good Lord Chelmsford as far as I'm aware never promoted either of the two inquestion. So the failure to bring them up to standard required in the capacity of a colonel, would not be the fault of The Good Lord Chelmsford. It was the Military system that failed the Good Lord Chelmsford for placing them under his command.
That's why I believe the correct order issued to Durnford was to reinforce not take command. As you say The Good Lord Chelmsford knew his reputation.
Posts : 2102 Join date : 2010-07-30 Age : 54 Location : North London
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:35 pm
Another blame game question!
In a cock-up as big as iSandlwana, one person alone simply can not be to blame, but several simultaneous cock-ups have to occur simultaneously, a comedy of errors so to speak.
Blame: Chelmsford - he was ultimately i/c of the Central column and the whole invasion of Zululand, perhaps was too complacent, rash and reckless himself. Pulleine - as the OC the camp, for not reorganising the camp defences to take into account that it was now defended by half a column, not a whole one. I am not talking about laagering here, he did not have any kind of plan whatsoever. His Actions On could have been as simple as, "if we get attacked by any Zulus, let's form a square around the ammo truck." Durnford - he was the senior officer present at the camp when things started to kick off. He is to blame for NOT saying to Pulleine "get the bloody camp defences sorted, now, WTF have you been doing all night?" However, he was not an expert in infantry tactics and would probably have not known much about adequate camp defences or plans.
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:42 pm
Tasker, it is not yet another blame topic, there's been enough already. I'm talking about the comparison between the modern case study and the aftermath of Isandhlwana. It is not about blaming, but a question asking if there an official option open to the military at the time to forego a Court Of Inquiry and instead conduct an official Court Martial, allowing Chelmsford to get over his side of the story. Nothing to do with blame, but it is to do with clarity.
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:49 pm
If you follow this course, you will make it a blame topic by yourself, rather than keeping to the original question. Durnford and Pulliene are out of the equation. It is about Chelmsford's opportunity to get the facts as he would consider worthy of recording put forward in a Court Martial.
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:08 pm
I think Durnford has been through the mill enough, having himself been judged and damned by a Kangaroo Court, which is a disgrace in itself even when the victim of it is alive, but when they are absent from it due to being dead, then what must we make of that ?
Kangaroo Court - A kangaroo court or kangaroo trial is a colloquial term for a sham legal proceeding or court. The outcome of the trial by kangaroo court is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of ensuring conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defence at all.
A kangaroo court's proceedings deny, hunder or obstruct due process rights in the name of expediency. Typically, a kangaroo court will deliberately abuse one or more of the following rights of the accused :
right to hear full statement of the exact charges made against the accused. right to have adequate time and resources to prepare a defence against the charges. right to summon witnesses. right of cross-examination. right to introduce evidence which supports acquittal of the accused. right not to incriminate oneself. right not to be tried on secret evidence. right to control one's own defence. right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissable. e.g. hearsay. right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality or conflict of interest. right to have verbatim stenographic record of the trial proceedings created. right of appeal.
Source - Wikipedia.
So, was Durnford denied any of these rights ?
The subject of this topic is investigating events through the Court Martial of Lord Chelmsford, not to blame, but have clean and decent trial where all facts are heard.
Posts : 2581 Join date : 2009-04-24
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:49 pm
Well it's a good job, the Zulus prevented Durnford from leaving,or he would have been given all those rights you mentioned in his own court Martial, for desertion.
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:07 pm
CTSG, the Zulus didn't prevent Durnford from leaving, as he stayed by choice, so the word desertion doesn't really belong in this topic. Sorry I forgot to respond to your earlier post, as I got sidetracked by the other member. Ranks are just ranks, but you'll find men of the same rank, no matter how high, don't necessarily have the same personalities or qualities that got them to that position. Some may excel in one area while others excel in other areas. Out of curiosity, I asked this already, but why do you have Chelmsford termed a scapegoat in your username ?
Drummer Boy 14
Posts : 1998 Join date : 2011-08-01 Age : 23
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:11 pm
I agree with Colin j.
CTSG, Durnford decided to stay at Isandlwana, the Zulus did not trap him.
I remember reading an acccount from one of Durnfords african sergants begging him to ride away with them, when he didnt the man rode off. If the Sergant could escape then so could Durnford.
Posts : 116 Join date : 2011-06-17
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:06 am
Chelmsford deserved to be court martialed for many things.
Posts : 7703 Join date : 2009-09-21 Age : 73 Location : Cape Town South Africa
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:12 am
As long as there are impassioned ( blinkered ) defenders of the individual there will be the Blame Game. Not one of the key participants in that era can walk away with any form of dignity.
Chelmsford should, as Senior Military Officer, been made to face an enquiry. Other than the parliamentary attempt.
To try and charge Durnford with desertion is quite frankly a product of a moribund mind. Desertion from where? To where?
If Durnford had lived its possible that his orders of 'Reinforce the camp' could have been brought up to show that he was derelict in responsibility in not doing so.
Pullein cant be charged with anything except being to inflexible.
Posts : 2102 Join date : 2010-07-30 Age : 54 Location : North London
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:23 am
Colin's wikipedia definition of a kangaroo court, does by definition, mean that Durnford, Pulleine et al were and are being tried by kangaroo court, whenever their actions are discussed. Being dead, they were never able to defend themselves, their actions or decisions at the time. Chelmsford at the time, blamed Durnford and was ridiculously successful, perhaps due to his very cosy relationship with the Queen, in deflecting any share of the blame away from himself. I think he should have been court-martialled and every line of enquiry explored. Today, a loss of life on that scale would precipitate all of the above for the man in overall charge, but as i am frequently reminded of on here, things were very different back in Victorian times. The life of a soldier was much cheaper then. Yes, the public was horrified back then, but "horrified" back then would not have been quite the same thing as "horrified" today. I think Chelmsford got off too lightly. I think he should of course been court martialled. But we can't apply today's standards to those times.
Subject: Re: Should Chelmsford Have Been Court-Martialed ? Wed Oct 05, 2011 3:24 pm
Eric, the charge would be Dereliction Of Duty, but any related issues would be listed as the Specifications of that charge, which could be quite a few.