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 The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913

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Brett Hendey
barry
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barry

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PostSubject: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Nov 15, 2012 11:46 am

Hi All,
There  have have been some question on this forum from time to time about the origins of this work by Holt and I think it appropriate and usefull to inform those interested, how it came into being.
At about the time of the publication of the "Mounted Police of Natal" , in 1913, the erstwhile Natal Mounted Police, having become the Natal Police in their latter years were about to be absorbed into the SA Constabulary which was formed post Union. So, the then OC, NP, Col W.J.Clarke decided it was time for a NMP/NP Regimental history  covering the whole life of this force from the time when Maj Dartnell brought it into being, ie post its existence as The Natal Volunteers, under Maj Giles.

H. P Holt an English author, was invited to visit colonial Pietermaritzburg to do the job. He duly came out to Natal and  was introduced to all the available contributors and taken on a guided tour of the AZW battlefields by Col Clarke. Many of the contributors referred to had actually survived the AZW and were available to tell their stories to Holt, first hand.

Further, Holt was given access to the NMP Regimental archives  in Pietermaritzburg in order to gather more first  hand facts, this included findings of courts of inquiry and courts marshall. Most importantly he was given access to the extensive war diaries written at the time of the action and reports, of both Dartnell and especially Clarke's, both of whom were of  members of the "Dartnell Patrol".

Thus, words taken from these two men, could not be closer to real facts surrounding the  operations of the NMP, as seen at the time by these soldiers. Whilst giving his accounts to Holt, Dartnell felt  so strongly about the misreport that he had called for re-inforcements from Chelmsford on the night of 21/01/79, which he had not, that he made  specific mention of it on page 58,  in an attempt to correct the record which seemed to have been skewed by latter day historians quoting third hand sources and thus perpetuating fallacial issues. This is just another case of how the real facts are lost in the mists of time.

On returing to England Holt visited Dartnell  in Folkestone, where he had retired,  and  the latter wrote the preface to the book. Col Clarke edited the work later that same year in Pietermartzburg.

To date there has not been other work done on the regimental history of the NMP/NP, but there is a plan to change that shortly.

regards

barry


Last edited by barry on Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Brett Hendey

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The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyFri Nov 16, 2012 6:45 am

Hi Barry

Thank you for posting that clarification on Holt's book. It is good to have the facts recorded.

Regards
Brett
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyFri Nov 16, 2012 9:57 am

Thanks Barry. Do we have to wait long for this planned revision.
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barry

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PostSubject: The natal Mounted Police of Natal, by Holt   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyWed Nov 21, 2012 4:14 am

Hi Brett /Admin

Thanks for your responses and apologies for the delay in writing this.
I have just returned from a few days in your neck of the woods Brett, and Zulu country.
Work was started on the revision earlier this year and is already well advanced. A completion date and final content has not been finalised however, but do not expect results before mid 2013.

regards,

barry


Last edited by barry on Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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Brett Hendey

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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyWed Nov 21, 2012 5:30 am

Barry

Definitely something to look forward to. I hope you were well treated when you visited the Kingdom of the Zulu. Next time let me know and perhaps we can arrange a meeting.

Regards
Brett
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barry

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PostSubject: The Mounted Police of Natal, by Holt   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyWed Nov 21, 2012 11:06 am


Hi Brett,
Yes, my visits to n.Kzn are always enjoyable and an ideal opportunity to practise the lingua franca. As always, conversing in the mother tongue also improves the levels of hospitality and service.
Thanks for the invite to call on you, next time down that way I will do so.

regards

barry
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ymob

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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 5:17 pm

barry wrote:
Hi All,
There  have have been some question on this forum about the origins of this work by Holt and I think it Thus, words taken from these two men, could not be closer to real facts surrounding the  operations of the NMP, as seen at the time by these soldiers. Whilst giving his accounts to Holt, Dartnell felt  so strongly about the misreport that he had called for re-iinfocements from Chelmsford on the night of 21/01/79, which he had not, that he made  specific mention of it on page 58,  in an attempt to correct the record. This is just another case of how the real facts are lost in the mists of time.

regards

barry


Bonsoir,

As you know CLERY, MILNE and GLYN all wrote that DARTNELL had requested reinforcement (British coys).
More interesting, there is a testimony by S.B. JONES, a tropper of the Newcastle Mounted Rifles.
JONES was the "special" galloper of DARTNELL during the recognition (the 21 january) because he has "the finest mount in the column".
His brother, CJ JONES was Lieutenant and second in command in the same unit.
SB JONES said that during the recognition "a message was sent to the camp for reinforcements in the shape of two companies and two guns".
The memory of JONES is probably faulty about the guns:his testimony was collected for the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Isandhlwana.

Cheers

Frédéric

Source: journal of the AZWRS (Mr john Young) "We saw red by SB JONES", vol. 2 issue 1 / The "Natal Mercury" , Thursday 22 january 1929
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 6:16 pm

Hi Frederic

If you look at the actual words used by Holt in his book (on page 54 of the 1913 edition) what he says is this.

"In many accounts of the Zulu War it is stated that he (Dartnell) appealed for reinforcements, but this is incorrect. He had decided to attack the Impi at dawn, adding that a company or two of the 24th Regiment might instil confidence in the Native Contingent, but whether they came or not the attack would be made at 6 am."

So, did he ask for two companies or did he not?  It seems he thought it would be a good idea!

PS  It is interesting to note that both Dartnell and Durnford asked for two companies of the 24th to stiffen up their Native Contingents. On the one hand Durnford is refused and on the other Chelmsford takes out half the force! Perhaps, if Chelmsford had reacted in a more measured way to Dartnell's request, there would have been more troops left in the camp to provide a defence.

Steve
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90th

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PostSubject: The Mounted Police of Natal , H.P. Holt    The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 8:39 pm

Hi Steve
I don't really think another 100 or so troops would've made any difference if they had stayed in the camp , once it was not fortified it was a case of '' All over Red Rover '' ! . The battle would have lasted longer , and more people from both sides would've been killed etc , but no change to the outcome in my humble opinion .
Cheers 90th Salute
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 9:29 pm

From memory there is another topic somewhere on this forum about the question: did Dartnell ask for two companies or did he not?(Steve). Unfortunately, i have not found it before sending my previous post (with a hot debate it seems to me between Mr Whybra and Barry or Brett).
SB Jones had a great respect for Dartnell. He wrote about him: "I would like to say here that he was one of the finest soldiers the British army ever produced and he was a man of whom it could be truly said that he was absolutely fearless" (Natal Mercury, 22 January 1929).
HOLT wrote that DARTNELL didn't ask for British companies.
But he is alone.
To my knowledge, all the others testimonies said that DARTNELL asked  for reinforcements (2 or 3 British coys).

I.E: Interesting point: I had not made the connection between the demand made respectively by Dartnell and Durnford: common point between the two men, they did not have British infantry under their commmand.

Cheers

Frédéric




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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 9:37 pm

Hi Gary/Frederic

There is no doubt that the odds were against the camp surviving so you may well be right. But, four more available companies of the 24th would mean that Durnford could have had his reinforcements and sending just two companies to Dartnell could have been done quite quickly. In both instances this may have bolstered the nerve of the native companies who may not have dispersed quite so quickly. We know that Durnford had some success in holding the left horn for a while. Two companies of 24th could have made a big diference and allowed a better disposition of the other companies. In other words it could have had a bigger effect than we think and made other options available to Pulleine.

Both Dartnell and Durnford knew what they needed - they might just have been right.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 10:08 pm

The retirement of all companies of infantry in the firing line was ordered after Durnford was overwhelmed.
If Durnford could have had two companies with him, he would (maybe) not have been overwhelmed...
But but what these 2 companies (remember: on foot / I have in mind the fatal fate of the rocket battery and the NNC) would have been able to return to the "security" of the camp?
I have some doubts that "the firing line" (facing the right horn and chest) would have resisted in the absence of two companies (with Durnford).
Interesting point...
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 10:35 pm

Yes it's all speculation but I think you can make a case. Durnford's two companies would not have gone forward with him to the Quabe. They would have been in support in his rear so that he could fall back through their position if need be.  There would also have been two more companies available for the chest and right horn firing line. Still very difficult but you never know.

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptySat Jan 09, 2016 11:19 pm

Bonsoir,

From Inspector G. MANSEL, N.M.P (letter to Edward DURNFORD, 23rd November 1879):

" (...) That night [I.E: 21/22 January], Major DARTNELL sent off messengers to Lord CHELMSFORD that he had marked the Zulus down in a Kloof and asked for two companies of Infantry to be sent out as support and that he would attack the Zulus in morning".

Quoted in "Selects Documents" by Keith Smith p.98-99 / KCAL, Wood papers, file 32, KCM 89/9/32/10

Cheers

Frédéric

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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptySun Jan 10, 2016 11:18 am

Good morning Frederic

That pretty much co-incides with what Holt's book says, but it omits the reference to Dartnell saying he would attack anyway, whether he received the two companies or not. There is a huge discrepancy though between Dartnell's limited request and Chelmsford taking half his force out of camp in response. That is something we might explore in more depth as part of Frank's new thread?

Steve
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PostSubject: Re: The Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913   The  Mounted Police of Natal. H.P Holt 1913 EmptySun Jan 10, 2016 11:29 pm

Bonsoir Steve,
My point is that all the testimonies suggest that CHELMSFORD (and the others witnesses) have never read (or heard) this sentence: "but whether they (I.E: reinforcements) they came or not the attack would be made at 6 a.m.")...which makes a huge difference for LC!!!!

Cheers.

Frédéric
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