By forum member Krish.
Hi, I have joined your group, but wanted to let you know that i am Col Anthony William Durnford
's 2nd cousin, and have been writing our family history since King William.
Until 4 weeks ago, I like my fellow cousins here in Australia, thought that Anthony was responsible for the death of so many in 1879. Growing up it was a case of "not mentioning him"
I have been a family researcher for 6 years or so, almost full time over the past 2, and have completed most family lines. When doing my maternal line, I avoided Anthony, and when it came to do his story, I decided to just present both battles, and the bio of Chelmsford and Anthony. Then I began research, and I became very distressed at what people were saying about him. Not nice at all.
I then worked everyone around him, and started with the newspapers as I find there is more truth in those old stories than is found now.
I found a series of questions asked by Edward his brother to Chelmsford. It took 30 sec to realise that something was wrong.
Research involves steep learning curves, reading everything possible on the subject, dedication and forming an opinion, asking questions, or Why? Well my whys were extensive.
I like most have absolutely no idea about what should or should not have been done by whom under the conditions that were faced. But the battle was a mere snapshot of a life, and it was that 4 hours that was the focus of everyone's opinions.
To put the whole story into perspective a thorough knowledge of the background of the person, the events prior to or before, and an idea of their personality is most necessary.
As his direct relative, I had extensive family knowledge again not just bits and pieces picked out of selected stories nearly all of which focused on purported and quite often incorrect material.
I deal with facts, and like to prove my Whys or often to "join the dots". But in all the 140+ stories of our ancestors, never have I recognised in any of them, many of the same personality traits as I did with Anthony. I checked with another cousin and he also saw, both he and his brothers similarities. There were physical similarities also.
I understood many of the things he did, as the ones I do as well. I call it the Durnford
determination. Anthony had it, but perhaps he was a bit more passionate about the locals, again I had that same passion when living with for 2 years in Bougainville. Some of them "get under your skin", I had the same types of arguments in 1981 as he did in 1874. Edward had it, he sought answers to the end, to prove a case for someone wronged. I have that in me also, and have in my working career undertaken many such issues.
I have had assistance from Julian Whybra, and I have my copy of the book, coupled with extensive reading of thesis, writings of John Colenso, of Frances her book, Frances and Edwards book, one day my copy of The Chief will arrive, and relevant information from The Ruin of Zululand.
What Edward started, I aim to finish. I have written his story in 20 parts, as the whole family history is still work in progress, I have loaded one story per day. I am awaiting some further material which I hope will answer a couple of my, at present unanswered Whys. I knew when I formed my own opinion that I would cop "flack" - what would she know - etc etc etc I will be branded as they did of Frances, a "female point of view" . Having said that, I have also included in the chapters, items from the newspapers which support what is written, my role also I describe as being the "collator of information"
Even the Durnford
family website is incorrect, as are so many biographies, forums, discussions, etc. The task is not a small one. But I am so thankful that as "the keeper of the family story" that we can be proud of Anthony, not shun him as he has been in the past.
Do I think there was a coverup? Absolutely, was Chelmsford involved? Absolutely. He couldn't wait to get back to Frere to concoct a story, he rode away so quickly he didn't even appoint anyone to take command
He organised an enquiry or Frere did, all the commanders miraculously wrote their reports almost within 48 hours of battle, except Glyn, did they confer, absolutely, all the stories were the same, he sent a telegraph to London, then holds the enquiry, but makes sure that his despatches, 3 bags/packets, are sealed and shipped to London, arriving after the hearing. . Did he know the 2.00 am orders would not be found, absolutely, my why is still "In Progress" 20th Aug 1880 he presents a report to House of Lords, 21st Aug the newspapers write a scathing report about Crealocks pocket book, and the differing orders, and state how the pocket book was now with the authorities. Did Chelmsford know, of course he did. Then Crealock remains silent, something tipped Edward, he meets Crealock reads the 2.00am order, and proceeds with his now strong case. Was the order presented and discussed on 21st August the order that Edward saw, apparently not. What did Crealock do, he said absolutely nothing. What did Chelmsford do, absolutely nothing. This is all written, not something I dreamt up, but with family knowledge I can connect some dots that are other's suppositions about events in 1886. Shepstone, Chelmsford and Frere all hated Anthony.
So you see why I will cop flack.
It is my aim that the chronological narrative of the life of Anthony William Durnford
will be the one place where everything that can possibly be found relating to him can be sourced.
I thought it best if I gave you this background, and you can do what you like with it if you wish to start a discussion. My last post dealt with Bushman's River Pass, and I am coming very close to the events of January, and I guess the aftermath, which is were so much discussion arises.
The site is www.edurnford.blogspot.com
, and the stories are loaded there as well.