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Zulu War Symposium
Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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I intend arranging a residential Zulu War Symposium next year 29th September-1st October at a residential centre near Stansted airport in pleasant surroundings in the Essex countryside. There will be 3 or 4 keynote lectures (the lecturers have already been approached, are willing to proceed, and are finalizing lecture titles as I write) with in-built Q&A sessions and discussion seminars to follow. There will be a couple of side displays/activities and opportunities for participants to deliver short (20-30 min.) papers if they so wish. I would want it to run along the same lines as the Battle Conferences on Anglo-Norman Studies - so no re-enactment displays, no 'militaria' stalls - instead an opportunity to hear those engaged in research, to challenge them, discuss their views with kindred spirits in small groups, network, and put forward your own ideas. All meals and refreshments would be included and I anticipate the cost would be £130-140. There are beds for 45 people (it would be necessary to share accommodation) but realistically I'd be looking for a group of around 25-30 participants. There have been lots of attempts to do this sort of thing in the past, none of which have reached fruition, so it's important to me to see whether there is any real desire for something like this to happen (a deposit would be expected). Depending on the response I get to this posting, I will confirm the booking, pay a large deposit, finalize the content, and soon afterwards arrange for it to be advertized on a website (or on this one if Peter/Alan agree). I would hope that papers given might be published after the conference in some affordable format. Please respond to this posting even if it's a negative response. I do intend e-mailing some regular contributors direct for their views so it will save me time in the long run. I know too that this is a year off but some contributors live in far-flung parts and will need to make arrangements well in advance if they wish to attend.
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Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
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Julian

Definitely interested.

Peter
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Keith Smith


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 540
Location: Northern NSW, Australia
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Julian

Yep, I am very much interested and the distant date would suit me very well. Health matters require that I do not share accommodation but I would be happy to find my own alternate if that is OK. I look forward to hearing more when the dust settles.

KIS
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Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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I should add since a lot of people have asked that it will be possible for some to have single rooms; it will be possible for those who don't wish to share to find accommodation privately (Cambridge, Saffron Walden, Bishop's Stortford and Newport are nearby) and attend on a day basis.
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Symposium
Rich
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Julian:
If the symposium comes off and I hope it does to advance AZW scholarship, it's good to know that you will try to publish the papers.
Ed Coan


Joined: 26 Sep 2005
Posts: 18
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Just to also register my interest. Also, please see note I'm about to post about an entire weekend on the Zulu War at Missenden Abbey in Bucks next year, being given by Ian Knight.

Ed Coan
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Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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Response to this idea has been particularly encouraging with about ten identified interested participants. Around 20-25 persons are needed to break even and to create the necessary atmosphere. I must ask all those prospective participants to register a definite interest either via the forum or in a private e-mail within the next fortnight otherwise I shall not be securing the booking for the event. I look forward to a positive response. I can confirm that the two set-piece lectures for Saturday and Sunday will be as follows:

Wales & THE ZULU WAR

The paper proposed for this Colloquium is based on current research by Bill Cainan and Paul Bryant-Quinn. Our work in progress focuses on a specific region of the United Kingdom, namely Wales; the eye-witness accounts of soldiers from that region who took part in the Anglo-Zulu War; and on contemporary analysis of its implications. The war’s impact on the wider society of Wales is also considered.

A concentration on this particular area may be justified on several grounds. Following the establishment of its Depot in Brecon, by the late 1870s the 24th had recruited significant numbers of Welshmen to its ranks, and the involvement of both its battalions in the Zulu campaign entailed a high level of interest among the local English- and Welsh language newspapers and journals of the time. These actively sought material for publication from the families of soldiers serving in South Africa, thus preserving a wealth of primary sources in the form of letters in either language which would otherwise have been lost. Some of these were used by Frank Emery in The Red Soldier, but it is evident that even Emery was either unaware of the Welsh language material, or was unable to use it. Indeed, a review of the scholarly literature relating to the Anglo-Zulu War has indicated that documents in Welsh have hitherto simply not been taken into account, and that contemporary translations of these have been used without reference to the documents’ linguistic origin. As an example of this we may consider the letters sent by Owen Ellis, a private in the 1/24 killed at Isandlwana. Textual analysis showed that his letters were originally written in Welsh, and published versions of the originals were traced to Y Genedl Gymreig, a Caernarfon-based newspaper of the time. The translations used by Emery had originally been published in the North Wales Express, and proved to be both incomplete and imprecise, leading us to write an article reconsidering Pte Ellis and the involvement of C coy 1/24 in the Isandlwana campaign, which was published in the Summer 2005 edition of the British Army Review.

However, the 24th was not the only regiment in which Welshmen served, and our research has uncovered a number of other documents which have passed unnoticed. Ellis Evans, the son of a Methodist minister from Merioneth, enlisted in 2/4 Regt under the pseudonym Charles Roberts. Six of his letters to his family, written in Welsh and running to many thousands of words, shed light on aspects of the campaign in the Phongolo region, ending with the assault on Manyonyoba’s caves in September 1879. These and other finds have led us to the conclusion that the amount of documentation already available was sufficient to consider publication, and offered the prospect of further developing the project. Two initial volumes are proposed, in Welsh and English; specialists in various fields have been asked to contribute chapters on specific areas, such as the social background from which Welsh soldiers came; the extent and deployment of the Victorian army in Wales, including a survey of the Militia and Volunteer units; details of Welsh soldiers serving in the Anglo-Zulu War in units other than the 24th; and the attitude to the war itself within the two linguistic communities of Wales. Following a general appeal for information from the families of those Welshmen who served in 1879, it is possible that unpublished letters and other documents will come to light, thus adding to our understanding of the campaign itself and of those who took part in it.

Bill Cainan
M. Paul Bryant-Quinn


THE Durnford PAPERS

The paper proposed for this Colloquium is based on research by David Jackson and Julian Whybra. Our discovery of the Durnford Papers in 1989 led to the publication of an article in 1990 which has not had wide exposure. An interpretation of the contents of these documents will be presented and their impact on the conduct of the battle of Isandhlwana assessed.

Controversy raged in the aftermath of Isandhlwana as to whether documents were or were not removed from the body of Colonel Durnford with the implication that if they existed they must contain something sensational and pertinent to the disaster of the 22nd. The documents that were sent to England by the brother of the trooper who found them on the battlefield consisted of what proved subsequently to be Spalding’s message to Durnford of the 19th January and the controversial Instructions to Officers Commanding Columns entering Zululand from Chelmsford to Durnford dated the 23rd December 1878 – the only known genuine set of these orders, the existence of which was hitherto unknown. They were glued together with age, weathering, and perhaps even blood. Why had Lord Chelmsford himself, his staff and subordinates, and the other Column commanders made no reference to these Instructions at the Court of Inquiry or subsequently? Did they contain a guilty secret or evidence which it was feared might incriminate Lord Chelmsford in the light of the disaster? The reconstruction of these badly-damaged documents will be examined and there will be an opportunity to examine the correct and complete text of the documents together with photographs of the originals. The importance of these documents has largely been ignored or underemphasized by historians and it is hoped that their wider exposure in this symposium may prompt further, more enlightened, discussion as to their significance.

To these were subsequently added documents which came into the possession of the Royal Engineers’ Museum over the course of the 1880s. These included letters from Crealock, the account and map of the battle of Isandhlwana by Jabez Molife, an account of the battle by the interpreter Brickhill annotated by Lieutenant Henderson as well as two linen maps showing the progress of the battle by that officer, as well as other documents and items. The existence of all these documents was previously unknown and they too will be scrutinized to reveal their contents. Cumulatively, they were all indexed in the Museum as The Durnford Papers and left to moulder quietly for a century until we discovered them and the Museum’s scientists were able to prise them gently apart for examination.

Julian Whybra
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Julian whybra


Joined: 03 Sep 2005
Posts: 436
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I have had no new statements of interest in this proposed weekend symposium and there are insufficient positive replies to risk a firm booking. I am therefore cancelling the booking and will try again at some future date. Thanks to all who gave a positive reply.
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Zulu War Symposium
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