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The Defeat Of History
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Smile ,
Most likely forum you are aware of this item ( ? ) ,it`s from that excellent society , The South African Military Society , Military History Journal Vol 10 No 4 by Patrick Hale , i mention for those who may not have read it before and if not perhaps comments from Peter Ewart , Harman , Mike Snook , Michael Boyle and the like would be welcome , i am not sure if this has been raised elsewhere on the forum but intend to print it and read it more closely , my thanks for my contact in Essex in bringing it to my attention , " Sapper " . Cool
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Michael Boyle


Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 595
Location: Bucks County,PA,US
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Sapper

Let's make it a bit easier - http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol104fh.html

I'll read over it again after a good night's sleep!

Best

Michael
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Gratitude
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Smile ,
Dear Michael ,
I see you get up very early ( or is it indicating the time because the time clock has not been adjusted on the site ? ) . Thank you for the link , i hope those who have not seen it will now ," zoom " in and read this . I think Zulu can be " blamed " for the interest , the intense interest in the Anglo Zulu War of 1879. We can discuss individual persons , conflicts , medals , awards etc till the cows come home ( i never knew they were away ! ) . How you address a holder of a VC / DCM ( i wonder if anyone holds both ? ) , when a man got promoted , are badges of gallantry pertinent and a whole bunch of issues are what this forum / site is all about . There has even been a link to Jack The Ripper on this site ! .

I hate the word , " expert " , i prefer , those with knowledge myself , these learned folk keep us in check when statements are made or queries lodged . Others like myself get into period uniforms and when able go round the country and even abroad to keep the memory of these events alive , not to glorify war but to honour brave men such as the recent event at Ruddington who now can boast quite rightly that they have no less than THREE FORMER defenders who were at Rorke's DRIFT . This matches the cemetery in Newport who also have three defenders buried there .

The last time i was in Trefnant North Wales the small iron cross indicating the burial site of L / Sgt James Taylor , another defender was missing , the grave of Cpl John French recently confirmed , many others yet to have a marker or indeed to be discovered , will Pte { Cpl } William Roy DCM have his records adjusted to show his correct place of birth ? ( Portmoak Nr Loch Leven ) instead of the oft published Edinburgh or Dundee ? . For the record that individual enlisted in Edinburgh and lived in Dundee , buried in New South Wales in Australia in the Baptist section of Parramata Cemetrey , Roy was in fact a Presbyterian , will he ever get due recognition i wonder ? , such is the stuff of this site and individuals who contribute . I hope before FINAL ROLL CALL i will visit the battlefields that have captured my imagination alongside many others , thank you once again for that link Michael , " S Smile apper "
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Graham,

Wonder no more, one springs readily to mind Drummer Dudley Stagpoole, V.C., D.C.M., 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment.

D.C.M. - Kaipakakopako, New Zealand, 25th September, 1863, despite having been wounded in the head, twice volunteered and brought in wounded men.

V.C. - Pontoko, New Zealand, 2nd October 1863, together with Ensign John Thornton Down, also of the 57th, volunteered despite heavy enemy fire to rescue a wounded soldier.

The rumour is that despite Stagpoole performing two V.C.-worthy acts it was thought wrong for him to have two V.C.'s, or so I was led to believe.

John Y.
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HARMAN
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Sapper take a look at American perspective on our Film ZULU
Time to rally the troops.

Not quite like their 1960 Alamo Directed by John Wayne. With John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Laurence Harvey. Embarassed

Zulu IMDB Link
Directed By: Cy Endfield
Written By: Cy Endfield & John Prebble
Starring: Michael Caine, Stanley Baker

To me, Michael Caine is like Weezer, you don’t have to love him but I’ve never met anyone that hates him. It also helps that I love saying “He uses a double!” in his voice a lot. Zulu was his first major motion picture and he has a lot of great lines consisting of “jolly good sir” and “right-o”. The best way to describe Zulu is it’s an old British 300, where the 300 consist of 140 British Colonial troops and the Persians consist of 4,000 African Zulu tribe members. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if this was the first film to have the tracking shot of 1,000’s of men bearing down on men refusing to budge. In fact I would be hard pressed to say that Zulu didn’t influence many film-makers in how to depict these epic types of battles.
The film is shot like a David Lean film with very sparse close-ups, very little overt camera movement, massively large panoramic shots and lots of characters. The difference is Zulu lacks that David Lean charm but it still has a lot of good things going for it. I remember watching British films in my well, British film class and found the difference in culture pretty hilarious. For example, in an American film, when a soldier is shipping off to war the music ramps up, there is an emotional embrace and we watch our hero fade into the distance. In a British film it was , “Alright, chip-cheerio off to war now” and the wife would give him a peck on the cheek like he was going to the dentist. It’s this kind of Britishery(real word?) that makes Zulu entertaining when it finally gets going. I say finally because the first half of this film is painstakingly slow setting up the big battle. But when the poor goes down it’s non stop and you can see the Brits still trying to retain their stoic weird jovial nature. I swear to god I was waiting for them to break out into tea-time in the middle of battle.
Here are my problems with the movie. I know Seven Samurai came before it so all they had to do was copy a lot of the same things but they refused to. None of the British soldiers showed any sign of toughness or courage pre-fight, there was no set-up, meaning they didn’t lay down awesome traps or have a cool battle plan and none of the characters are really flushed out. To make things worse is I found myself rooting for the Zulu most of time. I like how the Zulu actually had some interesting tactics. For one, when they attack, all the soldiers yell “zulu” over and over and it’s actually kinda scary. Not only were they intimidating but they had innovative strategies as well. The Zulu were using pincer attacks, sacrificing soldiers to find out how many guns the British had, had fake out flanks and even used the British guns against them. However, these minor qualms come from the fact that it’s based on a real historical event and also the filmmakers were clearly not trying to make the film one-sided but rather just depicting a famous battle. You could even say that my qualms might be victories in the film-makers eyes.
The major thing that I liked that Zulu did was it made the religious figures, a priest and his daughter in this instance, really annoying. It’s rare in old films that they will take any shots at religious figures and it was great to see him get drunk and just act plain stupid and cowardly. It also cut out the bullshit. There wasn’t a big battle of who was in charge, there wasn’t a big emotional scene with someone breaking down, there wasn’t some slow-motion crazy attack, there wasn’t a romance that had no place in a war film and there wasn’t political turmoil thrusting it forth. It was just a war movie depicting a battle.
At first this didn’t sit to well with me since war films usually have an agenda but then I thought “why” and after thinking about it for a while, I’m OK with it. I like how Zulu was just a simple war film about the Brits prevailing under crazy odds even if I was secretly rooting for the Zulu. The film was made by the Brits and I can’t fault it for being so British. I’m used to the American war films so it was refreshing to see it differently and it worked. There aren’t many movies where you can see stark white Brits saying “jolly good” in the middle of a 140 to 4,000 battle against an African Zulus. There’s only“ one thing left to quote.

“He uses a double!” — Michael Caine in The Prestige

By the The Dark Knight (2008)
Plain English ? .
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Smile ,
Dear John ( Young ) , i am amazed there is a recipient out there ( Drummer Stagpoole who not only holds the VC but the DCM as well ! , truely amazing i would of thought ? , and those who sent " Tommy Atkins " into war , then and now did not see it fit that is , " not right to issue him with another VC " , it is a rare creature who had a bar to their VC , issued but three times and most likely never again , EVER i would have thought ? . Trousers : Have been notified by holder of the breeches of them John , thank you once again , hopefully will add the stripes to my current infantry pattern ones. Talking of BARS , was this practice initiated during the Cardwell reforms ? . As seen they were in existence at the time of the Egypt War ( 1882 ) but not during / end of Zulu War ? , can you enlighten such as me ? . I believe the , " birth " of the VC was partly to give the common / ordinary man due recognition for bravery or valour as officers were given accolades but not the enlisted , " grunt " to use an American term . To " rubbish " in todays terms the award of medals or even Good Conduct stripes shows a narrow mind as far as i am concerned John . When i was presented with ( re-enactment ) two good conduct stripes at Brecon by Lt COL BEARD IN FULL DRESS UNIFORM no less , i was more proud that day than getting chevrons as a regular soldier , it gave me a sense ( still does ) of pride that i was thought worthy enough to receive them , i wore them with pride , if someone thinks so little of medals , decorations such as this even as a re-enactor then it begs the question , why are you a re-enactor sporting badges of rank & good conduct stripes then ? . Thank you again for the trousers , Sapper . Smile


Peter ( Harman ) . There is an , " arguement " on this forum about " Zulu " and a possible remake after 44 years or a series of films depcting the Zulu War of 1879 . Accuracy and realism were not top of the list when the film was made in the 60`s as you know , in fact the whole and varied opinion about Rorke's Drift and it`s participants is both ridiculed and praised in this forum , guess which camp i am in ? . Can i suggest you look at the link ( The Defeat of History in the film " Zulu " by Frederick Hale ) as indicated elsewhere by Michael Boyle . It has a " pop " over the film but gives an in-depth opinion about Otto Witt and his daughter , linking the roles in Zulu to Witt & his daughter . There are some classic words in this 10 pager that i am still working out ! , such as , " Manichaean confrontation " , historiographic value " , " historical fact was sacrificed on the altar of domestic politics " , ( i like that one ) , "historicity of Zulu " , " overall verisimilitude of the film " , " pulchritudinous Swedish actress " , " throughgoing pietist " and my favourite , " quasi-pietistic proclivities " , the article finishes with the line , " Prebble & Endfield condemn a chapter of South African & Swedish missions history to the Inferno of historical absurdity " . When you have read ( and understood this item and i am struggling to do so ! ) this piece Peter , please come back and comment on it , cheers ," S Smile apper "
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Further to my last .
Sapper Mason


Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 333
Location: ANGLESEY
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Smile,
Dear Peter ( Harman ) , further to my last input i have read again your point about the American slant on things , perhaps our Cousins over the Big Pond can`t grasp our fervour in not only Rorke's Drift but our perceptions of things military ? . I think the saddest aspect of both American & British history was the respective Civil Wars both countries endured when Brother turned aganst Brother . However that is another set of arguements , this site is dedicated to the Anglo Zulu War of 1879.

I am trying hard to understand the points raised by Frederick Hale in his article, I applaud his expose of Otto Witt , i learnt something new there , he does state he is looking into that particular aspect in conjunction with, " Zulu " . I think it however would have been more digestable had he stuck to plain terminology ( plain English ) , but that is just my opinion Peter . It would appear ( to me anyhow ) that i have a Champion in the cause of accuracy and realism when it comes to , " Zulu " and i give you an example or two Peter . I still however rate , " Zulu " as MY MAIN FILM and will always do so . I quote from the article .

1. In talking about Ian Knight , " He emphasises that , apart from details of uniforms and some of the British military equipment , as well as a general cinematic licence with regard to the grandeur of the setting and related matters , Zulu was an essentially realistic production of historiographic value " .
2. " I shall argue that screen - writer John Prebble and director Cy Enfield were simply out of their depth in seeking to depict this fundamental aspect of the events surrounding the battle and that , consequently they produced an absurd caricature of the Witts and their mission. Going beyond that , i shall indicate what Otto Witt`s historical place is on the basis of fairly extensive contemporay documentation , but how he himself created the original caricature of his role in the prelude to the battle " .
3. " those segments of, " Zulu " that deal explicitly with Otto Witt and his daughter are a caricature of enormous proportions which compromises the overall verisimiltude of the film " .
4. " With this bizarre representation of the Witt family in the cast and considering the apparent ignorance of Prebble & Endfield which underlies it , the deck is arguably stacked against historical accuracy in " Zulu " . . Indeed , not only what the Witts are but also most of what they do in the film flies in the face of documentable reality " .

I will leave the quotes there Peter but he leaves in no doubt of his feelings regarding Otto Witt and his daughter and how they are portrayed in , " Zulu " . He does appear to champion , reality and accuracy , something i do as is recorded elsewhere in this forum . I would be very interested once you have read the article ( and others ) for your opinion( s ), i have events lined up during the year and will do my best to attend and applaud those who carry out diligent research and at the end of the day such as Pte James Marshall received his accolade and forever we will see , " Rorke's Drift defender " on his headstone . There are many others still to have this accolade , let alone be discovered Peter , the search continues ! , " Sapper " Smile
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Sawubona


Joined: 09 Nov 2005
Posts: 1179
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I've long been of the opinion that the characterization of Otto Witt by Prebble and Enfield was greatly influenced by Bishop John Colenso. The latter was likewise a clergyman with a daughter closer to the proper age than the historical Witt, who stubbornly expresses a deep respect for the Zulus and their culture and a skeptical attitude towards the British motives and means. Am I alone in this camp? Coincidence?

If one is looking for gratuitous romance in Zulu, one need only acquire the Dell Movie Classic tie-in comic book, which, as I understand it, was produced before the closing scenes of the movie were ruthlessly edited out before final release. Sheldon Hall discusses it as well of course. Chard and Margareta? Come now!
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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Graham,

Be prepared to further amazed.

Here's another and with some interesting connections as well.

Private Francis Wheatley V.C., D.C.M., 1st Battalion [although one source states the 2nd Battalion] (The Prince Consort's Own) Rifle Brigade.

D.C.M. Before Sebastopol 9th November, 1854.

V.C. Before Sebastopol 10th November, 1854. Where he grabbed a live, fused shell and hurled out of the British trench.

Private Wheatley was born in the now well-known town to Anglo-Zulu War enthusiasts of Ruddington, Nottinghamshire.

He died in 1865 and is buried in the Brompton Cemetery, West London, the last resting-place for many an Anglo-Zulu War veteran; including a former Staff Officer from the Crimean War, who would become the 2nd Baron Lord Chelmsford.

John Y.
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Barbara Grant
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Sapper,

Very much in agreement that the saddest wars are those between brethren.

Peter Harman,

Of course you understand that the review you linked (I have no idea who the reviewer is; anybody can review a film) is just one American's opinion. However I do agree that the cultural differences between Americans and Britons are fascinating. One sees that in numerous films; I'm thinking particularly (though perhaps most forum members don't view such movies) of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" based on a C. S. Lewis novel which was in theatres here several years ago. Well, four little London children who were being sent out to the countryside during the Blitz showed that "stiff upper lip" trait and maybe some of the younger ones shed a few tears at being separated from their mother but I don't remember the older children crying. I, however, was grabbing for any bit of Kleenex I'd carried with me, and was uncertain whether I'd be able to enjoy the remainder of the film.

On a comical note, there is a wonderful piece in "My Fair Lady," I think the song is called "Ascot Opening Day." Very well-dressed ladies and men are observing a horse race, and the line runs something like, "Heartbeats...speed up...I have never been so keyed up!" Of course their faces displayed no emotion whatsoever, which was probably an attempt by the lyricist to satirize that well-known British reserve.

Barbara
Peter Ewart


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

Something in the water at Ruddington, evidently!

Sawubona

Taking all things into consideration, especially the time at which the film was made, I think those responsible may well have wanted to represent - somehow - the anti-war side of the argument (fashionable in the 1960s but represented in Natal in 1879 only by the Colenso faction) and it appears they decided that the clergy would fit the bill. If they wanted someone geographically closer to the action than Colenso, it had to be a missionary in or near Zululand. They would have looked long and hard before they found one - not only because they'd nearly all decamped by Jan 1879, but because most of them appear to have favoured war with Cetshwayo by late 1878, rather than protested against it.

I suppose choosing Witt meant they could portray someone close to the scene of operations, but - as you know - there the realistic comparison ends. Sitting alongside the king watching his warriors dance was a not infrequent pastime of Norwegians, Germans and British up to the 1870s, but certainly not after 1877. I think you are right that Hawkins (Witt) suited the need for a pacifist protest. Good for the film - arrant nonsense otherwise. Hawkins was so furious at how his scenes eventually came out (although I can't see why) that he stormed out of the London premiere in disgust and rage, only to creep back to his seat with his tail between his legs when he realised no-one had noticed his protest!

Witt's life and work is well documented in the archives of the Swedish and Norwegian missionary societies. He joined the Free East Africa Mission (FEAM) in the 1890s but, by and large, stumbled inconsequently around Zululand and Natal in the years after he left R/Drift.

Peter
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HARMAN
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Rorke’s Drift is still in the record books today as the most Victoria Crosses awarded for valour in combat, in one single battle the film pays the utmost respect for those men who held and held and held, even when it could be thought it was pointless to do so any more. And it has an absolute brilliant ending that manages to be terrifying, distressing and strangely uplifting and respectful.
If there's one film that makes me proud to be British, it's 'Zulu'. And all patriotism aside, you can't claim to be knowledgeable about war films unless you've seen it. If they gave out certificates for films that could be termed classics, 'Zulu' would be the first in line.

It immortalised the exploits of the soldiers, many of them Welsh, from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment of Foot.
John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 982
Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Peter H.,

Re-your quote Rorke’s Drift is still in the record books today as the most Victoria Crosses awarded for valour in combat, in one single battle...

We have been down this route before here's one of my own from a previous posting:5th November 1854 the Battle of Inkerman, Crimea - 19 Victoria Crosses. 18th June 1855 The Redan, Sebastopol - 16 Victoria Crosses. 16th November 1857 the 2nd Relief of Lucknow, Indian Mutiny - 17 Victoria Crosses on that day alone. By my maths that makes Rorke's Drift the 4th highest number.

As to many of them Welsh, let's not go there either!

Peter E.

Yes, there must be!

John Y.
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Barbara Grant
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Peter Harman,

I can't say that the film "Zulu" makes me proud to be British, because I am not British and will never be; nevertheless, having been required to watch the film initially as a young American girl, and later having viewed it many times on my own volition, I would be proud to stand up alongside those of that background and toast the men of the 24th.

The defence of Rorke's Drift was an amazing victory; I can only admire those on your side of our pond who defended it, against all odds, and stood fast.

Regards,

Barbara
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Thanks again John for correcting me. However in my opinion the battles you mentioned were on a much larger scale.
I have not done a great deal of research into them so I won’t dispute what you say.

But I do believe after the Crimea the Queen awarded 61 VCs in just ten minutes

My interests are with those that defended Rorke’s drift.
The Defeat Of History
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