rorkesdriftvc.com Forum Index


rorkesdriftvc.com
Discussions related to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Mike S

Welcome. You have sorely been missed by many/all members of this forum.

Apparently, judging by posts, I'm the guilty party for making you leave/stop posting. Unfortunately, I disagree, blaming it instead on my convincing argument which you had no answers for that were satisfactory.

Your unexpected post now, follows the same path as a few years ago, as you are quoting Wolseley again as you did before you left, forgetting that you constantly mentioned you disliked the man greatly, which I reminded you of when you quoted him already regarding Durnford. Obviously, in the time that has passed since, you have forgotten what he said on seeing what was happening to Carey after the Prince Imperial was killed.

Henderson ? - of course, the man who survived. And who, pray tell me, witnessed his facial expressions, mindset and control of emotions during the battle, rather than him distancing himself from his commanding officer and deflecting from his own actions - convenient, eh ?

BTW - you aren't keeping on topic. What if Colonel Durnford had been a 24th officer, would you be keeping posting this nonsense about him ?

Your last sentence is pointless.

Coll

PS. Strangely, this topic was to activate this pond (forum) again, to hopefully get the fish (members) to post again. I never expected to catch a great white shark.
Simon


Joined: 26 Feb 2007
Posts: 95
Reply with quote
Hmmm....interestingly enough, despite his family home being a couple of miles from where I live.....Sir Garnet was also 'Irish'....

I haven't looked at this forum for many months and despite the many good posts (and posters)....I find that 'we' are still Durnford obsessed and to put it mildly - somewhat offensive.

I shall now attempt to leave this 'pond' and swim on....if I can't manage that would the Admin please put me out of Coll's misery.

Thank you for your help and patience with my 'unanswerable' questions.

Simon
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Alan
Site Admin

Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1418
Location: Wales
Reply with quote
Simon,

I replied to your email before seeing your post.

_________________
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailVisit poster's website
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Simon

Sorry you feel that way.

I try to always title my topics with a clear heading that gives the option of being read or not by my fellow members.

This topic is important in that it approaches the subject in a different way, seeing if a specific detail were changed, how would it alter the history of Isandlwana and the portrayal of its participants.

A sort of Butterfly Effect.

Anyway, please reconsider.

Coll
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Mike

This is only a very minor aside to the topic itself, but your puzzlement at the "curious word" used by Wolsely to describe Bp Colenso is explained by the fact that the "arithmetical dignitary" was so called because when he first sailed for Natal in 1853 he was better known for his authorship of mathematics text books for schools. When teaching at Harrow and then serving briefly in a rural Norfolk parish, he compiled & published Arithmetic Designed for the Use of Schools; The Elements of Algebra and Plane Trignometry, all in the early to mid-1850s.

When he was back in England in the early-mid 1860s defending himself against excommunication, he agreed to the updating of these three works by other maths teachers & they were all reprinted and circulated again. Wolseley was clearly aware of this, probably at the time of Colenso's long London sojourn when he was a controversial household name in England, and certainly by the time Wolesley went to S Africa for his first "tour."

As I have more or less everything else published by him and his family I thought I'd better acquire the maths text books too. Sad or what? Still, they are very nice little items. And, as "Bromhead" is known to have said: "Not many people know that ..."

P.
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Alan
Site Admin

Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 1418
Location: Wales
Reply with quote
Peter,
I bet everyone wants you on their team in pub quizzes.

_________________
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mailVisit poster's website
Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 543
Reply with quote
The man is positively a cornucopia of information.

Very Happy

The success of Colenso's mathematical text books went a long way toward easing the financial burdens on him and his family. As a way of making money to meet your debts, it was an extraordinarily high-risk strategy; however, it worked.

When you consider that he also produced (among other things) a Zulu-English dictionary, his abilities were considerable.
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Returning to the thread's original topic, Sphinxriddle makes some very valid points despite Coll's reluctance to see too much hypothetical extrapolation. To allow the thread to develop clearly (and it is a hypothetical thread from the outset anyway) it will be necessary to acknowledge these extrapolations as valid, whether agreed with or not.

With regard to the original idea of blame being less likely to fall on a 24th officer, whether Pulleine or (hypothetically in this thread) Durnford, or on an RE officer, it should be remembered that Lord C's and Crealock's initial combined response to the Duke of Cambridge's promptings was not to pile all the odium on Durnford (despite "I left a thousand men" etc and his hints at not wanting to cast aspersions on someone who could not defend himself) but quietly to drop Col Glyn himself in it, despite his absence (like Lord C & Crealock) from the battle itself. The Duke saw through this - otherwise perhaps the 24th, through their colonel, might well have seen their reputation suffer.

The controversy of 1879 and the early 1880s was perhaps inevitable, if a little undignified. In no way did the late Durnford shoulder all the public blame at that time and nor does a fair cross-section of the modern historiography place all the blame on him. There again, no fair minded person, whether the die was cast by the 22nd or not, would deny the fallibility of some of Durnford's decisions or actions of the 22nd itself.

Alan/Paul: I blush! His abilities were indeed considerable. The industry of some of our accomplished Victorians is astounding. His biblical scholarship may have been torn apart by many (and some find fault with some of it even today) but his recovery from his early disasters was remarkable.

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
What reluctance ? - the hypothetical question asks what if Col. Durnford was a 24th officer and the battle still followed the real happenings, would he still have been damned in books that praise the 24th ?

Clear question wanting a clear answer.

You are talking about what really happened in the aftermath, instead of adding my question into the equation, which might still have followed looking in Glyn's direction initially anyway, but then who after him ?

Go after both the 24th officers Durnford and/or Pulleine, ruining the reputation of a whole regiment by damning their officer(s), making the defeat even more worse in the aftermath, by 'containing' the complete blame within the 24th ?

Mike's appearance on the topic is a bit of a giveaway, ignoring somewhat, the earlier posts correcting the discussion, by going back on to Bushman's Pass, as well as quoting Wolseley who if I remember correctly, also made some comments about a couple of 24th officers.

Would HCMDB and LWOTF (chapter) have still read the exact same, if Durnford had been an officer in the 24th - word for word ?

If not, then how can they be seen to cover the complete story of Isandlwana and its participants accurately, if somehow, miraculously, Durnford becomes the heroic 24th officer trying to save the day, rather than being blamed for the cause of deaths of nearly all of the 24th with him, and those in other units.

Remember, for all his flaws, he was still a loyal British officer, whether RE or not.

Coll
Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 543
Reply with quote
Peter Ewart wrote:
His biblical scholarship may have been torn apart by many (and some find fault with some of it even today) but his recovery from his early disasters was remarkable.Peter

Actually, I'm not sure that Colenso's biblical scholarship was "torn apart" (I know what you mean, though). His series on the Hexateuch is ponderous in the extreme, and the best antidote I know to insomnia, but the heart of his critique is essentially unanswerable.

As Sarah Frances neatly put it, many biblical scholars agreed with Colenso - in private - but were unprepared to go so far and so fast as he did. It is interesting that among those who added their names to his support was a certain Charles Robert Darwin.
View user's profileSend private message
Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
Posts: 543
Reply with quote
SphinxRiddle wrote:
[...] or the TWOTS theory of the NNC bolting

That insinuation is, however, much older than TWOTS.
View user's profileSend private message
Peter Ewart


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1797
Location: Near Canterbury, Kent, England.
Reply with quote
Coll

"What reluctance?" Your reluctance to accept - or your difficulty in accepting - sphinxriddle's entirely valid point that certain paradoxes can't just be ignored if your own speculative hypothesis is to be discussed properly - or at all.

You began by saying it was your last attempt at a topic discussion. Sphinxriddle highlighted some valid difficulties - for example, where does one start or stop the hypothesis itself? (In so many words). A good start at a response, I'd have thought. Your "simple question, simple answer" plea seems rather unrealistic - and certainly not likely to provide the genuine discussion you say you seek. Or do you just require a Yes or No?

Your response to Mike was to say "Welcome" and then to provide him with exactly the opposite. My own point was to suggest that Durnford had not necessarily been made a scapegoat at the time, or much later, as comprehensively as you might appear to have imagined, nor had the 24th avoided being one of the original targets.

Although Wolseley's private journal entries and personal correspondence are known to have contained many acerbic comments on his contemporaries, is it not worth going through such a detailed entry, phrase by phrase, and trying to discuss it amicably point by point? It is not entirely irrelevant to your original question, after all. And it was a detailed, considered view from a leading military & political figure of the time who got to know Durnford in the '70s. His first two lines are highly complimentary to Durnford. Speaking from the point of view of Durnford's unpopularity in the colony, because he was tainted by the link with Colenso's persona non grata status (much more than any supposed friendship with one of the daughters) Wolseley was only telling the truth. The term "injudicious" is the bit worth discussing.

Your original question, although obviously hypothetical and speculative, had a reasonable chance of generating a discussion, I'd have thought, but it may be unrealistic to limit its scope in the narrowest way possible. After all, some of the best threads are those which develop widely.

Peter
View user's profileSend private messageSend e-mail
Coll
Guest

Reply with quote
Peter

I wasn't going to add to the topic, but on reflection saw how quickly the original question could have been/would have been bypassed, either by accident or deliberately, defeating its purpose, making the topic go off on another direction, perhaps avoiding answering the question completely.

A Yes or No, followed by reasons why, could have a good discussion going too.

Yes - being that a Durnford in the 24th would still have been blamed, meaning along with Pulleine, one or both would have been held to account for the disaster at Isandlwana which killed hundreds of their own men.

No - being that a Durnford in the 24th would not have been blamed and a different version of his decisions and actions put forward by those wishing to defend the 24th's reputation in the aftermath, perhaps curiously, following the path of Peter Q. and Ron L.'s opinion of Durnford and his role in events.

Therefore both 'sides' would be in agreement not opposed.

Additionally, how would books, Mike's included, have read - the exact same or different ?

A question that definitely would have an attempt(s) to avoid by all means necessary, by any that so choose to opt for evasion than answer.

If I'm reluctant, it is due to the fact I don't want my topic deflected from for underlying reasons to do so.

If my topic/question has raised other points, they can be lifted from here and used as another topic starter.

Coll

PS. I did welcome Mike genuinely, but made a point of saying most/all members had missed him, which didn't necessarily mean myself, as I knew we always clash.

Much like the film 'The Duellists', we resort to a 'duel' on the very sight of each other.

That's just the way it is.
Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
Reply with quote
OK, I'll play your Yes/No game.
My answer would be "Yes", had Durnford been a 24th Foot officer he would still have been saddled with the responsibility for the events at Isandlwana for the following reasons:
1. Chelmsford believed that all his actions, and those of his staff officers, had left the camp in such a state that it would be able to be defended against any Zulu attack.
2. As the camp had not been defended successfully, he believed that something had to have been done that did not accord with his orders.
3. The CoI he established was not empowered to question his assumptions or beliefs but to attempt to explain the course of events at Isandlwana.
4. The testimony provided to the CoI was not sufficiently accurate, complete, or detailed to do this effectively.
5. Two witnesses (Cochrane and Essex) each gave evidence that as the senior combatant officer present Durnford had assumed command at Isandlwana from Pulleine.
Therefore, whatever had happened after his arrival at the camp had to have been his responsibility, and would be seen as such until Chelmsford's beliefs came under scrutiny.
Rob
View user's profileSend private message
SphinxRiddle


Joined: 05 May 2013
Posts: 5
Location: UK
Reply with quote
Coll,

It's an enjoyable debate, hypothesising isn't to everyone's taste but I think it's good to stretch the received historical wisdom from time to time (even if we end up being snapped back to where we started!).

To expand on my earlier post, I find it difficult to tackle the blame issue by simply picturing Durnford in a 24th uniform as that changes some of the fundamentals of the situation. Given some of the comments that emerge from Wolseley, Henderson, Shepstone etc, it's difficult to imagine Durnford the apparently unpopular and eccentric "loose cannon" heading up an imperial infantry unit in the first place. Perhaps I'm labouring an obvious point here but as a 24th commander it would have been incongruous not to mention demoralising for his men for their leader to be operating from a horse troop out on the periphery - in short he can't be in 2 places at once, with him as 24th commander we're dealing with a different battle (unless we're assuming another "Durnford" is called up in support...?!).
Though even many of his critics would not deny the "real" Durnford's courage at the end (I suspect not even Wolseley, whose later explicit criticism of the Coghill/Melville hero worship perhaps pays a backhanded compliment to Durnford), I can't agree that the battle was necessarily lost from the outset and any command decision is therefore automatically exculpated (though the camp was very severly compromised certainly and it would have taken considerable skill, foresight and co-ordination from the whole command structure through to NCOs as well as obviously great courage from all units to have stood a chance of holding).

A more plausible scenario in which to to explore the blame issue might be: what if Pulleine had been a full colonel instead of brevet, outranking Durnford (or alternatively if Glyn had stayed in camp), and Pulleine/Glyn had clearly authorised or ordered Durnford to make the mounted excursion that he did (perhaps being convinced by Durnford arguing there was a danger to the rear of Chelmsford's column), and had then deployed the 24th companies in exactly the same way as happened, and with the same end result? In that scenario I think it's likely Durnford would have emerged in military/public opinion and history as a respected and brave minor protagonist in the same mode as the 24th company commanders who fell with their discrete units - his ride to the East / gun-unjamming in the donga / lack of co-ordination with the 24th line becomes, if less than model leadership, less his sole responsibility. So in that scenario would Pulleine/Glyn have become tainted with culpability instead? Although the 24th regiment as an imperial symbol of British military power as well as concrete community and institution could no doubt carry some weight politically, I'd have to place myself in your "Yes" camp (Peter's point about the abortive fit up of Glyn after the real battle is telling and indicates that Chelmsford/Crealock would probably not have hesitated to pin culpability on a 24th commander if they could have, using the sort of logic Rob D's post covers). Moreover even if the consensus opinion of the time (whether manipulated by the GOC or not) had been to blame the 24th commander, I'm not so sure popular opinion would have identified the whole regiment with the blunders of the senior commander - if anything this might even have intensified the romance surrounding the battle - think of the popular chord struck by the "lions led by donkeys" of the Crimea / WW1. Even with a clearly liable 24th commander I believe we'd still have Fripp's painting, whose exclusive focus on a group of 24th devoid of officer leadership (even if depicting Sgt Wolfe's H coy rearguard) has always seemed rather pointed anyway.

Paul, agree Morris's NNC based account is doubtless a repopularisation of an old idea - would be interested to know where this theory first surfaced (survivor accounts?) - from reading his caustic comments on his own unit I can certainly imagine Hamilton-Browne for one subscribing to that view of the cause of defeat!


Adam
View user's profileSend private message
If Col. Durnford Had Been A 24th Officer ?
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All times are GMT  
Page 2 of 4  

  
  
 This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.