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Sphinx

Yes, I do understand the point(s) you are making.

However, this hypothetical question is testing the credibility of the opposition /criticism directed against Durnford the RE officer in reasonably recent books heroically depicting the 24th whilst at the same time being the only source of direct hostility towards him, even after 100+ years.

We've even had a Durnford tribute ceremony at his grave taking place this year by the Natal Carbineers, the very unit led by Lt. Scott involved in his last stand, which says a great deal.

Would such a very obvious defender(s) of the 24th, have been so critical of one of their own in the same scenario, when every mention of all other 24th officers and men are depicted so positively at Isandlwana.

It smacks of unit rivalry, a bitterness lasting right up until now, of a regiment blaming a corps for the deaths of all its men at Isandlwana, with Durnford being used as the 'way in' to do so.

I can't help feel, due to this shocking hostility, that Durnford isn't even the true target, but what he represents overall.

Had he been 24th, well ........

The mere mention of his alleged guilt by those present in 1879, has been focussed on obsessively, followed up with many unconnected details to discredit him.

Why ?

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PS. Anyway, I'll end my part in the topic now, should it continue, or go in other directions.
Martin Everett


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 783
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I think you have to be careful making a comment about the attitude of the 'hierarchy' of the 24th Regiment to Col Durnford's conduct on 22 January 1879. I have seen no document in the regimental archives which casts doubts on Durnford's actions that day.

If you are thinking of MRS (a modern author) - who was writing as a keen and knowledgeable AZW historian and experienced soldier. He was only putting his personal thoughts/findings into his HCMDB book - in doing so he was not officially representing the views of his regiment.

I often find historians/authors put a slant on a story to sell their book or just do not have the inclination/dedication to do the research properly. You need to take this into account when reading about the campaign. I must say that MRS does put considerable work into his books - and by doing he has brought the AZW to the notice of many new readers. MRS is entitled to express his views.


Last edited by Martin Everett on Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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Martin Everett
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Martin

Absolutely. I agree with your post completely.

That said, this 'modern' author's books are termed popular history, I think, to hopefully get the readership interested in the AZW.

That is all very well, but to argue points in the book(s) as fact on a forum dedicated to actual AZW history is another matter, especially when historians like Peter Q. and Ron L. also put forward a history book and valid thesis on the same event.

Whose argument is right, when seeking truth ?

I've sought truth all along, and would have used the same method of argument if Durnford had been a 24th officer. I am defending the man, not as a descendant or as a serving/ex-member of the RE.

I will not alter my position to allow the appeal of the AZW to its readership follow a path that is not rightfully based on fact.

It would go against every grain in my body.

Additionally, if like myself, I'd hate for said readers to be disappointed if choosing to study the campaign further.

Isandlwana is an actual tragic event costing the lives of hundreds of men on both sides, not a theatre show/film needing hyped to attract audiences.

That is the job of Zulu Dawn and Zulu, not history books.

I've endured enough arguments to at least be given the courtesy of respect from other members (including Mike) and acknowledgement that I am/was in the right to debate as I did.

I gave my own opinions/views and was never convincingly proven wrong.

All I ask is for my argument to be accepted as valid, that I wasn't always in the wrong, and maybe, just maybe I am/was right.

A big ask, but there it is.

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mike snook 2


Joined: 04 Jan 2006
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Prejudiced against engineers....that makes perfect sense....that must be why I've devoted the past five years of my life to constructing an evidential standard case which exonerates a Royal Engineer officer who really was scapegoated for something he didn't do. Like all the rest of my writing I won't make a penny's profit out of the enterprise, but don't let that stop you of accusing me of sexing up my dossiers.

Woof woof. Don't slather on your keyboard.
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What exactly has that to do with Durnford and Isandlwana 130 years ago which is being discussed and how it has been covered in publications ?

Accusing you ? - 'smacks of' means 'seems like' or 'appears to be' - not 'accused of'.

That's the second time in two topics I've been accused of accusing somebody.

See how foolish this all sounds, over nothing ?

If I had wrote that post of yours, I'd have many members calling for me to be banned, or to apologise immediately.

However, as usual, that probably will not happen to you....again.

Why can't you just answer this hypothetical question ?

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Alan
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Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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It would seem a pity to block this topic because of wandering off the correct way
of conducting a discussion.

If anyone wants to make a point in a way which is not of interest to the rest of
the forum members, would they do it through Private Messages.

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Mike

So, HCMDB and LWOTF (chapter) would have been written exactly the same then - word for word - if Durnford had been a 24th officer ?

If so, then that's fine and good to know.

If not, then why not ? What would be changed and why ?

Surely if Durnford was/is everything you say in the books, then to an author/historian writing impartially, it wouldn't matter what regiment or corps he belonged to, whether RE or 24th, as he was still a British officer, and that is what an impartial author/historian would be writing about.

Sine ira et studio

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Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
Location: Melbourne Australia
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Can you cite evidence of numerous publications emanating from current or former members of the 24th or its successor regiments which attempt to minimise the role played by Chard at Rorke's Drift?
If not, your claim of "unit rivalry" between the RE and the 24th as a general theme in AZW publications is without foundation.

Can you cite any evidence of Mike's alleged bias against Engineers in his treatment of Chard at Rorke's Drift?
If not, your claim of "unit rivalry" in his case is also without foundation.

You'll just have to accept that his assessment of Durnford's influence on the course of the battle at Isandlwana is based on his evaluation in good faith of the available evidence.

While you obviously hold a different opinion, be aware that not everyone agrees with you either, or appreciates the manner in which approach the topic.

Rob.
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Rob

With respect, there would be no reason to criticise Chard at Rorke's Drift, as it was a victory, resulting in numerous VCs, including himself, therefore it would reflect badly on his critic(s).

Mike's coverage of Rorke's Drift in LWOTF was a good read which I did enjoy, as it was based on facts meaning it did compare historically with other authors' books on the same event.

However, I'm not sure why the chapter is in it about the 'blame game', instead of in the former book that it is connected to.

This hypothetical question is to test for weaknesses in the argument about Isandlwana. I've stated that I would still be defending Durnford if he was in the 24th, and also not a descendant or serving/ex member of the RE, so I am discussing/debating/arguing impartially.

Why can't Mike state this too. It's a a simple question.

Remember, I needed to play the Devil's Advocate in this approach, and as such, it was never going to be 'pretty' or myself popular.

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PS. Is the offensive comment in Mike's post acceptable to you in a topic which is being discussed politely ?
Alan
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Coll,

it was Mike's comment as well as the ongoing tendency for topics to become unfriendly.
I hope all took my hint and will watch not only what they say but how it is said as well as
how it will be received.

It's too hot today.

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Rob D


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 93
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Coll,
Thanks for your reply.
Have to disagree with you about there being "no reason to criticise Chard" in any attempt to promote the 24th over the RE.
While the defence of RD was undoubtedly successful one could impute that success more to Chard's subordinates, particularly Bromhead, than to the man himself, and cite in support some of the criticisms made of Chard by his (no doubt jealous) contemporaries.
In fact, as we know, it is Dalton whose role in the defence is now being more acknowledged.
And all those VC's did cause some comment at the time - from Wolseley among others.
Rob
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Rob

Your posts and opinions are truly welcomed on what is very obviously a tough topic, but the main question still remains, which, now that Mike knows of and has posted in this discussion, should feel obliged to answer.

It's the only way to be sure about his own impartiality when writing his book (and chapter) about Durnford and Isandlwana.

I'm sure you'll understand that this is a very important point, even if not liking my/this approach.

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Paul Bryant-Quinn


Joined: 14 Oct 2007
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Drop it, Coll: you're becoming a royal pain in the derrière on this subject.

Mike Snook is under no obligation to explain himself to you or anybody else if he chooses not to: he's a military historian, and fully entitled to his views.

I swear, sometimes you treat the whole Durnford thing as if it were a personal affront. It was 1879; let it go, already.
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Paul

I will not. I'm entitled to my views too, or am I not.

We can discuss books, but only positively ?

Personal affront ? - it's debating a historical figure and event, or are we going to be content with half-history, facts/truth not being important ?

What a shock that'll be to historians who have spent years researching minute details to give us the factual story, when they didn't really need to find them out as it doesn't really matter.

Who is obsessive ? - me ? Mike ? both of us ?

Your post is personal, unhelpful and not on topic.

Why can't you just reply to the original topic then ?

Honestly, the hostility says much in itself, that I don't think a direct answer might be needed, if a simple question can't be given consideration.

Another one of my topics heading in the direction of having to be locked, as always does when it might be getting somewhere interesting.

This constant repeating of blocking me/my points speaks volumes.

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Alan

Please lock this topic.

I now have all the answer(s) I will ever need to my question.

No point in taking it further as the path is clear where it is going.....again.

Otherwise the good discussion will be spoiled completely.

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If Col. Durnford Had Been A 24th Officer ?
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