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7th April 2005Where was Pulleine born and when?
By Colum O'Rourke
I have tried ordering some Zulu books from my local bookshop but it may take some time. The entire topic of the Zulu War is not commonly known around my area here in Eire. A date and place would do just fine for a character description.
7th April 2005Peter Ewart

The biographical notes on Pulleine in the previously recommended "The South African Campaign of 1879" (there are modern versions of same) informs us that Pulleine was born at Spennithorne, Yorkshire, on 12th Dec 1838, the son of a C of E clergyman.

Educated Marlborough & RMC, Sandhurst. Married into a Fermoy family in 1866.

8th April 2005Colum
Thanks. I read up Glover's 'Rorke's Drift' today. It stated that Pulleine was a real office leader and had absolutely no military action to his name. Is it true that he only joined the column on the 17th of January when they were half-way to Isandhlwana. When you watch Zulu Dawn, you think of Pulleine as the character portrayed in the film, although Hollywood invention can mess around with historical truth.
8th April 2005Peter Ewart

A number of authors have mentioned Pulleine's excellent administrative experience and qualities, and because these attributes have been referred to repeatedly, it seems he is beginning to be remembered only for those qualities alone - almost as if he had no others.

It seems perfectly possible to me that he was as worthy a soldier (in the soldierly sense) as any other officer present at Isandlwana, but also had the added attributes of meritworthy organisational experience.

His adminstrative qualities have been so emphasised by some that it appears to me that any other attributes have been ignored - or even presumed to have been absent or deficient. It is therefore often repeated that he had never seen action, whereas I understand this claim to be untrue. (I'm not checking Gon's "Road to Isandlwana" just now as its getting late). Certainly his "Pulleine's Rangers" are mentioned far less than perhaps they ought, and one might almost have the image sometimes of an officer was none other than some sort of glorifed senior clerk, rather than an experienced senior officer of a line regiment which had seen good service in S Africa.

Officers were joining the force under Chelmsford all through November, December and January. The Central column was still gathering together well after Christmas 1878 (certainly less than three weeks before Isandlwana) as the awful weather, transport problems & hurried organisation made their mark. Companies of the 24th, essential RE personnel, colonials and all sorts of units were still struggling all along the route between Durban and Rorke's Drift (PMB, Greytown, Helpmekaar and all points in between) throughout December and January, not to mention their baggage trains. Given that a whole company of the 24th was two or three days late arriving at R/Drift and thereby missed the show altogether on 22/23rd Jan for no apparent good reason, and that one of Chelmsford's appointed Staff never did arrive in time for the fireworks on the 22nd, Pulleine can be considered, perhaps, one of the "early birds" and an "old hand" in Zululand!

Your very last phrase can be taken as a truism - an understatement in fact. If one considers that not one major character of the actual episode was portrayed in a remotely accurate fashion in the film ZULU, I suspect it wasn't much different in Zulu Dawn, although I can't comment from personal knowledge for the latter.

9th April 2005Colum
So my source is wrong. Pulleine took over from Richard Glyn at what stage before the invasion began?
9th April 2005John Young

You haven't bother with the recommended reading yet, have you?

You should have expanded your library before embarking on your venture. I take it you did get an advance from your publishers?

I am all for giving of my time and knowledge freely on this forum. However, when someone, like yourself, has taken it upon themself to seek reward from a publication on this campaign, then that person should at least make some effort to seek the facts for themself prior to even consider asking the questions on this forum.

So far most of the questions you have asked could have been answered by reading the publication I advised you to consult.

Sorry if my reply is terse, but frankly, in my opinion, there are enough authors out who are having works on the Anglo-Zulu War published where they have not troubled to research their source material, that I wouldn't like to see another one join the ranks.

Look for yourself first, if you can't find the accurate information or would like something clarified then ask, but please don't expect others to write your book for you.

John Y.
11th April 2005Colum
Alright, thanks. Maybe I needed someone to tell me that John. Thanks for the tip. I shall take a trip to Dublin and spend the money on nothing but Zulu books. Good Luck.
16th April 2005Tony Jones.
Dear Colum,
when i first tried to buy books connected with AZW campaigns i found a lot of them were out of print.I trawled e-bay and amazon and came up with most of what i wanted.I agree with John in that any further books connected with AZW campaigns,should be based on the author's own research adding fresh facts(not opinions) to the subject.A book on Pulleine would be a worthwhile addition,and one i would read and i wish you the best of luck with your venture.

16th April 2005Bill Cainan

If you look at "" you will currently find 2,434 books listed under the heading "Zulu War" (though not all different of course !). That might well save you the trip to Dublin !

18th April 2005Colum O'Rourke
Thanks Tony, Thanks Bill for the advice