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DateOriginal Topic
8th May 2005lord chelmsford
By Jel
Can someone tell me how and when Lord Chelmsford died.Also was the massacre at Islandwana his fault .
9th May 2005Andrew Garton
Lord Chelmsford passed away on April the 9th 1905 at the age of 78.He died from a seizure while playing a game of billiards.
9th May 2005Julian whybra
The massacre was the Zulus' fault.
On the day they were better than the British were.
9th May 2005Melvin Hunt
Nice one. That's the best short reply I've seen on this Forum.
10th May 2005Julian Whybra
Well, thanks, but actually I didn't mean to be sarcastic or awkward. That's what I believe. i'm a bit fed up with society/the media constantly looking for fault or blame or a scapegoat - someone to point the finger at (how very 2005!). Re Isandhlwana people are too fond of thinking that the British couldn't just lose a battle because they weren't good enough - there MUST be a reason for it, someone's fault. And of course, this just isn't so.
15th May 2005Mike McCabe
He died in the United Services Club Billiard Room. The building is now used by the Institute of Directors, with many of the club's original furniture, military pictures and artefacts still in place.

15th May 2005jim
Julians' reply is not a "nice one"
I think it is a disrespectful one.
Disrespecful to all of the British killed on that battlefield.
Why is it we British are always the first ones to kick ourselves in the teeth.
On the day,Ntshingwayo Kamahole Khoza was a better commander than Chelmsford.
20,000 Zulus,high on artificial stimulants against 1500 on the British side.Just a bit outnumbered,don't you think?
Had Chelmsford NOT split his forces,the outcome would have been much different.
So let's not blame "the British" for one mans error.
15th May 2005Bill Cainan

If you are a regular visitor to this site, you will be aware of Julian's great contribution to both this discussion forum and to the research he has carried out on the the AZW generally. There is no way that he would be even remotely disrespectful to the British dead at Isandlwana.

As to putting the "blame" on to someone, Julian's point above is most valid. I think that the current consenus of those examining the Isandlwana battlefield is that it matters little which British officer had command on that fateful day, as the result would have been much the same. Despite prior knowledge that the Zulus were something "special", no one who invaded Zululand in January 1879 had any inkling as to what was to happen on the 22nd. It was a mind-focussing lesson for all, and was one which the British were to clearly demonstrate they had grasped in the subsequent second invasion.

16th May 2005Michael Boyle

With all do respect, check out a copy of Julian's "England's Sons" , even just reading the back cover where he prints the inscription from the Natal Carbineers' Memorial at Isandhlwana will put to rest any misgivings you may have.

Having said that I must concur that Julian's response was a rather humourous juxtaposition!

As Bill points out above, many (some, a few, maybe just us,Julian and Peter Quantrill?) feel that regardless of whom commanded that Isandhlwana would have ended much the same. Certainly although Lord Chelmsford (should have) 'owned' the responsibility I feel the "blame" rests more with the prevalent superior attitudes shared among all the 'western' societies (particulary their military arms) of the Victorian Age. Even had Chelmsford not sortied that morning and even had he entrenched, good arguments could be made that his victory would not have been assured at that point.

Also I would tread lightly on the 'hopped up' theory as the recent T.V. show seems to have put too fine a point upon it without sufficient research. My curiosity has been piqued by this allegation and I have been fumbling through my own attempt to research this. So far I can say that the quality (strength) of the indigenous hemp, were it to be foisted on a modern 'consumer' would in all likelihood result in a 'drug related' crime of retribution. Altough the available cannabis was weak (but none the less taken sometimes for recreational use) there were other plants and fungi used for medicinal purposes that could have some mind altering effect but seem, so far, to have been used primarily for their physiological qualities. The study of Zulu 'doctoring' is turning out to be nearly as complicated as 'western' medicine, the more so as it is inextricably entwined with Zulu spiritual beliefs. The amaZulu were,and are, not a 'simple' people. (As 'western' belief would have prefered to think!)

Don't fret overly about the homeland bashing, it comes and goes throughout the centuries and is shared by all. (Except the French!)


18th May 2005Julian Whybra
Rest assured that my response was not a disrespectful one (one of my own relatives was kia at Isandhlwana). I agree with you that we British are always the first ones to kick ourselves in the teeth, which is precisely how I see mass media's and popular histories' overwhelming desire to pin the disaster on 'incompetent' Durndfords and Pulleine's. I'm glad that you agree with me that on the day Ntshingwayo Kamahole Khoza was the better commander.
As for 20,000 Zulus being high on artificial stimulants this is the stuff of fiction (or TV). All but a few Zulus had not had time to carry out the normal rituals required prefatory to an attack (I know of just two accounts which might lend credence to the view that the account-writers had hallucinatory experiences). A case of too much Timewatch!
I don't think that the British (2216 not 1500) were outnumbered (look at Inyezane, Gingindhlovu, Khambula and Ulundi) and
I think it would be hard to justify that the outcome on the 22nd would have been much different had Chelmsford NOT split his forces. The tactical error would simply have replicated the situation and the British body-count would have multiplied (although, I grant you, it's a moot point whether the necessarily-higher Zulu loss would have been worth the candle as far as the Zulus were concerned).
As for " Let's not blame the British for one mans [sic] error", (a) I do not blame the British, that was the point of my remark, I blame the Zulus! Or rather I give them credit for exploiting the situation. And (b) as for one man's error (whichever man you think it might be), I think that is a little naive. Assuming it's Chelmsford you are referring to, although it was his strategic plan that was being followed, it was down to the Zulus to exploit it (and after all it worked fine at Inyezane) and for Pulliene/Durnford to rectify it (if only they had had time and just a few more troops and...).