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23rd March 2004Interview with David Rattray
By Peter Ewart
Today's Natal Witness marks the RSA publication of his guideboook with an interview with David Rattray. Now we know why you were there a couple of weeks ago, Stephen! Anyone else read it in today's edition?

I find the interview fascinating, as I have with previous interviews with DR which have been published. Just as so many people were alerted to AZW matters by the film ZULU and subsequently immersed themselves in Morris's work, realising quickly that the former was a feature and not a documentary and a little less quickly that the latter was a terrific read which has had to be built upon and fine-tuned, so I am convinced that, in the '90s, "Day of the Dead Moon" & his RGS lectures must have inspired a countless number on a similar scale.

I enjoy listening to David Rattray because:

(a) he has always insisted on being called a story-teller and not a historian (and I don't consider this to be merely a defence mechanism against questions on inaccuracies)

(b) he has always explained that his talks and tapes are his interpretation of what happened and not necessarily the accepted or considered consensus of researchers

(c) he has always emphasised that his stories are simply accounts told through the experiences of those who were there and it is always clear when he is surmising.

(d) There has to be a place for the story-teller - ask anyone of Zulu descent! I was going to start a thread on the relative value of oral Zulu testimony anyway but will leave that until later.

His accounts are as effective as films or popular histories, which inevitably (hopefully!) lead the public on to academic works and I find it a joy to listen to him. Ask my sons - they recognise his voice when it fills the house, so perhaps I should get out a bit more!!!

I read an article in The Times about 13 years ago when FDL was being publicised and made up my mind there and then to stay there when (if!) I visited Zululand. Electrics or not, I had the best holiday of my life. Simply couldn't sleep with excitement (& this at nearly 50 years old!) so on the first morning I finally got up & stole down to the bottom of the lawn at 5 am and peered at the peak of Isandlwana for a couple of hours before breakfast, realising after a while that I could make out the cairns on the saddle. What a moment. What a place. I know there are other places now but I'm counting the days (years?) until I return.

24th March 2004John Young

At least the interview answers something I surmised when I first got the book, David is not responsible for much of it - more's the pity.

The book doesn't grip you the way David is able to by his spoken words. Frankly it was a great disappointment to me, I had hoped to be spellbound by the text - instead I found it was a mistake-riddled nightmare!

What would have been as much better, as far I'm concerned, would have been the transcripts to his tapes/cd's to tell the tale - then just add the directions and advice to that. That would have been a book!

John Y.
24th March 2004Mike McCabe
And, the 'guiding notes' and supporting graphics are not as clear as they might be - even in the more recent and improved edition currently on sale in South Africa.

24th March 2004Neil Aspinshaw
Well said, I have had the pleasure to spend a week at the Lodge with David, both in 2003 & 2004. You know they now have electricity at night!.
Your comment about standing on the lawn brings back so many memories. Mine was sitting outside in the early evening, it was pitch black. suddenly the moon rose at the rear of Isandlwana completely framing the mountian, David took us to the lawn and we all stood awestruck for 20 minutes as the moon passed beyound. Even at the seven miles the cairns and the 24th Memorial could be clearly outlined. Sheer magic.

I think what David has done in many ways brings the whole magic of the 22nd Jan to life, and, as a result I see the whole thing from both the Zulu and the British perspective. I came away from staying in his company almost shocked!, I expected a rather clinical rendition of the story, but oh how different it is to hear it from David. (he has Rob Caskie as a guide now, who In my opinion adds even more edge than David now... oops! sorry David.)
I learned so much from the experience of listening to David, especially as I public speak myself, you know there is so much to learn from the masters at work.
I did empathise with scholar types like JY and Julian W, who look beyond the story and into the detail. and, without thier in depth research and dedication to detail, the whole saga could almost become a Wilbur Smith novel. A good read, but with little substance. I is easy to be critical, but I think together the the two sides make the whole thing add up.
My ideal evening would be to listen to David Rattrays Day of the Dead Moon, whilst reading The Hill of the Sphinx or Zulu victory, with a nice Malt.....Ah! beats Eastenders.
24th March 2004John Young

What are the amendments or improvements over the British version?


This will more than likely get me a three match ban from Alan Critchley, but I ain't no scholar!

Electricity at Fugitives' Drift Lodge! That's torn it! Bring back the good old days, when David only fired up the generator to watch "Black as hell, Thick as Grass!" Drinks by a roaring fire on dark African night, and a torch to find your way back to your room. I suppose he has to cater for his clientele.

John Y.
24th March 2004Neil Aspinshaw
I know the front cover has been changed, apparrenly DR thought Chops Mossop looked too much like a Vietcong!, check it out.
Yes I was amazed at there being electricity, ah well at least you could now see what was crawling on you!! ha ha.
The funniest part was that after the staff "retired" we had to revert to writing our drinks tab down via a crow quill and csarbon paper as we could not find a pen!. Oh life in colonial places, stabbing spears and crowquills...... magic.
maybe scholar was a bit over the top, Julian ?well will anorak be more appropriate? yourself maybe a lightweight pack-a mack!, three match ban?.... no! more like an international recall.

all in good fun of course!.


24th March 2004John Young

Paying for drinks? We had to take our own!

I see what you mean about a Viet Cong. I not impressed by the artwork, at all. Especially the maroon V.C. ribbon, that man was ahead of his time! The Army V.C. ribbon was red, and Royal Navy's blue.

John Y.
24th March 2004Julian Whybra
I object to being called an anorak. I have a degree, 4 post-grad certs, have held reserach/fellowship/teaching posts at universities at Uppsala, Krakow, Cambridge, and Essex and last wore one aged 21 hitchhiking through Norway. I do not collect information. I research it. And I don't make statements unless I'm 100% sure I can provide evidence for them. Anorak, no! Loden-Frey overcoat (jest measurement 42"), yes.
24th March 2004Neil Aspinshaw
Blimey!, sorry! it is all meant in jest!.
I suppose my diploma from the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers does me no favours then!. I get called the door furniture and zulu anorak by my customers,


The Ironmongery Anorak
24th March 2004Martin Everett
Dear All,
Firstly there is really no difference between the UK and RSA version except the front cover.

The purpose of the DR guidebook is to encourage more independent tourists to visit the battlefields, and also to provide a momento to those who have visited KZN at a reasonable pricet. I liken it to the Holt's guides of the Somme and Ypres Salient. Both these publications have improved over years - based on new research and feedback from users of the guide. The DR guide - is edition 1 - if you have comments/corrections I will gladly pass them on to David with my own. It is important to the local communties in KZN that tourism is encouraged - within the context of preserving the battelfields.

DR is a busy man - and I know the bulk of the work on the book was not done by him - but we have the opprotunity here contribute and to produce something of high quality for edition 2.
25th March 2004John Young
Dear Martin,

I have no objection to submitting the numerous errors that I have found to you, but I will do so only on the understanding that such unpaid proof-reading receives due acknowledgement in any further editions.

If through the primary objective of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society - to encourage actual historical research - the society can assist the needs of the people of KwaZulu-Natal then we will strive to do so.

John Y.
25th March 2004Julian whybra
Apology accepted (also in jest).
And it doesn't.
28th March 2004Eric Willis
I don't like getting involved in personal politics - but who on earth does John Young think he is? If he really is the 'super brain of the Zulu War', why doesn't he attempt to write something new himself instead of constantly carping about the endevours of other authors and one author in particular. I recently used the guidebook in Zululand and found it excellent, as did my own guide! As for John's snide comment about Mossop's appearance, how does John Young know what Mossop looked like at that age? - and as for his personal comments about not liking the artwork - well, so what? I don't expect the artist, Jason Askew, will loose any sleep over John's opinion.
Such negativity is demeaning to users of this site.
28th March 2004Peter Cole
So the Anglo Zulu War Research Society will assist the needs of the people of KwaZulu but only if it recieves due acknowledgement?
29th March 2004John Young

Is it wrong to be critical of someone who is constantly making howlers when it comes to the basic facts concerning this campaign?

The same person who will not link his site to this one until I stop making comments on it! That is 'negativity' isn't it?

As to the comment about Mossop's appearance, I believe that Neil stated that David Rattray thought it was the case, I merely agreed. That I think the artwork is unimpressive is my own opinion.

Eric, be brave fly your true colours I take it you are a member of the limited company?

By the way, I am writing new material, sadly you obviously don't read it.

I make no claim to being the 'super brain of the Zulu War', but at least I've got the guts to come on to the forum and endeavour to answer the most trivial, or the most awkward questions posed.


It is the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society, we have a hyphen, whereas others do not.

The A.-Z.W.R.S. already supports charity work within rural KwaZulu-Natal, and will continue to do so. I rather think you have put your own spin on my words above!

For my part, is it wrong to seek due recognition? Frankly, I don't believe it is? Were I to submit my corrections to the authors, as Martin has suggested, then I would hope that would be acknowledged. Back in the days when I was somewhat naive I would tell people things, the next thing I knew those things were appearing in print acknowledged to the person(s) I had told. That is why I made the above statement, for no other reason.

Do I take Peter, you are also a member of the limited company?

John Y.

29th March 2004Neil Aspinshaw
It was me who posted DR's comments about the front cover Illustration, with Mossop looking like a viet Cong.
I only posted it because that's what David told us. It was not meant to be derisory in any way. I happen to like some of the paintings that illustrate the book.
I wouldn't "pop" at JY, I have found his researched answers to my "posers" to be first rate, both John and Julian offer far more to the subject than simple book writing.
Having said that the work that David Rattray (and others) in bringing the whole thing available to the travelling historian is priceless. Having stayed in his company several times I can honestly say they will remain the one of the most memorable days of my life. One only has to look around at the growing number of lodges and hotels that are springing up in the area, places like fugitives drift were pretty groundbreaking, at a time that South Africa was a fairly difficult place to go.


29th March 2004Peter
My comments to you were based upon your reply to Martin. I apologise if I misunderstood your intentions. Who is this person you refer to re the link and what is the limited company that seems to be causing you a problem? If you are writing new material please let us know where it can be purchased.
30th March 2004Julian whybra
Capitalism and Academe do not sit well together. There are far too many interested in the former pretending a veneer of the latter these days in the field of published works. The Zulu War provides a guaranteed market place for such works. I have never known John have aspirations to making money out of his knowledge and never have any pretensions to being an academic (modesty forbids!). I'm also aware that many have 'used' the information and time he's given freely for their own ends without acknowledgement (something I'm only too well aware of myself). No doubt, he's not a saint, as he himself would admit, but he's certainly no sinner.
30th March 2004Martin Everett
Dear Julian,

I am not sure where the capitalism comes in.

It would appear that every time there is cause to make reference on this web site to the other organisation, namely AZWHS, then JY throws his teddy bear in the corner. In my opinion this pointless tactic undoubtedly spoils a lot of the good work that JY contributes to this site. My understanding is that AZWHS is a ‘non trading’ limited company and this was done with legal advice to protect the name of AZWHS. There is absolutely nothing wrong in this. We happen to be a charitable trust – this is the best structure for us. Both these structures have to publish annual accounts that are, of course, available to public scrutiny. There is no reason why the A-ZWRS cannot also be a limited company if they so wish.

Each society is a membership based organisation – people do however vote with their feet – and at the moment the AZWHS does appear to be the more active and go ahead society with more members. There is nothing wrong in a bit of competition. Perhaps, the reappearance of a regular journal and other publications from the A-ZWRS would improve matters and address the balance. We can then debate, in a grown up way, the published research about the AZW without personality issues clouding the discussions. It would also be a wonderful opportunity of widen the debate by involving more people who do not have access to the World Wide Web.

I was delight to hear today that the AZWHS had substantially, without prompting, added to the collection made at Brecon Cathedral for 125th which was attended by serving, retired members of the 24th and their families. This donation will be given to the trust that David Rattray chairs to improve the educational facilities at Rorke's Drift. More contributions are needed for this most worthy cause.

31st March 2004John Young
Dear Martin,

I think that the expression "throws his teddy bear in the corner" is hardly appropriate, given your position as the Curator of the R.R.W. Museum, Brecon.

On a number of occasions I have asked you to reveal your connection, if any, to the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society, and each time you have failed to answer my query. Once more I ask you on this forum. What is your true connection to the AZWHS? For if you have no connection, then you were made privy to information regarding me that you should not have been made aware of. That the information you received was actually flawed, is another matter!

You state that the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society is 'a non trading limited company and this was done with legal advice to protect the name...' Protect it from what? The fact that a society existed five years prior to it being registered at Companies House, with a not dissimilar name. A society recognised by the three curators prior to your appointment, yet the last time one of our membership placed application forms in the museum at Brecon, he found them torn up and in a waste bin! So is it any wonder 'people vote with their feet', if the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society forms are conveniently consigned to the bin? Whilst others are on display? How so?

Rather than make inane comments, why don't you answer the point I posed to you above? All I ask is the clear understanding that if the errors and omissions are accepted, then my work be acknowledged. If you cannot offer such assurance, or you don't have the authority to do so, then I will contact the publishers and ask that they forward my comments to David Rattray.

Frankly, Martin, I find it hard that you always defend the AZWHS with such vigour. Yet there are points about this book that are indefensible, and truly show a total lack of research by the authors. Frankly, there are a number of totally misleading statements, which a novice, given the stated background of the authors, might accept as fact. That is my main issue and concern.

That another contributor above has unjustly, and without apology, made an inaccurate statement concerning me, should also concern you, but I'm sure it doesn't, does it?Yet you leap to defend another all the time!

Why you felt it necessary to include your last paragraph is equally strange. Why not mention the fact that a number of my members, including two patrons, and I supported the charity evening for the same trust? As well as contributing items for the charity auction - or are such things best left unsaid?

As you know from your recent e-mail queries where you have sought my advice, at the present time, I am somewhat indisposed, that is why there are no regular journals, but hopefully normal service will be resumed as soon as my injury is operated on. Not that that should concern you - never having been a member of the Anglo-Zulu War Research Society.

I actually follow Julian's comment, and I know that certain others do as well, perhaps if your own views weren't so blinkered, you might too?

John Young,
A.K.A. "The Highwayman" or have you forgotten that one as well?

31st March 2004Martin Everett
Dear John,

To answer your question the museum has been given honorary membership of the AZWHS and the 1879 Group and receives their respective journals and newsletters. We also contribute to these publications.

Regarding membership forms, if you wish to place membership forms for the A-ZWRS in the museum send some to us. This is probably the third time I have made this point to you, but you have failed to respond.

The charity event which you refer to took place some 2-3 years ago. David Rattray needs a least £80,000 a year to support his educational projects in KZN so fund raising does not stop at one sinlge event. It is an ongoing challenge to raise stands in the local Zulu community.

The legal status of the AZWHS is really a matter for them. It does mean that they activities are published in the public domain - with regard to subscriptions, income and other the charities they support which cannot be bad thing.
31st March 2004John Young
Dear Martin,

I have no desire to further this posting, save regarding issues relating to the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

I am entitled to my opinions, as you are to yours.

Your defence of the AZWHS is admirable. Maybe through your close offices with them, you could establish whether Eric is one of the membership? Your lack of condemnation of his incorrect comments speaks volumes!

By the way here are some of the errors I have found, if you wish to comment on these, please feel free:-

Page 1: General Thesiger, July 1878 – substantive rank of Major-General in 1878, with a local rank of Lieutenant-General.

1,329 officers and men …would be killed. – These are of course the official figures, yet on page 52 the simple addition of the figures given there adds up to 1,358.

Page 2: Sir Bartle Frere… - it would be better to introduce him by his full name, but qualify it with a rider, such as commonly known as. I suggest his roles be reversed; first and foremost he was Governor of the Cape Colony, and Her Majesty’s High Commissioner for southern Africa.

Major General Frederic Thesiger … Commander in Chief - this obviously flies in the face of the General Thesiger comment from page 1. Thesiger was not Commander-in-Chief, Frere was. Thesiger was General Officer Commanding southern Africa.

Page 3: Delete the word Evening, as the prefix to Standard.

Page 6: …four years’ campaigning in the 9th Frontier War – news to me!

Page 15: Can this ridiculous comment re-shields deflecting bullets be expunged?

Page 19: For Mbilini Ka Mswati read Mbilini waMswati – the prince was a Swazi not a Zulu, in Swati - ka becomes wa.

Page 21: I know this is meant to be figurative speech, but somewhat more than a handful of Boers took part,… Look to the names of those killed at Hlobane, or those in the ranks of men from the Transvaal units – even the Natal units.

Page 24: The Martini-Henry rifle, I believe that Adrian Whiting, who examined the rifle at the Royal Hospital and discovered post 1879 improvements to it, refuted the claim it was recovered from the Isandlwana battlefield. Perhaps the word allegedly could be added to the text.

Page 25: The comment The Royal Artillery had six 7-pound rifled muzzle-loading guns…, should, in my opinion, be qualified to read the Royal Artillery of the No. 3 Column, otherwise it misleads the reader.

Page 28 & the qualifying footnote 5, page 32: How is it then that the phrase Natal Native Horse appears in the Narrative of Field Operations, published in 1881? Or do I have a post-1906 version?

Page 34: For Captain Parke-Jones, read Captain Walter Parke Jones.

Page 37: Can the authors please identify the three companies of the 2/24th Regiment for me?

Page 41: Having previously referred to Durnford as a Colonel, he is now referred to as Lieutenant Colonel.

Page 43: Following on the above point if Durnford is to be Colonel Durnford, by virtue of his brevet, than the brevet rank of Wilson Black should also be correctly given.

Page 44: For KaMondise read kaMondise.

Page 45: How is the figure …some 600 members of the NNC arrived at? When the figure is closer to 550, in that figure I am including the European non-commissioned officers, but excluding 19 officers and staff.

Page 52: the Participants section might mislead the reader.
On what evidence do the authors conclude that the commander at Isandlwana was Brevet Lieutenant Colonel H. Pulleine 1/24th (Warwickshire [sic]) Regiment? Also see below note re-correct designation.

Rather than N Battery 5th Brigade Royal Artillery – which tends, in my opinion to suggest the entire battery was present, I would suggest a section of two guns and details numbering two officers & 70 men.

Likewise 5th Field Company Royal Engineers, should be qualified to read four other-ranks.

G Company of the 2nd Battalion 2/24th (Warwickshire) plus detachments from other companies of the 2nd Battalion 2/24th (Warwickshire) Regiment – the designation 2nd should prefix the word Warwickshire.

How could there have been men of the Army Pay Corps been at Isandlwana, three years prior to the corps’ formation? There was an officer of the Army Pay Department – Paymaster F.F. White, but he is normally included in the fallen of the 1st battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot.

I find it odd that the men of the Natal Carbineers, Newcastle Mounted Rifles and the Buffalo Border Guard have been placed in the category of Imperial.

For 3rd Regiment NNC, read two companies of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contingent, and three companies from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment, Natal Native Contingent.

For Natal (black) Pioneer Corps, correctly read Natal Native Pioneer Corps (detachment of one European officer & ten men).

Totally excluded from the Participants are those in No. 2 Column, and the members of the Natal Mounted Police, for some reason best known only to the authors?

Page 53: for ka Mahole… &…ka Ndela read kaMahole & kaNdela respectively.

Page 54-5: Can either the authors or the artist explain why Private William Griffiths V.C. has been depicted wearing what appears to be a maroon, post-1920 ribbon to his decoration?

Page 56: Wilsone Black’s rank, again.

Page 57: Who are the sappers of Lieutenant MacDowell [sic]? I suggest the authors view the recent debate on on this very matter.

Page 60: I believe the comment relating to Lieutenant Henry Curling, being the only frontline British survivor is incorrect. Or do they have information might refute the fact that some of the surviving members of ‘N’ Battery, 5th Brigade, Royal Artillery, may well have been also on the frontline?

Page 62: Umzinyathi [sic] River - inconsistent with other references where it is called the Buffalo River.

Page 63: Photograph caption should read should read, I feel …with the Regimental and Queen’s Colours, rather than Regimental Queen’s Colour.

Page 66: I commend the recent work England’s Sons… to the authors and maybe they would reassess their survivors’ details.

For Indluyengwe read iNdluyengwe.

Page 68: Could the authors explain how Private Wassall’s attachment to No. 4 Column, was in any way unofficial?

Again on Private Samuel Wassall V.C., how can he be younger than Robert Jones V.C., who was born a year after him? The Victoria Cross is a decoration, not a medal!

Page 71: Can the authors explain the figure of 139 men, which they arrived at? When most modern research places the figure at, or around, 150 men.

For Allen read Allan.

Page 72: The details of the presentation of the Victoria Cross to James Henry Reynolds, is contradicted on page 182.

Allen, again.

How is Francis MacDowel senior to John Chard? Again see the recent debate on

Page 73: For Vane read Vaines.

If Lieutenant Henderson …was ordered to guard the ferry crossing, how is it that John Chard in his report of 25th January, 1879 states – ‘I requested him to send a detachment to observe the Drift and Ponts & throw out outposts in the direction of the Enemy, and check his advance as much as possible, falling back upon the post when forced to retire & assist in its defence.’ A little something more than merely guarding the ferry crossing.

Gunner Arthur Howard has become a Private.

Page 76: I appreciate that the authors have merely followed the words of Brevet Major Spalding, but I have been unable to trace a Mr Dickson, of the Buffalo Border Guard. I surmise he may well have been a member of the local Border Guard, rather than a member of the volunteer unit.

Page 77: Rather than - Private Hook was the last to leave the hospital – might I suggest based on Alfred Henry Hook’s own account from The Royal Magazine, February, 1905, that Hook was amongst the last to leave the hospital.

For Corporal Attwood of the Army Service Corps, read 2nd Corporal.

Page 80: Number of British forces, both in the table and the Participants requires to be revised upwards.

If one man, from the 90th (Perthshire Volunteers) Light Infantry constitutes a detachment, as far as the authors are concerned, then why are 2nd Battalion, 3rd (East Kent) Regiment of Foot “The Buffs”, excluded?

There are obviously many more, but this is a mere taster. Sadly I have not been able to use italics in pasting these from Word.

John Y.
31st March 2004Eric Willis
No, I am not a member of the AZWHS (I didn’t realise it was illegal) and I had never even heard of them until I stayed one night at Fugitives’ Drift Lodge – and because David Rattray wasn’t there I purchased his guidebook which got me and my guide safely round the battlefields.

I have now found the AZWHS web site – and it’s OK - in fairness I have also tried to find the AZWRS web site but it doesn’t appear to have one, why not?

Surely the bottom line is this – before John Young gleefully criticises others, he should be equal in the field . I would also suggest he goes on an ‘anger management course’. I certainly have an old copy of John Youngs 1991 book ‘fell like stones’ but it does have lots of errors, as anyone can see - probably just as many as he lists above. So with only one error-laden book to your own name John, why be so venomous to others?
A number of things puzzle me, with all the modern research, radio and television programmes, archaeology, journal articles and an enthusiastic host of new authors in the Zulu War field, why haven’t we heard any more from John Young?
Where is his research?
Where are his thoughtful papers?
Where are his new books?

People who live in glass houses....?

I only came to this site out of passing interest in the subject – I hadn’t expected world war 3. I’ll now go back to my preferred hobby of butterflies – and if anyone reads this I can assure them that butterflies are much more rewarding.
Eric (aged 78)
31st March 2004Mevin Hunt
Your feud with Martin Everett aside, I (and probably the majority on this forum,) are still baffled as to what your problem is with the "limited company" called the AZWHS. Surely there's room for more than one society? Surely there's been enough hostilities and such on this forum? Is it not time to settle your differences what ever they may be?
31st March 2004AMB

From where i stand butterfies look to be a good bet....

(& I am a member of both the AZWHS and the AZWRS)

I would add that having been on a number of operations over the past few years, I would be interested in the interpretation of those ops in the future. I suspect that in the year 2104, some might have differing thoughts about our activities in Bosnia or Afghanistan or Iraq. Such is life. The fact that people are still talking about the war in Zululand in 1879 has got to be good for one reason, as far as I am concerned: The boys that died during that particular war deserve our respect - those from both sides. If we can keep their memory alive, then its no bad thing.
So well done, Martin and well done John. However, I will watch your 'discussions' from the sidelines. [with interest!]

1st April 2004Peter Cole
Hear hear, Melvin and AMB.
1st April 2004John Young
Eric, (if it really is Eric?)

Take Andrew's advice and stick to your lepidopterous pursuits. An avid pastime of Henry Stabb, of the 32nd Light Infantry, by the way. Oh there's some research for you straight off in answer to your above query as to where's my research.

You don't have to look too far on this site either to find what you refer to as 'thoughtful papers' either, or for that matter further evidence of my recent research.

At least my comments are made given some basis of fact, rather than your above comment of 28th March, which you have not retracted despite Neil's comment of the following day. At least I acknowledge when I have erred unlike you. Was that the tinkling of shattered glass from Willis' household?

As to factual errors in 'They Fell Like Stones...' I think if you check the archives of this forum I already acknowledged that fact, so it is hardly new!

If you deem that one's knowledge is to by deduced by how many books a person has produced, or how many times they appear on the television or radio, that is indeed a poor creterion, isn't it?

Archaeology? Ask Dr. Pollard who solved some of his issues?


I'm not ignoring you, merely keeping to my opening statement of yesterday.

Were you awake at meetings?

John Y.

1st April 2004David Alan Gardner
As being neither a member of either society, I 'd just like to comment that I'm surprised there are appear to be so much politics around, and apparently vested interests.

What I do know is that JY despite his denials of academia, is as far as I'm concerned is certainly one of the most knowledgeable, if not the most knowledgeable contributors to this site.
For the less scrupulous among us to take take advantage of John's subject knowledge without due acknowledgement to him, is less than fair, and it seems to me certain parties with vested interests don't seem averse to taking pot -shots unfortunately.
1st April 2004Julian Whybra
My word, what a lot happens when you leave the site alone for a day or two! Just a couple of points...
I'm also keen on butterflies.
Martin, by capitalism, I meant the whole caboodle from unknowledgeable tour guides, the T-shirts, poorly-researched books, the lot really. I know it earns institutions like the army museums, the historical societies, etc the needed money, but I don't like it all the same. It just reflects the cheapening of our heritage.
While it is true to state there are a few errors in JY's They Fell Like Stones, one should remember that when it was published, it was the best there was and was up to date. The errors came to light subsequently as a result of further research.
It is a different matter to publish NOW works which contain far too many time-worn errors - that simply shows shoddy workmanship.
Eric, when you write 'where are JY's thoughtful papers, etc.', you have not read his articles written for the AZWRS Journal.
1st April 2004Martin Everett
JY raised the interesting point about the ribbon of the VC.

British Gallantry Awards by John Tamplin and Peter Abbot - page 322 states:

Ribbon: Crimson (described as 'red' in the Warrants) 1.5 inches wide. Originally the ribbon was dark blue for the Royal Navy and crimson for the Army, but following the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, King George V approved the adoption of a crimsom ribbon for all recipients.

I, of course, have access to a number of AZW VCs which appear to have their original ribbons or least they were pre-1918 - which are crimson. I have a coloured photo of the FM Lord Roberts group in the NAM (Lord Roberts died in 1914 and his WW1 medal trio is displayed separately). His ribbon is crimson.

The then consulted the expert in the UK - who has handled more than 150 VCs at auction who says that the original ribbon on Crimea awards did appear to be more of a claret colour bordering on crimson. So the VC ribbon has never been 'red' (and it would clash with the red tunic- my comment). So it would be appropriate in illustrations to show the ribbon for those awards made during AZW as crimson.

1st April 2004Melvin Hunt
I was (I hope) awake at the meetings. I'm still a little baffled though and in my comment above I was just trying to build bridges. Certainly no knock intended at all.
1st April 2004John Young
Dear Martin,

I have next to me a piece of Victoria Cross ribbon which dates from 1880, given to me several years ago by a Victoria Cross collector & authority. This ribbon is identical in colour to that shown on 'The Register of the Victoria Cross', crimson if you wish, but the same shade of crimson as officers' sashes. But most certainly not the colour portrayed in the Jason Askew painting - which looks decidely mauve to my eyes.

On the subject of the painting the numerals on the peaked forage cap of the figure portraying Quartermaster Bloomfield look strangely large to me - I take it they are pre-1874 Dress Regulations.

Odd too, that the man described as Private Young, meeting his death on the bottom right of the painting is wearing corporal's chevrons - a late promotion?

"Richard Turpin"
1st April 2004Eric Willis
I really didn't want to get back to this site but stupid curiosity got the better of me, so for the last time...
Good on you Melvin Hunt - a fair comment amidst the flak.
Likewise, well done David Gardiner - who hit the nail firmly by raising the question of the appalling politics, all seemingly coming from John Young. I have no idea why he should be so malicious as I don't recall ever seeing anyone else getting steamed up about others in the field of Zulu studies. John Young may deservedly be popular on this site but surely, the proper and gentlemanly thing to do, even today, is to write to the 'offending' authors and politely give them your thoughts and the benefit of you undoubted wisdom - there is no need to publicly do what John Young has done and spitefully publish his views in public.
I am obviously alone in this particular 'lions' den' but I still feel John should prove how good he is, and write a book imparting his knowledge for all, not just to those who visit this site.
Live and let live I say, life's too short.
Bless you all- back to my butterflies.
Eric (christened Cedric - and changed for obvious reasons)

1st April 2004David Alan Gardner
I think you have misunderstood me-I don't think it's John who's the politician.As I said, he is the one who contributes most to this site as far as I'm concerned, and offers his knowledge in good faith.

I think it's others who have taken advantage of that goodwill.
2nd April 2004Simon Copley
This would make a terrific subject for a book!
Assegais fly in the world of Anglo Zulu War research...
2nd April 2004John Young

Can I proof-read it!

2nd April 2004Michael Evans
Dear John,
Please steer clear of proof reading!
Did you really 'check the interpretation' of the excellent book by Lee Stevens called the 'Rorkes Drift doctor' published 2001 ? If you did, as the book says you did, then it seems to me that you missed an unnecessary amount of errors in the first pages; I don't want to embarrass you but, for example, Royal Kraa? not very PC in this day and age and probably incorrect anyway!!, Railway line to Pietermaritzburg - I don't think it got there until after the war? Asante War - no John!! Sihayo's Kraal (ouch) !!. 1st Battalion 24th, 1st/24th and 24th Foot all in one sentance!! - well, which one is it? - at least split them up in different sentances. No John, don't get into proof reading or you'll end up being tarred with your own brush.
Remember your 'Stones' book and all those errors mentioned elsewhere - Just stick to giving us the benefit of all your knowledge on this site.
Yours in friendship -
Michael Evans - not a member of anything relevant!
2nd April 2004John Young

Check the back pages of the forum for April 2002, I think you were 'AW' then, weren't you? By the way the book was entitled 'The Rorke's Drift Doctor'. Same tune, different name?

Asante - try a web search on the word, and see what you come up with, and then might suggest eating your above comment!

By the way, I think the word you're trying to spell is sentence, what did someone say about 'people in glass houses'?

It is a very long time since I referred to a Zulu homestead as a 'kraal', that Lee chose to do so was his choice, not mine. I most certainly would not use the expression 'Royal Kraal' to describe King Cetshwayo kaMpande's ikhanda, myself.

Where are the errors by the way in 'They Fell Like Stones'? Can you please tell me? And I'll tell you if I haven't already amended myself.

What benefit have you derived from my knowledge on this site? Very little I take it? Otherwise why seek to deride it, when the author of the work has answered the many of the issues you refer to.

If your comments are 'in friendship', I love to see what my enemies think of me!

John Y.
2nd April 2004John Young
"A.W." it is you again, come out of the closet - why attempt to come on to the site with another name? Yet still make the same spelling mistakes that Richard Doherty noticed the last time round.

Crawl, or shall I say 'kraal', back under the rock from which you have emerged!

John Y.
2nd April 2004Simon Copley
Would I have to acknowledge you? Ok then!
2nd April 2004John Young

No, it is not the norm to do so, just the publisher to pay for the service rendered.

John Y.
2nd April 2004John Young
'Alec', 'Peter' or is it 'Susan'?

No jolly banter back, I'm miffed!

From someone, you and friend would like to see 'swinging from Tyburn Tree', perhaps?
3rd April 2004John Young

Is this clearing your vision any? Some people on this site are not who they purport to be.

"Michael Evans" above, and "Alec Weston" of two years ago are posing the queries - complete with the same spelling errors. You ask about politics, at least I'm who I say I am! I do not take the trouble to hide my true udentity.

As to your comment: '...the proper and gentlemanly thing to do, even today, is to write to the 'offending' authors and politely give them your thoughts and the benefit of you undoubted wisdom.' As one of the authors of the work wrote to me in the past and stated that he never wanted to hear from me again, there is little point even attempting to correspond with him, is there?

John Y.
3rd April 2004Julian Whybra
I think it would be useful to state that use of words in history books (according to the rules of the Univ. of London governing theses) such as kraal, kaffir, even mild terms like native are acceptable in their historical context. In some cases it is no longer pc or desirable to use nigger and kaffir, in others, like kraal, it is just good form, and with words like chief, it is bordering on the pedantic. Lee's use of the word kraal is perfectly acceptable and so is John's ikhanda - the important thing to do is once one is used to stick to it and not confuse the reader. As far as I'm aware London's rules are the same or very similar to all other UK universities and institutions.