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DateOriginal Topic
4th April 2004Open invitation to John Young
By Adrian Greaves
A personal invitation to John Young.

Dear John,

As I don’t appear to have your postal address, I hope this open letter reaches you.

I have just returned home from one of my regular visits to Zululand to monitor AZWHS charitable projects, the visit was one of over fifty made during the last twenty years. Amidst the pile of mail awaiting me was a letter from Major Martin Everett enclosing your suggested corrections to the David Rattray Guidebook. As the guidebook editor, I was delighted to receive them and thank you very much indeed for these. I am most grateful to you for taking the time and making the effort, and as its editor I will go through them shortly. Many of your suggestions I recognize, but some are new to me and where necessary, I will take note of them andl ensure the publishers acknowledge any contribution of yours. Again, my grateful thanks to you.

Since the guidebook was first published, I have already twice physically retraced the guidebook’s recommended routes to check various suggested amendments from battlefield visitors and local registered battlefield guides. Such revision is essential as the battlefields are constantly being subjected to changes; there are new roads being built, previously open gates have been moved or are now locked, donga’s have appeared across essential tracks while others have been washed away, and two British cemeteries now charge entry fees – for example, to visit the cemetery at Fort Pearson one now has to drive three miles, off track, to pay and get the key! There is also a new roadway to the top of Hlobane, but as usual, you need a key to gain access. By virtue of such rapid changes, the guidebook will soon be revised, already over 7,000 copies have been sold here and 4,000 in S Africa.

You might also like to hear of some of the ongoing charitable work the AZWHS does for the RD community. Apart from me donating all royalties to the Zulu community from my earlier Isandlwana and RD books, and my 2 forthcoming books, ‘Recoats and Zulus’ and ‘Crossing the Buffalo’ , the AZWHS also make considerable donations in support of education fees for RD pupils and staff alike. The AZWHS also help pay for maintenance of the RD church and has paid towards the battlefield upkeep. We assisted with the cost of RD school security and only last week I personally delivered four sets of top quality British football and netball team kits to the RD Secondary School. You can imagine the children’s’ delighted reaction to that. The total financial input from the Society into the community now amounts to over £30,000. Our current projects are all long-term, and we have just commenced fund raising to repair the rotting RD church roof – perhaps your AZWRS and its members might like to assist us with this worthwhile project?

Martin mentioned Jason Askew’s Hlobane picture of Mossop. For the record, Jason painted this work (specially commissioned by a well known national figure) from a photograph of the young Mossop supplied by the Mossop family. I had lunch with the Mossops last week in Vryheid as they had requested some prints of the original painting, and they were utterly delighted with them. Jason’s representation of Mossop is indeed accurate – as you and your members will be able to judge for yourselves at the forthcoming joint AZWHS / Firepower Zulu War exhibition at the Royal Artillery Museum in August.

Finally, it was my pleasure a couple of years ago to invite Julian Whybra to my home. I was delighted that he accepted. I would now like to extend this invitation to you, and your wife if she would like a day out. It would give you and me the opportunity of meeting each other, long overdue. Please write or telephone me at my home address because I don’t visit the RD site – I am rarely at home and I just don’t have the time. Apart from my recent Zululand visit I spent the first part of the year in the deserts of Arabia and Egypt researching my next major project – nothing at all to do with the Zulu War. I have several long-term commitments necessitating visits to the Middle East coming up, so do come and see me before I go.
With kind regards to you and your members,
Adrian Greaves
AZWHS Tel; 01580-764189
4th April 2004Keith Smith

Please note that with regard to Fort Pearson, it is NOT necesssary to go for the key. It is a short walk from the Ultimatum Tree, up the track, across the motorway and so up to the Fort. To reach the cemetery, continue down the other side of the hill, then up the next. The cemetery is at the top of the next hill, on the right. The key is necessary only if you wish to drive there.

4th April 2004John Young
Dear Dr. Greaves,

I welcome and accept your invitation to visit you and I will write to you, as I do have your address, to arrange a date, which is mutually acceptable to us both.

I only hope that Tenterden is well served by the rail service, as a drive of such length with my current injury is out of the question.


John Young
5th April 2004Mike McCabe
A wise person gets the key, enabling their car to be brought up to the small orientation panel and kept under observation, and behind a locked gate. There have been recent incidents of unattended cars left at the 'Ultimatum Tree' being broken into, or the drivers being mugged or carjacked as they returned to the parked vehicle.

The key is intended to be secured by a returnable deposit, but I was unable to find anybody at the small game park manager's office that controls it on two separate vists in early 2004 and eventually gave up.

The Fort Pearson and Euphorbia Redoubt sites are now much overgrown, obscuring much of the earthworks, and lines of sight. The signposting to Fort Tenedos is not continuous, making it difficult to find (unless you know where it is in the first place), and on 'wet' days a normal hire car might have problems with the tracks.

Sites at and near Ulundi are also increasingly over-built or overgrown. Kwa Mondi/Eshowe fort is very overgrown, as is the nearby cemetery. The local area might also not suit the timid! Get to these 'further out' sites sooner rather than later if you want to see much of them - they will not necessarily last much longer, generating little in the way of revenue.

Khambule is also hard to access when tracks are wet.

5th April 2004Keith Smith

You are quite right to point out the dangers regarding out-of the-way spots like the Ultimatum Tree. I too tried to get the key last November, found no-one there and did it the way I suggested. You are right too about the sorry condition of some of the sites, which are gradually disappearing due to neglect. The same can be said of Inyezane, the monument frequently disappearing in the undergrowth and is impossible to find, unless you know wehere to look. Khambule was impossible to visit due to rain last November.

5th April 2004AMB
I would concur with Mike McCabe's comments regarding khambule - the tracks are not good when it is wet. If it's raining and you are in a normal hire car, a robust driving style does help, but a 4X4 is far better suited.

5th April 2004Mark Hobson
Another dangerous journey to take is the steep roadway which takes you down from Helpmekaar towards Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana. In fine, dry weather - and with care and attention - it is no problem. But on a wet day... In 2002, myself and Bill Cainan arrived at Helpmekaar on a sunny day only to be deluged in a thunderstorm as soon as we stepped out of the car (a BMW hire car of all things to be landed with!). After waiting for the weather to pass, but with no sign of it doing so, we decided to abandon our plans and head back to the Lodge. And driving down "Noustroppas Pass" in monsoon conditions isn't recommended. It was a hair-raising 60 minutes, with lightening coming down and rocks rolling down the hillside, and when we finally reached Isandlwana Lodge I felt like getting out and kissing the ground.
We also had trouble getting to O'Neils cottage at Majuba. Bill's "robust" driving saved the day but not my nerves.
6th April 2004pb
could this be an amalgumation of the two societies at last?
great teams are made this way.
such as co founders and co aurthors.
greaves and who ?
jones and who?
stevenson and who ?
anon pb
6th April 2004Mike McCabe
There is much to be gained by this topic's most diligent researchers arriving on common ground.

11th April 2004Adrian Greaves
From Adrian Greaves.

One week ago I invited John Young to meet with me. The speed of his response on rorkesdriftvc was commendable. Sadly, I have heard nothing from him. His disinclination to meet me is understandable in the light of his trenchant comments about me, published on rorkesdriftvc, copies of which have recently been forwarded to me.

Before seeing his most recent comments, I had prepared several subjects for discussion with John Young, including cooperation between us and co-ordination between the two disparate Societies. Sharing a Journal and organizing future exhibitions, lectures and similar events were also possibilities.

For the record, three different publishers’ professional judgement and confidence in my publications has produced gratifyingly high sales, from which more offers followed. I have recently accepted three further contracts– two new publications are due for release this year, the third in 2005. If my unexpected success offends anyone, then I can only commiserate - and suggest that persevering with one’s own activities is less sterile than criticizing mine.

I am content to be judged by;

1. the public, who continue to buy my books in gratifying quantities,
2. my publishers, who want more,
3. the growing number of people joining the Anglo Zulu War Historical Society, whose membership now totals about 1,400 worldwide, and,
4. the Zulus, at Rorke’s Drift and elsewhere, who directly benefit from my writing and associated activities.

If anyone has issues with me and genuinely seeks my response, then they can write to me personally, or e-mail me via the AZWHS.

As a result of John Young’s comments on rorkesdriftvc, my invitation to him is withdrawn.

Adrian Greaves

PS. Apart from needing the key to take a vehicle to Fort Pearson, the fee is payable as the area is now a registered site under the control of Amafa. One gets the same receipt at at Isandlwana or Rorke's Drift. I agree that one can avoid paying but this avoids the spirit of what Amafa are trying to achieve.
11th April 2004John Young
Dr. Greaves,

I am sadden that you have withdrawn your invitation.

If I am tardy with my correspondence it is because I am endeavouring to deal with a backlog of enquiries despite being hampered by my current injury. In addition my son is using the computer for cramming his studies. For no other reason that you might wish to believe.

For my part, I am in no way disinclined to meet with you, but as you have as so publicly withdrawn your invitation, in the same way that you made it, then I will accept that fact and carry on.

John Y.
11th April 2004Alan Critchley
Peter and I try not to involve ourselves with personal issues on the website, unless of course they become too personal. I would say that it's a pity that Adrian's offer of possible co-operation between the two societies is not now on the table. Most people I have come across on the website and elsewhere share a real interest in the subject and seek to broaden their knowledge from whatever source. Any sharing of information could only have been to the good. I hope that it may still be possible to work something out.

Alan Critchley
12th April 2004John Young

I must say I am puzzled by Dr. Greaves' remark; '...trenchant comments about me, published on rorkesdriftvc, copies of which have recently been forwarded to me.'

Perhaps he, or the person that forwarded the comments to him, could explain what those 'trenchant comments' are? Given that his invitation was extended after I made the last comment on the posting started by Peter Ewart regarding the interview with David Rattray.

I welcome any response on this public forum, from either Dr. Greaves, or whoever it is that appears represents his interests on this forum.

John Young,
Anglo-Zulu War Research Society