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6th April 2004Why wasn't war stopped etc?
By Tarkis
I have a query regarding Bartle Frere and his cronies...if the Zulu invasion was NOT sanctioned by the Home Government, then were they removed from their posts? Why wasn't Chelmsford removed from command, or was he absolved of guilt as he was only the military commander? And why wasn't the war stopped as soon as the Government heard of it? Was the punishment at Isandlwana a source of such a loss of face that the Government decided to continue with the war in order to win back respect??? Thanks in advance...
Melbourne Zulu War enthusiast.
6th April 2004Peter Ewart

Frere was removed in two stages relatively quickly, as a direct result of his part in starting the war - whether fairly or not is a matter of opinion.

Chelmsford offered to step down not long after Isandlwana and, after some demur at home, was fairly quickly removed - only the practicalities & the distance from home enabled him to retain his position until early July as a result of his successor's delays. He was never given active command again.

The war was prosecuted vigorously to its inevitable, speedy and only possible end as soon as the British government heard of it.

Yes, the loss of prestige as a result of Isandlwana undoubtedly counted - one of many such examples among "Victoria's Little Wars." The campaign in the Transvaal a year or so later was one of the few exceptions to this general rule, when four defeats/humiliations in the field were not reversed by policy directed from home.

7th April 2004Keith Smith

The Commander-in-Chielf of the Britsh Army, George, Duke of Cambridge, set out quite clearly the reason why Chelmsford was not immediately replaced:

"He has now acquired from experience a perfect knowledge of the country in which he will have to operate, & of the enemy with whom he must contend. He knows the Troops & is known by them. The whole thread of the operations & all the arrangements necessary to carry them out in his hands. The period of the year most favorable for military operations has just commenced. Any change in the command at this time & under such circumstances would be most prejudicial, and could only be justified by the existence of an obvious incapacity on the part of the officer holding it. That Lord Chelmsford underrated the battle power of the Zulu army & the ability of its leaders is now clear, but he did so in common with almost every civilian & soldier in the Cape Colony." (Memorandum relating to Lord Chelmsford’s request for a second-in-command. PRO WO 30/129)

7th April 2004Tarkis
Thanks for those replies chaps.....!
14th April 2004Mike McCabe
And, showing immense foresight, the Duke of Cambridge did not want to deprive John Young, Julian, and many others of this website.

18th April 2004Tarkis
har har @ Mike :)