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11th April 2004Documentation by Lord Chelmsford.
By Pte. David McColl
One of my corporals and several others who have an interest in the Zulu war (particularly the battle at Ishandlwana and Rorke's Drift) have been searching for information on a document produced by Lord Chelmsford shortly after the court-martial of one of his officers who was accused of the crime of cowardice. We have little information to go on but we do know that the subject matter surrounded the duty of officers in the field and what is expected of them and such and such else. Anyone with any information on this document, please inform me.
11th April 2004Martin Everett
Dear David,
I think the reference is Lord Wolseley not Chlemsford - but I am confident that John Young will be able locate the source for you.
11th April 2004John Young

This relates to the court-martial of Lieutenant Henry Harward, of the 80th (Staffordshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot. Harward was the junior officer to Captain David Moriarty, and was present in the surprise attack at Myer's Drift, Ntombe River, 12th March, 1879, a supply convoy and its escort.

Captain Moriarty died in the opening minutes of the attack, near to tent which was on the northern bank of the river. Harward was the southern bank in command of a smaller detail. Whilst the enemy force wrought havoc out those on the northern side of the river, Harward and his party provided covering fire to enable the escape of some of the men from the northern bank.

Harward then made a rash decision. He ordered Sergeant Anthony Booth to fall back on a deserted farmhouse some three miles away from the drift with the remaining troops. Having given his orders he mounted a horse and set off at a gallop to a British outpost. Booth and his party fought a heroic retreat, engaging the enemy as they came close.

Harward reached the outpost at 6.30am, an hour and half after the initial attack had commenced. he blurted out that the convoy had fallen. A relief force was formed and they reached Sergeant Booth and his men.

Harward was tried by court-martial in Pietermaritzburg on 20th February, 1880. There were two counts:
1; Of having misbehaved before the enemy, in shamefully abandoning a party of the the regiment under his command when attacked by the enemy, and in riding off at speed from his men.
2; Of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in having, at the place and time mentioned in the first charge, neglected to take proper precautions for the safety of the party of a regiment under his command when attacked.

The court found Harward not guilty on both counts. The findings of the court were submitted for formal approval to Sir Garnet Wolseley. He disapproved the findings and would not confirm them. Harward was released and allowed to return to his unit.

Wolseley informed the C-in-C of the British Army, George, Duke of Cambridge, of his concerns that Harward had betrayed the trust between an officer and those under his command.

On 13th May, 1880, Cambridge issued a General Order which expressed that Wolseley's remarks were to read at the head of every regiment & corps in the service of Queen Victoria. Harward rather than suffer this very public humiliation resigned his commission on 11th May, 1880.

Sergeant Booth for his actions was awarded the Victoria Cross.

That is a summary of the events, I will endeavour to get you the full word of Cambridge's General Order after the holidays.

John Y.
12th April 2004Pte. David McColl
Please send the documentation to my DND e-mail address as soon as you recieve it. We need the information for the unit history room. On behalf of 3 Intelligence Company, thank you.

"Servitum Nulli Secundus"
12th April 2004Pte. David McColl
Please send the documentation to my DND e-mail address as soon as you recieve it. We need the information for the unit history room. On behalf of 3 Intelligence Company, thank you.

"Servitum Nulli Secundus"
12th April 2004John Young

I have sent the wording of Garnet Wolseley's statement to you via your e-mail address above.

However, I think it right that others should also see the statement in full as well, so I reproduce it here:

'Had I released this officer without making any remarks upon the verdict in question, it would have been a tacit acknowledgment that I concurred in what appears to me a monstrous theory, viz, that a regimental officer who is the only officer present with a party of soldiers actually and seriously engaged with the enemy, can, under any pretext whatever, be justified in deserting them, and by so doing, abandoning them to their fate. The more helpless a position in which an officer finds his men, the more it is his bounden duty to stay and share their fortune, whether for good or ill. It is because the British officer has always done so that he possesses the influence he does in the ranks of our army. The soldier has learned to feel, that come what may, he can in the direst moment of danger look with implicit faith to his officer, knowing that he will never desert him under any possible circumstances.

It is to this faith of the British soldier in his officers that we owe most of the gallant deeds recorded in our military annals; and it is because the verdict of this court-martial strikes at the root of this faith, that I feel it necessary to mark officially my emphatic dissent from the theory upon which the verdict has been founded.'

John Y.

13th April 2004Pte. David McColl
Amazing! Perfect! Thank you!
13th April 2004John Young

No problem that's what we're here for!

John Y.