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Royal Engineer ‘Immortals’ - An Official Term ?
Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 274
Location: U.K.
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Been glancing through the book Honourable Conquests, where a caption beside a portrait, mentions an officer as being one of the RE ‘Immortals’.

It appears to be used for those in the RE who have been the biggest influence and/or their successful body of work.

Has this term been used in any other sources, especially in regards to any of those of the RE who were in the Zulu War 1879 ?

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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Never heard of it attributed to any Royal Engineers Officer or Other-Rank in connection with the Zulu War.

Although Queen Victoria described an event as such - “The Defence of Rorke's Drift is Immortal."

Not forgetting the Wreath of Immortelles.

JY
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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 274
Location: U.K.
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John

I’m thinking it might be a sort of internal term within the Royal Engineers itself, used for those who stood out in their own time and are still remembered (live on in memory) for whatever reasons they were famed for or credited with accomplishing.

I’ve considered that Chard might be considered such for his actions at Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu War 1879, and quite possibly Bindon Blood (?) who I seem to recall was involved in the later stages at Fort Pearson, who designed or was a member of the group who created the Blood Pontoons ?

It’s such a great designation to give someone, I had hoped to find how it came to be used, and who within the RE were considered such.

Obviously I have a special interest in the RE, and would have liked to know more from them of how they feel about Isandhlwana and the senior commander who was one of their own.

I think Mike McCabe was the only person who discussed it in-depth on the forum, who was himself a member of the RE ? However, the topics were several years ago, so can’t be sure if this is right

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John Young


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
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Location: Lower Sheering, Essex
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Try contacting the R.E. Museum for their input.

JY
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Colin


Joined: 22 Nov 2017
Posts: 274
Location: U.K.
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On looking through the book for a description to hopefully pinpoint the necessary qualities admired for such a designation, it says this regarding one of the men considered an RE Immortal -

‘not so much for the outstanding and professional qualities’

as for

‘courage, energy, sound judgment, common sense, unusual powers of organisation, a faculty for the lucid exposition of his views and a special aptitude for managing men’

So, I guess it might vary for each individual, no set list of requirements needing to be met, which does suggest an internal use within the RE itself, not on an official basis.

Therefore, knowing what we know now, especially the discovery of The Isandhlwana Papers, could we call Durnford an RE Immortal now too, or is that just going to be by me, as he is still remembered 140 years later, when others of his time are forgotten, at least to the public ?🤔

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Royal Engineer ‘Immortals’ - An Official Term ?
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