However I had no idea what facts I would eventually find.
I understand how it is easy to develop an affinity when living and working amongst different people, from our own personal experiences from living for two years in Bougainville and how I felt while they were in Civil War.
At the time they were living in Ireland, and he was born at Manorhamilton Leitrim Ireland.
He was baptised at the Church of Ireland Church June 1830.
Manorhamilton (Irish: Cluainín (Uí Ruairc) ) is a small town in north County Leitrim, Ireland
A Timeline of his life.
A Snapshot of his early days in South Africa - The complete story in the following series of posts.
Anthony Durnford left England late in 1871, where he had been living at Devenport, when he was offered an appointment with the Royal Engineers in South Africa.
|Museum at King William's Town|
King William's Town owes its establishment to warfare with the Xhosa during the nineteenth century and the tenacity of a Scottish missionary, John Brownlee. He had established the Buffalo Mission Station on the fertile banks of the Buffalo River in January 1826.
In 1857 the total number of European inhabitants in British Kaffraria (some 1792) was increased by the arrival of 2119 German military settlers. The population return for 1857, published in January 1858, lists the Xhosa population of British Kaffraria as 52186.
Although Sir Harry Smith's Crown Colony of British Kaffraria was to be short-lived - by 1866 it had been incorporated in the Cape Colony - King William's Town was permanently established at last and could flourish and grow
During that period he designed Ford Durnford and the first Anglican Church built at Estcourt near the Little Bushman's River drift. (has been replaced)
Estcourt is located at the confluence of the Bushmans and the Little Bushmans River. It is also on the main Durban - Johannesburg railway line some 160 km north of Durban and 25 km south of the Tugela River crossing. In earlier years the main road, later to become the N3, passed through the town. The town itself is 1196 m above sea level and lies in the hilly country that dominates most of the Natal Midlands. The Drakensberg lies some 40 km to the west of the town.
In 1872 an Anglican church was built on the banks of the Bushman's River, and Fort Durnford was built in 1874 by Lt-Col Durnford, a military engineer, as a base for the Natal Mounted Police.
In 1847 a detachment of the 45th Regiment was sent from Fort Napier in Pietermaritzburg to protect the Boers in that region from the raids of the Bushmen. For their station they chose the flat top of a hill across the Bushman’s River from Saailaer. This w Type of site: Fort Previous use: fortifications and stables. Current use: Museum. Coming into Estcourt from Pietermaritzburg turn right onto Kemps Road just before crossing the railway. This extensive fortification was designed by Colonel A.W. Durnford and erected in 1874
The fort became a substantial stronghold, and was used to protect transport riders and the herds of cattle driven across the ford.
It is as secure as any castle with drinking water tanks in the basement, a drawbridge, moat and two secret tunnels.
Fort Durnford is an interesting example of a late 19th-century form of defence, presumably built to the specifications laid down by the ROYAL ENGINEERS for use in the colonies. Constructed of sandstone, it was built by British soldiers and was the largest of the Natal fortifications. (Built by Jeromia Faulds)
Surrounded by a ditch which, according to the original plans could be flooded as a moat, the fort was entered by means of a drawbridge leading through to stout iron-plated doors. There was ample stabling, provision for a courtroom, officers' mess, armoury and strongroom - each made homely by the presence of fireplaces. The devices for the fort's defence were several and ingenious, but in fact were never put to the test; the mere presence of this twin-towered fortification kept the peace.
In the period of alarm following the Langalibalele Rebellion in 1873 in Natal the Natal government decided in 1874 to build a permanent fort overlooking the village of Estcourt. Designed by Lieut Colonel Anthony William Durnford the acting colonial engineer, the blockhouse was two stories high, with two flanking towers and water storage tanks in the basement
A detachment of the Natal Mounted Police was stationed there. In 1878 it was linked by stone walls to stables and blockhouse to form the Estcourt Laager.
(Anthony lived for some time at the fort, he even planted a flower garden while he was there)
The Natal Mounted Police continued to be stationed there until 1900
In 1873 he was ordered to Capetown and was stationed in Cape Castle
On 1st September 1873 he was the Senior British Officer at the Coronation of King Cetshwayo
|The Durban Volunteer Artillery accompanied Sir Theophilus |
Shepstone to Mlambongwenya ikhanda (barracks) during
the official coronation of Prince Cetshwayo kaMpande on September 1, 1873.
In 1878 he was in command of the Natal Native Contingent
The Natal Native Contingent
The black population of Natal were subjected to conscription to raise enough manpower to supplement the under-strength army. There was a concern that the Zulu impi could cross into Natal while the British were advancing into Zululand so a large force was needed to guard the border. The recruitment and training of native Africans was left rather late so they were not very useful as soldiers. The white colonial NCOs were brutal to their recruits and led by fear rather than encouragement. The infantry were formed into 3 regiments, the 1st had 3 battalions, the 2nd and 3rd had two each. The battalions were 1,000 strong and mostly armed with shields and spears. They looked quite similar to the Zulu enemy apart from red cloths tied around their heads. One in ten men had a rifle but they were often out of date and the men were poorly trained. But there was no lack of motivation as these natives hated and feared the Zulus.
The Natal Native Horse
The Natal Native Horse
The local irregular cavalry were formed into 5 Troops of about 50 men each. They wore uniforms, of a sort, carried carbines and were led by competent officers. The Troops were drawn from different tribal or religious groups. Three of the Troops were of Sikali's Horse, Basutos from the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains, the Hlubi Troop were from the tribe of that name. The last Troop, the Edendale Troop were Christians from the Wesleyan Edendale Mission, who had been raised after the Langalibelele Rebellion in November 1873.
KwaZulu-Natal: the coastal iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park World Heritage Site - due east of pivotal landmarks in Zulu history. KwaZulu-Natal: the mountainous 'Barrier of Spears' uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, adorned with Stone Age cave paintings. KwaZulu-Natal: realm of the legendary Zulu kings and steeped in living Zulu tradition. KwaZulu-Natal: timeless Indian culture in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. KwaZulu-Natal: Colonial reminders shoulder-to-shoulder with icons of democracy. KwaZulu-Natal: the gateway city of Durban -
KwaZulu-Natal: South Africa’s domestic tourism leader, highly popular among visitors from throughout continental Africa and increasingly on the "must-see, must- do" lists of discerning travelers. These travellers from all points of the globe seek and find a unique blend of sophistication, cultural diversity and excitement – in the most breathtaking setting imaginable. Welcome to South Africa's Zulu Kingdom: KwaZulu-Natal.
|The battles fought in the rolling hills and valleys of northern KwaZulu-Natal some 120 years ago changed the course of South African history and still today, the area now known as ‘the Battlefields’ seems to echo with the heroic and often tragic deeds of the past. The sites of famous skirmishes that rocked the British, weakened the Boers and broke the mighty Zulu nation continue to draw visitors.|
A good place to start and to give some context to your visit of this fascinating and beautiful region of KZN would be to take a guided tour. Other options are to self-drive to each site with a good guidebook and just enjoy the beautiful and often haunting views, or for a wonderfully authentic experience, in some places, you can tour them on horseback. A great many forts established by the British during the South African wars have disappeared, while others such as Fort Durnford near Estcourt are now most interesting and somewhat quirky museums.
Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift are two of the most famous battlefields in the country and also perhaps in British history, perhaps because it was here that in a furious two hour battle, Zulu forces armed primarily with traditional spears and shields thrashed the mighty British Colonial Empire, one of the few times they were ever routed by an indigenous army. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to those who defended Rorke’s Drift.
Another interesting battlefield site is Spioenkop, where three men who would play an important role is world affairs were present. Winston Churchill was there as a war correspondent, Mahatma Gandhi was present as a stretcher bearer and Louis Botha became the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa. Visits to Elandslaagte, the Blood River Monument and Talana Museum near Dundee are also worthwhile.
On an annual basis, numerous “re-enactments” of some of the famous battles take place. These are great fun affairs with many local people dressing up in bright red, colonial British or traditional Zulu warrior attire. Food, music and other activities often accompany these events.
Not far from the quirky town of Babanango is the highland Ntingwe Tea Estate that famously sells a high quality tea to the famous London Store, Harrods. A tour of the estate takes one through the mountain top tea plantation, the factory and to meet some of the pickers.
Just as interesting in this area of KwaZulu-Natal, are the excellent game reserves such as Weenen, Nambiti Private Game Reserve with its luxury lodges to hire, and Spioenkop Nature Reserve all of which have great game viewing and bird watching experiences.
A lovely romantic experience is to take an early morning hot-air balloon flight over the region near Vryheid to enjoy a bird’s eye view of some of the battlefields as well as do some game viewing.
If you would like to receive a brochure on the Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, please send an email requesting one to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The stories of his life follow that of his timeline.