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Sunday, February 15, 2015

43.3.2.o.3 Col Anthony Durnford - The Aftermath - Joining the Dots - Reaching a conclusion

The Hearing 1886

Perhaps no-body thought to tell Chelmsford that was his thinking, but having made that statement would he have still fought to the end,?

In my honest opinion, having regard for all matters the answer would be Yes.

The dates of the Hearing were April, 1886 and most probably concluded by 8th June, 1886, when Edward immediately wrote to his brother Arthur.    

Frances was devastated, and arranged to travel to England, leaving in 12th June,  but first she obtained the opinion of Charles Fairbridge lawyer from Cape Town, who considered the evidence to be sound and perfectly legitimate.

12th June 1886 Frances left South Africa.  She arrived in London and contacted Mr Chesson (Aborigines' Protection Society) Louis Knollys and Edward Durnford for advice.  They advised her to see Colonel R.H. Vetch RE who was on the War Office Staff and Colonel Lothian Nicholson, Inspector General of the Royal Engineers.

June 1866    Crealock meanwhile is asked by Col. Nicholsen to write a statement about the events relating to his missing notebook which he did.

Derby                               (this was written by Crealock).

"Dear Major Jekyll

I imagine you refer to the copy of the orders which I made at 2am 22 January & which was found on the field 7 months later by Colonel Black & forwarded me & which, stained with the mud of the field, lies before me-

A [???] thus & is I believe almost verbatim with what I officially stated to be my memory of it –

“You are to march to this Camp at once with all the force you have with you of No 2 column – Major Bengough battalion is to move to Rorke’s Drift – as ordered yesterday.

2/24: artillery & mounted men with the General I Colonel Glyn move off at once to attack a Zulu force about 10 miles distant if Bengoughs battalion has crossed the River at Hands Kraal it is to move up here (Naugwane valley)”

I fear I have no longer any of the old maps in which these names appear – but my memory of the time is was meant to present is corroborated by a sketch to which I have first referred

As is as shown by any coloured sketch a most rugged broken country as I have never been called upon officially to enter into the controversy you refer to I have not been mixed up in it.

I however showed Colonel Durnford in my house in 1882[?] the note book with the copy of the orders in it -. So as to put at test (as I hoped) any doubt on the matter

In supplying the Inspector General with this information I imagine I am doing so for official purposes & sanction.

I am faithfully


In July 1886, a thank you from Major Jekyll was sent to Crealock, who confirmed the letter was for General Nicholson's private use. (He was reviewing the order)


Frances was still totally fixated on the case and wanted the facts fully publicised, by September 1886 as by know her doctors had told her she had limited time to live.

October 1866, the Times of Natal published the findings of the Court of Inquiry and Frances was accused of withholding vital evidence along with several affidavits.

This affidavit was not presented to the Inquiry, according to the dates, but perhaps was used by Shepstone in the editorial that was written and published in October 1886 which although apparently written by Shepstone, was published under the editor, and accused Frances this time of concealing the truth.   Any evidence at the Inquiry would probably remain with the records.

So now, he accuses Frances of withholding evidence,

Frances saw red, and reported back to the papers, she did not let up with her scathing.

To fully understand why there was a war between Frances and Shepstone, it would be suggested reading "The Ruin of Zululand: an Account of British doing in Zululand since the invasion of 1879" written from John Colenso's instructions, and also the Letters of John Colenso.  

By 1886 his brother Edward was still trying to get a rehearing, but to no avail, as Queen Victoria believed Lord Chelmsford's version of the events.  

But even she may have doubts, and cleared her conscious by offering Frances Durnford a grace and favour apartment in her palace.    

Sir Andrew Clarke, recently retired from the Royal Engineers and Mr Chesson, agreed to help with her case.   Sir Andrew Clarke suggested Edward write to Lord Chelmsford asking for a public retraction of his charge against Anthony, which Edward did.

Writing to Frances on 30 August l886, then on her final visit to Britain, Luard wrote:
The further prosecution of this business about Colonel Durnford is not, I think, to be undertaken.  Anything in the shape of a public exposure I should myself be extremely opposed to, as the profession to which I belong would, I fear, suffer thereby. 

One can prove nothing against anyone, except perhaps, against Offy, though the practical difficulties in the way of doing even that much are enormous. You can publish nothing that will not be libellous to be effective and the case is not sufficiently conclusive, or of sufficient public importance to be taken up by a member of parliament whose influence would have sufficient weight to move the mass of government, or the masses of the people.

‘ ...I have done my best and failed.  I have been told to swallow a dose - a very bitter one, and I have obeyed orders. I have seen Sir Andrew Clarke and have asked him to do nothing further in the matter’. 
As regards Colonel Luard, "circumstances alter cases".  You must look at his home circumstances.  His wife has probably denounced his intimacy with you and demanded that it should cease.  This is, of course, only my idea of the situation. 

     Edward then expressed a confidence in her continued handling of the case that was in reality no more than a slender hope.  He was sure she would carefully think out her ideas for future action, not only of the course to be followed, but also the probable results.  Then came his judgement on their efforts so far:  You see, we have come to this terrible deadlock really through impulsive action without reckoning the cost. 

And that of course is exactly what she would have done.  They offered her a respectful "out".

By now Col Luard had arrived in England, and he refused to see Frances, their friendship ended when he was faced with having to write a public apology to Shepstone.

In January 1887 Edward told her he and his family would object to the publication of anything relating to he case, as he had never accused Chelmsford of anything other than false accusations against his brother.  He also suggested she was being far too "romantic" with the claims she was making against Shepstone and Chelmsford.

By now she has angry by being submitted to tyrannous threats from the military authorities and despite looking at a short time to live, she did everything in her power to prove her case. She tried to convince an MP Mr Howard, but his opinion was that nobody was interested in Shepstone.

The matter seems to have been dropped when Chelmsford failed to make a public confession.

From a couple of earlier published letters, and in hindsight the meanings can best be consistent with two people trying desperately for Frances to drop the matter, but offering her not the truth, but some contrived implications.

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