Durnford: From Chatham to Isandlwana

Anthony William Durnford and the mysteries following his death

Kristine Herron

It has been 140 years since the Battle of Isandhlwana, on 22nd January 1879, during an eclipse of the sun, when up to 20,000 Zulu Warriors, attacked Regiments of Queen Victoria's Army, killing them all. A career soldier with the Royal Engineers, Colonel Anthony William Durnford was blamed for the disaster by General Chelmsford.

Little has been wri
Date Published :
September 2019
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
Illustration :
28 photos, 12 maps, 8 ills
No associated books available.

Overview
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It has been 140 years since the Battle of Isandhlwana, on 22nd January 1879, during an eclipse of the sun, when up to 20,000 Zulu Warriors, attacked Regiments of Queen Victoria's Army, killing them all. A career soldier with the Royal Engineers, Colonel Anthony William Durnford was blamed for the disaster by General Chelmsford.

Little has been written of the events peculiar to him, in a family perspective.

Anthony Durnford had two families, his ancestral one, and his military one. Both had one thing in common, to prove that he did "follow orders". His brother investigated, and in 1882, published his findings. The Royal Engineers also investigated and amassed a huge file of evidence, never before seen by the public.

The Royal Engineers Evidence file, comprising over 300 pages of fact, has lain hidden from public view, in the drawers of the Royal Engineers Library since 1932. It rebukes much "confirmation bias" of currently held perceptions.

This file has been fully transcribed, placed in logical context, and additional research included from the Royal Archives, the National Army Museum and archives in South Africa.

It takes family to understand their ancestor's characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, qualities, traits and behaviours. His brother was to reveal all in 1886, but didn't. This is an extension of Colonel Edward Durnford's story.

It could perhaps be described as a Military Mystery, created as a result of Genealogical research and Military History colliding. A story which would not be told, had it been for a series of "mistakes".

About The Author
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When a catastrophic medical event forced Kristine Herron into early retirement from the Real Estate Industry, she applied many of those same investigative skills into researching family history. Discovering never before known facts about various members of her family, unearthed some amazing stories, proving her maternal Isaacson/Durnford lineage back to times before 24th great grandfather King William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066. There were some very huge "brickwalls" to break through, in relation to both her own paternal Scottish family and her husband's paternal family. Through the lives of convicts to Kings, family stories were compiled, and ebooks published. Diversifying, she researched every settler associated with her suburb in Brisbane, "The History of Bald Hills and Bracken Ridge" revealed previously unknown facts about its Scottish settlers. But the most difficult story to tell was that of her cousin Anthony William Durnford. Reading some of the stories written about him became quite distressing, and firmed her belief that the long held family stories about him were untrue. Concentrating on those investigative skills, and through a series of mistakes, the truth was discovered. Knowing how important family stories are to be handed down to future generations, spurred her to clear the Durnford name forever. She lives with her husband at Hervey Bay in Queensland, mother of 3, and a grandmother of 8, she has always believed it important to stand up for those less fortunate than themselves, a trait inherited from her Isaacson grandmother.

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