F is for the Sieur de Folard

Jean Charles de Folard (1669-1752) was an aide de camp to Marshal Vendome in Italy when he was severely wounded at Cassano. He spent his convalescence reading widely and formulating a mass of ideas, many wildly extravagant, and a few in the long term influential. There is little sign that his views had any impact on the French conduct of the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1709, after being wounded again at Malplaquet, he attached himself to Villar’s staff, following the Marshal around in a coach, giving him unwanted advice. Villars only got rid of him by making him Governor of Bourbourg. On the conclusion of peace Folard went off to tell the Knights of Malta a thing or two about fortification. After being ejected from Valetta he went north to assist Charles XII of Sweden. Finally in 1724 he retired to France to write. Right: you’ll have skim-read all that; focus for a moment on ‘Sweden’.

Here is the bookplate that adorns the front flyleaf of my copy of Folard’s first book. Loberod looks Swedish, doesn’t it? And what about Harald Wiens: was he one of Charles XII’s officers? A relevant bookplate can add a lot of value. Ever the optimist I started digging around. Bookplates have a long history. A Carthusian monk called Hilprand Brandeburg had one in 1480. The earliest known Swedish example dates to 1595 when Senator Thure Bielke had one. So my dreams weren’t completely wild.

Alas, Luberod Castle has precisely nothing to do with Folard. It wasn’t built until 1799. In the Nineteenth Century it belonged to the bibliophile Count Jacob de la Gardie who amassed a collection of books. But it’s unlikely this book was ever in la Gardie’s library since most of that is now at Charlottenlund Castle. Probably my Folard was acquired by Harald Wiens whose father – a wine merchant – bought the castle in 1917.

Fingal Carl Oscar Harald Wiens (1880-1972) worked in the Swedish Ministry of Defence, rising to be Deputy Director before resigning in 1924 to devote himself to looking after Luberod. He was a book collector. To judge from the number of elzevirs with his bookplate you can find on the internet, he made a speciality of those neat little books printed In Leyden on good paper from 1583 onwards by one or other of the Elsevier family. (Elzevir is the English corruption of the name that the family spelled Elsevier or Elzevier more or less indiscriminately.) Most of Harald Wiens’ elzevirs are Latin classics – Plutarch, Horace and the like. So most likely his interest in Folard was as a commentary on Polybius rather than an attempt to revolutionise eighteenth century warfare.

Back to Folard. His books were never successful, partly because he offended many potential purchasers by unfavourably comparing their actions with those of their Roman predecessors. He took up tutoring. Here, in a cartoon by Jacques Desfontaines, he is seen teaching Maurice de Saxe, later Marshal General of France. The two men remained firm friends but Saxe was not uncritical and in particular rejected Folard’s suggestion for copying the Roman flying wedge (cuneus) by the use of deep columns. Below is the top half of page 91 of the English edition of Saxe’s Reveries.

The next one and a half pages consist of hard mathematics. Saxe starts by noting that men in file and men in rank take up different amounts of space. For that reason, when a column succeeds in breaking a line, there will be gaps when it changes face in order to roll up the defeated enemy. These gaps will leave it vulnerable to counter-attack.

Another admirer was Frederick the Great. In his blunt way the Prussian king opined that Folard “had buried diamonds in a dung heap.” He had one of his officers, Colonel von Seers, prepare a precis. It was the precis (titlepage below), published after his death, that made Folard’s name since it was read by many men who were later officers in Napoleon’s Grande Armee and who used Folard’s deep columns with a vengeance.

Which brings me to the subject of piracy. The 1760 edition above was published without permission of Frederick the Great, Colonel von Seers or Folard himself who was dead. If you are going to be pedantic you could say that the 1761 Leipzig edition is the true first edition of von Seers’ Esprit. Scroll back to the top to see the titlepage of the 1724 second edition of Folard’s Nouvelles Decouvertes. “Revue par l’auteur.” Only it wasn’t. Like a lot of stuff published in Brussels l’auteur had nothing to do with it. Caveat emptor.

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E is for Sir John Eamer

Yes, I do know: this is not the most exciting book in my stock. It is, however, the oldest, in the sense of the one that I have had for the longest length of time. Well, of course, booksellers’ stocks consists of books they haven’t sold. But there are limits. I acquired Sir John Eamer’s Defence way back in the 20th Century

The picture above and the biographical details below are all lifted from the website of The Kempe Trust which has an article on Eamer by Adrian Barlow. Sir John Eamer (1750-1823) was Lord Mayor of London in 1801. This portrait by Mather Brown hangs in The Guildhall. Here is what Barlow has to say about the painting: “In a stunning piece of myth making, he is shown not as Lord Mayor but as Colonel of a regiment of the City of London Militia (a commission he did not purchase until after his year of office as Lord Mayor was over; even by his own account, he did not assume command of the regiment until 1803). As painted, he stands, flushed and supremely confident in scarlet uniform, his right elbow resting on the muzzle of a tall canon. Immediately behind him, his massive horse is draped in a cheetah-skin saddlecloth. Above and behind the horse loom the arms of the City of London, supported as heraldry demands by a griffin. Below, in a distant view barely glimpsed between the horse’s legs, soldiers can be seen drilling on a parade ground with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background.” For the rest of his article you’ll have to go the website of The Kempe Trust.

NAM as it is

Meanwhile back to the boring book. I acquired it from The National Army Museum which coincidentally turned sixty this month. Architecturally 1960 was an unexciting year. No wonder NAM has been trying to move next door ever since.

NAM as it would like to be

John Randall and I were lured through the glass doors by the promise of a few interesting travel books and vast numbers of tedious military books. Amongst the latter – you guessed – was Eamer’s Defence. A priceless treasure (see B for Butani) I thought to myself: I bet there are no other copies for sale in the UK. I was right. There weren’t then. There still aren’t. How can this be? Why has no-one snapped it up?

THE THEORY OF NEGATIVE VALUE

The answer is simple. Nobody in their right mind would pay a penny for it. Worse still – my friend Glenn Mitchell’s Theory of Negative Value applies to it. Eamer’s Defence is not only worth nothing in itself. It actually devalues anything it is anywhere near. (Admit it – are you looking forward to F when E is as boring as Eamer?) So Eamer is worth not nothing but less than nothing – a negative amount. In the days when he ran a bookshop on The Charing Cross Road, Glenn used to prove the truth of the first part of his theory by having a book barrow outside with everything in it priced at minus 5p. People used to browse. Occasionally a brave soul would venture in and enquire what minus 5p meant. Yes, it did mean they would be given 5p to take one of these treasures away with them. And guess how many people took one.

The second part of the theory is trickier. I still spend quite a lot of time trying to persuade people to throw books away. Such and such a group of books will look so much better minus the books with their covers hanging off. Not only will it look better, it will sell better. The old dogs are worth a minus amount. But people won’t believe it. Nor, for that matter, do I. Eamer is still gracing my shelves a quarter of a century on.

Back to The National Army Museum all those years ago. Museum curators versus the sordid book trade round one. Would we object if they applied a ‘withdrawn’ stamp to all the titlepages? John Randall had to explain that we were buying the books as viewed rather than with the addition of a rubber stamp. Round two took longer. There were an awful lot of books that neither John Randall nor I wanted. Negative value again. We loaded them on to a stack of their own and suggested anyone who wanted take anything (or indeed everything) for free. No dice. It was only after we’d carried the ghastly rubbish up from the basement and dumped it in the skips that the curators sprang to life and into the skips. Happy days.

Red Regiment 1643

I suppose I’d better say a word or two about Eamer’s Defence. The East London Militia was a descendant of the London Trained Bands instituted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1572 when the threat of Spanish invasion made it necessary to reform the militia. Professional soldiers were hired to drill householders whose existing obligations to arm themselves and to serve in the defence of London when ordered were enforced. They were quite efficient though one rather thinks a Spanish tercio would have made short work of them. They remained well trained in the first half of the Seventeenth Century and did good service for Parliament in the English Civil War though with a tendency to whinge when asked to serve at any distance from London. Thereafter they declined.

The Washing-Tub Expedition

Fast forward to 1804. Napoleon and a large army are encamped at Boulogne. They have hundreds of barges in various ports. As this cartoonist is aware the thing most likely to stop the evil Emperor is the Royal Navy. But the wind may fail to co-operate. The army is stretched; out of a theoretical strength of 132,000, less than 50,000 are serving at home. A Reserve Army of second battalions is in the course of formation but there are (to put it mildly) teething problems. Government thinks militia units may again have a function.

Sporting Magazine

Cue Sir John Eamer. Sir John has done well out of sugar and slaves. He has served the City “in the exalted Station of Chief Magistrate” and spent a fortune entertaining the Prince of Wales on Easter Monday 1802. Now he decides to do his bit for King and Country. Nobody takes the East London Militia seriously. Gentlemen of the press tend to take a tilt at it when they have nothing better to aim at. Sir John takes on the command of the regiment and sets out to reform it. He knows this will cost him time and money. What he doesn’t expect is that “the ruin of my character, the destruction of my peace, and the blasting of my fair fame were to be the price of my duty so discharged.”

Put simply Sir John’s officers ganged up together to accuse him of “oppressive behaviour.” His oppressiveness consisted very largely of expecting them to do something and telling them so in no uncertain times. The officers were discharged. Sir John was exonerated on all charges though advised to moderate his language.

Sir John’s problems weren’t at an end. In 1810 he was accused by the Court of Common Council of misappropriating money voted for the equipment of the regiment. Sir John defended himself vigorously and refused to account for the money. Words were exchanged and he was again court martialled for ‘behaving in a scandalous infamous manner.” He was once again exonerated. But it was a trial too many. He retired to Brighton where he died in 1823.

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D is for Frances Isabella Duberly

Fanny Duberly (1829-1902), here seen in one of Roger Fenton’s photographs, went to the Crimea with her husband, Captain Henry Duberly, paymaster of the 8th Hussars. She wasn’t the only officer’s wife in the Crimea. Nor is it at all likely that she was the only officer’s wife to keep a diary. But she was unique in publishing one.

Some of the Journal had already appeared in print. Fanny wrote often to her sister Selina who arranged for extracts to be published anonymously in the press. In one of her letters Fanny wrote, “Cardigan read me my own letter from The Advertiser,” adding “I should have died of suppressed laughter.” Evidently she enjoyed having her own words read to her. She decided to publish the whole journal and asked Selina’s husband, Francis Marx, to edit it. Thus it appeared in print before her own return from the Crimea.

The passage to which Lord Cardigan took exception was an account on page 57 of the published journal of his commandeering a spring for the sole use of himself and his horse. As brigadier commanding The Light Brigade, James Brudenell 7th Earl of Cardigan was Captain Duberly’s commanding officer, which was one good reason for Fanny’s laughter being suppressed. But he was a safe target. Nobody was likely to investigate the source of calumnies against Cardigan: there were too many of them.

What Fanny didn’t need to tell Selina was that she had no intention of foregoing the pleasure of occasional invitations to dine on Cardigan’s steam yacht. She was a social climber with a vengeance. It was a cause of bitterness to her that Lord George Paget’s wife Agnes never included her on her picnic parties.

Dining with Cardigan was something Fanny did do. Sharing his bed, she certainly didn’t. The seduction scene in John Osborne’s film script for The Charge of the Light Brigade is one of many complete inventions in that excellent movie. Here is Jill Bennett as Mrs Duberly being seduced by Trevor Howard’s Lord Cardigan.

THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE UK 1968 Tony Richardson JILL ...

And before we leave Lord Cardigan, here is a depiction of him leading The Charge of the Light Brigade by the artist Harry Payne, an officer of the East Kent Yomanry, and himself a more than competent horseman.

Back to Fanny Duberly. Never one to set her sights too low, she decided that a dedication to the Queen might assist her sales. With this in mind she drew a map and sent it to Prince Albert. The map, I think, is lost. The reply of the Prince’s private secretary survives, “Major General Grey has received the Command of His Royal Highness Prince Albert to acknowledge the receipt of Mrs. Duberley’s sketch of the portion of the British Army before Sevastopol, which she has been good to send….”

“Satisfactory so far,” Fanny wrote. But time was passing. William Howard Russell of The Times had already published. Someone might secure the royal dedication first. She wrote to her brother in law telling him to “cut in before anyone else. It must be dedicated to The Queen.” Marx got a friend, Seymour Tremenheere, an acquaintance of Prince Albert – they shared an interest in lace manufactories – to show some of Fanny’s letters to the Queen who returned them to him saying she had found them “interesting and curious.” Only Fanny could have found those two words encouraging. She was disappointed when Tremenheere was later obliged to tell her, “Her Majesty declines the invitation on the ground that so many applications of this kind are made to her….”

The siege of Sebastopol ended in September 1855, but the 8th Hussars – and Fanny, too – endured another winter in the Crimea. Finally in 1856 the regiment returned. On 12th May the Queen and Prince Albert inspected the regiment. Fanny told her sister both of them had bowed to her. But neither spoke to her though the Princess Royal is recorded as having recognised her. Christine Kelly, whose Mrs Duberly’s War (2008) is the latest edition of the Journal, surmises that the Queen could hardly be expected to have spoken to someone who hadn’t been presented at court. There is more to it than that.

Return of the 8th Hussars from the ILN

It wasn’t her criticisms of the high command that had caused offence. Her remarks about Cardigan are about as trenchant as she gets. William Howard Russell had written much worse. She went on and on about the suffering of the wounded and the state of Balaclava harbour. However, Prince Albert, who initially had believed reports like hers to be exaggerated, had now seen Roger Fenton’s photographs and knew that they weren’t. Punch called her Lady Fire-Eater but nobody would hold that against her.

The harbour at Balaclava

It was the whiff of scandal that attached to Fanny’s name that halted her social climb. She was a flirt. No more than that – she was devoted to Henry – but no less. And her flirtatiousness could be misconstrued. Lieutenant Colonel William Forrest wrote in one of his letters “I do not believe she is guilty of that which many say she is, but of course she has many ‘followers’ as the servant girls say, and her vanity causes her to encourage them.” Forrest is comparatively mild. If you want something more vicious, try reading the opinion of Captain George Frederick Dallas of the 46th.

8th Hussars stable dress 1858 by Oscar Norie

Fanny campaigned again in 1858, this time in India. Again she kept a diary. Again she published it. After that – silence. Henry ended as a lieutenant colonel and paymaster of 44th Depot. He retired in 1881 and the Duberlys went to live in Cheltenham. Henry died in 1891. Fanny died twelve years later. They are buried together at Leckhampton.

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C is for Frances Ellen Colenso

So far so boring. Only the two authors of this History of the Zulu War are respectively the lover and the brother of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Durnford RE, hero and/or villain of the Battle of Isandlwana, killed in action by the Zulus on 22nd January 1879.

Frances Ellen Colenso (1849-1887) was the daughter of Sarah Frances and John William Colenso, later Bishop of Natal. She was educated at Winnington Hall and the Slade School of Art and wanted to be an artist. Nell’s life went off the rails in 1873 when she met and fell in love with Anthony Durnford and was smashed when Durnford was killed.

Nell, as she was known to her family and friends, spent most of the last nine years of her life defending Durnford’s reputation. She died from tuberculosis probably caught while nursing a soldier in Natal.

Anthony William Durnford (1830-1879), son of General E W Durnford RE, was a career soldier who joined the Royal Engineers in 1848. A Christian soldier and a friend of C G Gordon, you might think he was an ideal match for Nell Colenso. Only he was married.

Col. Anthony William Durnford

In 1854, while serving in Ceylon, Durnford married Frances Tranchell daughter of the colonel commanding the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. They had three children, two of whom died in infancy. The second death ended the marriage. (His gambling habit didn’t help.) Anthony went off to command 27th Field Company RE in Gibraltar. Frances went off to live with her uncle. But they never divorced. Indeed, in Victorian England it wouldn’t have done Anthony’s career any good at all if they had.

Lurid things have been said about Frances Durnford. Donald R Morris in The Washing of the Spears remarks of Durnford in 1874, “He was forty-four years old and had not seen his wife in a decade; she lived somewhere in England, and had no contact with Durnford’s relatives, who were raising their sixteen year old daughter.” This is untrue. There was no secret about Frances Durnford’s location, nor had she abandoned her daughter. The 1871 census records Frances Durnford and her daughter (yet another Frances) living in Portsea with her uncle George Tranchell and his wife Amelia. Towards the end of her life Frances was given the use of a grace and favour apartment at Hampton Court, something that certainly wouldn’t have happened if she’d had the scandalous past so many writers attribute to her. She and Durnford lived apart. Full stop.

Giant’s Castle seen from Bushman’s River

Fast forward to the Drakensberg Mountains in 1873. Anthony Durnford, now a Major, has missed out on active service. In 1858 he arrived in India too late to help suppress the Mutiny. In 1864 he set off for China to join his friend C G Gordon (later of Khartoum) only to be struck down by heat stroke. Now in South Africa active service finds him.

Langalibalele was leader of the amaHlubi clan who had long been settled around Bushman’s River in Natal. In 1873 the colonial government demanded that the clan register its firearms. Rather than try to enforce this order, Langalibalele determined to take his people up the river, over Giant’s Castle and into what it is now Lesotho.

The colonial government determined to thwart what they considered an act of secession. A complex plan was devised to trap the amaHlubi. A force would follow the amaHlubi upriver. Meanwhile two detached forces would come through the Drakensberg Mountains from north and south to close Bushman’s Pass. One of the two detached forces failed to arrive at all. The other commanded by Durnford arrived a day late by which time it is was they who were ambushed by the amaHlubi rather than the other way round. Here is a plan courtesy of the South African Military History Society.

You can read in detail about what happened at

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol142ds.html

Durnford’s party consisted of 35 white troopers, mainly Natal Carbineers, and about 20 baSotho auxiliaries. He himself behaved with exemplary courage despite having fallen from his horse on the way and cracking two ribs. His basSothos stood by him, helping him escape after he was assegaied. By contrast most of the white troopers broke and ran after two of their number were killed. Durnford’s later comments to this effect made him as the Dictionary of National Biography recorded “the best abused man in the colony.” Langabilalele was captured and sent to Robben Island after a trial widely regarded as “a disgrace to British justice.” He remained in South Africa until the 1880s. He is buried in Giants Castle. In 1990, shortly after his own release from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela, another Xhosa prince, laid a wreath on Langalibalele’s grave.

Why am I going on about this obscure military campaign? Answer – because Frances Colenso did. Her history of the Zulu War has 20 pages on the Langabilalele Rebellion and another 20 on the trial. The three years after 1873 were the happiest years of Nell’s life. She and Anthony Durnford were at one about the evils of the colonial government and the injustice done to Langalibalele. While Bishop Colenso went to London and lobbied for a retrial, they fought the good fight in Natal. And made themelves very unpopular doing so. More to the point: they spent a great deal of time together.

And now – at last – the Zulu War and the battle of Isandlwana, the greatest defeat of the British Army in the nineteenth century. This is the picture of the battle in C T Atkinson’s History of the South Wales Borderers whose 1st Battalion lost 5 companies in the battle.

In Frances Colenso’s opinion – a view shared by several other historians – the build up to the Zulu War bore a remarkable resemblance to the earlier treatment of Langalibalele. The Zulu king Cetshwayo was confronted by a series of demands, including the disbandment of his army, which would have cost him his kingdom had he complied. There is little doubt that Sir Henry Bartle Frere, British High Commissioner in South Africa from 1877 to 1880, believed that war with the Zulus was inevitable sooner or later, and preferred sooner rather than later. Simply, Frere wanted to impose a federation on the territories that now form South Africa, and the Zulus were in the way.

Cetshwayo went to war with public enthusiasm and private doubt. He hoped to negotiate a settlement and he gave the induna in command of the Zulu army vague and contradictory orders about how to cope with Lord Chemsford, the British commander in chief, who launched a four pronged invasion of Zululand towards the end of 1878. Neither Cetshwayo nor Chelmsford had any doubt at all that the Zulus would be defeated if they ran up against a sizeable body of British soldiers.

Cetshwayo’s brother Nthsingwayo (shown above in an authentic photo taken in 1877 and shown below in an Illustrated London News engraving) had other ideas.

With the best part of 24,000 men he advanced in two columns a few miles apart from each other. When his northern column was discovered, he concentrated his force to the south, logistically easy for Zulus since they carried their supplies on their backs, but still an impressive demonstration of command control. Lord Chelmsford, meanwhile, who had crossed into Zululand and established a camp at Isandhlwana on 20 January, reacted exactly as Nthsingwayo must have hoped. He divided his force, himself setting off north at daybreak with a mobile column to find the Zulus and bring them to battle.

There was nothing particularly clever about Nthsingwayo’s tactics at Isandlwana. He adoped the standard Zulu buffalo’s chest and horns, the chest holding the enemy frontally while the horns closed in behind. The senior British officers remaining at Isandlwana seem to have had little idea they were facing the whole Zulu army until quite late in the battle. At about 8 o’clock in the morning, Lieutenant Charles Raw in command of a body of native scouts came across the entire Zulu army resting quietly in a valley. He sent a messenger to Lieutenant Colonel Pulleine now in command of the camp and Pulleine in turn sent a messenger to Chelmsford who received the news at about 10 o’clock. But – Chinese whispers style – the message was toned down each time it was passed on.

Durnford, now also a lieutenant colonel, arrived in camp with a body of native horse and a rocket battery at about 10.30. Probably by agreement with Pulleyne, he and his men set off shortly afterwards to investigate the truth of Raw’s report. They ran into one of the impis forming the Zulu buffalo chest. The rocket battery was overwhelmed. Durnford’s mounted men retreated to a dry watercourse and held the Zulus until their ammunition ran out. Meantime Durnford sent word to Pulleine who reacted by advancing his firing line further from the camp in an attempt to support Durnford and detaching Lonsdale’s company of South Wales Borderers to stay in contact with him. Later he detached Pope’s company to cover the extending gap between Durnford and the main firing line. Both moves helped the Zulus. Frances Colenso disputes this view.

For a detailed account of the battle I like:

https://www.geni.com/projects/Battle-of-Isandlwana-Impi-YaseSandlwana-22-January-1879/8653

though there are many others on line including Frances Colenso’s. Here is a plan.

There are a variety of explanations for the Zulu breakthrough. The most likely is that Durnford’s retreat, after his native horse ran out of ammunition, exposed the flank of Pope’s company. Once the Zulus got within stabbing distance, the end came rapidly. Durnford, who was still mounted, elected to stay on the battlefield. He died bravely organising a last ditch defence that prevented the Zulu horns from meeting for a few minutes, thus allowing a handful of the defenders to escape. Out of a total of about 1700, more than 800 British and nearly 500 African soldiers died. The Zulus are reckoned to have lost something like 2000 having endured sustained volley fire at close range.

This Pyrrhic victory cost the Zulus their kingdom. Despite Cetshwayo’s restraint in refusing to allow an invasion of Natal, there wasn’t the slightest chance any longer that the British would negotiate. Chelmsford was replaced by Wolseley but had the satisfaction of commanding at Ulundi where the Zulus were finally defeated. Cetshwayo was captured and exiled to South Africa. In 1882 Colenso arranged a visit to London.

Cetshwayo did so well the British tried to restore him to his throne. But Zululand was hopelessly divided and prey to civil war. Cetshwayo’s faithful induna Nthsingwayo was killed in July 1883 defending him. Cetshwayo died in 1884 possibly poisoned.

The initial reaction of the Natal press to the shock of British defeat was to blame Durnford. If he had fortified the camp “as ordered” and refrained from venturing out “as ordered” the Zulus would have been defeated as thoroughly as they were at Rorke’s Drift. Poor Nell. The press reports lifted her from grief to the incandescent fury that provided the driving force for her History of the Zulu War, her two volume Ruin Of Zululand and a third book (see ahead). The “as ordered” onslaught was utterly unjustified. Chelmsford had given no orders to fortify the camp. Even if such orders had been given, Durnford who arrived in camp at 10.30 and who was dead by 2.30, couldn’t have obeyed them. And as for remaining on the defensive, what on earth did the Natal press imagine was the function of mounted scouts? To his discredit, Chelmsford failed to correct these aspersions. Colenso did. And rescued Durnford’s reputation.

Frances Colenso is buried at Ventnor, Isle of Wight. Her gravestone is so weathered it can’t any longer be read. The inscription reads:

In memory of Frances Ellen Colenso
Born 30 May 1850
Died 29 April 1887
Second daughter of the right Rev John Colenso Lord Bishop of Natal
Following her father’s example she sacrificed her life on behalf of the helpless and oppressed.

Anthony Durnford has a larger scale memorial. The Royal Engineers subscribed for a stained glass window in Rochester Cathedral.

But I want to give Nell the last word. Here is what the DNB had to say about Anthony

Look at the end. One of the works consulted cited in brackets is Wylde’s My Chief and I. Atherton Wylde – that celebrated author – is none other than Frances Ellen Colenso.

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B is for Butani Bros

Not a priceless treasure (see tedious footnote 1) this time but a standard hawkeye photograph album with 24 images of military manoeuvres in Baluchistan.

Time for an admission. For the life of me I can’t find anything out about the brothers Butani. There are plenty of their images to be found on the net but not a word about who they were. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

18 of the 24 images in this album relate to 88th Field Battery Royal Artillery (see tedious footnote 2). The likelihood is therefore that it was made up for a gunner from stock photos. Some of the photos are numbered with numbers between 205 and 231.

The other six photos are of other units taking part in the manoeuvres including 2nd Battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles (tedious footnote 3)

And – of course – the Royal Welch Fusiliers (tedious footnote 4) the regiment for whom Butani Bros were regimental photographers. (Welch is the correct spelling for 1928. But, like eating leeks, the spelling of the regimental title is a mystery best left to the Welsh.) Here are the regimental colours.

Wrong period. This image is taken from Major Rowland Broughton-Mainwaring’s Regimental Record published in 1889. In that book Billy Her Majesty’s Goat takes pride of place as frontispiece. Which brings me to the subject of regimental goats.

The regiment (now a battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment) has had a goat for a mascot since before the Battle of Bunker Hill. Broughton-Mainwaring gives an extract from Grose’s Military Antiquities when detailing the presentation of two goats to the regiment by Queen Victoria in 1844. This was the first of many such gifts from the royal herd which is descended from a gift of the Shah of Persia on Queen Victoria’s accession. The Regimental Museum has 142 images of goats on Pinterest.

The current battalion mascot is Shenkin IV. Goat Sergeant Major Jackson claims to have detected a “cheeky look in his eye” which made him think this was the goat they needed to get. Personally I suspect the cheeky look was more along the lines of, ‘This isn’t going to be easy, mate.” The problem is how to hit a mountain goat with a tranquillizer dart without either the darting or the darted falling over a precipice. You can find out more about the capture of Shenkin IV via

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-43318339

TF1. “A priceless treasure” is a book. The term was a favourite of the General in the days when he worked for Commins Bookshop in Bournemouth. He had a habit of forgetting where he had parked his car. On one occasion, he phoned the police to enlist their help finding it. Even in those more friendly days the police felt they had better things to do with their time until the General explained it had a bootfull of “priceless treasures”.

TF2. 88 Battery RA still exists. It is now part of 4th Regiment RA. It was raised in Calcutta in 1802 and has the honour title Arracan to commemorate a march from Chittagong to Arracan during the First Burma War.

TF3. 2nd Battalion Frontier Force Rifles was raised in 1849 by Colonel Henry Lawrence as 2nd Punjab Infantry. It was later known as 56th Punjabi Rifles.

TF4. The Royal Welsh Fusiliers was raised in 1689 by Lord Herbert of Cherbury. It used a variety of badges over the years, but the Welsh Dragon is much the best known.

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A is for Sir George Arthur

I have been selling books for more years than I care to remember. Just at the moment I’m locked down so the one thing I don’t want to do is to sell anything. The idea is to start from A and go through to Z.

A is for Sir George Arthur Bt (1860-1946) here depicted by Spy

Sir George, grandson of the last Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, had served with the Household Cavalry in the Boer War. He wrote a two volume history of the regiment published by Constable in 1909. Alas my trade edition is one of the least attractive books in my stock.

During the First World War Sir George served as Kitchener’s private secretary at the War Office. After Kitchener’s death he wrote a three volume biography of the great man. He continued to write prodigiously ending up with the splendidly titled Not Worth Reading in 1938. WorldCat credits him with 74 works in 341 publications.

What could be more respectable? But he had a past. As a young man, like many Victorian rips, he made a habit of visiting the ladies of the night. In November 1888 he set out for one such expedition dressed in a disreputable shooting jacket and a slouch hat thus converting himself into the very picture of the public image of Jack the Ripper.

He was arrested by two vigilant policeman and then released. You won’t find a lot about this in the British press but the New York World reported it with relish on 21 November 1888. Their report begins, “The most intense amusement has been caused among all classes of the London world by the arrest last week of Sir George Arthur on suspicion of being the Whitechapel murderer….” You can find the rest on line.

Back to The Story of the Household Cavalry. Sir George had a handful of copies printed on large paper.

The special edition measures 30 cm by 24 cm rather than the trade edition’s 26 cm by 19 cm. The text and illustrations are identical though with more generous margins. My copy has an inscription to Sir George’s sister.

Farewell A for Arthur. Next up for B to be continued. To receive other blogs in this series go to the top of this page and press ‘BLOG’. On the new page go to the bottom right and press ‘follow’.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.