South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 446
April 2013

Contact: Ken Gillings 031 702 4828
Bill Brady 031 561 5542
Society's web site address:

The Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture ('DDH') was presented by former Chairman Ken Gillings on "The Prince Imperial's Last Journey".
Eugène Louis Jean Joseph - son of Napoleon 111 and the Empress Eugènie (daughter of Count de Montijo of ancient Spanish lineage and his wife Donna Maria Kirkpatrick of Closeburn, Scotland) was born on the 16th March 1856, at Tuilleries, Paris. He was immediately enrolled as a Grenadier and commissioned in 1st Imperial Guard Regiment at the age of 9 months. He was sent to England with his mother after the French defeat by the Prussians at Sedan on 2nd September 1870. He and the Empress Eugenie settled at Camden House, Chiselhurst (Kent). Due to his political status he was prevented from taking a commission in British Army and became attached to A-Battery RHA (The Chestnut Troop). Louis was deeply interested in the Battle of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift and despite opposition from the Empress and the Duke of Cambridge; he was given permission to travel to Natal as a volunteer. He arrived in Durban on 31st March 1879 and given the rank of Lieutenant (but without any insignia) and attached to a field battery for messing purposes. He proceeded to the British camp at Utrecht where he met up with Lt Gen Lord Chelmsford, who was preparing for his second invasion of Zululand. He was permitted to join Lt Col Redvers Buller on two sorties into Zululand, displaying a degree of recklessness; Louis was then granted authority to join Chelmsford's Second Invasion and spent most of his time sketching.

On the 1st June 1879, he accompanied Lt Jahleel Brenton Carey and 7 troopers deep into Zululand. Lord Chelmsford was under the impression he had remained in camp. At 12h30: They reach a ridge overlooking the Jojosi River and despite reservations by Carey, the Prince ordered the troopers to ride down into the valley reaching a deserted umuzi (homestead) at 15h00. They dismount and made coffee. The site was deserted but the grass was high; hot ashes and the presence of dogs indicate that it had recently been occupied. They were observed by some Zulu scouts below Mhlungwani Hill (5km away), who moved up the Jojosi valley in their direction. The party eventually decided to return to the camp at Koppie Alleen and the Prince ordered the horses (which had strayed) to be rounded up. As they were preparing to mount, 40 Zulus rushed from the tall grass towards the party shouting "Usuthu! Usuthu!". Le Tocq called out: "Dè pêchezvous, sil vous plait Votre Altesse" ("Make haste if you please, Your Highness"); most troopers managed to mount but Abel was struck in the back and slid off his horse. Rogers took cover and tried to reload but was killed; and the rest of the force galloped away without firing a shot. Louis was alone. He tried to mount but his horse took fright and galloped away. The stirrup leather broke, the Zulus closed in and before long the Prince Imperial had been hacked to pieces. Carey rode back towards camp and observed two mounted men. By some remarkable coincidence they happened to be Col Evelyn Wood VC and Lt Col Redvers Buller VC. Buller asked: "Where is the Prince?" Carey replied: "He has been killed". Buller retorted: "You ought to be shot and I hope you will be. I could shoot you myself!"

On the 2nd June 1879, a search party set out and came across Louis's naked body with 17 wounds, 2 of which had pierced through to his back. He was taken to Koppie Alleen where his body was embalmed. His body was then sent to Durban. The Prince's body arrived in Durban and was placed aboard the tug, 'Adonis'. It was then ferried across the bar to HMS Boadicea and then to Simonstown, where it was transferred to HMS Arontes. It was then transferred to the Admiralty yacht HMS Enchantress for the last stage of the journey to Woolwich.

The main talk was presented by guest speaker Major Peter Williams on "Being a Peace Keeper in Africa". Peter's presentation was about Africa, its ebbs and flows of current events, the influences of foreign powers, basically his personal experiences, of the good, bad and humorous of what actually happens on the ground.

The four definitions of the role of peacekeeping are (1) Preventive diplomacy and peace support operations; According to NATO, preventive diplomacy is defined as "action designed to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur."(2) Peacemaking is normally the preserve of politicians and diplomats and involves the use of skills such as negotiation, persuasion and non-military coercion to achieve a settlement. When these tools prove inadequate to the task, military means can be employed to stabilise the environment within which a solution is being sought. As such, peacemaking provides the political framework within which military force is applied and, hence, provides the political aim for the operation in question. Peacekeeping operations are characterised by the emphasis placed on restraint, their self-defensive posture and normally presuppose the existence of a cease-fire. As in peacemaking, the political objective of the operation is of paramount importance. Peace enforcement involves the use of military force to secure an end to hostilities between belligerents so that a political and/or diplomatic solution to the conflict in question can be sought. Peace enforcement operations do not presuppose a cease-fire and rely on offensive tactics and weaponry to accomplish the mission.

The process of how peacekeeping occurs in Africa; Foreign Embassy's report on destabilizing conditions; Security Council involvement; Resolution is passed; Peacekeeping force formed and deployed by volunteering countries. In the light of prominent policy challenges facing planners of peace operations, it is, however, often the practical 'nuts and bolts' challenges that are ignored. These include those issues encountered 'in the field' by contingents involved in previous peace operations that can easily be avoided through judicious planning and preparation for anticipated deployment in the future. These potential problems can range in scope from formulation and standardisation of Rules of Engagement within a coalition on the one hand, to basic checkpoint tactics on the other.

Partnership peacekeeping involves official or unofficial attempts by multiple actors to coordinate the objectives of their peace operations. In Africa, the last two decades have seen partnership peacekeeping become more and more common. This is the result of several interrelated trends, but perhaps foremost among them is the widespread recognition that no single international organization has either a monopoly on peacekeeping or the capabilities to deal with Africa's conflict-management challenges alone. It should also be noted that the unprecedented number and size of peace operations in 21st century Africa is particularly remarkable given that they have been deployed in spite of the challenges posed by the US-led 'global war on terror' and the huge military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The trend towards increasing partnerships and ad hoc and hybrid relationships reveals some of the fundamental problems with the popular slogan that what the continent really needs is 'African solutions to African problems.' This would make sense if Africans always agreed on the continent's key problems and their solutions, and if the continent's peace and security challenges were solely 'African' problems. Of course, neither of those things is true. Recent conflict management initiatives across Africa have involved a range of hybrid solutions with important inputs coming from Africans and non-Africans alike. Similarly, the continent's key security challenges are not somehow hermetically sealed from the rest of the world. Most of them have been significantly influenced by all manner of transnational forces. Instead of looking for simply 'African solutions,' what is really needed is effective partnerships to tackle some wicked multidimensional problems.

But partnership peacekeeping is not easy - it brings both opportunities and dangers. On the positive side, since no single organization can deal with the whole range of Africa's peacekeeping challenges, partnerships offer a way to develop pragmatic solutions that build on the comparative advantages of each institution. On the other, partnerships are risky. It is never simple and is usually undesirable to work with multiple bosses. And different institutions usually bring different conceptions of the threat agenda as well as the priority to be assigned to different threats. As a consequence, organizations often have divergent ideas about the most appropriate solutions and instruments. So in Africa at least, partnership peacekeeping is necessary, but it requires careful coordination to work efficiently and when done badly it can be counterproductive. While many lessons about partnership peacekeeping have been learnt in the last decade, it remains easier to say what hasn't worked than what works well. In addition, partnership peacekeeping continues to be hampered by a range of challenges, some predictable, some less so. Key decision-makers in several international organizations and their most influential member states must therefore work hard to overcome these challenges. In Africa, the key peacekeeping relationships revolve around the UN, the African Union (AU), the EU, Africa's so-called Regional Economic Communities (RECs), powerful African states, as well as pivotal external powers, notably the US, France, the UK, and Germany. It remains to be seen if China, India, Turkey, and Brazil, among others, will provide greater support to Africa's regional peacekeeping initiatives.

Following a lively question and answer debate, the vote of thanks was presented by Roy Bowman who congratulated both speakers on outstanding presentations.

THE SOCIETY'S NEXT MEETING: 19h00 for 19h30. Venue: Murray Theatre, Dept of Civil Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

11th April
DDH - "Trench Raids on the Western Front." By Captain (SAN) Brian Hoffmann
Main - "Gen Ignatius Ferreira (1844-1900) - my father". By Gerhardt Buchner


9th May

DDH - "Fireforce. ". By Dr Richard Wood
Main - "Operation Mincemeat". By Charles Whiteing

13th June
DDH - "The Paratroopers in Operation Meebos" by Maj. Gen. Chris le Roux.
Main - "The History of Submarines - Their Disasters and Rescues" by Joyce Peet.

11th July
DDH - "Cowra" by Ian Sutherland.
Main - "Mr. Jim and the Matabele War" by Chris "Bulldog" Ash.

DVD Thanks to National Committee Member Jan Willem Hoorweg, a DVD entitled "The Boer War" was raffled at the last meeting and raised R410 towards Branch funds. The DVD set in question should be available at all leading music retail stores (except for Musica), but also through Please quote the reference number GRDA3818 when you order the product. Retail price should be around R250.00.

AGM. This will take place at the April meeting. Please forward your nominations for chairman and committee members to Ken Gillings on 031 702 4828 or via e-mail on

NOTE FROM KEN. Bill Brady has decided to step down as Chairman of the KwaZulu-Natal Branch after serving in this capacity for 6 years. I'm sure you'll join me in expressing our sincere gratitude to him for his dedication to duty.

* * * * * * *

South African Military History Society /