The Charge of the Light Brigade

Documents pertaining to John Osborne’s screenplay

The Balaklava Bugle
sounded by Trumpeter Billy Brittain at the charge of the Light Brigade, 1854
The Queen's Royal Lancers Regimental Museum
Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire
Gift of Mr Laurence Harvey, 1964

 

 

It is, of course, impossible to arrive at a final conclusion on that question until the trial when one will have had the advantage of discovery, and when the witnesses, particularly Osborne, can be cross-examined and one can evaluate the significance of the failure of either side to call any witness whom one would have expected to see. It may well be that the defendants will justify themselves completely. On the other hand they may not.

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]

 

 

John Osborne’s almost entirely unused screenplay for Tony Richardson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) has not as yet been published, and so cannot be compared with Mrs. Cecil Woodham-Smith’s historical account, The Reason Why, nor with Charles Wood’s screenplay as eventually filmed. Many other documents pertaining to Osborne’s presently “lost” screenplay are more or less readily available, however, and this is a collection of them.

 

Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir:

The Charge of the Light Brigade had been in the works for a long time. John Osborne had been as passionate about the subject as I was, and we had worked together on the script. One of the great problems was Cecil Woodham-Smith’s The Reason Why. This brilliant piece of historical writing had been a popular and critical success and had led to several film projects, none of which had come to fruition. The rights had been passed from, among others, Michael Balcon to the current owner, Laurence Harvey.

The original feature of Mrs. Woodham-Smith’s concept and scholarship was the juxtaposition of the careers of Lords Cardigan and Lucan from birth, showing how their antagonisms led to their final confrontation over the disastrous orders and misunderstandings that led to the destruction of the famous regiment. We wanted to do something different, to concentrate on the charge itself, on the mixture of heroism, romance, farce, and horror embodied in the actions of a much more panoramic group of characters, using as our central figure the enigmatic and dashing Captain Nolan, who alone foresaw the mistake that had been made and who tried desperately to reverse the fatal decision to loose the six hundred horsemen into the Russian gun batteries, only to be killed at the last moment by a stray bullet. It was to be a film about the ironies of war.

There have, of course, been many other accounts of the famous charge (and an earlier film, a Warner Brothers vehicle for Errol Flynn which, set in India or Afghanistan, had nothing much to do with history). All these accounts are based, more or less, on Alexander Kinglake’s Invasion of the Crimea, the first masterpiece of historical journalism. For this reason we saw no reason to burden the budget by negotiating the rights to a book whose emphasis was on different aspects of the story. To protect ourselves further we had set up a research department under John Mollo, a student of military history, whose brief was to ensure that any incident John Osborne employed in the screenplay would be amply documented elsewhere, to avoid trespassing on the original digging Mrs. Woodham-Smith had done. Everything was checked and rechecked, and we felt protected. We had also a great responsibility to United Artists, which was financing the film, its big-budget production for the year, and one of the biggest budgets of all time (at that time) for a British movie.

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

Mr. Richardson in his affidavit says that during the winter of 1961-62 he and the defendant John Osborne discussed the possibility of making what he describes as another historical film, which in its context postulates somewhat inaccurately that "Tom Jones" was an historical film, but that is not of much moment. What is important is that he says that he provided John Osborne with Kinglake's Invasion of the Crimea, Hibbert's Destruction of Lord Raglan and The Reason Why, and that some months later Osborne confirmed his interest and singled out Captain Nolan as a fascinating character, and he goes on: "On behalf of the defendant companies I commissioned him to write a screenplay on 'the charge'" which appears therefore to have been at the end of 1962 or early 1963. Mr. Richardson then says: "Also on behalf of the defendant companies I commissioned, inter alia, John and Andrew Mollo to carry out a programme of research," and they "supplied information to Osborne and myself based on their researches." John Mollo has made an affidavit himself confirming this and giving somewhat extensive information about their work, but he says they were instructed by Mr. Richardson in or about January, 1964, and he does not say when they reported to him or to John Osborne.

 

Anne Sinai, Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey:

He claimed that he owned the rights to Cecil Woodham Smith's account of the Crimean War fought between Britain and Turkey in the mid-nineteenth century. Harvey's script bore the title, The Reason Why. It was widely reported that he had sold it to Joseph E. Levine, but Harvey claimed that the deal with Levine had never come through and that he intended to produce and star in it himself. He insisted that he retained the film rights to this property and had invested more than $200,000 in its acquisition and development.

Appearing on another BBC talk show, as if to prove his rights to this property, he suddenly whipped out a bugle and sounded a perfect charge. It turned out that this was the very bugle that had been sounded in the Battle of Balaklava in 1854. Harvey had found it in an antiques store and presented it to the Regimental Museum. It then transpired that a very similar property was owned by director Tony Richardson and the writer John Osborne. This script, The Charge of the Light Brigade, was slated to be made in Turkey for United Artists. Harvey sued.

 

John Osborne, Almost a Gentleman:

[1965, 12 JANUARY] 4.30, WOODFALL OFFICES: The Charge of the Light Brigade. Cecil Woodham-Smith, author of The Reason Why, has slapped an injunction on us. Oscar Beuselinck is relishing it. How he hates people who create things. He thinks everyone steals. I've plagiarized no one. Only myself, in the style of G.F. Handel (never stopped, and who better to steal from?). Beuselinck declares triumphantly that it's going to cost us 12,000 to buy off Laurence Harvey, who owns Woodham-Smith's rights. I hear T.R. has already offered him 'my part' as the Russian prince.

[1965] 16 FEBRUARY, WOODFALL: The Charge of the Light Brigade. T.R. is hell-bent on making an anti-war film. Oscar Lewenstein looks as glum as he did in the Acapulco brothel. I am losing heart. T.R. is tampering with history—all there in Kinglake's classic account of the battle, minute by minute. I think they should forget me and get in Charles Wood. He's not only a proper writer but a professional soldier—Seventeenth/Twenty-First Lancers. War? Loves it, abominates it.

 

Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir:

John produced his script. It had many splendid and poetic things in it—especially in its evocation of English society before the Crimean War—but it still needed a lot of work, and finally Charles Wood, a brilliant and eccentric comic writer with a passion for all things military, came in to rework it. Charles stayed with us and contributed an extraordinary amount throughout the shooting.

 

John Osborne, Almost a Gentleman:

[1965] 13 OCTOBER, HELLINGLY: The Charge of the Light Brigade. Finished. Hooray.

 

Letter from Tony Richardson, in John Osborne, Almost a Gentleman:

Grand Hotel, Ankara [1966]

My dear John,

I am sorry you feel so bitter. I feel bitter in some ways too but they’re not the most important ones.

The trouble is that you have a one way morality as far as films are concerned. You don’t really like writing them, you don’t give of your whole self and heart but you expect other people to treat what you do as if it was one of your own plays. You don’t really value the writing in the same way but you can’t bear others not to.

I’m sure this probably won’t help our relationship only exacerbate it because I feel increasingly that what you want from a friendship is not real loyalty which is based on truth or on knowing each other but sycophancy and adulation which I can’t give, and despise anyway.

I hope your present feelings will change soon. Whether they do or not they won’t change mine. I love you.

Tony

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

The plaintiffs [on my bare presumption, a partnership between Laurence Harvey and Wolf Mankowitz—ed.] are a body incorporated and registered according to the law of the Netherlands Antilles, and they are the owners of the copyright so far as concerns reproduction in cinematograph film form of the well-known book The Reason Why written by Mrs. Woodham-Smith dealing with the Charge of the Light Brigade and the story which lay behind it. They produce and distribute films in association with Mr. Laurence Harvey.

The defendant, John James Osborne, is a well-known playwright and screen writer and is a director of and shareholder in the two defendant companies both of which are English companies. They produce and distribute films commonly known as Woodfall Films.

In 1963, there were discussions between Mr. Laurence Harvey and the late Mr. James Woolf on behalf of the plaintiffs and a Mr. Robin Fox and Mr. Richardson, a director of both the defendant companies, on their behalf as to the possibilities of the defendant companies acquiring the plaintiffs' rights or concurring in a joint production. In his affidavit Mr. Harvey says:

"The said Robin Fox told me that he had read the said work with admiration and he further stated that both John Osborne (the first defendant in this action) and the said Richardson had also read the said work, and that John Osborne had expressed enthusiasm for the treatment of the subject by the authoress and the way she had arranged her material and that the said Richardson had expressed a keen desire to produce a motion picture based on the said work."

These negotiations came to nothing and the defendant John Osborne has written the script for a motion picture entitled "The Charge of the Light Brigade" which the defendants are proposing to produce entirely on their own account. Meanwhile the plaintiffs had been endeavouring to exploit their rights elsewhere but their negotiations were frustrated by Press announcements of the defendants' intended production.

In these circumstances the plaintiffs have brought this action in which they claim:

"An injunction restraining the defendants and each of them by themselves, their servants or agents (a) from infringing or authorising the infringement of the plaintiff company's said copyright, (b) from making or producing any film of or based on the said screenplay, (c) from assigning or purporting to assign the copyright or any part thereof in the said or any similar screenplay or any part thereof or from granting or purporting to grant any licence in respect of the said or any similar screenplay or from dealing with or disposing or purporting to dispose of any interest in the said or any similar screenplay or any copies thereof;"

damages, and consequential relief.

 

Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir:

Then a bombshell broke. Laurence Harvey, who was naturally miffed that his own project had never got off the ground, had obtained a copy of John’s script and was suing him for plagiarism. I thought he had no case. We engaged top counsel. A week or two later the experienced QC we’d hired asked to see me urgently. He and his people had been analyzing the script and had come to the conclusion that John was clearly in the wrong. It wasn’t that he had used any scene or incident that wasn’t either invented or documented elsewhere, but he had helped himself liberally to stylistic phrases and descriptions in The Reason Why. The list of incidences was very long and devastating. When confronted, John murmured something about Brecht helping himself to Shakespeare, but the situation was disastrous.

In February 1967 there was a preliminary judicial hearing which went absolutely against us. John could in fact be liable to criminal prosecution. He had used the book; he was in breach of his writing contract with Woodfall; and Woodfall, of which he was a director, was clearly in breach of its contract with United Artists. A lot of money had already been spent, and the lives of many people would have been disrupted if the production were canceled now. Some kind of deal had to be struck to acquire The Reason Why. United Artists was forgiving and understanding. It agreed that if the film made money the rights could go on the budget; if not, it would offset the expense against other Woodfall projects. Laurence Harvey—to his credit—behaved as fairly as he could, when he could have asked for much more as blackmail. Laurence Harvey’s lawyer, Lord Goodman (the-then Mr. Fix-it of Harold Wilson’s Labour government, which was afraid of the film’s collapse and its repercussions on the industry), met with me and, in a series of meetings that took place in London and, for some reason, late at night in Paris, we arranged terms.

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

But there is a distinction between ideas (which are not copyright) and situations and incidents which may be: see per Swinfen Eady L.J. in Rees v. Melville:

"In order to constitute an infringement it was not necessary that the words of the dialogue should be the same, the situations and incidents, the mode in which the ideas were worked out and presented might constitute a material portion of the whole play, and the court must have regard to the dramatic value and importance of what if anything was taken, even although the portion might in fact be small and the actual language not copied. On the other hand, the fundamental idea of two plays might be the same, but if worked out separately and on independent lines they might be so different as to bear no real resemblance to one another."

 

Anne Sinai, Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey:

He won a settlement upholding his charge that he owned the film rights to the story and the claim that the Richardson-Osborne script was, in effect, based on his own property. Richardson rewrote his own script. As a friendly gesture and in order to keep him associated with the film, John Osborne was offered and accepted the part of Prince Radziwill. However, the terms of the settlement of Harvey's lawsuit required that Richardson agree to give Harvey a part in the film at a fee of 60,000 plus a percentage of the profits.

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

Mr. Arnold [John Arnold Q.C., counsel for the defendants] has pointed out that there is evidence of independent research in the work of the Mollos', and internal evidence in the script that John Osborne made use of it, e.g., in the quotation from Xenophon in scene 6. On the other hand it appears from the passages in the evidence to which I have just referred that John Osborne may have been engaged on the work for something like a year before the Mollo brothers were even instructed, and one does not know how far the screenplay had taken shape or what use he had made of The Reason Why before the Mollos came on the scene. In this connection it is interesting to observe that whilst the book, the script and Kinglake all refer to two flags flying at Canroberts Hill as the signal that the enemy was approaching, the Mollos' note does not.

Further, Mr. Arnold has drawn my attention forcefully to the following significant considerations. Captain Nolan is the principal character in the film but not in the book, although of course he figures largely in it, and moreover, a considerable number of matters attributed to Captain Nolan in the film are in fact in the book, having been transposed in the film from other officers to whom they really related. Further, Mrs. Woodham-Smith, even if she knew it, did not bring out that he was an Indian officer, whereas the film emphasises that fact in a fictitious posting scene in which on that very score Lord Cardigan registers instant hostility towards Captain Nolan. Indeed this is, I think, one of the strongest points in the defendants' argument, as the book says that Cardigan was anxious to have Nolan on his staff, which is a very different treatment. Again there are a number of passages in which the script is identical with the common sources whilst the book is not, or where the script is nearer to the original, notably for example, at the death of Captain Nolan, where in the book his horse carries his body back through the wrong regiment, whilst the script has it correctly. Then the book gives the title of one of Captain Nolan's books as Nolan's System for Training Cavalry Horses, whereas it is really, as stated in the script, The Training of Cavalry Remount Horses.

Mr. Arnold also relied on the fact that in scene 108 the name of the transport ship is given as the Shooting Star, which is the name given in Mrs. Duberly's Diary at page 54, whereas the book has Southern Star: see p. 214, but this may not have been the same ship, for at page 156 of the book the transport is named Shooting Star. Perhaps more significantly, there is at least one example where it is clear that the book comes from one source and the script from another. I refer to the retreat of the Turks where the book reports them as saying "Ship, ship, ship," which comes from Kinglake, and in the script it is "Ship, Johnny," which comes from Mrs. Duberly's Diary. Again it is said that the defendants have used the Cavalry Journal extensively although it is not one of the works specified in Mrs. Woodham-Smith's bibliography. Mr. Arnold has also relied in many instances on small points of detail being common to the sources and the script, e.g., again, at Canroberts Hill, Kinglake refers to the two flags as the "arranged signal" whereas the book says "the signal." Then, for the opening of the Battle of Balaclava, the book says that the guns in the redoubt fired, whereas Kinglake says the fort opened fire from one of its 12-pounder guns and the scenic direction in scene 237 is "Fire from one of the 12-pounder guns from the Number One Redoubt." Again the book says at page 246 that at the guns Captain Morris engaged the Russian officer in command, whereas the script in scene 364 reads "Morris drives his horse full at a tall Russian who seems to be a squadron leader," which is what is stated in Kinglake at page 253.

But I have read the whole of the script very carefully and compared it with the book, and I find many similarities of detail there also. Thus, the descriptive direction in scene 106 gives: "hogging the stage in the foreground the officers with their mothers, wives, and even young brides," whilst the book has at page 142: "Officers took their wives with them, some took their mothers, there were several young brides." In scene 118 "Nolan encourages the soldiers and sailors who are struggling with the terrified creatures." The book tells us at page 144 that "our men worked well and were ably seconded by some of the sailors." Then there is scene 136 in which Lord Lucan says: "Above my head sir," and the book states that Cardigan went over Lucan's head, and the unusual expression in scene 214 that the cavalry had been "so low in the brushwood," which is the precise expression in the book at page 200. Again it is prima facie not without significance that apart from the burial of Captain Nolan the play ends with the very quotation which Mrs. Woodham-Smith used to end her description of the battle.

 

Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir:

There was one sticking point: Laurence Harvey, convinced that the movie couldn’t be a financial success without his name on the marquee (in this he may have been proved to be right!), insisted he must be given a little role. There was nothing for him, but then I thought of a one-day scene—an incident among incidents before the charge, when Prince Radziwill, a peacock-uniformed Polish dandy attached to the French and British forces, is surrounded by a group of wild Cossacks but by his dash escapes them. Originally John himself was to have played the role, but replacing him seemed a small price to pay to avoid the threatened prosecution. Not to John. He accused me of complete betrayal, and it led to a total breach between us. Except for past projects, we split all the Woodfall companies, and never collaborated again. And it took many years to mend our friendship—which, I’m glad to say, out of old association, affection, and real admiration, we have now revived.

 

Anne Sinai, Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey:

Harvey had his own version of what happened. In order to show that he had no "hard cash feelings," he announced, he offered to appear in a cameo role in the Richardson-Osborne film. The only part available was that of Prince Radziwill. Osborne was asked to give up the part, which he did. Harvey showed up in Turkey in due course, played the cameo part in one day of shooting in dashing style, looking resplendent in his uniform.

 

John Osborne, Almost a Gentleman:

Tony and I had gone to Rottingdean to persuade Brenda de Banzie to repeat her stage performance [in The Entertainer]. Her put-upon husband, employed as one of Binkie's [Hugh ‘Binkie’ Beaumont] stage-managers, and her aspiring-pop-singer son listened obediently as minuscule drinks were poured and she made her demands. Her Gilda-like 'suggestions' centred on the importance of 'developing' the part of Phoebe. We readily agreed. Tony shot most of her embellishments with a camera empty of film. He later played the same costly trick with Laurence Harvey in The Charge of the Light Brigade.

 

Anne Sinai, Reach for the Top: The Turbulent Life of Laurence Harvey:

He had just twenty words to say. Richardson repaid him by totally slicing his cameo appearance out of the film, making Harvey's face the most expensive one ever to fall on the cutting room floor.

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

Mr. Arnold has made a very exhaustive examination of one section of the script showing that there are many incidents recorded in the book which find no counterpart in the script, some of which are of considerable dramatic promise and which one would expect to find reproduced if copying were afoot, e.g., the Russian cavalry jeering at the inactivity of the British cavalry, and in particular the fatal fourth order being first entrusted to another officer and Captain Nolan claiming the right to bear it. As Sir Andrew Clark [Q.C., counsel for the plaintiffs] points out, some of these might well be accounted for as being similar to other events already in the script, and in any event abridgment was necessary, but that may not be a complete answer.

Mr. Arnold has also analysed the quotations which are common to both works and the number of incidents and situations which occur in the script only, and statistically these analyses favour him, but on comparing the book and the script I was, and remain, impressed by the marked similarity of the choice of incidents, and the relative importance of those which are common and those in the script only and by the juxtaposition of ideas, for example the incident of the issue of unwanted stable jackets is followed in the script by this line in the narrative. General Airey says to Cardigan and Lockwood, "A triumph my Lord," whilst in the book the same incident is followed by "the review was a triumph for the lieutenant-colonel." Captain Richard Reynolds, represented in the play by Captain Williams, was cashiered in 1840 for inciting Lord Cardigan to a duel, and the incidents of Lord Cardigan arranging to have his officers spied upon and the issue of the unwanted stable jackets both occurred in 1833. In the script, though not in the book, they appear after the cashiering, but it is interesting to observe that they both still appear together and in the same order as in the book. Again, in the scene describing the assault on the farmer I find in both book and script the use of the expressions "snooks" and "guffaw" in close proximity. Moreover, as Sir Andrew Clark has pointed out, there are a number of descriptive phrases in the book which find their way either from the book or otherwise into the script, e.g., "Divine Right Tory" and "beautiful Golden Head," and the fact that Nolan was a Captain without purchase and the reference to Hugert de Burgh as a squire.

 

Tony Richardson, The Long-Distance Runner: A Memoir:

I didn’t have much time to dwell on all this, because the exigencies of the production—much vaster than anything I’d previously undertaken—were acute and overwhelming. The most important problem of all had always been obtaining the necessary cavalry. We had in fact no options: Turkey was the only country we could work in that had a sufficient number of horsemen still in service. The only reason they still existed was that the Russians also still kept...

 

Charles Wood, “Into the Valley”, Sight and Sound, May 1992:

The problem about writing about writing the screenplay of The Charge of the Light Brigade is that I can hardly remember doing it. I don’t have much recall for anything beyond the day before yesterday except insults—and the film was made in 1967. I do remember that after a meeting with Lindsay Anderson, who had originally wanted to do The Knack, I wrote a silly letter to Oscar Lewenstein of Woodfall Films to say that I didn’t; nor did I want to be considered for Light Brigade. My arrogance had to do with the fact that I knew very little about anything. I didn’t know, for instance, that Lindsay Anderson was Lindsay Anderson, or that John Osborne was already writing Light Brigade. On the other hand, I now remember that I was particularly proud of a phrase in the letter saying categorically that I would not “...hold a lance for Osborne” (whatever that meant), so I must have known he was doing it. I had an agent in those days who was not one to let my silliness get in the way of something she thought I ought to be glad to be offered. She worked on Oscar. I did eventually write the screenplay of The Knack, and my letter wasn’t held against me when John Osborne asked me to take up the lance he was being forced by circumstances to drop—perhaps Oscar hadn’t shown it to him.

I was handed the job on a plate by John, who had already done all the real work, and by Tony Richardson, who I think needed me for reasons, as ever, devious. Woodfall Films had found itself in a lawsuit to do with Laurence Harvey and his owning the rights to The Reason Why—a brilliant, wonderfully readable, very successful speculation on the reason for the Charge of the Light Brigade by Cecil Woodham-Smith. I shall never know what was going on, but it is possible that had I been a more ‘professional’ screenwriter, established, capable of producing a standard comprehensible screenplay, I would not have been approached by Tony, who I am sure wanted from me a first draft document he could use to bewilder the chaps in wigs. This I duly produced, three hundred pages or so of it, wildly surreal, anachronistic, savage, overwritten, pornographic, crammed with art student polemic, optimistically ironic, bitter about class and privilege; everything I felt about the British Empire, the British army, England under Queen Victoria and the first of the modern wars, inspired by and based on Stephen Vincent Benet’s ‘John Brown’s Body’, Eisenstein’s published screenplay of Ivan the Terrible and John Osborne’s Tom Jones.

 

Goff J., Harman Pictures, N.V. v. Osborne [1967]:

I think, however, that is really true of the present case, since distribution of a film so like The Reason Why, as is the defendants' script, would render it quite impossible for the plaintiffs to exploit their copyright.

 

Charles Wood, “Into the Valley”, Sight and Sound, May 1992:

“All gets pissed Balaclava day”… So did we when I delivered the script to 11a Curzon Street, the offices of Woodfall, or rather, when I came up from Bristol to be told what Tony might think of it. “It’s very good, have you had breakfast? Would you like some bacon or something? Why not? Aren’t you hungry? It’s very good, I laughed a lot, I think you ought to be given a medal...”

He presented me with a yellow and blue ribboned silver medal for the Crimea somebody had probably given him. He was wearing it pinned by a safety pin to his shirt: bars for the battle of Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol.

“...But I think it’s too long, and I don’t think we can have Queen Victoria fucked by a bear, not even a very funny Russian bear, do you?” So we didn’t.

“I think we ought to have a lot more of Clarissa and more women. Valerie (Newman), you can write a part for Valerie if you like.” So I did.

The first draft, ready to be shown in court as evidence that Tony Richardson had lost his marbles and was certainly not intending to make a film based on The Reason Why, or for that matter on anything else approaching sanity or accessibility, might have helped to have the injunction lifted, if any of the wigs read more than half a dozen pages without getting a headache.

Harvey settled out of court for much more money than anyone got to write the script or appear in the film, and a part: John Osborne’s promised part. I don’t know, I don’t know, I didn’t know anything that was going on, I was full of Dom Perignon and wearing a medal and writing reams.

Most of the Clarissa (Vanessa Redgrave) stuff I lifted from John’s script, and the research had all been done by the meticulous John Mollo, every button, every detail of the battle, including something I had thought to be regimental folklore: the butchers of the 17th Lancers hurrying up fresh from the shambles desperate not to be left out of their ride into another mess of entrails, horse and human.

 

Hugh Small, “Florence Nightingale’s 20th Century Biographers”, Paper originally presented to the Friends of the Florence Nightingale Museum, London, 7th September, 2000:

Earlier I referred to two other claimed inaccuracies in Woodham-Smith’s book [on Florence Nightingale] that do throw a worse light on the authorities. I had the idea to see whether she might have copied them from somewhere else, and sure enough I find that both of them come from the neglected but well-researched biography by O’Malley. It was O’Malley who said that Lord Cardigan had stated that the doctors were frightened of their chief, Dr. Hall, and it was O’Malley who said that Dr. Hall had stated that there was nothing lacking at the Scutari hospital (ref. 6). The article by Greenleaf more or less accused Woodham-Smith of making these facts up, but a comparison of her wording with O’Malley’s shows Woodham-Smith merely copied them and spruced them up a bit to make it look as though she was quoting original sources, and in so doing she distorted them. (This copying from O’Malley, previously unnoticed I think, is the only really new fact I am telling you today). Greenleaf must have been unaware of the O’Malley book, because Greenleaf says that one of Woodham-Smith’s few original revelations was the name of Florence’s male admirer Richard Monckton Milnes, who had been anonymous in Cook’s account. But O’Malley had already revealed Milnes’s name 20 years before Woodham-Smith.

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