Frank Edward Bourne, OBE, DCM: Rorke's Drift

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by CL1, Jul 27, 2022.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    LTC Frank Edward Bourne (1855-1945) - Find a Grave...

    British Army Officer. He was the last survivor of the famous and climactic January of 1879 Battle of Rorke’s Drift, where under 175 British soldiers defended a post against 3,000 to 4,000 South African natives of the Zulu Empire. Born in 1854 in Balcombe, Sussex, England, he enlisted in the British Army at Reigate, England, on December 18, 1872, at the age of 18. He was promoted to Corporal in 1875, Sergeant in 1878, and Color Sergeant in April of 1878. He fought in the Defense of Rorke's Drift on January 22nd and 23rd of 1879, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. After the Battle of Rorke's Drift, he served in India and Burma, he was promoted to Quartermaster-Sergeant in 1884. He was offered an immediate commission but refused, yet was commissioned in 1890 as a Quartermaster. In 1893 he was appointed Adjutant of the School of Musketry in Hythe, Kent, England, retiring in 1907. Leaving retirement during World War I, he rejoined the British Army and became Adjutant of the School of Musketry in Dublin, Ireland. At the end of the war, he was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel and appointed OBE DCM. In 1936 he made a tape recording of the Defense of Rorke’s Drift but the tapes did not survived. He spent his last years attending the funerals of former veterans until he died on May 9, 1945, at the age of 91.


  2. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I first saw Zulu when I was about 10 years old. The film is full of fine performances and Michael Caine is one of my heroes, but I will never forget Nigel Green as Colour Sergeant Bourne. He was the very image of the senior NCO, the kind you can't like because he is too hard and cold but the kind you lean on because he is absolutely reliable and unflappable in a crisis. Nigel Green Colour Sgt Bourne Zulu.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2022
    davidbfpo, BFBSM, Markyboy and 2 others like this.
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Bourne's medal entitlement:

    Bourne ent.jpg
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    To the rescue:
    There is a YouTube spoken transcript, in two parts:
    Links: and Part 2:
    Recce_Mitch likes this.

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