Discussion in 'Prewar' started by CL1, Jun 16, 2012.
Rorke's Drift, 1879 - The highest number of Victoria Crosses awarded to a regiment for one action
Clive thanks for the link. Zulu is one of my favourite films ever since my mum took me to see it when it first came out in Southampton.
When I worked at Lancashire Police HQ Communication room, I often worked with an Inspector by the name of Chard from East Lancashire.
He was a direct decendent of the RE VC Winner.
I can always remember my fathers face when he took me and my sister to the local ABC Cinema to watch the film.
The queue was amazing, but we eventually gained admittance and saw a great film. In fact I have the DVD and still think that it is good, especially the Zulu scenes showing the warriors beating their shields.
An early Police Training tactic that was ruled to be too intimidating, but did sound good as I remember!!
I worked with Henry Hooks gt nephew in the 80's in the Met, apparently Hook was a career soldier and not the bad boy that the film made him out to be.
Its a great film, on a par with A Bridge Too Far, Gettysburg and Saving Private Ryan.
The second one, Zulu Dawn, wasnt so good.
In 1972, Stanley Baxter bought Chards medals at auction paying £2700. The VC was cataloged as a copy. He kept them in a drawer until his death. They were sold a further 3 times until they ended up at Spinks who decided to test the VC against the original block of metal kept at COD Donnington. It turned out that it was the original.
Chard's VC is now in the Lord Ashcroft collection. The photo below is from an exhibition where it went on show along with his South Africa Medal (1879 clasp) for the Anglo-Zulu War.
Yorkshire Universities Air Squadron used to - may still do - present the best non-flying member with the Bromhead Trophy; named after Gonville Bromhead of the 24th Foot.
I 'think' there is also an officers' bar in the Falklands called "Chard's Bar" named in his honour.
'Zulu' is a very good film but, contrary to popular belief, is not very historically accurate either in its presentation of individuals (Hook being a particularly glaring example) or in the military details of the battle.
Absolutely! Another example is Colour-Serjeant Frank Bourne who is portrayed in the movie as an older, wiser and more experienced soldier. However, in reality I think he was aged about 25 at the time of the battle.
Photos attached of his Headstone,St Marys RC Cemetery Kensal Rise,London.
Surgeon J.H.Reynolds V.C.
I recently found out that I am related to this Rorke's Drift survivor:
On January 22, 1879, a garrison of British soldiers successfully defended the outpost at Rorke's Drift against an army of Zulu warriors. This heroic stand has been written about extensively and inspired the epic film Zulu.
But who were these men who made such a stubborn resistance when all seemed lost? March 11 marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Saxty, one of the defenders, who grew up and was educated in the village of Buckland Dinham.
Albert was born in Wiltshire on 11 March 1859. He was the third son of five children to Thomas Saxty and his wife Grace (formerly Collett). His father was a West Country man who worked as a policeman with the Great Western Railway. The family moved to Buckland Dinham when Albert was five, where Thomas continued to work for the GWR. The four eldest children began school in the village on August 29, 1864. Albert was in class 3, where he remained until 1869, when he left to start work at the age of 10.
Albert enlisted in the army on September 12, 1876, giving his name as Alfred, and his age as nineteen. He was described as being five feet seven-and-a-half inches tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and light-brown hair. His religion was Roman Catholic. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment at Brecon. Army life suited him and promotion came quickly, and by the time the unit received orders for active service in South Africa he had gained the rank of lance-sergeant. Alfred reverted to corporal on July 11, 1878, gaining a second class certificate of education. He was present during the defence of Rorke's Drift, and fought side-by-side with his comrades throughout the night, being promoted to sergeant the following day.
Alfred subsequently served at Gibraltar, India, and in Burma. He was found drunk on duty in India in 1881, being reduced to private and sentenced to 56 days' imprisonment with hard labour. However, his good conduct pay was restored soon after his release, and he had returned to the rank of sergeant by 1885. He re-engaged with the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1887, and transferred to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1891, taking his final discharge in Burma on February 28, 1895, having served 18 years, for which he was granted a pension of just over nine shillings a week.
His father had died in 1881 at his home in Nightingale Lodge, Buckland Dinham, and this news may well have been the cause of him being drunk on duty that year. His mother moved to live in Buckland Street and supported herself on the income she earned as the village nurse. She died at Buckland Dinham in 1896. Alfred had not seen them since his departure for the Cape in 1878.
He had married 17-year-old Maria Copeland at Rangoon in 1885, but she died just three weeks before their first anniversary. His service records state that he married Mary Cole in Burma in 1888. He had six children.
On his discharge, Alfred began work on the Burma railway and Mary worked as a midwife. However, he went out to work as usual one morning and never returned. Even his medals were left behind. He was officially declared dead in 1907 and his wife re-married. However, Alfred Saxty reappeared in 1930 and was admitted to the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, not far from where his wife lived in Kensington. There was nothing to indicate what he had been doing or where he had been for the intervening 30 years. He left the Royal Hospital at his own request in 1933 and went to live with his sister in Wales.
As one of the last survivors of the garrison in 1934, Alfred received an invitation from the regiment to attend the ceremony for the 'Laying up of the Colours' in Brecon Cathedral, and he was one of five surviving defenders to attend the Northern Command Tattoo in Gateshead, where the regiment re-enacted the events at Rorke's Drift.
Alfred suffered a heart attack and died on July 11, 1936, aged 77. He was buried with full military honours in Saint Woollos Cemetery, Newport. Only two 'Rorke's Drift Men' are known to have survived him.
Funny how a few days after Islawanda a major FUBAR what they do at Rorkes Drift is so celebrated. It is what they new how to do, it was a text book deference nothing really special. Not taking anything away from the bravery of individual Soldiers.
Here are some photos of the commemoration stones/plaques and graves of VC winner Pte. W. Jones and 2 other defenders of Rourke's Drift, Pte. J.Lyons & Pte. J. Hodge.
All the photos are from Philips Park Cemetery in Manchester.
Incidentally, on the fourth photo of John Lyons grave, the flat gravestone that can be seen in the background (towards the tree) is that of John Richardson, who rode in the 'Charge of the Light Brigade'.
Lieutenant John Chard of the Royal Engineers is buried in Hatch Beauchamp churchyard,Somerset.The grave is well maintained and each year the Royal Engineers remember him by a wreath on his grave.
The Quantock Brewery have brewed a fine premium beer,the Rorke's Drift in honour of the Royal Engineers..."Once a Sapper always a Sapper".
For every bottle sold,5 pence is donated by the brewery to the Royal Engineers Association (REA) for the welfare of "Sappers" everywhere.
Accounted for a few bottles already,having recently been introduced to the beer...something like the old Indian Pale Ale.
Zululand Volume 1: Since 1879 - 1884 The Ruin Zululand:
London Gazette Court of Enquiry and evidence-Isandhlwana:
Wonderful photos Clanky,
You don't happen to have other images from this cemetery do you? One of my 13th Kingsmen is in there somewhere.
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