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This action was at Rorke's Drift, Wednesday 22- Thursday 23 January, 1879, when some 150 soldiers defended a supply station against some 4000 Zulus, aided by the Martini-Henry rifle 'with some guts behind it'.

Since the Victoria Cross was instigated by Queen Victoria in 1856, only 1358 have been awarded (the double awards for Arthur Martin-Leake, Charles Hazlitt Upham and Noel Godfrey Chavasse are included in the total).

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At Rorke's Drift, eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded. Seven to the 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot, one to the Army Medical Department, one to the Royal Engineers, one to the Commissariat and Transport Department and one to the Natal Native Contingent. (click here to find out more...)

There may possibly have been more VC's awarded but the posthumous VC was only started in 1905, among the first recipients in 1907 were Lts Melvill and Coghill who were killed whilst saving the colours from Isandhlwana on the 22nd. of January. One other VC winner on the 22nd. of January was a Private Samuel Wassall from Birmingham. He rescued a comrade who was drowning in the Buffalo River during the retreat from Isandhlwana. He went on to live until he was 70. He is buried in The Barrow-in-Furness cemetery, section 3.B. plot 1952. There was another VC winner who died at Isandhlwana. He was Private William Griffiths, born in Ireland. He won his VC in 1867 at Little Andaman Island. His grave is unmarked on the battlefield at Isandhlwana.

The action at Rorke's Drift is well covered by the numerous publications and web sites which are devoted to the subject as well as the details of the lives of the VC recipients and their action in the defence.

These are well worth exploring for the information which they give, and there is an extensive list of links available. My only aim, as an amateur enthusiast, is to offer the chance to bring tangible reality to those who have an interest in the subject. To visit the graves of the VC recipients allows one to make some contact with the participants of this historic event. My interest with the individuals involved led me to visit the graves of all the VC winners of Rorke's Drift who are buried in this country, as well as the grave of Dalton in South Africa whilst on our visit to Rorke's Drift. You will also see that there are sections for other interesting aspects of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, as it is very difficult to remain specialised!

My next project is to visit the grave of Bromhead in Allahabad, in India. One, (Cpl. Schiess NNC), was buried at sea off the coast of Angola.

The links on the left form as accurate a guide as I can give to anyone who is interested in visiting the graves of the VC Defenders of Rorke's Drift, along with information about the events leading up to the "immortal defence".

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Wednesday November 2, 2016

The Union Flag

When the flagpole is on the left when being viewed, the broad band of white next to the diagonal red stripes must be on the clockwise side. When the broad band is on the anti-clockwise side, this indicates a distress signal.

"not a lot of people know that..."




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