Archive for KwaZulu Natal

Fugitives Drift was started by David Rattray together with his wife Nicky and built an excellent lodge for travellers to indulge in this fantastic story. Sadly, in January 2007, David was killed by an intruder but Fugitives Drift is a wonderful legacy to something he created with his wife Nicky and it still remains today. Rob Caskie has taken over as the primary historian. Like David, Rob speaks fluent Zulu, understands the history thoroughly and is probably the best story teller I’ve ever heard.

The two battles I was focused on were the battle at Isandlwana when the Zulu army wiped out about 1,300 British soldiers on 22nd January 1879. Later on that day, a lesser force of Zulus who had missed out on the fighting at Isandlwana, sought their opportunity so against orders, they attacked Rorke’s Drift. The defensive action is now down in the history of the British Army as amongst it’s most amazing battles which saw eleven Victoria Crosses awarded. Under 140 British troopers battled with about 4,000 Zulus in a battle that went on all night.

My stay at Fugitives Drift started with the afternoon trip to the Rorke’s Drift site. It’s a few miles from the Lodge and we started off going round the museum that was hospital building at the time of the battle. As with most battlefield museums, there were several artefacts from the battle (rifles, bullets, buckles, spears etc) yet the most striking item I found was a model of the battlefield. It presented the latter phases of the battle when the hospital had been cleared out and the soldiers were defending the store behind their piles of mealie sacks. The model showed a small number of red coated troops surrounded on all sides by Zulu warriors several deep and this was the very first occasion I’d really been able to visualise the battle properly. All of the films and images I’ve seen in were generally close ups with a few people however this model gave a comprehensive impression that was quite frankly, astonishing.

To allow travellers picture the layout, there are lines of stones marking where the defensive lines had been. Rob began the tale describing what Rorke’s Drift was and the reasons why it had been attacked. He made you recognise there was clearly so much more to the fight than only a fight between black and white, British redcoat in opposition to Zulu warrior. Overall, the trip was approximately 3 hours and all of us simply sat listening to this wonderful story teller recounting the incidents of 22nd January 1879.

Back at the lodge, I freshened up in my wonderful room. It really was a shame I couldn’t spend longer in the room since it was so comfy but it was time for beverages just ahead of dinner so I made my way to the dining room. The room is like a museum with pictures, flags, notes, firearms and a lot more covering the walls. The food itself was fantastic. Everybody staying at the Lodge sat around the same table. It was a really satisfying evening but an early start the following day meant it wouldn’t be a late night.

My 6:30am alarm call was a nice hot pot of tea being brought to my room (its wonderful to see a few British traditions still live on). We’d a good hot breakfast before leaving for the morning excursion of Isandlwana. The battlefield is over the Buffalo river and our guide was a Zulu called Joseph. This was a very different battleground to Rorke’s Drift. The battle occurred on a massive plain in the shadow of a mountain and so the orientation took much longer as we first visited the museum ahead of being sent to the hill from where the Zulu commanders were standing 129 years earlier. Our group moved on to the battlefield itself and parked up. Now the talk would be a couple of hours consequently there were deck chairs that we took up the mountain to a vantage point that gave us a tremendous view of the battlefield. Bear in mind, the altitude was about a mile above sea level and so it wasn’t the easiest climb I’d ever attempted.

Joseph, like Rob gave us a fascinating lecture and genuinely made it easier for us imagine the scene. Next he said that despite the fact that he was a Zulu, he wasn’t there to offer ‘their side of the story’, he planned to give us the reality on what took place, sometimes in quite graphic detail. At the appropriate times, he would echo the Zulu shouts that had been made way back in 1879 and as his voice echoed all around us, it added even more realism to the setting. The tale was fantastic. We listened to Joseph recited what was happening and my eyes wandered around the scenery which was full of piles of white stones. These heaps of stones are the resting places of the British soldiers who are buried where the died. Every stack of stones represented 6-8 men with the exception of two substantial piles that were for as many as 40 men. The hard African soil meant it was nearly impossible to dig anything but shallow graves for the men and pile stones on them.

Immediately after the talk was over, we had time to stroll round a number of the graves and memorials at Isandlwana before going back again for lunch. This was an amazing destination and I almost certainly could have done with having an extra day as there is a Zulu village to take a trip to not to mention the walk down to the Buffalo river where Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill died saving the Queen’s Colour of their regiment and years later became the first men to be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

There was a time that when a white man in car was seen in this place, it usually meant they were lost. Today, it has an industry based on the work David and Nicky Rattray began meaning there is a huge interest in those battles between the army of the biggest Empire the planet has ever seen and the very best warriors Africa has ever produced.

Pietermaritzburg is really a continuously changing metropolis which has in recent times experienced quick growth although it has always been a focus for quite a few sight-seeing opportunities and recreation. It’s the host city for global events including the Comrades and Dusi Marathaons that happen to be believed to be amongst the top running events across the world. The Midmar Mile swimming event possesses the greatest open water field of its kind around the globe. The dam at which the event takes place likewise presents ample other interests all year long. Holiday accommodation at Midmar are usually provided at attractive shoreline camp sites, bungalows or a bush camp.

The Midlands is really a well known region in KwaZulu Natal. It is a warm and welcoming place has its simple origins in 1985, when a little band of crafters came together to create an art and craft route that holds the leading culture attraction on Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands called the Midlands Meander. It’s evolved into an exciting network of 134 members, some of local extraction, plus some that have turned their backs on the town to make their living in this amazing setting.

The Midlands Meander, that offers fabulous variety, value and superb service at numerous farms, hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfasts and spas, scattered along a well-marked corridor. In existence for more than 20 years, this craft and leisure self-drive journey is definitely amongst the country’s more successful luring regular return tourists to its unique and special atmosphere. Cheese farms with quaint goat’s towers, a mini-beer brewery, award-winning pottery studios, butterfly research projects, brilliantly coloured herbal centres and leatherworks all give quality products manufactured with a personal touch.

Hot air ballooning affords the exhilaration option of seeing the attractions of the Midlands from a different viewpoint. Howick is a pleasant historical town close to Pietermaritzburg which features the spectacular 97m high Howick Falls. Nearby is a monument which marks the place at which Nelson Mandela was caught ahead of his imprisonment on Robben Island.

This is only a sample of what is offered as the Pietermarizburg Midlands in KwaZulu Natal offers a galaxy of visitors attractions as diverse and abundant as the ample stars in the gloriously clear night skies making it the appropriately billed “Capital of the Zulu Kingdom”.


The Northern Coast of KwaZulu Natal

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KwaZulu Natal’s North Coastline, popularly referred to as The Dolphin Coast, stretches from Zimbali, an eco and golf estate to the grand Tugela River. Its balmy oceans are home to the common bottlenose dolphin which is often found frolicking in the surf close offshore all year round, whilst the tropical, rich coastline features a great many remote bays, golden shores and beautiful homes.

Sections of natural coastal forest give way to never-ending rolling hillsides covered with fields of sugar cane, which stretch out to the interior. A distinctive mixture of luxurious resorts and reasonably priced holiday lodgings complement eye-catching beaches and culturally diverse attractions to make this holiday location a glittering jewel.

The North Coast presents truly living Zulu Culture, bursting colour, song and dance. On 24th September every year, this holiday destination comes to life to celebrate Heritage Day in a special way. This day reminds the Zulu nation of their unique history and the importance of leadership. The participants are usually seen clad in their customary attire exhibiting their origins.

The North Shoreline also boasts a rich cultural blend of Eastern, African and European influences where curry seafood dens stand next to traditional Zulu dancing and colonial-style hospitality as the primary sight-seeing opportunities. Situated just a little inland is KwaDukuza, burial site of the remarkable King Shaka Zulu, and Groutville, home of Albert Luthuli, Africa’s first Nobel Peace laureate, with monuments and an intriguing museum bearing testimony to his part in South Africa’s historical past.

A sizeable Indian local community sees their home in this region, allowing visitors to take pleasure in their amazing temples and sample their culinary pleasures, such as pineapple-on-a-stick, covered in tangy seasoning. River quad biking trails, horse riding, a sugar cane farm museum, children’s Animal farm and crocodile farms all vie for space on the leisure calender.

Coastal microlight excursions, superb fishing and the possibility to swim with the dolphins add to the extensive selection of unforgettable holiday activities available. Close proximity to Durban and the Big Five game reserves of KwaZulu Natal make this holiday destination a amazing choice for a holiday central to infectious vibe or rugged adventure – simply take your pick.

Nestled away in the stunning Drakensberg mountain range in the Kamberg Valley near Giant’s Castle, you will discover Cleopatras Mountain Farmhouse. This outstanding Gourmet mountain lodge is 200km from Durban airport and 450km from Johannesburg airport. I drove there from Johannesburg and the trip took me about five hours down the N3 toll road before turning off at Mooi River. From there, it was less than 30 miles and even though the directions were very good, it is better to make this part of the journey by daylight to make it simpler to pick up the landmarks that are referenced in the map.

In the end, I showed up but because it was dark, I was not able to thoroughly appreciate the beauty of its position until the following day. I’d also appeared far too late for the six course evening meal which was a pity. You will find eleven rooms at Cleopatras and every one is unique. I was checked into room two, the Scandinavian suite and it was eye-catching and fairly spacious. It had been a long day and so I soon found myself in my bed that had been warmed by an electric quilt and went to sleep.

I got up early on as I had a long drive to the Zulu Battlefields ahead of me but first of all I wanted to have a look round. The early morning mist hung about the surrounding mountains and I could very well see what a picturesque spot it was. I made my way to the breakfast area where a wonderful three course meal was served to set me up nicely for the busy day ahead. The chef at Cleopatras preps his meals with flavour as his primary aim and I have to say that I wasn’t let down. Actually, I don’t remember the last occasion I was offered such a great breakfast.

Next there was time for a quick trip up to the top of the mountain though the view would be limited. Even so, it was clear enough to see that for anybody wanting to spend some time out-of-doors and take pleasure in terrific food, Cleopatras is highly recommended as a place in the UKlahlamba Drakensberg to escape to for a few days. Activities include things like trekking in the Highmoor Nature Reserve, horseback riding, horse stud trips & local adventures, fishing, helicopter rides, Bushman rock art, Crane rehabilitation centre.

If you want to head out driving during the day, there are in excess of 180 visits along the Midlands Meander from wood turners, to potters, to cheesemakers, to weevers and much more.


KwaZulu Natal Highlights

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KZN is a densely populated province of South Africa. It’s really an enticing sub-tropical area with wonderful scenery and popular points of interest like the outstanding beaches of Durban, the Drakensberg mountains and the famous battlefields from the wars among the British, Boers and Zulus.

The population of KwaZulu Natal is just about the most diverse in the country. The indigenous Zulu culture of the area is well recognised for their famous warrior custom. Even today, in the phonetic alphabet, “Zulu” is used to represent the letter “Z”.

Generally there is a distinct British influence in the province and various of the people who reside here have a British heritage. On top of that, in Durban you will also see without doubt one of the biggest populations of Indians outside of the sub-continent. Durban is also South Africa’s third largest metropolis and is the busiest port in Africa. The fabulous weather makes Durban a well known holiday destination all year long and following the accomplishment of the FIFA World Cup, Durban will almost definitely bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

For all those checking out KZN, Durban is a ‘must’ with so much to offer the tourist including markets, culture, shores and the newly opened uShaka Marineworld. It’s also a fine base from where you’re able to check out the region. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is the recommended spot to go on safari while the UKlahlamba mountains feature serenity and tranquillity in spectacular surroundings.

Tourists will discover Zulu culture in evidence right across the province and there are lots of opportunities to go to see traditional Zulu villages. There are close to four hundred miles of coastline in KwaZulu Natal with the place in the north of the province being especially unspoilt. The St Lucia Wetlands are a World Heritage Site with perfect lakes, estuaries, lagoons, woodland dunes and coral reefs.

The battlefields of KwaZulu Natal are well known with definitely the most commonly known spot being Rorkes Drift where only 140 British soldiers held off a prolonged attack by 4,000 Zulus.

Eventually, the Midlands Meander is a route for tourists to travel along stopping off at numerous craft shops, studios, galleries and a lot more established in the heart of the impressive UKlahlamba mountain range.


Frank Bourne Rorkes Drift Hero

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The Battle of Rorkes Drift is certainly one of the most popular battles in the past of the British army. It was at this little mission station near the border of Zululand and Natal where a few thousand Zulu warriors attacked the garrison of around 140 British soldiers. The soldiers fought for their lives all night and by morning, the Zulus had withdrawn. The highest award for gallantry from the British Army is the Victoria Cross and the defence of Rorkes Drift saw twelve VCs awarded, greater than in any other single action in history.

The fight was portrayed in the Stanley Baker movie “Zulu” and one of several leading characters who acted with distinction at Rorkes Drift, in the end failed to receive a Victoria Cross. Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal that is ranked second behind the Victoria Cross. In addition, Bourne was also offered a commission although he turn it down. As Bourne was the eighth son in his family, there was no money on hand and this would have been a time when wealth was used to buy commissions for officers with the British Army.

Having said that, Bourne was destined to be a career soldier and an excellent one too. Following South Africa, he was posted to India and Burma prior to eventually earning his commission eleven years following the Battle of Rorkes Drift. He at long last retired from the British Army in 1907. Only seven years afterwards, The Great War broke out and Bourne re-enlisted in the army. By the conclusion of the Great War in 1918, Bourne had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was made an OBE. Bourne left the military again, now for ever.

Due to the actor who portrayed Bourne in the motion picture Zulu, several people considered Frank Bourne to have been in his mid-50s during the time of the Battle of Rorkes Drift but in reality he was simply 24 years old. Just after the end of The Great War, he lived in retirement in Beckenham, South London and he was the final survivor of Rorkes Drift to pass away at the age of 91 on 8th May 1945, the very day the Second World War in Europe came to an end.

The Battle of Rorkes Drift is certainly one of the more famous battles in the records belonging to the British Army. On 22 January 1879, only hours soon after the Zulu success at Isandlwana, about 4,000 Zulu warriors assault the mission station at Rorkes Drift located along the Buffalo River in Natal.

With no more than 140 men defending Rorkes Drift, you would be pardoned for saying the British had little prospect of survival, especially taking into consideration what happened to their colleagues at Isandlwana. Yet, together with being very brave troops, the defenders of Rorkes Drift were in possession of a rifle that would provide them with an edge over the Zulus. That weapon was the Martini Henry rifle.

This .45 calibre rifle was proficient at inflicting nasty wounds and when fired at a range of below 200 yards, a round could possibly easily go through a body injuring the man behind too. The Martini Henry was a single shot, breech loading rifle and presented the British a huge advantage over the Zulus who were only carrying their short stabbing spears (iklaws).

Though the Martini Henry was at fault in part of the disaster at Isandlwana, when correctly looked after, it had been a superb weapon. To single the rifle out as the cause for the defeat at Isandlwana is harsh as there were many other factors which contributed to the defeat.

At Rorkes Drift, the Martini Henry was vital to the British. As a store, there was clearly a good amount of ammunition together with extra rifles plus the defensive area was much smaller and for that reason was less of a challenge to defend ın comparison to the position at Isandlwana. Introduced to the British Army in 1871, the Martini Henry could well fire up to ten rounds per minute in the possession of the skilled soldier. The rifle possessed a highly effective range of in excess of 500m which resulted in providing the British could identify the Zulu warriors, they could very well start eliminating them long before they got near enough for hand to hand fighting.

Regardless of the over-bearing odds at Rorkes Drift, the British only lost roughly 10% of their strength while at the same time, they laid to rest nearly four hundred Zulus and it was believed a similar number might have later died of their wounds. The British had fought off the Zulu attack and were thankful to the Martini Henry rifle.

Rorke’s Drift lies 46 km southeast of Dundee and is the location of certainly one of the most celebrated battles of the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. The area near to Rorke’s Drift is unspoilt and restful. Irishman James Rorke initially established a trading place around 1 mile from the drift (crossing point) on the Buffalo River and had been recognized by the Zulu warriors as KwaJimu (Jim’s place). Later on, a mission station had been set up by the Reverend Otto Witt from the Swedish Missionary Society. He established a compact church, mission house and livestock kraal at the foot of a rugged mountain that he called Oskarberg.

Lord Chelmsford, had ‘requisitioned’ the property prior to his traversing of the Buffalo River. He utilised the house as an infirmary and the chapel for a storehouse. During the combat it had been employed as a surgery. The defence of Rorke’s Drift rapidly followed the British Army’s defeat at the Battle of Isandlwana earlier on the morning of 22nd January 1879. The devastating Zulu assault on Rorke’s Drift came rather near to defeating the small garrison, and the British accomplishment is held as undoubtedly one of history’s best defensive actions. The 11 VCs awarded for valour at Rorke’s Drift continue to be more than for any other military action of all time.

As Lord Chelmsford, the commander-in-chief of the British military in Natal, invaded Zululand on 11th January 1879, his forces encamped on the opposite side of the Buffalo river, 16km to the east, under the mountain at Isandhlwana. Three columns invaded Zululand, from the Lower Tugela, Rorke’s Drift and Utrecht respectively, their mission being Ulundi, the Royal capital of the Zulu people. On 9 January 1879 the middle column under the command of Lord Chelmsford arrived and made camp at Rorke’s Drift.

On the morning of 22nd January 1879, the main Zulu army assaulted the British camp at Isandlwana. Lord Chelmsford had taken some of his force off in a different course in search of the Zulu army. Hopelessly outnumbered, the British and local forces were slaughtered by the Zulus which saw only roughly 50 men escape with their lives. The vast majority of the 1,000 strong force were killed. Later that day, 4,500 zulu warriors led by Dabulamanzi attacked the little garrison manned by 24th Regiment at Rorke’s Drift. These Zulus had not been involed in the action at Isandlwana and needed to prove their courage in battle. Cetshwayo had explicitly instructed his Zulu warriors not to cross the Buffalo River which was the border amongst Natal and Zululand. Despite this order, the Zulus grabbed the guns off the corpses of the British dead and headed to Rorke’s Drift. It was manned by 97 ready troops, housed 36 wounded, 14 helpful natives, 5 officers and 2 lieutenants, one of which was fresh to the area. The Battle of Isandlwana was arguably the most humiliating defeat in British colonial heritage and only hours later, at Rorke’s Drift, 139 British troops successfully defended their position from an intensive attack by over four thousand Zulu warriors.

Something that is regularly overlooked is that the Battle at Rorke’s Drift may perhaps have resulted in a similar terrible way as Isandlawana, but for just one key factor: Rorke’s Drift was a supply depot, which means the British troops who defended it were able to depend on a huge source of ammo. It’s estimated that somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 rounds were shot throughout the defence of Rorke’s Drift, the vast majority of the shots having missed their targets altogether therefore, conservatively speaking, each 25th shot fired by the defenders of Rorke’s Drift led to an eventual Zulu death, and each 50th shot was an outright kill. The British knew the Zulus were approaching however they decided to stand and fight. Injured men would had to have been laden onto horse-drawn wagons and Zulus would easily have caught them in the open. They decided to fight on ground of their choosing.

Together with having numbers that crushed a force 5 times that size hours earlier, the Zulu warriors now had the Martini-Henry rifles captured from the British dead, presenting them an even bigger advantage against the British.

Henry Hook plus 5 other privates were ordered on the afternoon of 22nd January to protect approximately thirty people not able to be moved from the temporary infirmary at Rorke’s Drift station. Lines of defence were constructed to connect the 2 structures and the hospital and the store room. Inside of this perimeter, an inner line of defence was built between the 2 complexes and this proved significant in the battle. The Zulu warriors attacked the hospital setting fire to the roof. Hook and others struggled for hours, basically digging through walls and in the end getting nearly all out of the infirmary across to the inner defensive line near the store. Wave upon wave of Zulus armed with spears and rifles crashed against the makeshift defences at Rorke’s Drift. The struggles raged all night and in the morning the British defences still held strong and the Zulus eventually pulled back.

Following seeing the aftermath of Isandlwana, Chelmsford believed that Rorke’s Drift had suffered the same fate and it was only the sound of cheering from the mission station persuaded him otherwise. eleven VC’s were awarded to the defenders of Rorke’s Drift. Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne was among five men to be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the unusual honour of a commission. Nevertheless, his army pay was his only source of income had he thought he couldn’t financially afford to become an officer hence declined the offer. Fittingly, he was the final survivor of Rorke’s Drift to pass away on 8th May 1945 and VE Day. Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Edward Bourne OBE, DCM was 91 years old.


Review of the Video “Zulu”

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The 1964 motion picture “Zulu” tells the story from the defence of Rorke’s Drift by the tiny garrison of British troopers who had been assaulted by over four thousand Zulu warriors. The troopers kept the attackers at bay as the conflicts raged through the night of 22/23 Jan 1879. In the morning, the Zulus had stopped the assault.

The movie stars Stanley Baker as well as Michael Caine together with Richard Burton narrating and was a follow up to “Zulu Dawn”. That movie covered the story of the Battle of Isandlwana that took place earlier that day. The opening scenes start with the consequences of Isandlwana while Richard Burton narrates the telegram by Lord Chelmsford informing the government of the destruction of Isandlwana. Zulus are shown accumulating weapons belonging to the dead British soldiers.

At the time of the battle, Rorke’s Drift was a mission station looked after by Swedish missionary Otto Witt. While Lord Chelmsford guided the men over the Buffalo River and over into Zululand from Natal, a company in the 24th Regiment were left at the mission station that was used as a clinic and a supply depot by the British. The 2 officers were Lieutenant John Chard from the Royal Engineers played by Stanley Baker and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead of the 24th performed by Michael Caine. This was Caine’s 1st starring role.

The movie shows Chard and a few troops building a bridge over the Buffalo River. Bromhead comes back from a hunting trip and the two chat briefly just before scouts arrive updating them of the catastrophe at Isandlwana. Chard is seen to assume overall command as he was commissioned just a few months earlier than Bromhead and whilst this is procedure, it irks Bromhead. They talk over their possible choices with Lieutenant Joseph Ardendorff from the Natal Native Contingent (NNC) who was just one of the very few survivors from Isandlwana. Ardendorff is played by Gert Van den Bergh. The Afrikanner describes the Zulu “Horns of the Buffalo” battle tactics. Bromhead thinks they should evacuate yet Chard makes a decision to stand and fight on ground of their choosing.

The Reverand Otto Witt and his adult daughter also are in the mission station and try to have the soldiers to flee so they can avert a fight. Witt persuaded troops with the NNC to abandon Rorke’s Drift. After all this, Chard instructs Witt and his daughter to leave the mission station in their carriage. At the same time, protective lines of mealie bags and wagons are now being positioned to improve the defences by connecting the store room and the hospital. This is completed under the watch of CSM Frank Bourne portrayed by Nigel Green.

As the Zulu warriors approached, Boer horsemen show up at Rorke’s Drift. Notwithstanding pleas from Chard, the Boers get away from the British garrison. Before long the attack begins with lines of Zulu warriors facing up to the British . The warriors are cut down by concentrated fire from the soldiers of the 24th and they in due course fall back. Following that, Zulu riflemen in the hills launch firing directly into the mission station and the British suffer their very first dead and injured.

The Zulus keep probing with their assaults and in the end get into the infirmary, setting fire to the roof in the process. Private Henry Hook, who has so far been portrayed as a good for nothing layabout, just takes charge of the situation inside the hospital and he assists with an escape of the sick by hacking through the walls of the hospital. The remaining soldiers escape the burning infirmary over to the final redoubt near the store house as the battles raged into the night.

By morning, the Zulus commenced a war cry ready for a last offensive. The troopers of the 24th reacted by singing “Men of Harlech”. The final offensive see the Zulu warriors charge into a hail of British bullets as three ranks of soldiers fire volley upon volley straight into the onrushing Zulu warriors. With such serious losses, the Zulus finally pull back. The British begin to regroup and CSM Bourne carries out a role call. The Zulus come back on the hills overlooking the mission station however as an alternative to attacking, they sing in salute of the “fellow warriors”.

The picture finishes with Richard Burton narrating. He reads out the names of the eleven men who were awarded the Victoria Cross for the defence of Rorke’s Drift. The men who won the VC were:

– Corporal William Wilson Allen

– Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead

– Lieutenant John Rouse Merriot Chard

– Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton

– Private Fredrick Hitch

– Private Alfred Henry Hook

– Private Robert Jones

– Private William Jones

– Surgeon Major James Henry Reynolds

– Corporal Christian Ferdinand Schiess

– Private John Williams

On top of that, five men were also awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal:

– Colour Sergeant Frank Bourne

– Private John William Roy

– Second Corporal Michael McMahon

– Second Corporal Francis Attwood

– Wheeler John Cantwell

As with most films based mostly on a true experience, there are plenty of discrepancies. A few are for artistic licence though others will be oversights for various other reasons.

The motion picture shows the 24th Regiment of Foot as a Welsh regiment. Although, it was not renamed the South Wales Borderers until 1881, two years after Rorke’s Drift. There was a significant number (approximately 25%) of men from Wales in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot but the largest percentage were from England.

The Swedish missionary Otto Witt was shown in the picture that his daughter was an adult. Bear in mind, his 2 kids were both infants. Additionally he was not the pacifist the motion picture indicates and had made it clear he did not oppose the British involvement with Cetshawayo.

The British rifles were the Martini-Henry which discharged a sizeable .45 round. It was quite capable of causing enormous injury on the human body. In the film, the injuries on shot Zulu warriors are tiny. In one scene in the hospital, a warrior who was fighting hand to hand with Private Hook was shot in the back and Hook was uninjured. At such close range, the round from the Martini-Henry would have easily gone through the Zulu and killed Hook too.

These days, Rorke’s Drift is a tourist location for those who really want to learn more about the Anglo Zulu War of 1879.

For almost the entire of the nineteenth century, several of the bloodiest struggles known to man were conducted among Zulu, Briton and Boer for the control of the land and sovereignty. Most of these were concentrated in an immense battleground that stretches from the Drakensberg Mountains, north to Volksrust and east into Zululand, embracing plains of exceptional natural beauty that offer considerably more than simply just renowned battlefield locations to the guest.

It is really difficult to comprehend that this scenic and now tranquil land once rang with the brutal conflict. Instead, the hills, valleys and ridges now echo with the call of wildlife, an amazing array of birdlife or are just breathtakingly peaceful, making it possible for visitors to take in the undeniable ambiance.

From simple, secure camp sites to exclusive private game ranches, lodging is on the market to fulfill every taste, standard and budget, as well as several activities as wide as the plains for which the area is well known. White water rafting, mountain biking, abseiling, 4×4 trails, horse riding and hiking are some of the possible choices available to the more adventurous, whereas those trying to find other pastimes can indulge in a game of golf at numerous 9 and 18-hole courses, casino thrills or the chance to check out their fishing skills.

The rugged beauty of the landscape is marked with reminders of the violent history, particularly haunting memorials on the plains of Isandlwana, where the Zulu army demolished over 1,000 British soldiers, gravestones at Fort Pearson and the monument at Spion Kop, without doubt one of the most violent conflicts of the Anglo-Boer War.

The site of the well known Battle of Blood River involving Voortrekker and Zulu is home to the Ncome Museum, where the historical past of the Zulu people is documented. The museum and authentic laager reconstruction memorial provide a fascinating alternative interpretation of the battle, in both their accounts recorded and in the style by which they commemorate those who fought here. The site of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift among the British and Zulu is much the same since that bloody encounter with stone walls erected to defend the British still largely intact.

Lots of monuments and well-preserved artifacts give a superb backdrop to an area where re-enactments of the Colonial-era wars involving British troops and Zulu warriors, make it easy for present day tourists to discover the bloody dramas with practically frightening reality. Trained guides bring their own personal touch in terms of detail, emotion and anecdotal interest to the battles in contrast to the nearly always stark visual landscape.

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