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Home » War and Rebellion » Zulu War (1879) » Battle of Rorke's Drift, 1879

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  • Evan Jones (1859-1931), from Ebbw Vale, a survivor of Rorke's Drift, saw further action in Burma (1887-1889) and served in a number of units until his discharge in 1920, having served a total of 43 years.
Evan Jones, a survivor from Rorke's Drift, c. 1917
  • This campaign medal commemorates one of the most dramatic engagements of British military history. It was awarded to Private Evan Jones, 2/24th Foot, one of the tiny garrison at Rorke's Drift who fought off attack by thousands of Zulu warriors on 23 January 1879, the day after the Zulus had wiped out a large British force at nearby Isandhlwana.
Campaign medal, South Africa 1877-9 [image 1 of 2]
  • The movie 'Zulu' tells the story of a significant event in Welsh military history - the defence of Rorke's Drift on the 22nd and 23rd of January 1879.  Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded, seven to soldiers of the 24th Foot, later the South Wales Borderers.  The movie was co-produced by Stanley Baker and Cy Endfield.  The film was premiered in Wales at the Olympia Cinema, Cardiff.  (Sir) Stanley Baker from the Rhondda Valley played the part of Lieutenant John Chard VC and (Sir) Michael Caine that of Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead VC.
Programme of the Welsh Premeire of the film 'Zulu', front cover, 23 March 1964
  • John (Jack) Henry Williams VC DCM MM was awarded his VC in 1918 and John Williams VC was one of the defenders at Rorke's Drift in 1879.
Former Company Sergeant Major Jack Williams and former Private John Williams outside the Guard Room, Brecon Barracks at the Comrades' Reunion, 15 May 1932
  • The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest award for gallantry and was instituted in January 1856.  Only 1,354 (including three bars to soldiers who have received the coveted decoration twice) have been awarded since its inception.  Eighty-one servicemen with Welsh connections have gained this highly prized decoration and the Victoria Cross shown here was awarded to Private John Williams VC 2/24th Foot for his actions at the defence of Rorke's Drift during the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war.  John Fielding (who served under the name John Williams) was born in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, lived in Cwmbran, and is buried in Llantarnam.
A Victoria Cross awarded to John Williams during the Anglo-Zulu war, 1879
  • The defence of Rorke's Drift on 22nd/23rd January 1879 was a significant event in Welsh military history.  A force of 4500 Zulu warriors was kept at bay for over 12 hours by 140 British soldiers who garrisoned the small trading post at the crossing of Buffalo River into Zululand.  Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded, seven to soldiers of the 24th Foot, later the South Wales Borderers.  This photograph was taken soon after the action by Lloyd of Pietermaritzburg.
'Rorke's House', 1879