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The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

Article about: Just a quick note, there was a guy near to where i live that used to collect anything to do with the Zulu war, i remember seeing a very nice short spear and shield on his wall plus some leg

  1. #1

    Default The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Hi Guys, the defence of Rourkes Drift during the Zulu War of 1879 has now entered into legend due to Victorian propaganda of the time, the highest number of VC's awarded for a single action, and of course in a large part due to the film "Zulu". So I though you might be interested to know that 3 men who took part in the action lie buried in Ruddington graveyard in Nottinghamshire. (My family is from the village and as part of my family tree project I have been photographing the graves.) I guess this is fairly unusual to find several men who fought there all buried in one place. Their names are:

    Caleb Wood
    Robert Tongue
    James Marshall

    As you can see, the graves are well maintained.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Thanks for showing Ade ! Three brave men!

    Nick
    "In all my years as a soldier, I have never seen men fight so hard." - SS Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Bittrich - Arnhem

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Hi Ade,
    As you say very unusual to see these together in one place, it,s good to see they are looked after as well. Brave men indeed, i bet they could tell a good story. thanks for showing us.
    dave.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Great photos Ade and good to see such an historic action remembered in such a way !!
    The gates of hell were opened and we accepted the invitation to enter" 26/880 Lance Sgt, Edward Dyke. 26th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers , ( 3rd Tyneside Irish )

    1st July 1916

    Thought shall be the harder , heart the keener,
    Courage the greater as our strength faileth.
    Here lies our leader ,in the dust of his greatness.
    Who leaves him now , be damned forever.
    We who are old now shall not leave this Battle,
    But lie at his feet , in the dust with our leader

    House Carles at the Battle of Hastings

  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Good that they are honoured in this way, interesting to see that Robert Tongue was one of the oldest at the time, having died in 1918 aged 61

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Ade and Gents, great thread, brave men indeed, I cant recall how many times I have seen this movie, but I remember the first time, I was 9yrs old when my father took to see the film at the Gaumont Cinema, on Oxford Road in central Manchester in 1964. Another survivor from Rorkes Drift is buried up here in Manchester, in Phillips Park Cemetery... William Jones. Birth: 1839 Death: Apr. 15, 1913.
    Born in Evesham, Worcestershire, England, William Jones was a Private at Rorke's Drift who was awarded the Victoria Cross. A private in the 2nd Battalion/24th Regiment of Foot in Natal, Jones was a member of the British defence force at Rorke's Drift. In the afternoon of January 22, 1879, a Zulu force attacked the small British supply outpost at Rorke's Drift. Defended by only 131 soldiers, of which 39 were in the hospital, against almost 4,000 Zulu warriors, the men held out against unceasing Zulu attacks throughout the evening and into the night. Private Jones along with another man, Pvt. Robert Jones defended one of the wards in the hospital to the last. Despite suffering four spear wounds and being shot once, Jones held off the Zulu's with his bayonet until six of the seven patients were removed from the burning hospital. Early the next morning, after heavy losses, the Zulu's withdrew. For their incredible bravery in the face of an overwhelming force, 11 men, including Pvt. Robert Jones and Pvt. William Jones, received the Victoria Cross. This was the largest amount of Victoria Crosses ever awarded for a single engagement. The defence of Rorke's Drift as you say Ade was the subject of the 1964 movie "Zulu". His grave can be seen in D section no 887. There are also two survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade buried here and a family that died aboard the Luisitania.
    It is only 15 miles from me, I will nip over next week and get some details.
    Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Great pics and story. It' nice to see the graves of those brave men are being well tended. Thanks for posting. Rich

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    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Thanks for the pictures and information, Ade and Steve. I have always been interested in the Zulu War. As others have said, it is good to see that these graves are still so well maintained and respected. Thanks. Cass

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    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    I think Both of those Jones are depicted in the movie, one of which says "Theres daft now, who wants to run to a battle" or something similar

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    Default Re: The Defenders of Rourkes Drift

    Dave, yes both were in the film, I think it was William Jones who was wrongly depicted in the film as "shirker/malingerer" but I think his depiction was far from the truth, poetic licence from the script writters ? I have an old VHS "boxed set" of the film, im sure it has a copy of the script and a collection of lobby stills from the film, picked it up for a 1 ! several years ago, i'll dig it out and have alook over the weekend. Prost ! Steve.
    "The German Army is the perfectly adapted, perfectly running Machine. The difference is that the Germans are organised with a view to War...with the cold, hard, practical and business-like purpose of winning victories."
    G.W. Steevens - The Daily Mail (1897)

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