The Rorke's Drift Commanders
Gonville Bromhead and John Chard
Imprint: Frontline Books
232 Pages, 6.1 x 9.1 in, 70 black and white illustrations
- September 2022
- In Stock
Although both men came from families whose various members were highly distinguished for their military service and for their service to the church, they became reluctant heroes after being awarded Britain’s highest decoration for valor, the Victoria Cross.
During the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879, a British invasion force was massacred at iSandlwana, after which a wing of the Zulu army about 3,000 strong attacked the outpost at Rorke’s Drift. Lieutenants Bromhead and Chard commanded the post, and after supervising the construction of barricades they led their men in defensive actions throughout the night until the Zulus lost heart and returned to their kraals. For their gallantry ‘under most trying circumstances’, both Bromhead and Chard, along with nine of their comrades, were subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross.
In 1964 the defense of Rorke’s Drift was brought back to public attention with the producing of the epic motion picture Zulu! In this film, Chard was portrayed by Sir Stanley Baker, while Bromhead provided Sir Michael Caine with his first starring role.
Bromhead and Chard epitomized the way of life of Victorian officers, with the exception that fate put them at Rorke’s Drift. They became major players in a battle which continues to excite interest and cause debate, and is unlikely ever to be forgotten.
“[A]n impressively researched work of meticulous scholarship. Effectively organized and presented, The Rorke's Drift Commanders will prove to be a welcome addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library 19th Century British Military History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.” ~Midwest Book Review