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 Rorke's Drift VC's

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Dave

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PostSubject: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:29 pm

Who was the First Rorkes Drift VC to died and who was the last. I thought Colour Sgt Bourne. But he refused his VC. scratch
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:37 pm

Cpl. F. Schiess V.C. 3rd Regt. Natal Native Contingen Died 14th December 1884
Williams, John. Private. 25B/1395, B Company, awarded Victoria Cross, alias John Fielding Died 24th November 1932
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:33 pm

Thanks Admin. Should have said (What was the cause of death's)
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:45 pm

Schiess. Exposure and malnutrition. He was taken onboard the Serapis by the Royal Navy bound for England. but became ill during the voyage and died.

Pte: Williams, John. Heart attack.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:48 pm

Thanks again.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:22 pm

Hi Dave,

Is there any firm evidence that Col Sgt Bourne declined a VC? I had not heard this one before.
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:34 pm

I have heard that Sgt Bourne was not awarded a VC, but really should have been on account of the fact that he was the real, solid organising backbone of the defence of RD. There was a campaign not so long ago wasn't there to award one belatedly and posthumously.

It was certainly news to me that he may have "declined" one in favour of promotion until that was postulated on another website.

In any case, "He was the last defender to die on VE Day 1945 - 8 May - he was aged 91."

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:53 pm

Quote :
I have heard that Sgt Bourne was not awarded a VC, but really should have been on account of the fact that he was the real, solid organising backbone of the defence of RD. There was a campaign not so long ago wasn't there to award one belatedly and posthumously.

This sounds interesting, perhaps you could provide us with some more information and the source: Wouldn't be the film Zulu would it...
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tasker224

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:01 pm

CTSG, the first time I heard this, were Saul David's comments from a BBC documentary some years ago.
There are plenty of articles/sources out there if you look for them. In ref to the documentary, why don't you start with the link below and go from there.
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90th

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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:42 am

Hi All .
I've never heard of Bourne declining a V.C ! . He may have declined a promotion ? .
cheers 90th. Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:00 am

CTSG
If you look carefully at "Zulu" CS Borne is actually wearing his 1879 medal, seems hes the only one actually wearing medals. One looks like the 1879 service medal, Cy Enfield taking liberties again?
Or am I wrong?

And I dont believe that a) He should have been awarded a VC. and b) I doubt that anyone awarded a VC would turn it down.
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dlancast

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:23 am

I believe that I have read somewhere that he was offered a promotion to officer, but he couldn't afford to accept it. An officer had many personal financial responsibilities in those days.
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:16 am

Quote :
He should have been awarded a VC.
Why ?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 11:26 am

Precisely my question Mr G
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Mr Greaves

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:18 pm

Rephrase. Why do you think Bourne should have received the VC? What did he do to justify the award?
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Sherman



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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:36 pm

Dunne was recommended for a VC but this was refused by the powers that be.
There is no surviving evidence that Bourne was ever recommended for the same award.

According to Col. Degacher, Pte Joseph Williams 2/24th would also have been recommended for a VC had he survived......
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:57 pm

Springbok9

Re your post of the medals worn by CS Bourne in the film Zulu. This is a link I posted a few months ago - the medals certainly had nothing to do with the Zulu War!

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:40 pm

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Think your right JohnB but doe’s anyone know what the medals are. Did Bourne receive any other campaign medals before Rorkes Drift.
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:50 pm

Hi Littlehand

Bourne's Medals

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Chelmsfordthescapegoat

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:50 pm

Nothing Before Rorkes Drift - After he received the OBE (military 1918), DCM, South Africa Medal (clasp 1877-8--9), India General Service (1854) with clasp Burma 1887-89.

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:55 pm

Thanks Graves. Idea
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90th

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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:16 am

Hi all.
Dont know if it was posted on this forum but the description of the medals worn by Bourne in the movie ' Zulu ' is certainly
on the RDVC Forum . I'm fairly certain they are medals which were awarded 20 or so yrs after the zulu war .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:10 am

Hi all .
More detail concerning my post of the other day . This from Vol 4 of the Anglo Zulu War historical Society journal by Brian Best.
'' It was not until May that the first of the eleven Rorke's Drift Victoria Crosses were presented , to be followed several months later
by five awards of the Silver Medal for Distinguished Conduct ( DCM ) . One of the latter was Frank Bourne who was also offered
a commission , a rare honour in Victoria's Army . Having no income other than his sergeant's pay , he was unable to afford the
considerable cost of becoming an officer and felt obliged to decline the offer ''.
Wonderful Journals these are , they are on ebay occasionally and not expensive .
cheers 90th.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 6:18 am

John B
Thankyou, question answered.
Next question was it normal to wear medals into battle?
This a question of reality rather than the make believe world of the films. There is a photo of Chard relaxing with other officers sitting in a chair. He is wearing his VC.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:37 am

Hi everyone,

According to the link I posted above, the medals worn by C S Bourne in Zulu are:-
King George V Coronation Medal 1912
Ashanti War Medal 1896/7

I am not an expert on medals so please don't ask me which one is which!
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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:13 am

Hi Springbok9,
When Chard won the VC, undoubtedy he was proud of it, maybe at the oppotunity of a photo, he put it on to show it off! Idea

Or if the photo was for a newpaper back in Engand, maybe the photograper asked him to wear it.
I would presume you wouldnt usually wear a medal such a a VC, considering how important it is.

Just thoughts

Joe
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:45 am

The picture of Bourne posted by Littlehand, 8 or 9 posts above this shows him wearing either the African GS medal with no bar, or the Ashanti medal as suggested by John B. (Note the ribbon and lack of a clasp).The other medal is commemorative as suggested by John B.
Interestingly, those 2 medals are in the wrong order of precedence and Bourne was never entitled to the campaign medal he is wearing in the film and is not wearing his DCM, so is certainly not wearing his own medals.
No doubt the medals were provided by an over zealous member of the props department in the making of the film. (You will notice the same kind of inattention to detail in Dad's Army, where Cpl Jones has a different set of ribbons almost every episode). Only once have I ever seen Cpl Jones wearing a correctly ordered set of ribbons. I am sure when these productions were made, they didn't think anyone would pay much attention to the ribbons, but it does bother me!
More importantly, I think this shows that men like Bourne were quite blase about their awards and decorations - certainly not gong-chasers and probably.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:52 am

Joe.
Quote :
When Chard won the VC, undoubtedy he was proud of it, maybe at the oppotunity of a photo, he put it on to show it off!

The V.C changed Chards life completely and he took full advantage of the fact, and good luck to him.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:00 am

One can almost imagine the exchaange between Cy Enfield and Nigel Green. "Put them on no one will notice". Sweet.

Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:13 pm

Going back to Boune for a moment, from the link above from the Telegraph. It's up to you how reliable you think it is, but for those who haven't looked at it, here is an extract:

"At least two other soldiers, Commissary Walter Dunn, and Colour Sgt Frank Bourne, had also deserved the VC for their bravery, he said, but had not received the honour.
Furthermore, Dr David claims that the two scouts, Lt Teignmouth Coghill and Lt Nevill Melvill of the 24th Regiment of Foot, who were honoured with posthumous VCs after they were killed trying to save Queen Victoria's colours at Isandlwana, were not heroic, but were in the process of "bolting" from the scene."

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joe

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:29 pm

I agree with most of that article Idea

Joe
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John

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 8:37 pm

We may as well say that all those that took part in the defence of RD deserved the VC. I don't know our the selection was made and who decided who got the award and who didn't. Some were awarded the V.C because they got sick patients out of a burning building, but it's not as if they went into the building to get them out, they were already in there with the patients and like the patients needed to get out. It would have been a basic human instinct to get those who couldn't help themselves out. I'm not saying those inside the hospital didn't have rough time, but my thoughts go to those outside fighting hand to hand fending off the Zulu's allowing those inside the buildings to get out.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:26 pm

There was some desperate hand to hand fighting inside the hospital, by the accounts of those who were there - Sgt Maxfield was assegaied as he lay sick in his bed. To quote Hook, VC:

‘We (Williams and Robert Jones and William Jones and myself) were the last men to leave the hospital, after most of the sick and wounded had been carried through the small window and away from the burning building; but it was impossible to save a few of them, and they were butchered.
Privates William Jones and Robert Jones during all this time were doing magnificent work in another ward which faced the hill. They kept at it with bullet and bayonet until six of the seven patients had been removed. They would have got the seventh, Sergeant Maxfield, out safely, but he was delirious with fever and, although they managed to dress him, he refused to move. Robert Jones made a last rush to try and get him away like the rest, but when he got back into the room he saw that Maxfield was being stabbed by the Zulus as he lay on his bed.’

Lieutenant Chard also mentioned the death of Maxfield in his account written for Queen Victoria in January 1880, ‘... He was assegaied before our men’s eyes’.
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old historian2

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:21 am

James Marshall comes to mind, hand to hand 3 to 1 killing all 3 Zulu's at point of bayonet. (Witnessed by private soldiers not officers)
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:48 pm

Old.H.
This James Marshall's encounter with 3 Zulus. Is there an account of this or is it just hearsay. If there is eye witness accounts where can one find them. Are we saying he took on three Zulu's and won or this is the total count during the whole battle.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:17 pm

Impi. I think the Marshall point of bayonet has been discussed before. I think it's hearsay, mentioned by authors. Could be wrong.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:57 pm

Hi
Going back to an old post, I think according to the Legacy books, Frank Bourne most likely died the day before VE day, but was written to have died on VE day.

tasker224 wrote:
"He was the last defender to die on VE Day 1945 - 8 May - he was aged 91."


Joe
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Dave

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:02 am

With regards to being awarded the VC. did the event that the VC was awarded for have to be witnessed by an officer. More of a question than a reply.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:44 am

Not everyone could have been awarded the VC for the defence of Rorkes Drift. We have seen comments made by some that far to many VCs were awarded for this action, but taking into account the diaster at Isandlwana it was a good way of taking Isandlwana out of the limelight. I wonder how those that didn't get the VC really felt about being over was there any bitterness.

With reference to James Marshall, the account of him (Point of bayonet) was given by Caleb Wood some years after the Battle,it's on the forum somewhere.
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90th

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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Sun Mar 20, 2011 9:50 am

Hi Dave.
I think you may have hit the nail on the head . I'm fairly certain to Gain the V.C back in the zulu war period your action had to be
witnessed or verified by an officer .
cheers 90th Idea .
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:47 pm

But who would have been the officer who witness what was going on inside the hospital, both Chard & Bromhead were outside.
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:25 pm

Dave
technically the event has to be witnssed by an officer (British or enemy) but this is not a hard and fast rule and exceptions have been made. Coghill and Melville's actions and deaths were witnessed by no one. There are no witness accounts - their awards were purely speculative.
TAsker
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:51 am

Wonder who witnessed Sam Wassall?
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90th

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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:31 pm

Hi All .
Here is some more info on the Victoria Cross Warrant . All the following info is from '' A Staffordshire Regiment In The Zulu & Sekukuni Campaigns 1878- 1879 - 80th Regiment Of Foot '' by Robert Hope .

Seventhly; It is ordained , that the decoration may be conferred on the spot where the act to be awarded by the grant of such decoration has been performed , under the following circumstances - 1. When the fleet or army , in which such an act has been
performed , is under the eye and command of an Admiral or General Officer Commanding the forces . 2 - Where the Naval or military
force is under the eye and command of an Admiral or Commodore commanding a squadron or detached Naval Force , or of a General commanding a corps or division , or brigade on a distinct and detached service , when such Admiral , Commodore or
General Officer shall have the power of conferring the decoration on the spot , subject to confirmation by us .

Eighthly ; It is ordained , where such an act shall not have been performed in sight of a Commanding officer as aforesaid , then the
claimant for the honour shall prove the act to the satisfaction of the Captain or Officer commanding his ship , or to the officer commanding the Regiment to which the claimant belongs , and such Captain or such Commanding officer shall report the same through the usual channel to the Admiral or Commodore commanding the force employed in the service , or to the officer commanding the forces in the field , who shall call for such description and attestation of the act as he may think requisite , and on
approval shall recommend the grant of the decoration .

Hope this helps with the questions concerning the V.C.
Cheers 90th .
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PostSubject: Rorkes Drift V.C.   Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:39 pm

Hi Springbok.
In reply to your question '' Who Witnessed Wassall '' This also from Robert Hope's book .

'' The incident was observed by Captain W. Barton of the Natal Native Horse . He reported it to Lieut. H.A . Walsh and was later
overheard by Westwood in Hospital . Eventually Barton , Walsh and Westwood submitted reports to Captain Browne and in due course Wassall was recommended for the Victoria Cross ''
cheers 90th . Idea
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:31 am

The following is Barton’s own account and statement that led to the award of the Victoria Cross to Private Wassall of the 8th Foot. The original hand written report is held in the National Archives. “On the 22nd January 1879 when the camp of Col Glyn’s column had been taken by the enemy,

"I was retreating towards the Buffalo River to cross into Natal. As I approached the river, a man of the mounted Infantry was riding in front of me (This was Pte Wassall) and I also saw at the same time another man of the mounted infantry struggling in the river and he called out his comrades name, he was apparently drowning. The Zulus were at this time firing at our people from above us, others were down on the river stabbing others of our people on both sides of where I was. The man of the mounted infantry who rode down in front of me dismounted left his horse on the Zulu side and sprang into the river to save his comrade. I consider this man to have performed a most gallant and courageous act, in trying to save his comrade at the almost certain risk of his own life. I crossed the river myself about the same time and I did not think that it possible that either of these 2 men could have escaped alive. Indeed I spoke some days afterwards, to Lieut Walsh of the mounted infantry of the circumstances which I had witnessed and spoke of it to him, as evidence of my seen two of his men lost at the Buffalo River. I have this day identified in the Hospital here, the man whom I saw struggling in the river, and I have also given Lieut Walsh a description of the horse which I saw the other man of the mounted infantry riding in front of me and from which he dismounted to save his comrade”. Signed by Wm Barton Captain dated 11th February 1879. Captain Barton had been engaged on a 6 month contract which was common to all Officers of the Natal native contingent and in May appears to have slipped away once more into obscurity,"
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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:56 pm

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Drummer Boy 14

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:25 pm

John wrote:
Some were awarded the V.C because they got sick patients out of a burning building, but it's not as if they went into the building to get them out, they were already in there with the patients and like the patients needed to get out. It would have been a basic human instinct to get those who couldn't help themselves out. I'm not saying those inside the hospital didn't have rough time, but my thoughts go to those outside fighting hand to hand fending off the Zulu's allowing those inside the buildings to get out.

John

Human instinct is to save one's own skin.

Joesph Williams died defending the sick in his room.

The others held the door at the point of the Bayonet whilst the sick where escaping, Robert Jones was stabbed 3 times defending the escape roat.

Noel Chavasse, continualy searched thoughout No Mans land to bring in the sick, a true hero.

All off the above deserved the VC Idea

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:07 pm

Littlehand,

What is the connection between the Rorke's Drift V.C.'s and the engraving of George Colley at Majuba that you posted on 18th August?

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PostSubject: Re: Rorke's Drift VC's   Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:23 pm

Good point Jim.
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