Rorkes Drift Defender 22nd/23rd Jan 1879[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
James Marshall's exploits came to light at all is largely thanks to the work of genealogist Kris Wheatley, who devotes "15 hours a day, seven days a week" to uncovering the stories of the forgotten heroes of Rorke's Drift. BATTLE OF RORKE'S DRIFT
During Anglo-Zulu War of 1879
140 British soldiers defended garrison against assault by up to 5,000 Zulu warriors
Based around B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot - later the South Wales Borderers
British losses were recorded as 17 - more than 500 Zulus died
Eleven Victoria Crosses awarded to participants
She has spent many years painstakingly reconstructing the lives and times of the defenders - many of whom, like James Marshall, were reluctant to reveal their experiences of the "empire's longest day" to friends and family back home.
She describes James as "known within the family as the man with no relatives and no past".
Kris's own great-grandfather, Caleb Wood - who is also buried at Ruddington - was with the 21-year-old James as the members of B Company fought off the warriors, between the station's hospital and storehouse.
In her published accounts of around 40 of the men's stories she relates that Caleb in later life recalled the battle, and told how he saw Private James Marshall find himself out of position and in mortal danger amid the fighting, before James switched round and speared three Zulus with the point of his bayonet.
sas1See Pictorial catalogue of AZW graves