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Brand: Edmund Yorke

Rorke's Drift 1879 : Battle Story

by Edmund Yorke

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Rorke's Drift Battle Story

The small garrison based at Rorke’s Drift in South Africa is forever immortalised in British history, as one of the Army’s most glorious moments. The garrison was defended by 139 British soldiers with c.300 African colonial troops under their command when, on 22nd January 1879, they were attacked by a Zulu force of nearly 4,000 warriors. Out numbered by nearly twenty to one, the British soldiers constructed a makeshift defence and fought throughout the night. Their tenacity and bravery ensured that the British retained the garrison and won the battle. Their acts in the face of this overwhelming onslaught saw 11 Victoria Crosses being awarded to the British garrison the highest number ever awarded for a single engagement. Rorke’s Drift restored the British public’s faith in the Army after the disaster of Isandlwana and the battle was famously portrayed in the film Zulu. Battle Story: Rorke’s Drift explores the men and action at this most legendary of battles.

Edmund Yorke is senior lecturer in Defence Studies at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and has written and researched extensively on the Zulu War. He was the historical consultant for the History Channel/Discovery Channel television documentary on Rorke’s Drift. He has written also Zulu! The Battle for Rorke’s Drift (The History Press).

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