Battle of Rorke’s Drift medals on show to mark 140th anniversary

War medals given to survivors of a famous battle during the Anglo-Zulu War have been put on public display together for the first time.

The eight Victoria Cross medals were unlocked from a secure vault to coincide with a visit to Wales by King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu Nation to mark the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.

Eleven British soldiers were given the honour out of 150 who held off around 4,000 Zulu warriors for 10 days during the clash in 1879.

The battle was depicted in the 1964 film Zulu starring a young Michael Caine.

Picture dated 21/7/19 of King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu Nation being shown Victoria Cross Medals given to soldiers who fought at the Battle of Rorke's Drift (MoD)
King Goodwill Zwelithini is shown the Victoria Cross medals (MoD/PA)

The medals on display at the Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, in Brecon, Mid Wales, were awarded for “gallantry of the highest order”.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry that a British or Commonwealth service member can achieve.

They belonged to Lieutenants Teignmouth Melvill, Nevill Coghill and Gonville Bromhead, Corporal William Allen and Privates Frederick Hitch, Henry Hook, Robert Jones and John Williams.

Some of the medals have been displayed before, but not all eight at once.

King Goodwill Zwelithini was met at the museum by Major General James Swift, who is Regimental Colonel of The Royal Welsh.

Retired olonel Tim Van-Rees said: “This is a unique opportunity to see these iconic medals.

“This will also be the first time we’ve had the king visit the museum and it’s an absolute privilege to welcome him here.”

The medals will be on display until October.

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