Thursday, October 15, 2015

The 1879 Zulu War: through the eyes of the Illustrated London News




By now you have finished reading the last book that I gave you... The Horns of the Buffalo and you are itching to get your teeth into the next exciting bit of literary drama.

Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill have put together an amazing collection of drawings all executed during 1879 by field artists working for the Illustrated London News and they have woven their tales of war around these images that so graphically took their news to the world at the time.

Amazon describes the book as follows:

The fascination of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 continues unabated. It was impassioned almost 40 years ago by the film Zulu, starring Stanley Baker and a yet-to-be-discovered Michael Caine. Zulu has been shown—and continues to be shown—on British television more than any other feature film. In the USA and elsewhere it has become a cult movie. Moreover, it created a near avalanche of books, articles, lectures, documentaries and websites that has come close to being an industry. But the basis of all this activity was, in fact, generated 120 years ago by the weekly magazines of Victorian England such as the Illustrated London News.

Although copies of the original magazines are much sought after and have become collectors’ items, the compilers have painstakingly acquired every issue pertaining to the conflict and, having extracted every report and illustration on the subject, have produced, with an index, and in chronological order, a unique record of the Anglo-Zulu War, albeit through the eyes of a colonial Victorian age.


This is a book that is in our collection and we often flick through its pages and have even been known to try and identify whether the terrain has changed much over the last 136 years and it is so amazing to see how solid the earth is and how unchanged the landscape that has not been corrupted by man and the march of time.

The book is unfortunately not available on Amazon but the authors Ron Lock and Peter Quantrill market their own books.

Ron Lock's email address  where you can contact him for any of his publications.

We hope that you enjoy the experience as much as we do.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Books About Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana Battles





After 12 years of navigating the battlefields of Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana it was time to start updating and revamping our information. First in line has been our List of books on the Battles and we were amazed how that list has grown over the years.

We are also sure that our guests, past and present would benefit from this update and what better way to do this than through our blog. Over the next few weeks I will give you lists of the books, a few at a time with a little bit of background of each one.

This is of course so that you can start your own collection of books, or start a reading marathon or even use the subject for a book club.

For your convenience I am linking each one of the books to the place that you can buy it online, most of which will be Amazon and if its not available on Amazon I will try to track down where it's at.

First on our list is  The Horns of the Buffalo by John Wilcox  a fiction novel and the write up on Amazon describes the book as follows:

British redcoats confront the Zulus at Rorke’s Drift.
In 1879, the British redcoats are universally regarded as the finest fighting force in the world. Among them is Lieutenant Simon Fonthill, dispatched to South Africa with much to prove: for Colonel Covington, his former Commanding Officer, has slanderously branded him a coward. In the Cape, tension is high. The Zulus, an independent nation of magnificently militant tribesmen, threaten the colonial government’s vision of a united South Africa. And Simon has been chosen for a particularly dangerous mission: to travel deep into Zululand to discover the intentions of the king. Simon encounters violence and imprisonment before he is faced with his greatest challenge. Escaping from the massacre at the Battle of Isandlwana, he must warn the tiny garrison at Rorke’s Drift of the threat posed by advancing Zulu impis. He has a chance to prove Covington a liar, but he may pay the ultimate price.
In the tradition of C.S. Forester and Bernard Cornwell, this rousing 19th-century British army adventure introduce Lieutenant Simon Fonthill, a hero fit to stand shoulder to shoulder with Hornblower and Sharpe.

Well worth a read if one sees the other novels by John Wilcox that seem to take the reader around the world's historical conflicts.

Pour a glass of wine, look for a couch, get your feet up and enjoy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 - Queen Victoria



In our series of Who’s Who in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 and hopefully introducing some of the players to the readers of our blog I have decided that it is prudent to start at the top and introduce those of our readers who do not know all the in’s and out’s of the Wars.

We should therefore start with the two Monarchs who, although they did not take an active part in the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift themselves were certainly instrumental in the shaping of the events that took place.

We start with Queen Victoria, whose reign lasted from 1837 to 1901. Strangely enough, at birth she was only the fifth in the line of succession yet at age 18 she was crowned the Queen of the British Empire. Until recently she was the longest reigning British Monarch but that, of course, has now been eclipsed by Queen Elizabeth II.

She married Prince Albert of Saxe-Colburg & Gotha in 1840 and had nine children. Famously Prince Alfred died in 1861 which set off a new fashion trend as the Queen proceeded to wear only black for the rest of her life. She also changed the traditions and practices around mourning and burial that affected all her subjects.

The Victorian Era was marked by her strict standards and personal morality that resulted in a prudish society obsessed with “moral” values.

The British Empire expanded exponentially under her reign. However, this expansion and annexation of countries was only done, according to the Queen, in order to protect the peoples of those countries from other warring nations.  The official stance was that expansion was not undertaken  “unless we are obliged and forced to do so.” 


She was succeeded by her son Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Defence of Rorke's Drift - Private Frederick Hitch

Private Frederick Hitch



2nd Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot

"It was chiefly due to the courageous conduct of these [Allen and Hitch] men that communication with the hospital was kept up at all. Holding together at all costs a most dangerous post, raked in reverse by the enemy's fire from the hill, they were both severely wounded, but their determined conduct enabled the patients to be withdrawn from the hospital, and when incapacitated by their wounds from fighting, they continued as soon as their wounds had been dressed, to serve out ammunition to their comrades during the night."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Defence of Rorke's Drift - Corporal William Wilson Allen

Corporal William Wilson Allen



2nd Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot

"It was chiefly due to the courageous conduct of these [Allen and Hitch] men that communication with the hospital was kept up at all. Holding together at all costs a most dangerous post, raked in reverse by the enemy's fire from the hill, they were both severely wounded, but their determined conduct enabled the patients to be withdrawn from the hospital, and when incapacitated by their wounds from fighting, they continued as soon as their wounds had been dressed, to serve out ammunition to their comrades during the night."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Defence of Rorke's Drift - Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead


Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead


24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment

"For their gallant conduct at the defence of Rorke's Drift, on the occasion of the attack by the Zulus on the 22nd and 23rd January, 1879. The Lieutenant General, commanding troops reports that, had it not been for the fine example and behaviour of these two officers under the most trying circumstances, the defence of the Rorke's Drift Post would not have been conducted with that intelligence and tenacity which so essentially characterised it. The Lieutenant General adds that its success must, to a great degree, be attributable to the two young Officers who exercised the chief Command on the occasion in question."

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Defence of Rorke's Drift - Private William Jones


Private William Jones


2nd Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot.

"In another ward, facing the hill, Private William Jones and Private Robert Jones defended the post to the last, until six out of the seven patients had been removed. The seventh, Sergeant Maxfield, 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, was delirious with fever. Although they had previously dressed him, they were unable to induce him to move. When Private Robert Jones returned to endeavour to carry him away, he found him being stabbed by the Zulus as he lay on his bed."