Workday Wednesday: Fighting the Zulus at Rorke's Drift

716 Pte. Robert Jones V.C.Last week, whilst I was in London for the day, I paid a visit to the Imperial War Museum. I had a specific reason for going - I wanted to see the medals on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, in particular, those which were awarded to Robert Jones V.C. (1857-1898).

I am related to Robert in two ways; his maternal grandfather, Richard Fryer (1792-1862), was my 4 x great-grandfather, and his maternal great-grandparents, Benjamin Pitcher and Sarah (nee Rice), were my 4 x great-grandparents. Put another way, he was my half 1st cousin 4 times removed as well as my 2nd cousin 3 times removed.

From the letters in his name, it is already apparent that Robert earned the Victoria Cross. In addition, he also received the South Africa Medal (1877-79) with 1 clasp: 1877-8-9.

716 Pte. Robert Jones of the 2nd Battalion/24th Regiment of Foot (later the South Wales Borderers) in Natal, was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of gallantry in the defence of the hospital at Rorke's Drift against the Zulus on 22nd and 23rd January 1879. The following citation was published in the London Gazette...

War Office, May 2, 1879.
THE Queen has been graciously pleased to signify Her intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Soldiers of Her Majesty's Army, whose claims have been submitted for Her Majesty's approval, for their gallant conduct in the defence of Rorke's Drift, on the occasion of the attack by the Zulus, as recorded against their names, viz.:-
Regiment: 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment.
Names: Private William Jones and Private Robert Jones.
Acts of Courage for which recommended: 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 it contained had been removed. The seventh, Sergeant Maxfield, 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment, was delirious from 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.

In 1964, the Battle of Rorke's Drift was immortalised in the film, Zulu, which starred Stanley Baker and Michael Caine. 716 Pte. Robert Jones was played by Denys Graham.

The Lord Ashcroft Gallery was full of prestigious medals and equally impressive stories of brave men and women. In addition, we should always remember the noble efforts of the thousands of ordinary soldiers, sailors and airmen who have fought, and in many cases, laid down their lives, in the numerous conflicts throughout the ages.

The Imperial War Museum, London
The Imperial War Museum, London

[Why Workday Wednesday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Category: Famous Connections

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I have been looking into my family history and knew up to Robert jones Mu great great grandfather this page has give me a little more help. Thank you

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