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"Frederick Hitch and the defence of Rorkes Drift by M Boucher" Topic

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313 hits since 7 Aug 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2018 8:54 p.m. PST

"The story of Rorke's Drift has often been told and perhaps nowhere so graphically as by Donald R. Morris in his study of the Zulu War, ‘The Washing of the Spears.' The author was able to reconstruct the events of the night of January 22-23, 1879, from a wide variety of sources. One account, however, was not then available to him; that compiled by Frederick Hitch who, with ten others, received the Victoria Cross for gallantry in action on that occasion. It has not been published before and is reproduced here as a footnote to history and as a tribute to Private Hitch and his comrades who fought so courageously against overwhelming numbers in the fierce struggle to defend the post by the Buffalo River.

But first a word about the writer himself. Frederick Hitch was born in Gloucestershire in 1855 and joined the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Regiment – later the South Wales Borderers – not long before the outbreak of war in South Africa. At Rorke's Drift, Private Hitch was in "B" Company, under the command of Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, and was severely wounded in the engagement. He nevertheless continued to serve with the 2nd Battalion, returning to this country in the course of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902.

He obtained his discharge before the close of hostilities and found employment at the Royal United Services Institution in London. He met with an accident at this period and whilst he was in hospital, his Victoria Cross was stolen from his coat. A replacement was granted by King Edward VII and was presented to him by Lord Roberts…."
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