Rorke's Drift

Rorke's Drift

  • Submitted By: jimtek
  • Date Submitted: 02/21/2009 7:36 AM
  • Category: History Other
  • Words: 2333
  • Page: 10
  • Views: 398

On January 22nd, 1879, Zulu warriors attacked and defeated British soldiers invading their homelands near a mountain called Isandlhwana. A portion of the Zulu army proceeded across the Buffalo River into British territory and attacked the garrison at the Mission Station at Rorke’s Drift (a drift is a ford, where river crossings can be made more easily). The subsequent battle, which lasted for 12 hours, pitted around four thousand Zulu warriors against less than 140 British soldiers of the 24th Foot South Wales Borderers. The bravery displayed by both sides and the ferocity of the battle, has been immortalized in the 1964 movie “Zulu”, directed by Cy Endfield. The viewpoint of the movie is that of the British soldiers involved, and provides in detail how each of the eleven Victoria’s Crosses awarded for bravery were earned. The movie also provides a character study of the two officers who commanded the garrison, Lieutenants John Rouse Merriot Chard and Gonville Bromhead. Bromhead (played by Sir Michael Caine in his first starring film role) is portrayed as a bit of a fop, who learns courage and composure in his first action. Chard (played by veteran screen actor Stanley Baker) is played as the steadfast, determined and levelheaded Engineering officer who was originally sent Rorke’s Drift to build a bridge. He organizes the defense of the Mission and is an inspirational, decisive and intelligent leader. Some of the other “stock” characters seen in war movies include: the fatherly, stern and physically imposing Color Sergeant, John Bourne; the roguish private who performs bravely under fire, Private Henry Hook; and the “slovenly” soldier and his nagging superior (Private Fred Hitch and Corporal William Allen), who though wounded continue to uphold the high standards of the British military. The movie ends with the British still in possession of the Mission, bloody but unbowed. The Zulus depart back to their homeland, after giving the British a rousing salute as...

Similar Essays