Sorry to burst your bubble Wally, but Hollywood never could get a British film right and 'Zulu' is no exception
The Battle of Isandlhana [Zulu Dawn] where Cetchswayo slaughtered us Brits, was bang on. Although I have enjoyed the film 'Zulu' at least ten times,
the film has so many historical and factual flaws, that it is almost laughable.
The mission at Rorke's Drift was defended by 'B' Coy, 24th Regiment of Foot, together with a full Coy from the Natal Native Contingent. There was
also a single gun/howitzer.
The Mission at Rorke's Drift was fortified before the battle by Acting Assistant Commissary James Dalton who ordered a barricade built using 200lb
bags of maze & corn.
Lt Chard also ordered a second fire wall to be built, [it] being constructed with biscuit boxes.
Mr Otto Witt was not a drunk and as a Missionary did, prior to the battle, exercise his right and left the scene, leaving the pastor George Smith to
tend the dead and dying.
The Zulus started their attack at about 1630 in the afternoon. After an hour of intense close quarter fighting, they had been forced to take cover in
some dead ground about 50 metres from the hospital. From this position, they were able to set fire to the thatched roof by throwing burning brands
into the air.
There were about 25 to 30 patients in the hospital. These were defended by just six men, including Henry 'Harry' Hook.
Henry Hook was depicted as a drunken malingerer. Nothing is further from the truth. His family was given a written appolgy some 20 years after the
film was made, but only when court action was taken in the US.
The majority of the battle was fought at night - a minor point but one that Hollywood obviously thought was not box-office material.
At the height of the film, we see Michael Caine [Bromhead] command the defenders on the mealie bag ramparts, ordering volley fire against swarming
Look closely and you'll see bolt action Lee Enfield rifles being used by the rear ranks. Bit too early for them, I think!
After the battle the Zulus assemble on the hill and sing to the valiant defenders at Rorke's Drift. Nothing is further from the truth.
Just as dawn was beginning to break, Zulu scouts reported Lord Chelmsford's releif column approaching. The Zulus just left the battlefield in good
Another myth is that the 24th Regiment of Foot was a Welsh regiment. It was not. Originally, the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot, were the 2nd
Only 32 Welshmen defended Rorke's drift, alongside 49 Englishmen, 16 Irishmen and 1 Scott - which led to a very famous line in the film:
"This is a Welsh regiment, although there are some foreigners in it mind".