It’s Not Wrong to Honour the Magnificent Heroes of Rorke’s Drift

Zulu
Stanley Baker and Sir Michael Caine in the brilliant British war film Zulu

EVERY wise British father knows that as soon as your kids are old enough you must sit down with them to watch Zulu. Not just because it’s a cracking good war film and some first rate assegai action but because it embodies so many of the inspirational virtues that make our country great.

These virtues aren’t about arrogance or showing off. (We leave that to rivals such as Germany and France.)

Rather, they have to do with simple, honest things: pluck in the face of overwhelming odds, duty, loyalty, self-sacrifice, sang-froid and – with luck – victory snatched by the underdog from the jaws of defeat.

Zulu tells the amazing true story of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, the action in January 1879 when a garrison of just 150 British and colonial troops beat off successive attacks by a vastly superior force of 3,000 to 4,000 Zulus.

Rorke's Drift
The defence of Rorke’s Drift as imagined by Alphonse de Neuville

Had our chaps not held their nerve they would undoubtedly have experienced the fate of their 1,300 comrades massacred the day before at Isandlwana. Instead they held out with just 17 killed – and well over 300 enemy dead. And were rewarded with an unprecedented (for one action) 11 Victoria Crosses.

But that was then. Now apparently we are supposed to find this episode shaming.

Or so reckons a pop star by the name of Lily Allen, who applauded a campaign by fellow Social Justice Warriors to have a cheery message commemorating the event whitewashed from history.

The message was put up this week on a billboard at Dollis Hill Tube station by a London Underground worker who happened to be an Army reservist from a military family.

“The Battle of Rorke’s Drift is quite an important day in British military history so I put it up there. I never meant to offend anyone,” he said. Headlined “On this day in history” his message sketched out the details of the action without passing any moral judgment.

Read the rest in the Sunday Express.