Posted - 28/05/2010 : 12:49:18
Gonville Bromhead V.C.,
Zulu Wars Medal with Bar, two Mentions in Despatches, Burma Medal with two Clasps
Born in Versailles, France, on August 29, 1845
Died in Allahabad, India, on February 9, 1891
Buried in The New Cantonment Cemetery
Newark Advertiser, May 28, 2010, page 30, article by Dan Churcher
VC memorial omission explained
"THE name of one of Newark's most famous war heroes, Gonville Bromhead, who fought at Rorke's Drift, does not appear on a memorial to Nottinghamshire's Victoria Cross recipients.
The reason is that despite being educated at the Magnus School, Newark, where one of the school houses is named after him and where his sword is displayed, Bromhead lived across the border at Thurlby Manor, Lincolnshire.
In the film, Zulu, about the defence of Rorke's Drift, Bromhead was played by Michael Caine.
The team that worked on the Nottinghamshire memorial, which was unveiled at Nottingham Castle earlier this month, say they agonised long and hard about Bromhead's inclusion.
In the end they stuck to strict criteria that those included must have been born, died, buried or their ashes scattered in Nottinghamshire.
Military history enthusiast Mr Tony Higton, of Bingham, the chairman of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Victoria Cross Committee, said Bromhead's absence should in no way be viewed as a slight on his achievement.
Mr Higton said he would be more than willing to help if anyone wanted to consider a similar project in Lincolnshire.
"I fully understand why people might question why Gonville Bromhead's name isn't on the memorial," he said.
"It is a name that we thought long and hard about. There were so many grey areas that we felt that if we were not careful what we had set out to achieve could have been badly diluted."
The battle at Rorke's Drift, on January 22, 1879, is among the most famous in the history of the British Army. It began at 4.30pm and continued for 12 hours.
About 4,000 Zulu warriors attacked a post defended by 139 men who included medical staff and hospital patients.
The defenders of Rorke's Drift were awarded 11 Victoria Crosses, the most in any battle, plus many other awards.
One of the VCs went to Lieutenant Bromhead, 2nd Battalion 24th Warwickshire Regiment.
His citation, in the London Gazette on May 2, 1879, read: "On 22nd and 23rd January, 1879 at Rorke's Drift, Natal, South Africa, Lieutenant Bromhead, shared the command of the defenders of the post with Lieutenant J. R. M. Chard of the Royal Engineers, setting a fine example and conducting himself with great gallantry in most trying circumstances."
"The Lieut. General commanding the troops, in his report, stated that if it was not for the fine conduct and excellent behaviour of these two officers under the most trying circumstances, the defence of Rorke's Drift post would not have been conducted with that intelligence and tenacity which so essentially characterised it."
After the battle Lieutenant Bromhead was promoted to Captain.
Gonville Bromhead was born in Versailles, France, on August 29, 1845. His parents, Sir Edmund de Gonville Bromhead and Judith Christine Wood, settled at Thurlby Manor.
While at the Magnus, Bromhead was a member of the 1862 cricket team. He joined the 24th Regiment on April 20, 1867.
Not only did he earn the Victoria Cross but was twice Mentioned in Despatches and was awarded the Zulu Wars medal with bar 1877-8-9.
He served in the Burmese Expedition of 1885 and 1887-9, for which he received two Burma Clasps. He reached the rank of major.
He died on February 9, 1891, in Allahabad, India, and his grave is at The New Cantonment Cemetery there.
Anyone interested in creating a VC memorial in Lincolnshire can contact Mr Higton through the Advertiser newsdesk on 01636 681234."
Service before self
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Edited by - Chris Green on 28/05/2010 12:55:54