23rd of January 1879 : The battle of Rourke's Drift.
A glorious episode in British military history...or was it ?
The following are extracts from the diaries of Maj. Gen. Henry Flogem , General Sir Makem White KFC and the records of the Zulu king... King Cetshwayo....These explain what really happened that fateful day and the events leading uo to it.
Extract from diary of Major General henry Flogem
Officer Commanding Chelsea Barracks 1878.
Welsh Border Regiment arrive Chelsea Barracks on permanent posting.
They march proudly through the gates - singing heartily
Still bloody singing....neighbours complaining.
Neighbours throwing bricks at the windows...soldiers think they're trying to break the glass to hear them better - so sing louder.
Summoned to 10, Downing Steet. Prime Minister shows me communique from Her Majest Queen Victoria.
communique reads....'One is thoroughly pissed off with your welsh oinks singing...all through the night..One needs ones beauty sleep. Do something abaht it.' Vicci.
P.M.asks my advice. Suggest overseas posting.
Welsh Border Regiment march proudly out the gates, singing heartily - bound for South Africa.
Extract from diary of General Sir Makem White.
British South Africa Command
Welsh Border Regiment arrive Durban docks ,today.
Immediately on disembarking they burst into song.
Native dock workers run away screaming. Horses stampede into the water. Three women go into labour.
Nearly three weeks of singing now. Desertion rate amongst native troops have soared. High Command must take action.
Decision taken to send Welsh Border Regiment to Rourke's Drift....200 miles from nearest civilisation.
Rename old store there as Mission Station.
Welsh Border Regiment arrive Rourke's Drift - set to work clearing station - still singing.
Extract from the records of the Zulu King...King Cetshwayo.
My music critic was passing the old syores at Rourke's Drift when he heard close part harmony...puzzled..he looked over the wall ans saw hundreds of soldiers ,in red jackets, singing in harmony.He hurried back to the kraal to tell me the news.
At the time I was leading my, 2000 strong choir...The Black
Mum bashers. (they don't like women much)...in a medley of tribal folk songs , when he rushed up and told me the story of the singing soldiers.
Realising our two nations had a shared love of music (the word 'Zulu' in english means 'fancy a sing'). I thought that this would be a marvellous opportunity for us to meet
the soldiers and have a communal sing along. So together with my choir and forty thousand of my music loving warriors
we went down to greet them.
When they saw us the soldiers formed a line.
So I sent my choir forward waving, smiling and chanting 'Zulu'...'Zulu'..(fancy a sing) . They advanced right up to their lines and were just about to sing...when the soldiers shot them.
I couldn't beleive it. My best singers gone. Livid..I was spitting feathers...well, Id bitten this warriors headress , without realising it.
I sent my warriors charging down on the soldiers. The only problem was every time my warriors got near their lines
the welsh would break into song and then my warriors would stop and try to join in...this made them sitting targets for the welsh guns.
By the end of the day I had less than a couple of hundred tenors left and worse still my basses were singing soprano.
I had no option but to withdraw.
Extract from the diary of Her Majesty Queen Victoria
Presented thirteen medals to the Welsh Border Regiment today - would have been more but they were the only ones who stopped singin long enough for me to pin them on....