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Title: The Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 : the myth and the reality
Author: Hicks, J. P.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2004
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It is often said, as it was to the writer at the outset of this research, that the Anglo-Zulu War has been a well-ploughed field, which offers little new. Drawing on a wide range of archive material, in addition to a thorough examination of published sources, I have attempted to re-appraise five events and to offer a fresh insight. In doing so, I have established a series of myths which have grown up around each of these five notable events. The Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879, has received notoriety as one of the heaviest colonial defeats of the British Army. A quick and easy victory had been expected, but his defeat at the hands of Africans armed with spears and shields, was shocking and inexplicable. As an antidote to this defeat, two events immediately rose to the fore. The flight from the field of Isandlwana with the Queen’s Colour by Lieutenants Melvill and Coghill, symbolised the bravery of the British officer under fire. The second convenient event, was the defence of the Mission Station at Rorke’s Drift, by a small unit of the 24th Regiment. This event has become a byword for heroism in the face of overwhelming odds and has passed into folklore, particularly in Wales. The Battle of the Ntombe River, was a further disaster for the commander, Lord Chelmsford, but again this event was shaped for the Victorian public by the feting of Sergeant Booth and his apparent heroic retreat from the river. The death of Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, was a further embarrassment of Chelmsford, and as in the case of the Battle of the Ntombe River, a scapegoat was needed as criticism grew of the conduct of the British officers during the campaign.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available