Incredibly rare first-hand account of Zulu battle written the day after on actual paper from Rorke’s Drift sells for £15,000.Assistant Commissary Officer Walter Dunne’s rare handwritten letter (pictured left) describes how he (inset) and a vastly outnumbered group of soldiers successfully defended the outpost in South Africa. The ACO was recommended for the Victoria Cross for his role in the heroic stand, which was later immortalised in the 1964 film Zulu, starring Michael Caine (pictured right) and Stanley Baker.NOTE FROM THE BATTLE: ‘HISTORIC RORKE’S DRIFT LETTER IN FULL’
Rorke’s Drift/ 24 Jan.r ’79/
My dear Warneford, Sad news about the 1/24th. (1st Battalion, 24th Foot) 5Cd commanded by Col. Pulleine were cut to pieces and the camp sacked. 20 Officers are missing. About 1000 of the Kafirs came in here and attacked us on the same day (22nd). We had got about 2 hours notice and fortified the place with trap of grain biscuit boxes &c. They came on most determinedly on all sides. They drove our fellows out of the Hospital, killed the patients and burned the place.
They made several attempts to storm us but the soldiers (B Co of 24th under Bromhead) kept up such a steady killing fire that they were driven back each time. We had only 80 men, the contingent having bolted before a shot was fired. The fight was kept up all night & in the morning the Kafirs retreated leaving 351 dead bodies. Dalton was wounded in the shoulder and temp clerk Byrne killed & 12 of the men… W A Dunne (over)
Some of the missing are Pulleine, Col. Dunford, Capt. Russell, Hodson (killed), Anstey, Daly, Mostyn, Dyer, Griffith, Pope, Austin, Pulleine (2 Mr.) Shepherd (S… major) Wardell (killed), Younghusband, Degacher, Porteous, Carage Dyson, Atkinson – Coghill is believed to have escaped & also Melvill. “VOLLEY BY RANKS – RAPID FIRE!” In my humble opinion; the best 13 minutes of the film
QUICK DIT: When the attack went in on Two Sisters Ridge – Falklands War; Zulu Company of 45 CDO RM called out their war cry as they went forward ‘bayonets fixed’ into hand to hand combat with the enemy ZULU! ZULU! ZULU! A bitter cold night in hell – not that any of us felt the arctic temperature at the time… B.Z. Lieutenant Clive Dytor RM M.C. Yours Aye.