The Rorke's Drift VC
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|27th May 2003||Zulu Event,RE Museum|
By David Glynne Fox
Just thought I would share an experience I had at the above function last Saturday. It was a fantastic day, not least because it gave me the opportunity to meet and speak to HRH Prince Velekhaya Shange and HRH Prince Joseph, both members of the Zulu Royal House. It was a privilege and a great pleasure to meet these two gentlemen and the highlight of the day for me personally since despite being a Zulu buff since 1964, I had not until last Saturday, ever met a living Zulu, let alone two Princes!! They looked magnificent in their traditional attire. Unfortunately, they had discarded this when I photographed them later in the day.
A separate room containing a mass of Zulu related artifacts was extremely well laid out and very informative together with another area with items for sale, yes, I spent a few bob!!! The film Zulu was showing in another lecture room with large screen, very impressive and an excellent backdrop to a conversation I was having with the Princes. The Diehards were also present, I know because my ears are still ringing to the sound of Martini Henry fire.
Lt. Col. Mike McCabe was also present and very informative, he has a vast fund of South African knowledge and imparts it freely, thank you Mike, it was much appreciated. Keith Reeves and Kevin Taylor each had very interesting stalls with a lot of memorabilia from Zulu and Zulu Dawn. Our webmaster Alan Critchley was also present with his stall and it was great to meet him and put a face to the name after all this time, thanks Alan, I'm using the Prince Dabulamanzi mouse mat as I write this. You were right too, the Isandlwana battlefield video is great, I've almost worn it out. And if all this wasn't enough, there were many other displays in this fantastic museum. If you have never been, you don't know what you are missing. It took me four hours driving to get to Chatham from Nottingham but it was worth every minute. They even have some Zulu stuff, such as a marble bust of Lt. J.R.M.Chard VC, a bullet found in Colonel Durnford's body, another bullet given to Mike McCabe by an old Zulu who found it on Isandlwana battlefield, several items collected by Colonel Durnford including a Zulu necklace, several shields, including one collected by Lt. Chard at Ulundi etc. Even without the Zulu artefacts, the RE Museum is a mindblowing experience in itself. I came away on cloud nine and couldn't sleep properly on Saturday night because I was on such a "high,"
If there was one disappointment it was this, too few visitors, and i believe the same was true for Sunday. What a great shame. HOWEVER!! it is still on until June 1st. If you have the time, please go and see it, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Show the Zulu Royal Princes their history has a great following in this country. A lot of effort went into this event and it would be nice to see it well attended and no, I had absolutely no part in any of it, more's the pity. I was just a normal visitor with the interest and enthusiasm to see anything Zulu.
|28th May 2003||Peter Critchley|
You're right of course - I went down to the museum on Monday, and it was a fair bit busier - I was there in the afternoon, and there seemed to be a fairly steady flow pf people talking to Prince Shange and Prince Joseph (both very interesting and friendly people I might add!).. There were children creating Zulu shields in a room off the main hall, and John Young was providing lectures, along with Zulu being shown in an impromtu cinema.
Bob Driver, who organised the event has put a lot of effort into this, along with the members of the Gravesend Model Society, and there were live demonstrations of the work they do.
Next weekend the Diehards are back (20+ of them!!) and all throughout this week, Alan and the others will be at the museum providing information to the visitors.
Of course, you can also buy all the merchandise this website sells (mousemats, mugs, prints etc) from Alan at his little stall! ;)
Worth a visit, and only about 20 minutes down the A2 from the M25.
All the best,
|28th May 2003||Ian|
there will also be a couple of Victorian collector/dealers there this weekend with zulu artefacts to show & some to sell. This along with the array of other zulu war addicts should make an excellent weekend.
|28th May 2003||Jock|
Is this a yearly event ? will it be on again next year ? As we live in Scotland , its a long way to travel , so we would have to plan our trip well ... we never knew this was on until i read this thread , and its now too late for us to organise the trip this year .
I would be interested to hear of any other shows like this which may be planned though , so please feel free to e mail us with any dates for anymore shows featuring the Zulu nation / battles.
|28th May 2003||jock|
Dont know how the heck i missed the NEWS page on the site folks ...wish id seen this a while ago ...OH well ill just have to visit R D more often now eh ?
|29th May 2003||Peter Ewart|
My sons and I had a wonderful day there y'day. Arrived 10.30, didn't leave until 5 and only then because we had to be somewhere else pretty sharpish.
Plenty to see & do, met both Zulu princes, obtained some rdvc merchandise & pored over the AZW stands & exhibits. Talks are also delivered each day in the lecture theatre and at the w/end the Diehards are back with their demonstrations (a Naval Bde chap there y'day from Fort Tenedos!) & according to the programme timetable there are several lectures at the w/end (R/Drift, Isandlwana Controversy, Prince Imperial's Death) so I think a second visit is mandatory!
I'm lucky living in Kent, but am rather shamefaced at never having visited the RE Museum until now (been meaning to for ages!) It is one of the best military/regimental museums I've seen. Superb displays and artefacts & already possessing an area devoted to the AZW period & is an excellent day out on its own.