you are currently viewing: Discussion Forum


The Rorke's Drift VC Discussion Forum
(View Discussion Rules)


PLEASE NOTE: This forum is now inactive and is provided for reference purposes only. The live forum is available at

(Back To Topic List)

DateOriginal Topic
9th July 2004Edendale Troop
By Jim
Hi there
I understand that had the Edendale Troop not dismounted on the Natal bank and fired at the persuing Zulus,there would have been even less survivors from Isandlwana.
Did they receive any honours for this?
Were Melville and Coghill dead at this time or had they not reached the river yet?
Many thanks
13th July 2004Neil Aspinshaw
The fire support offered by the Edendale men would have had some effect, but to what effect it would have altered things is debateable.
It would have Taken Melvill & Coghill in excess of 20 minutes to get from the river to the spot they died. We paced this out in January, it is well over half a mile from the river, up a very steep climb. and we were tired out when we got there. But in any case, the likely killers of M & C would be Magdana'a men, who were already on the Natal Bank, so the The Edendale mens fire would have only given cover at the river bank.
15th July 2004steve
the edendale were perhaps the only body of men in the camp who retired in good order, this must be in great part to their undoubted courage and the leadership of simeon kambula

the edendale later served with distinction at hlobane,kambula and ulundi.
promoted to troop sergeant major,simeon kambula received the distinguished conduct medal,though many think(me too) his reward should have been the ultimate one,not least for saving a british officers life ,the day prior to the attack on nodwengo .
at kambula they rode out with bullers men to force the right horn into premature attack,successfully.
at ulundi they were with the 15th lancers in driving the zulu army from the field,and were reported to be the last unit back into camp that day.............
the edendale attended a banquet held in their honour in durban,later to return to their homes and previous life.
during their times with the army it is reported that they held morning and evening service every day regardless of hell or high water.

courageous soldiers,magnificently led, they were presented with a colour flag handed to simeon kambula,by none other than major general sir evelyn wood,at edendale on 15th dec 1881.
their is a photograph in the killie campbell library of the event,the colour rests up in the university of natal.
16th July 2004jim
Neil and Steve
many thanks for your replies
17th July 2004Robert Jones
I know this has been covered before but I,m sure there are some new faces out there who would like to voice their opinion.
Due to the fact that the Edendale Troop were so brilliantly led by Simeon Kambula why wasn,t he awarded the Victoria Cross? Was it simply because of the colour of his skin or was there another reason?
Surely, this man of undoubted bravery, deserved the highest award for valour for achieving what he did.
In my opinion the V.C. was given to some people who didn,t really deserve it as a cover up for the debacle of Isandlwana!
Mr. Kambula must surely rank above these in the order of merit.
I am British through and through and extremely proud of the fact but some things tend to leave a bitter taste in the mouth!!
17th July 2004John Young

I've made the same point myself, in relation to the act at Khambula which Simeon Kambule was awarded his D.C.M., that had he been white might he too been awarded the V.C. along with Lt. E.S. Browne.

Having said that let us not forget Able Seaman William Hall, who was awarded the V.C. for his actions on 16th November, 1857, during the Indian Mutiny. In so doing he became the first black man to be awarded the V.C.

13 years prior to the Anglo-Zulu War another black soldier was awarded the V.C. - Private Samuel Hodge of the 4th Battalion, West India Regiment for his actions in West Africa on 30th June, 1866.

So maybe the colour of man's skin wasn't a bar after all, and there may well be another reason why!

John Y.
17th July 2004steve
im not sure what the criteria for a vc is,other than extrordinary selfless acts of bravery, in the case of the edendale ,they were volunteers and chose to do these things when it would have been as easy to stay at home. wheras other than chard and bromhead the members of b company had no choice,i hasten to add,b company and others in rorkes drift were extremely courageous, and fully deserved their medal.

i dont think it was because they were a volunteer unit either,because a precedent had been set with the vc for corporal schiess, and as you kindly pointed out precedents for the vc for non whites had previously been made.
perhaps its down to verification,or the way in which the acts of the nominee are described.

still,they were fine soldiers.