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DateOriginal Topic
16th December 2004Canine defender
By Phil Read
A number of paintings depicting the defence of Rorke's Drift show a dog in the thick of the action. I'm assuming that a dog was indeed present at the defence. I'm sure I've heard somewhere that it helped in the night by barking when an attacker drew near. Did that happen? Did the dog survive? Was it a pet of one of the defenders or a stray? Did it win a medal (only joking!)?

Any info would be appreciated.

Phil Read

16th December 2004John Young

Have a look at the forum for 24th May 2001, you may find the answer to your query.

John Y.
16th December 2004Phil Read
Found it!

Thanks for that, John.

18th December 2004margaret mcfarlane
Dear Phil,
During the recent talk by David Rattray in Nottingham, he gave considerable credit to the part played by Pip. (I know there is some doubt about his exact identity) At night, the Zulus would lie on their shields and slide towards the enemy as this method of approach made less noise. Pip's superior hearing meant he could hear the danger long before the defenders and he barked to warn them thus giving them extra vital moments to prepare themselves.
As to him winning a medal - he certainly deserved it.
Best wishes to all
Margaret McF
22nd December 2004Julian whybra
The name Pip originated with Donald Morris in TWOTS - there is no reference to a dog with this name before then, as far as I know. Some years ago David Jackson asked Morris in a face-to-face meeting how he'd found the name. Morris simply remained silent and changed the subject - a euphemism for artistic licence. There was a dog at RD but with Reynolds via Godwin-Austen, in all likelihood as per John's 24.5.01 info.