|A tense moment during the battle of Rorke's Drift |
as portrayed in the film Zulu
The actors seen in the photo, L to R, are Nigel GREENE (with mutton-chop whiskers), Glynne EDWARDS (slumped figure centre) and David KERNAN (lying back against the bags).
Nigel GREENE (who appeared with Michael CAINE - also starring in this film - in 'The Ipcress File') is portraying Frank BOURNE. The actor is clearly much older than BOURNE would have been at the time. Frank Bourne was 5 feet 4 inches tall - played by Nigel Greene who was 6 feet 2 inches. Nigel Greene is showing wearing 3 white chevrons (on the left arm i.e. the 'wrong' arm) which indicates the rank of a Lance Sgt, something Bourne never was. Bourne, despite his age (23) was a C/Sgt and would have worn, on his right arm, three gold chevrons with crossed colours surmounted by a crown (in Full Dress Uniform) and in undress uniform no crossed flags but three gold stripes surmounted by a crown.
The medals worn by Nigel Greene, as seen in this photograph, are the King George V Coronation medal of 1912 and the Ashanti War Medal of 1896-7 - obviously, neither of these medals had been struck in 1879.
Glynne EDWARDS (who appeared as the barman at the Winchester Club in the TV series "Minder") is portraying Cpl ALLEN. The actor in 'Zulu' was about twice the height of Cpl ALLEN, a small feisty Geordie from Newcastle, not a Londoner as played by EDWARDS.
David KERNAN (a singer in the BBC show The Black and White Minstrels) is portraying Fred HITCH. No wound is visible, yet HITCH was shot in the right shoulder - 39 pieces of his scapula were later removed.
The tunics as seen here are in pristine order without a blemish after 9 months in the field.
The pith helmets are white - in service conditions these would have been stained with tea or mud to present a less easy target in the surrounding terrain.
The Shako plates -i.e. the badge on the front of the pith helmets - have not been removed from the helmets (as they would have been to prevent their glinting in the sun and presenting a target for the enemy).
The white webbing at the front of the uniforms is shown as straight rather than crossed in the front, as it should have been.
The unit badge (24th Regt) is not shown on the shoulder tabs.
The rifles are right - though for the film they were probably fibreglass copies of those used in 1879. The film itself (made in 1964) contains some glaring errors, a few are listed below:
Cpl Allen is shown as wearing chevrons on the wrong arm, and worse, wearing a post-1881 Silver sphinx on his collar; this should have been of brass.
In the film, BOURNE is asked by a hospital patient wearing a leather neck brace: "What's that shooting C/Sgt?" Reply: "A rifle, Hughes." Strange, since there was no person called HUGHES at Rorke's Drift.
Natives friendly to the British are not shown in the film wearing the Red Puggaree on their foreheads as would have been the case on January 22 1879. This is noticeable in the scene where they are pushing ponts on the river.
Pte HOOK is shown as a hospital patient: incorrect, he was the company cook and HITCH was the tea-maker.
In the sequence showing BROMHEAD about to shoot an animal this was a cheetah, but when we see the "dead" animal it becomes a leopard.
CHARD's helmet badge is of the Royal Monmouthshire Volunteer Engineers and silver - this should be a Royal Engineers badge and in gilt, as worn by officers.
It was Sgt MILNE (3rd East Kent Regiment, the "Buffs") that tied the ponts up midstream, not Cpl ALLEN and he did not kick Fred HITCH into the trickle of a stream which should have been the Buffalo River in full spate.
In the opening sequence of the film, CHARD is shown wearing a post-1881 full dress tunic, his collar should be decorated with a crown and not a flaming grenade, indicating he is a lieutenant. In 1879 his rank would have been shown on his collar but he is wearing it on his epaulette, his white cross belt is of Royal Artillery pattern. A Royal Engineer would wear a black cross belt with gold edging and gold centre zigzagging. Most likely, though, he would have been wearing a blue patrol jacket.
In 'Zulu', actor Ivor EMMANUEL says to Stanley BAKER: "every Welsh regiment has a choir." In 1879 the 24th Foot were the 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, an English Regiment. It is a commonly-found error to refer to the regiment as the South Wales Borderers, which in 1879, they were not.
Graham Mason, AZW Researcher