Gonville Bromhead

Gonville Bromhead

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Gonville Bromhead

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Major Gonville Bromhead VC (29 August 1845 – 9 February 1892) was a British Army officer and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Bromhead received the Victoria Cross for his role in the defence of Rorke's Drift in 1879.


Born in Versailles, France, Bromhead was the youngest son of Major Sir Edmund de Gonville Bromhead, 3rd Baronet of Thurlby Hall, Lincolnshire, a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, by his wife Judith, daughter of James Wood of Woodville, Co. Sligo. He had a profound deafness which restricted his promotion opportunities. Bromhead was officially promoted to Lieutenant in October 1871. Aged 33 years and holding the rank of Lieutenant he commanded B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot (later The South Wales Borderers) of the British Army which he led during the Zulu War at Rorke's Drift, Natal, South Africa.

Rorke's Drift

During the defence of Rorke's Drift on 22 and 23 January 1879 Bromhead shared the command of the defenders of the post with John Chard, an officer of the Royal Engineers. Chard had received his promotion in April 1868, making Bromhead the junior Lieutenant at the Drift even though he was an infantryman and Chard an engineer. In the movie Zulu, it is stated that Bromhead received his commission only 3 months after Chard.

Setting a fine example and conducting...
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