AT THE club’s meeting on Tuesday, May 8, president John Smith welcomed two guests Keith Hodges and Ken Evans.

He also thanked Alan Miles for making a splendid new club noticeboard, and Mike Bowkett for producing the 2018/19 Membership Booklet.

Paul Barnett then gave an illustrated talk entitled “In Defence of the Drift – Rorkes Drift”. By way of background, he told members why British troops based in Natal became involved in the turbulence between the Boers and Zulu in the 1870s, and how this resulted in the Battle of Islandlwana and the defence of Rorkes Drift. 

He established a local link by focusing on the life Alfred Henry Hook who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in the Defence of Rorkes Drift in January 1879.

Hook had been born in Churcham near Gloucester in 1850 and, after dying of tuberculosis, was honoured by a gun carriage courtage through the streets of Gloucester in 1905. 

Paul provided members with a detailed account of what led to the British side being defeated at Islandlwana and how it was able to defend the mission station at Rorkes Drift against a Zulu attack later the same day.

His account included plenty of statistics about the number of people who were killed and injured on both sides.  He also disclosed some of the inaccuracies in the otherwise excellent film “Zulu”.

Alan Millichap thanked Paul for a super talk that had been very carefully researched.

The next club meeting will be held at 10am on Tuesday, May 22 at Dursley Community Centre, when Tony Walsh will be giving a talk about the "Feoffees of Tetbury".