Lieut. Gonville Bromhead, VC

  • Anglo-Zulu War
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Gonville Bromhead was a British Infantry Officer, born in France – and camed from a well known and respected Military Family. With relatives (all of whom had achieved Ranks of Field Generals), much pressure was placed on Bromhead to ''succeed''. Described as times as ''haughty and self-centered'' – to be fair to Bromhead, this was a normal trait for a typical British Officer of His background. In 1867, Bromhead purchased His Commission as an Ensign with The 24th Regiment of Foot (Infantry). This was a very common practice among the semi-wealthy (those who were not awarded a hereditary one). He was well liked by His fellow Officers and Men and excelled. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1871. He was charged with Command of a Company of The 24th and would be deployed to South Africa to protect British Colonial interests there during several ''Brush Wars'' (1878).


When it was determined that the only course of peace was War with the ''hostile'' Zulu Tribe – an invasion contingent of The British Army was formed. Bromhead's Regiment was deployed (1879) deep into Zulu Territory, at an out of the way spot known as Isandlhwana. However, Bromhead and His Company was tasked with the mission to protect several crossings on The Buffalo River. Marching His command to a partially abandoned ex-Lutheran Mission near Rourke's Drift – He set about the somewhat boring and lackluster task.


Construction of the crossing were under immediate control of Royal Army Engineer John Royce Marion Chard (also a Lieutenant). History would show that while both Officers went about their duties, the slaughter of the rest of The 24th Battalion was ensuing at Isandlhwana. Flush with victory, 4,000 Zulu Warriors began to advance to another known area with British Soldiers to kill – Rourke's Drift! History further tells us of how a very small command of close to 150 Officers and Men, held off the Zulu onslaught for 2 days before The Warriors moved off. Word of the heroism of the Men at Rourke's Drift spread throughout England and Europe. Bromhead would retain His command at The Drift for several more weeks. His actions would earn Him a promotion to Captain and again to a Brevet-Major position. And then on May 2, 1879 – Bromhead was awarded the vaunted Victoria Cross for Valor.


Eventually returning to England in late 1880, Bromhead was treated as a hero. He received many more awards and honors, and would eventually have His Brevet removed for full Commission as a Major in The British Army. He chose to remain in service, being posted in other locations (some boring and some exciting, by some). He would last be Posted in India when in 1891, Hero of The Drift, Gonville Bromhead would die from typhoid fever. He would be laid to rest in India.