Medal awarded to Rorkes Drift hero goes up for sale for £20,000

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Medals won by a survivor of the battle immortalised in the iconic film Zulu are tipped to fetch up to £20,000 at auction. Alfred Saxty was among 150 British and colonial troops who fought off 4,000 warriors at Rorke’s Drift in the Anglo-Zulu war in January 1879. Their 12-hour defence of the post on the border of the Zulu kingdom and the then colony of Natal is one of the most famous battles in British history.

Some 500 Zulus and 17 defenders were killed and a record 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded, with one for Lt Gonville Bromhead – played in the 1964 film by Sir Michael Caine.

Saxty, 22, was a corporal in B Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot. His honours from the South African campaign and one from Burma will be sold by Noonans of Mayfair on April 19.

He was promoted to sergeant the day after his heavily outnumbered garrison drove off the Zulu army.

Saxty – born near Frome, Somerset – left the Army in 1895 and became a Chelsea Pensioner, dying aged 77 in 1936 in Newport, Wales.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, of Noonans, said: “Medals linked to this conflict always attract substantial attention.”

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