The 1879 group was formed at the Museum of the South Wales Borderers in Brecon (now the Museum of the Royal Regiment of Wales) in 1998 by a small but dedicated group of people who had a consuming interest in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Many, it must be said, were also inspired by Stanley Baker's film Zulu made in 1963.
One of the aims of the Group is to locate, renovate and re-dedicate the graves of those men who made it back to Britain but whose monuments have fallen into a state of disrepair or even disappeared over time. Some members carry out research into Anglo Zulu history and genealogy and keep alive the memory of soldiers of both sides of the Anglo Zulu War. We also help through involvement with local projects in KwaZulu-Natal.
Rorke's Drift on the 22nd/23rd January 1879. The Company is currently 30 strong and also includes representatives of the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, the Army Medical department and, of course, the company cook! The Group makes trips to South Africa to visit the battlefields and during the 125th anniversary commemorations at Islandlwana, members portrayed Pope's company of the 24th along with the Dundee Diehards and faced several hundred Zulu warriors. All who took part said how terrifying it was to stand in front of such a fearless charge.
In July 2003, the Group was presented with replica Colours of the 2nd Battalion 24th Regiment of Foot. The original Queen's and Regimental Colours were lost at Isandlwana and were never found (incidentally, those of the 1st Battalion are laid up in Brecon Cathedral). The 2nd 24th replicas were the result of research by two members of the group, Roger Manning and Duncan McDonald, who worked closely with both the Regiment and also the College of Heralds. Funded by group members, the Colours were produced in Pakistan by military embroiderers. They were formally presented to the group by Mrs Shan Legg-Bourke, then Lord Lieutenant of Powys, Mrs Penelope Bourdillon, then High Sheriff of Powys, Brigadier Robert Aitkin (160 Brigade), and the Group's Honorary Colonel, Timothy Van Rees. It is a tremendous and unique honour for the group to hold these Colours.