Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Henry – Hooked, Line and Sinkered – by Hollywood!

Henry hook grave'If our time is come let us die manfully for our brethren's sake, and not have a cause for reproach against our glory.'

These are the words inscribed on the gravestone, in Churcham, Gloucestershire, of Henry Hook. He died aged 54 on 12 March, 1905.

A great injustice was given to Henry Hook, perpetrated by Hollywood in it's desire to spin a good yarn.

There is a double anniversary occurring this Wednesday 22 January. Firstly, on this date in 1879 one of the bravest battles ever recorded in British military history occurred. Such was it's significance, Queen Victoria awarded 11 VC's (Victoria Cross) – the highest award for bravery Great Britain can offer her subjects, and the highest number ever given in a single event.

I will return to Henry Hook and the second anniversary referred to in due course. First I must give a brief resume. It's brief, but accurate, and besides, I need to hold your attention without resorting to a lecture of academic proportion.

It relates to the Anglo-Zulu War in South Africa, which lasted from January 11th to July 4th 1879. Five months, 3 weeks and 2 days. Possibly one of the shortest British wars.

24th-foot-isandlwana-560The 22nd of January of that year involved two battles – Islandlwana and Rorke's Drift.

Earlier in the day, at Islandlwana, a British battalion of 1,200 men were attacked by 12,000 Zulus and wiped out.

At the time it stunned the world. It was unthinkable that a force of natives, armed only with spears could defeat the troops of the greatest military power in the world.

There are many suggestions for this defeat, from martial incompetence to even the inability to open ammunition boxes quickly enough. But lets move on. As indeed many of the victorious Zulus did.

4000 Zulus marched twelve miles after their victory to the mission post at Rorke's Drift which was manned by 150 British soldiers.

I'm skipping over the details, but 10 hours later, the Zulus retreated – defeated – and the battle of Rorke's Drift has gone down in history as an example of British courage, discipline and sheer guts.

Photo_of_Albert_Henry_Hook_VCTime to return to Henry Hook. Henry was born on 6th August 1850. Private Henry Hook was one of the recipients of the 11 VC's awarded for valour at the Battle of Rorke's Drift.

He was an exemplary and brave soldier, defending the hospital wing and it's patients during the onslaught, resorting to sheer brute strength when his ammunition ran out.

Suffering a major head wound, he had to retire from the regular army seventeen months later. Yet he still served for a further 20 years as a volunteer in the Royal Fusiliers reaching the rank of Sergeant-Instructor and then spent the remainder of his working life at the British Museum until his death. A position which his Commanding Officers at Rorke's Drift recommended and supported him for.

The other anniversary to which I refer too is that 50 years ago the film Zulu hit the cinemas. It portrayed Henry as a thief, a coward, a drunken malingerer and an insubordinate barrack-room lawyer.

It assassinated his character ruthlessly. None of it was true, he was even depicted as a cockney Londoner to enforce his cunning wiliness. His family was devastated by his portrayal as a lazy soldier, and his elderly daughter, Letitia Bunting, walked out of the film's premier in disgust at her father's treatment.

When he died in 1905 from tuberculosis, more than 50,000 people lined his funeral cortege for four miles as his coffin was escorted to the churchyard. Henry was a Methodist lay preacher, teetotal, and God-fearing. A man of measure, of whom his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are proud. What right does Hollywood have to destroy his memory? He was awarded the VC – nothing greater – yet that has been grossly overshadowed.

Every year, year on year, Zulu is shown on the TV. And every time Henry Hook is portrayed disrespectfully. It is a travesty, an injustice, and yet a very common occurrence that film makers do. They are selective, they are opportunist, and they are a disgrace. Go to the movies, be entertained, but never, ever believe in what they portray, because 99% is all lies, untruths, sensationalism, smoke, mirrors, biased political agenda and propaganda.

Look out for all those things which will be prominent at the 2014 Sycophantic Oscars!

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January 19, 2014 - Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Events, Film, History, Travel | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Entertaining and lovely read as always. Hollywood hey, wonder how many VC’S they got?

    Like

    Comment by spookmoor | January 20, 2014 | Reply


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