Friday, 22 January 2021

Rorkes Drift and Isandlwana Presentation courtesy of the National Army Museum and Professor Ian Beckett

Back in March 2019, I attended the National Army Museum presentation by Ian Knight, looking at the events of  the Zulu War One-hundred and forty-one years previously and posted about it soon after, here on the blog.

Obviously attending similar events at the moment is impossible, but the National Army Museum are providing a great service to military history enthusiasts around the world, if the Crowdcast chat feed was anything to go by, by providing a platform for some great speakers and presentations on a varied offering of British military subjects; with today's offering presented by Professor Ian Beckett, it being the one-hundred and forty-third anniversary of the Battles of Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift on the 22nd January 1879, an overview of the history of the war and those two battles in particular, its commemoration in popular drama and arts, since the news of the battles arrived in Great Britain in early February 1879 and the impact it has had on British and Zulu culture throughout the changes in views over the intervening years. 

One of the many Zulu War games we have played at the DWG and looking forward to doing again when normality resumes, with many members of the club attending Professor Beckett's talk today

Of course that overview scans the books, musical and theatre interpretations and more recently the films Zulu and Zulu Dawn which still hold popular appeal today, but also looks at the reality they captured or not and the modern interpretation of the events seen today based on modern research and recent archaeology.

Professor Beckett presents in an engaging and fast paced style which really grabbed the attention of the audience inspiring plenty of chat and appreciative comments together with enthusiastic questions which he answered at the end. 

If you missed today's presentation, the good news is that you can register to watch a recording on the NAM Home Page and sign up for updates of future talks which are completely free to attend and highly recommended.

In addition you can also pick up a copy of Professor Beckett's book on the subject


With all the lockdowns going on and people confined to indoors I can recommend this as a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours in between the painting and modelling.

More anon 



  1. Very apposite post on 22 January. I have visited Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift 3 times. Of the many, many battlefields I have visited around the world, Isandlwana is by far the most emotive.

  2. Thanks very much for posting this, JJ! I shall now go share it with some more colonial wargamers. Wish you the best with the painting and modeling is going well, and hope you stay well.

  3. Thank you the NAM link - I enjoyed the podcast and will check out some of the others.

  4. Thanks chaps, glad you found this 'heads up' something of interest and I think the NAM are to be congratulated for taking this kind of initiative and well worth being supported by enthusiasts in our hobby.