Rorke’s Drift medal at auction


27 March 2023
Alfred Saxty, far left, with other survivors of Rorke's Drift, in 1934 (c) Noonans Alfred Saxty, far left, with other survivors of Rorke's Drift, in 1934 (c) Noonans
Alfred Saxty's campaign pair will be offered at Noonans in a sale of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.
Rorke’s Drift medal at auction Images

Alfred Saxty was one of the last few survivors of the renowned Battle of Rorke’s Drift, synonymous with the iconic film Zulu. His campaign pair will be offered at Noonans in a sale of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria. They are being sold by a collector and are estimated to fetch £15,000-£20,000. 

As Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison at Noonans commented, “Alfred Saxty of 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot served as a Corporal in “B” Company at the defence, and was one of the last few survivors, of Rorke’s Drift.  He was just 22 years old when he was involved in one of the most famous battles in British military history, which saw just over 150 British and colonial troops defend the South African hospital against attacks by 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors in January 1879, and in fact Saxty was promoted to Sergeant the day after the defence.”

Alfred Saxty was born at Buckland Dinham, near Frome, Somerset, and enlisted for 25 Brigade at Newport, Monmouthshire, on 11 September 1876, aged 19, being posted to the 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot at Brecon two days later. He served in South Africa from 1 February 1878 to 12 January 1880. 

After seven months service in the Mediterranean, the regiment moved to India in August 1880 and served in Burma from May 1886 to January 1887, before returning to India again. Saxty was confined on 6 May 1881, charged with being drunk on picquet, and sentenced by District Court Martial to be reduced to Private and to 56 days imprisonment with hard labour and stoppage of pay, in addition being fined £1 and forfeited Good Conduct Pay. He steadily regained his steps in rank to become Sergeant again in December 1885. After his service in the Burma campaign, Saxty re-engaged for the 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment at Madras on 4 October 1887, ‘for such term as shall complete 21 years’ service.’ He transferred to the 2nd Battalion of that regiment on New Year’s Day 1888, and then transferred to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on 14 July 1891. Reduced to Corporal in October 1894, he was discharged at his own request at Thayetmyo, Burma, on 28 February 1895. 

He was admitted to In-Pension at Chelsea Hospital on 12 June 1930 but reverted to Out-Pension in October 1933 to live with his sister in Newport, Monmouthshire. He died three years later, at the age of 77 years in 1936, and was buried with military honours at St Wollos Cemetery, Newport, on 15 July.




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