VC heros reputation restored after Zulu film

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by the_boy_syrup, Aug 15, 2008.

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  1. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    VC hero's reputation restored after Zulu film portrayed him as drunken malingerer

    In the film Zulu he was portrayed as a drunken malingerer who became a reluctant hero.

    But while Hollywood was right to show Private Henry Hook as a hero, the rest of his screen depiction was fiction.

    In reality Private Hook was a teetotal lay preacher who had been awarded good conduct pay shortly before the battle that led to him winning the Victoria Cross.

    Now his reputation is being restored after a campaign conducted by historians and backed by his former regiment.


  2. Goodness me, thanks for posting this.

    Stupid and Irish as I am, I had always assumed that there was a "Speakman-esque" truth to this.

    It will always be a favourite film of course, but this reminds me of the Scottish family who took the producers of Titanic to brook (sued them, got a settlement out of court, and put up a memorial or something, cos they didnt want the money), when they had depicted the man concerned (in the fillum, he shot some Irish emmigrant, and then shot himself) as a cowardly killer of steerage passengers, when nothing, according to surivining records, could have been further from the truth. He actually saved people.

    Who let this happen? I know it was 44 years ago since the fillum was made, but FFS.

    This kind of revisionism is dangerous....all these years, I'd always assumed that this charachter was based on fact. I suppose the film industry needs to show unlikely heroes, but fekking up someone's history, and family name, is beyond the pale.

    If Private Hook has descendants, then they should consider suing the film-makers, on the proviso that any momies won will be used to renew memorials and graves, here and in Africa, from both sides ( yes the Zulu remember it too, and my Ma is friendly with a chap from the Welsh who makes sure these thigs are remembered, in the proper way).

    Beyond all of that, the fact that these film wallahs could not have been encouraged not to have twisted the truth, appalles me, but I suppose the luvvies would say that any interference would have been tantamount to interfering with their right to fredom of expression...which is probably correct, but we have it too it don't we?

    ... when freedom of expression represses the truth, its sort of not worth having. So one needs to establish what the truth is, which you seem to have done in your post, and I'll never look at that film in the same way again.

    ...But even so, when it is almost a hundred years later, and feckes up someone's family name, it pi$$es me off.
  3. Good drills TBSyrup and LondonI,

    fillum makers could bend/strettttch history when it suited them for many, many years.

    But today with the t'interweb, the truth will out!!! :D

    A good friend of mine growing up in Bo'ness, Scotland many years ago, was a direct relative of the Captain of the Titanic.

    Mention the film in that family's presence - it was fair game for a wind up only if ye were tuff and a fast runner - and you'd have a fight on yer hands.

    They never had the money to put things right (who does against the meedja?) but they are vindicated now :D
  4. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    I must admit that I knew the film portrayed him less than truthfully
    But I never knew quite how much until I read this
    I always thought that maybe he had turned to drink in later years and had no family so the producers could be a bit free with his tale and blur it a bit but I read in the article his eldest daughter stormed out of the premiere (Jack Hawkins refused to attend the premeire aswell because he wasn't happy with some of the final cuts of the film)

    I am suprised as it was a personal project for Stanley Baker who was determined to make the film and actually owned Chard's V.C.
    It would have still been a decent film had they portrayed him as he was although I suppose you need one bad apple other wise everything would be to perfect
  5. If you are so upset about them twisting this part of the story then you should be unhappy that the real truth of the battle, especially the aftermath wasn't shown either.
    It contains so many things that were apocryphal or at least wildly inaccurate that they need a whole page just for the main ones.

    If you can over look those then the rest is fair game as well really.
  6. Spoilsport! My favourite bank holiday treat will never be the same again.

    Well worth knowing, though - "Do carry on with (throwing) your mud pies". :)
  7. James Dalton was portrayed as a ineffectual poofter when in reality he too won the VC.
    He oversaw the work of defence and was amongst those receiving the first wave of attack, where he saved the life of a man by killing the Zulu assailant. Although wounded himself, he continued to give the same display of cool courage throughout the action. He was 46 at the time of the defence.
  8. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    I believe Commisary Dalton was also an ex RSM, he moved jobs in order to stay in.
  9. Makes you wonder doesn't it, the people that make these films are no better than politicians or the fecking media.

    I saw a program about the making of the film "zulu".

    Apparently, they went to the actual location where the battle took place, but the Director, or someone like that, didn't think it looked authentic enough, so they filmed somewhere else, forty miles away.

    FFS how can the place where it actually happened, not look authentic.

    I know, let's make a film about the "Battle of Britain", but so it looks "authentic" we'd better make it in Australia.
  10. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    How about a remake?
  11. Hollywood remake:
    It would probably be have to be from the Zulu’s perspective of course. With Will Smith playing the part of Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande naturally.
  12. He had served 22 years in the Forces, settled in SA (IIRC), when teh Zulu war kicked off, he rejoined as a commisariet (sic).

    The role he played in the defence was more like the Boer Ardendorf. Dalton, was the knowledgable expert on what was going on. Most of the Boer Officers and men did one.

    As an aside, the film portrayed both officers more than well. Bromhead was alledgedly half blind and deaf. Something that had held his career back up to the battle. Chard was some 5 years he senior by rank.

    The Cpl from the Natal Mounted Police, who also won a VC, was found begging and half dead in hte streets some years later. He never once mentioned his VC to those who knew him. He died on a dhip bound for home, money was raised for him to make the trip, and he was buried at sea.

    Fred Hitch, whose arm was destroyed duing the battle (he is the one who helps pull the ammo chest with the Cpl after Dalton was injrud) had his VC stolen. Two stories (oddly) one that he fell from a ladder and when he awoke his medal was stolen, the other that says he was knocked to the ground and his medal cut off him whilst guarding whitehall. He was demobbed after the Zulu war, so why be one guard?simmilar why wear a VC repairing your house?

    Both VCs are in the Regt Museum now.

    And one of the soldiers of the action, suffered PTSD. He eventually killed himself in a Manchester Terraced House, after many years dreaming that Zulus were coming over his back wall!!

    CSjt Bourne was a miscast too. In the film he was almost a stereotypical Colour, long of tooth and bushy of beard. In reality he was one of the youngest (if not the youngest) Colours of the day. A young thruster, who was greatly admired by the troops. He was about 25 at the time, there is some controversy over why he wasn´t awarded a VC. He also served in WW1.

    The surgeon, got well amongst it. Surgeoning one minute, slappig zulus the next, and carrying ammo to the men defending the hospital. Dodging bullets all the while. His dog was also mentioned in his VC citation, he never left his masters side, except once to bite a Zulu who came too close!

    Sgt Maxwell, the bonkers one from the hospital,really was mad with fever.
  13. If the house was in Moss Side he was probably wide awake! :lol:

  14. Of the 11 VC's awarded
    7 were English
    1 was Irish
    1 was Swiss
    2 were Monmouthshire, which at the time could be argued wasn't in Wales anyway

    Really get's my goat, the Welsh at Rourkes Drift, my ARRSE!!
  15. I thought there were two Irish? The Surgeon and (beleive it or not) Bromhead. Bromhead regarded himself as Irish, although he was actually born in France.