Mid Wales

Zulu film and battle anniversaries marked in Brecon

The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh in Brecon Image copyright The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh
Image caption The museum's friends fear the MoD will not be able to support it in future

A concert to commemorate the defence of Rorke's Drift and a screening of the film Zulu are being staged in Brecon to raise funds to save a military museum.

The 1879 South African battle was immortalised in the movie starring Sir Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.

A special screening will mark the 50th anniversary of its premiere in 1964.

Saturday's concert and Monday's film show will raise funds for a £500,000 campaign to buy Brecon's Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh.

The museum is home to 18 Victoria Cross medals - the UK's highest military bravery honour.

The friends of the museum want to buy or lease the building from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

They fear the MoD will be unable to support it in the future.

The museum has around 50,000 artefacts on display from the 17th Century to the present day.

Its collection ranges from tunic buttons to machine guns and spears and shields from the 19th Century Zulu War.

But an additional 50,000 artefacts from the Welch Regiment, including 3,000 medals, are in storage because there is no room to display them.

Historical resource

The museum's friends said the Grade II-listed building desperately needed extending to allow the complete collection to be shown.

But in order to receive money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support the expansion the friends must own the building.

Appeal chairman Dorcas Cresswell, who is also a trustee of the museum, said £30,000 had been raised so far.

Image copyright The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh
Image caption The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh holds 18 Victoria Crosses

"A secure future for the Museum will enable it to develop and become an important resource for schools, colleges, universities and military research institutes who wish to access the wealth of knowledge, artefacts and documents held by the museum," she said.

One of the museum's focal points is the Zulu War room which contains spoils of war such as Zulu shields and spears.

In the 3,500-strong medal room is a Victoria Cross (VC) won by Lt Gonville Bromhead for his part in the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War in 1879.

That medal alone is worth more than £700,000, while the entire collection of 18 VCs is valued at millions of pounds.

The battle was immortalised by the movie Zulu, starring Sir Michael Caine - who portrayed Lt Bromhead - and Welsh screen star Sir Stanley Baker.

It recounts the battle on 22 and 23 January 1879 when some 150 British soldiers held off around 4,000 warrior tribesmen whose land they had invaded.

Eleven VCs were awarded for the defence, more than for any single battle before or since.

The concert at Brecon Cathedral at 19:30 GMT on Saturday will feature Aberhonddu and District Male Voice Choir, Talgarth Male Voice Choir and The Band of The Prince of Wales Division.

The film Zulu will be shown at Brecon's Coliseum Cinema at 19:30 GMT on Monday.

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