Rorke's Drift: Pte John Jobbins' Torfaen grave to be restored

By Paul Heaney
BBC Wales news

image captionPte Jobbins' medal is displayed in the regimental museum in Brecon

The grave of a soldier is being restored in Torfaen over 130 years after he fought in the legendary defence of Rorke's Drift in the Anglo-Zulu war in South Africa.

The memorial to John Jobbins disappeared in undergrowth in Trevethin in the years after his death in 1934.

Volunteers have been clearing the grave ahead of a full restoration this year.

The battle was immortalised in the 1964 film Zulu with Sir Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.

Pte Jobbins' war medal is held by the Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh in Brecon.

The restoration of his grave at St Cadoc's church in Trevethin follows that of another VC hero, Pte John Williams Fielding's grave, in nearby Llantarnam, Cwmbran, in April.

Stephen Vaughan, secretary of the Veterans Association Pontypool Branch, said volunteers did not want memories of soldiers' service to be lost.

"Jobbins didn't get the Victoria Cross medal like Fielding but we couldn't leave the grave overgrown like that," he said.

"Our goal is that this man is looked after, to get an annual service to celebrate his life and make sure the sacrifice he and other soldiers made are remembered."

Pte Jobbins joined the regular army in 1877, having become "bored" of his job as an ironworker, according to museum curator Bill Cainan.

He was part of the 24th Regiment of Foot (2nd Warwickshire Regiment), based in Brecon, which sailed to South Africa just before the Zulu War.

image captionThe grave is clear ahead of its restoration start later this year

According to Mr Cainan, Pte Jobbins wrote to his parents in Trevethin in February 1879 to tell them he had survived the battle.

"The original medal he received for his service in the war was lost, but his replacement is still part of our collection," he said.

After the war, Pte Jobbins returned to the Pontypool area, married and had eight children. He worked in the local steelworks and coal pits.

He died on 22 September 1934, aged 78, at his home in Pontnewynedd.

Pte Jobbins' grave was rededicated by the Anglo-Zulu War Society in 1995 with a new plaque but became lost in the undergrowth.

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