James Langley Dalton

Commissariat and Transport Corps

22nd January 1879
James Langley Dalton
Acting Assistant James Langley Dalton Commissariat and Transport Corps

(Zulu War 1879)

    THE successful defence of Rorke's Drift on January 22, 1879, was in a great measure due to this officer, who, on hearing the news that the Zulus were marching on the Post, devoted his energies and resource to the construction of the barricades. He was at the corner of the hospital when the first onslaught was made by the dense mass of Zulus, and his unerring aim and cool courage did much to contribute to the repulse of, and heavy loss inflicted on, the enemy  at that point. One Zulu had sprung on to the barricade, and, having seized the rifle of one of the defenders, was about to assagai him, when Dalton rushed forward and saved the man's life by shooting the Zulu. During the Defence he was very severely wounded, but continued at his post until the Zulus retired. In spite of the invaluable work done by Dalton, the War Office ignored his merits, and it was not until many months after in November, 1879  that they were awakened to the fact that his bravery had been overlooked, and he would have been left unrewarded had not the facts been laid before Parliament, and pressure of public opinion been brought to bear in his favour.

Dalton had been a Sergeant-Major in the British Army before the war. He died at Portsmouth in April, 1887.



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