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John Chard

Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Died when: 49 years 315 days (598 months)
Star Sign: Capricorn

 

John Chard

Colonel John Rouse Merriott Chard (21 December 1847 – 1 November 1897) was a British Army officer who received the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British armed forces.

He earned the decoration for his role in the defence of Rorke's Drift in January 1879 where he commanded a small British garrison of 139 soldiers that successfully repulsed an assault by some 3,000 to 4,000 Zulu warriors.

The battle was recreated in the film Zulu in which Chard was portrayed by Stanley Baker.Born near Plymouth, Chard attended the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in July 1868.

He was involved with the construction of fortifications in the Bermuda Garrison (three years) and at Malta (two years) before he was deployed to southern Africa at the start of the Anglo-Zulu War.

At the end of the war he returned to a hero's welcome in England and was invited to an audience with Queen Victoria.

After a series of overseas postings he took up his final position in Perth, Scotland.He retired from the army as a colonel in 1897 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died at his brother's home in Somerset later that year.


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