Medal from battle that inspired the film 'Zulu' to fetch £20k

The South Africa Medal was won by Private Joseph Bromwich Credit: BPM Media

A medal won by a heroic Black Country soldier fighting in a famous battle against Zulu warriors may sell for up to £20,000.

The South Africa Medal was won by Private Joseph Bromwich in the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.

The battle was the inspiration for the 1964 blockbuster movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.

Private Bromwich, then just 22, was one of around 150 troops who defended a mission station for 12 hours against a Zulu force of more than 4,000.

He lies in an unmarked grave in Bilston Cemetery.

The medal is up for auction at Fieldings Auctioneers in Stourbridge on Saturday 6 February.

The seller, a relation of Private Bromwich who wants to remain anonymous, inherited it.

Sir Michael Caine starred in the 1964 blockbuster movie Zulu Credit: Ian West / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Private Bromwich was born in St Mary’s in Warwick on November 18, 1856.

A porter by trade, he enlisted on August 27, 1877 at the age of 18, into the 28th Brigade 24th Foot (2nd Warwickshire).

He transferred the following day to the 1st Battalion 24th Foot (2nd Warwickshire) and then on January 31, 1878 to B Company of the 2nd Battalion 24th Foot (2nd Warwickshire).

He was present at the defence of the Rorke’s Drift Mission Station which took place over January 22 and 23, 1879 and his name appears on the roll completed by Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard VC, Royal Engineers just days after the action.

Eleven Victoria Crosses were handed out following the bloody fighting, the most ever from one battle.

he medal is up for auction at Fieldings Auctioneers in Stourbridge Credit: BPM Media

The conflict saw approximately 150 troops, mostly from B Company of the 2nd Battalion 24th Foot, defend the mission station for 12 hours against repeated attacks by a Zulu force of between 4,000 and 5,000 troops.

At the end of the battle the Zulu Impis withdrew from the field, leaving more than 400 dead.

Of the soldier defenders, 17 had been killed and nearly all those still standing were wounded.

Private Bromwich’s elder brother, Charles, also fought at the battle.

Three holders of the Victoria Cross (from l-r) Edward Chapman, of Pontlottyn, Hubert Lewis, of Milford Haven, and Ivor Rees, of Llanelly, talking to Brigadier Leslie Wieler, Chairman of the Premiere Organising Committee, at the Plaza Theatre in London. Th Credit: PA / PA Archive/PA Images

Joseph was a broken man when he left the services and he died as a result of cancer on February 25, 1916, at the age of 59.

Actor Stanley Baker purchased Lieutenant John Chard’s Victoria Cross in 1972 believing it to be a replica - Chard was the character he memorably played in the movie.

After Baker’s death, it was sold to a collector at a low price but was found to be the genuine medal.