The Anglo-Zulu war was fought in modern South Africa in 1879. The background to the Zulu war is complex as the British Government led by Prime Minister Disraeli was against a war with the Zulus and Sir Michael Hicks Beach, the new colonial secretary sent an order to Sir Bartle Frere, the British High Commissioner in South Africa to try and stop an ultimatum being issued to the Zulu King. The order not to start a war unfortunately reached Frere too late. The order had already been given for an ultimatum to be issued in December 1878 to King Cetshwayo. Among the points of this ultimatum was the disbandment of the Zulu army. The ultimatum expired and Frere ordered Lord Chelmsfold who commanded the British Imperial force to invade the Zulu’s land in 1879. The colonial secretary with pressing concerns with Russia and Afghanistan had little choice but to send two more infantry battalions as reinforcements to Frere.
Among the most well known battles of this war was the disaster at Isandlwana were the British camp was overrun by 20,000 Zulus. Within Surrey at St Margaret’s Church, Chipstead, there is a war memorial remembering two men; Lance Corporal Nelson Kempall and George Edward Flint. Both were serving with the 24th Regiment South Wales border regiment at the ill fated battle at Isandlwana. Another memorial can be found for the same battle at Charterhouse School. This memorial is for a Lieutenant Arthur Gibson who was serving with the 3rd Natal Native Contingent and also lost his life whilst fighting at Isandlwana.