Pte Alfred Henry Hook – Victoria Cross Rorkes Drift


HOOK, Alfred Henry. (reg.No.592).

Private. 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment. (Later South Wales Borderers)

London Gazetted on 2nd May 1879.

Digest of Citation reads:

On 22nd and 23rd of January 1879 at Rorke’s Drift, Natal, South Africa, a distant room of the hospital had been held for more than an hour by three privates, and when finally they had no ammunition left the Zulus burst in and killed one of the men and two patients. One of the men, Private J.Williams (Reg No.1313)however succeeded in making a hole in the wall large enough to get through,and taking the last two patients into the next ward, where he found Private Hook. Working together; the two men, one holding the Zulus at a distance with his bayonet, while the other managed to knock through three more partitions; and they were able to bring eight patients into the inner line of defence.

Additional information: No. 1373 Private Alfred H. Hook was born at Churcham in Gloucestireshire on the 6th August 1850. He served with the Monmouth Militia, for five years, before joining the 24th Regiment. He saw service in the Kaffir War of 1877-8 and also served in the Zulu War 1879 where he won the Victoria Cross at Rorke’s Drift. He later served as a Sergeant in the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. He was also on the staff at the British Museum.
His first wife believing he had been killed in South Africa went of with another man. He remarried in 1897 at Islington, London.

Alfred Henry “Harry” Hook, VC (6 August 1850 – 12 March 1905). He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his role in the defence of Rorke’s Drift in 1879.


Introduced as the premier award for gallantry, available for all ranks, to cover all actions since the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854.

Ribbon: Crimson

Description: A cross pattee. On the observe a lion statant gardant on the royal crown, with the words FOR VALOUR on a semi-circular scroll. The Cross is suspended by a ring from a seriffed ‘V’ attached to a suspension bar decorated with laurel leaves.

SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL with 1877-8-9 clasp

The campaign began in 1877 and culminated in the showdown between the Zulus and the British when Lord Chelmsford’s column was annihilated at Isandhlwana. When 3,000 Zulus advanced on Rorke’s Drift, however, they were checked with heavy losses by a tiny garrison of 139 men. The campaign concluded with defeat of Cetshwayo’s warriors at Ulundi.

Ribbon: Gold with broad and narrow deep blue stripes towards each end.

Description: The observe has the Wyon profile of Queen Victoria and on the reverse, an African lion crouching in submission beside a protea shrub with a Zulu shield and four crossed assegais in the exergue.

HOOK, Alfred Henry. (reg.No.592).

Private. 2nd Battalion, 24th Regiment. (Later South Wales Borderers)

London Gazetted on 2nd May 1879.

Born on 6th August 1850

Died on 12th March 1905 from pulmonary tuberculosis at Osborne Villas, Roseberry Ave.Gloucester.

His grave is in St. Andrew’s Church Yard, Churcham, Gloucestershire.

His gravestone is a Cross mounted on a plinth surmounted with a laurel wreath, in the centre of which is engraved, the Victoria Cross.

Memorials on grave at St Andrews Church, Churcham, Gloucestershire and the Havard Chapel, Brecon Cathedral, Wales.

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Barry Sheppard, Author/Publisher can be found on Google & Amazon. His interest in Victoria Cross Recipients comes from his collecting British Military Medals. He is building a website and will be putting complete replica medal sets of Victoria Cross holders on it.