“A prayer's as good as bayonet on a day like this.”
- Colour Sergeant Bourne, played by Nigel Greene, Zulu
Pte. Thomas Cole: Why is it us? Why us?
Colour Sergeant Bourne: Because we're here, lad. Nobody else. Just us.
By the way . . .
The real Colour Sergeant Bourne was not one of the 11 Victoria Cross winners at Rorke’s Drift. He took promotion instead of a VC and ended his career as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Bourne OBE DCM.
Born in Balcombe, Sussex in 1854, he enlisted at Reigate on 18 December 1872 aged 18 years 8 months. He was promoted Corporal in 1875, Sergeant in 1878 and Colour Sergeant in April 1878. He was aged 24 years at the time of Rorke's Drift and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal with £10 annuity.
After Rorke’s Drift, he served in India and Burma and retired from the Army in 1907. During the Great War, he rejoined and became Adjutant of the School of Musketry in Dublin. At the end of the war, he was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel and appointed OBE. He was a mourner at many of the funerals of Rorke's Drift defenders.
He was the last defender to die, on VE Day, 8 May 1945. He was aged 91.