Online Collection

The Online Collection showcases a selection of our objects for you to discover and explore. This resource will grow as the Museum's Collection is catalogued and computerised, and as new acquisitions are added.

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Victoria Cross awarded to Corporal Christian Ferdinand Schiess, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Natal Native Contingent, for gallantry during the defence of Rorke's Drift, 22-23 January 1879

Despite having been wounded in the foot a few days previously, Schiess displayed great bravery throughout the night in fighting off the Zulus. Born in Burgdorf, Switzerland and raised in an orphanage Schiess later settled in South Africa and joined a British Colonial Unit, serving with them throughout the Zulu War (1879). He became the first Swiss national to be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) and the first man serving with South African forces to be decorated with the supreme British award for gallantry. He later died in poverty during a sea voyage to England.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1958-11-96-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Formation gallery

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