Henry Hook

Henry (Harry) Hook (1373 B Co. 24th. Regiment).

henry-hook-privateHe was born in Churcham, Gloucestershire, in 1850. He first served in the Monmouth Militia and enlisted into the regular army at Monmouth in March, 1877, aged 26. He received a scalp wound from a Zulu assagia at Rorke’s Drift, which, in later years, caused him some discomfort. He purchased his discharge from the regular army in June, 1880, but later served 20 years in 1st Volunteer Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.

Digest of Citation reads: On the 22nd and the 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 finally, when 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, were able to bring eight patients into the inner line of defence.

After his discharge in 1880, Henry Hook resided at Sydenham Hill and worked at the British Museum. He retired in 1904 and returned to live in Gloucestershire. His first wife thought he had been killed in South Africa, and she ran off with someone else. Hook married again in 1897, in Islington.

He died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 12th March, 1905, at Osborne Villas, Roseberry Avenue, Gloucester, and is buried at Churcham. He received his V.C. from Sir Garnet Wolseley, GOC South Africa, at Rorke’s Drift on 3 August, 1879. (His VC is in the South Wales Borderers’ Museum Collection).

He is buried in St. Andrews Parish churchyard, Churcham, near Gloucester, diagonally opposite to the entrance on the other side of the church.