Corporal Friederich Schiess

Friederich Schiess, a Swiss by birth (neé Christian Ferdinand Schiess), was a corporal in the Natal Native Contingent (NNC). On 22 January 1879, Schiess found himself in the infirmary at Rorke's Drift, suffering from a foot wound he had received ten days earlier as Lord Chelmsford's column captured the kraal of Sihayo, one of Cetshwayo's inDunas. During the attack on Rorke's Drift, Schiess manned the improvised wall of mealie bags and biscuit tins near the storehouse/chapel where a Zulu bullet tore open his instep. Schiess was so determined to drive the Zulus from the wall that he suddenly jumped up on top and killed many of the Zulus hiding on the other side, before returning to his place in line. For his gallantry at Rorke's Drift, Schiess was awarded the Victoria Cross, the first awarded to a member of any native unit.

There is a simple bronze plaque, shown at right, near the entrance to the rebuilt mission at Rorke's Drift to memoralize Schiess. At the bottom are the words, "He has no memorial but this." Now he has another.


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Created 21 FEB 2000; Modified 22 NOV 2002
Thanks to John Young for helping to make this accurate.