Rorke's Drift VC auctioned for pounds 80,000

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A Victoria Cross won at the defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War was auctioned for pounds 80,000 yesterday and hopes were high that it will find its way to a regimental museum.

The medal, one of 11 awarded in the clash, was bought by an unidentified buyer at the sale at Westbury Hotel, Conduit Street, central London, for less than expected. It was awarded to Private Robert Jones, 21, of a regiment which later became the South Wales Borderers. He played a crucial part in the stand of 153 soldiers against 4,000 Zulu warriors in January 1879.

Family members including grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great- great-grandchildren were at the auction. Michael Naxton, representing the buyer, refused to give any details other than that he or she was British but not Welsh. Asked if the medal could be loaned to the regimental museum in Brecon, Powys, Mr Naxton said: "It may be it will be loaned to the museum. It's not for me to say."

Jones's medal was one of seven won by the 24th Regiment of Foot. The other six are kept at the museum, which would have liked to have bid for it but did not have the funds.

Jones's great-granddaughter, Bronwen Bufton, of Presteigne, Powys, said the family was "very proud" to be able to see the medal, which had been bought by an unnamed investor for pounds 98 in 1950. "We would very much like to have it back ... at the museum in Brecon; that is the family's aim. We are hoping whoever has bought it is on our side. If he would be very kind and lend it to the museum that would be wonderful."