The British King is represented by the figure of Lord Chelmsford, who was Commander in Chief of the invasion of Zululand.
The chess piece depicts him standing with one foot on a rock, surveying the vast terrain of the Zulu homeland.
The day before the battles at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, Lord Chelmsford had sent Major Dartnell, and a detachment of troops to reconnoitre the hills surrounding the camp as far as the Mangeni Gorge, a distance of some twelve miles. Their quest was to find the main Zulu army.
Late in the evening on the 21st January Major Dartnell and his men came across a large force of Zulu’s, which they believed to be the main Zulu Impi that they were seeking. Major Dartnell sent a message back to Lord Chelmsford at Isandlwana requesting reinforcements, which reached him at about two am on the morning of the 22nd January. Convinced that the main Zulu Impi had been found, Lord Chelmsford accompanied by six companies of the 2/24th foot, four 7lb guns, and a detachment of mounted infantry, rode out to join Major Dartnell.
Lord Chelmsford had left at Isandlwana, five companies of the 1/24th foot, one company from 2/24th foot, two 7 lb field guns, four companies of the 3rd NNC, Natal mounted police and hundreds of Natal natives, in all, more than one thousand, five hundred men.
Enough to cope with any situation?
History records that Wednesday 22nd January 1879 was to become one of the most extraordinary days in British Military History.