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Chard (one of 11 soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross for the action) later paid tribute to Robson’s conduct in a personal testimonial.

He wrote: “Driver Charles Robson, Royal Engineers, served with me in the ‘5’ [Company] during the Zulu Campaign. His conduct has been very good and he has given me great satisfaction. He was the only Royal Engineer with me at Rorke’s Drift on the 22 January, where he did good service.”

Robson finally left the Army in 1894 and died in Plumstead in 1933 aged 78. His South Africa 1877-79 Medal with clasp for 1879 was being sold by a direct descendant together with four original testimonial letters and other ephemera. The lot had been expected to fetch £30,000-£40,000.