Vandals have desecrated the grave of Black Country Victoria Cross-winning hero Anthony Booth.
Anthony was awarded the VC in recognition of his bravery on the Intombe River, South Africa, during the Zulu war.
He held off 400 Zulu warriors with just a handful of men on March 12, 1879
The VC is the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
But mindless yobs have smashed parts of the grave which had been maintained by military charity, The Victoria Cross Trust.
The charity said that the brave soldier’s grave at St Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Brierley Hill had been vandalised.
Anthony was born on April 21, 1846. He was just 32 years old and a sergeant in the 80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers) when he held off the enemy as British troops retreated for five miles to safety.
A report of the time reads: “A general massacre ensued but Booth rallied his men, ten only in number, and was able to bring his little party back to Luneberg.
“He even secured the safety of a few more who escaped from the slaughter on the left bank. His resolute valour was the means of saving the lives of any who eventually reached Luneberg.”
Anthony was decorated by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on June 26, 1880. He also received the South Africa Medal.
He lived at 19 William Street, Brierley Hill with his wife Lucy – and all of his five sons served in what later became the South Staffordshire Regiment.
Eight of his grandchildren served in the First World War, and two of them were killed in action.
The Black Country hero left the Army on April 30, 1898 but was not to live long.
He died of rheumatic fever and jaundice at his home on December 8, 1899, at the age of 53.
Anthony was buried with military honours, and his Victoria Cross is displayed at the Museum of the Staffordshire Regiment in Whittington, Staffordshire.
His medal and revolver can be seen at the Regimental Museum in Lichfield