THE grave of a Zulu war hero that was mysteriously destroyed in a Brierley Hill churchyard has been faithfully restored.

The grave in St Michael's churchyard belonged to Anthony Booth VC, who won the Victoria Cross in 1879 for his heroic exploits during the Zulu war in South Africa.

The final resting place of the Nottinghamshire-born hero was found damaged in August 2017, causing distress to military enthusiasts and the church community.

Brian Buck, deputy church warden of St Michael’s, said: “We found the grave all smashed, we never actually established if it was done deliberately or accidentally."

Thanks to the efforts of the Victoria Cross Trust, the grave has been faithfully restored after the group raised thousands of pounds for it to be repaired.

Brian explained: "The grave looks brand new, but is the original headstone that has been fused back together."

The stone has also been covered in a special coating to prevent it from deteriorating in the future.

Booth was awarded the Victoria Cross in June 1880 at Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria for his heroism on March 12 1879 when he covered the retreat of 50 fellow soldiers for three miles after a large group of Zulus.

The hero, who served with the South Staffordshire Regiment, settled in Brierley Hill after retiring from the army.

He died at his home in William Street on December 8 1899 and was buried in the graveyard of St Michael’s Church, close to the grave of his father.

Summing up Anthony Booth's legacy, Brian added: "Anthony Booth’s story is not an attempt to justify or glorify war, for war can sometimes be justified, but never glorified, but serves as a tribute to a brave Brierley Hill man who served his country with distinction and who set a wonderful example of courage loyalty and devotion to his friends and comrades during a time of mortal danger."