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 Lieutenant A. M. Smith, Frontier Light Horse

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Join date : 2009-04-24
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PostSubject: Lieutenant A. M. Smith, Frontier Light Horse   Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:25 pm

"Lieutenant A. M. Smith, Frontier Light Horse, whose rescue by Major Leet, 13th Light Infantry, at Inhlobane Mountain in March 1879, resulted in the latter being awarded the V.C.

A. Metcalfe Smith was a member of the 5th West York Militia before volunteering for service in the Frontier Light Horse, being commissioned into the latter unit as a Lieutenant in December 1878. Present at Inhlobane Mountain In March 1879, he resigned his commission in May of the same year. As stated above, it was the dramatic rescue of Smith by Major Leet of the 13th Light Infantry that resulted in the latter being awarded the V.C. A grateful Smith wrote to The Illustrated London News from Kambula Camp on 31 March 1879, describing the circumstances of his rescue:

‘I am most anxious to bring to your notice that, in the retreat from Inhlobane Mountain on 28th inst., Major Leet, of the 13th Light Infantry, who was quite a stranger to me, saved my life, with almost the certainty of losing his own life by doing so. We were going along the top of the mountain, pursued by the Zulus, when Major Leet said to Colonel Buller that the best way to get the men down was by the right side; and the Colonel said it was, and called out so to the men. However, everyone but Major Leet, myself and one other man, kept on to the front of the mountain; while we began to descend on the right side. Major Leet and the other man were on horseback, but I was on foot, my horse having been shot. When we had got down a little way, a great many Zulus rushed after us, and were catching us up very quickly. The side of the mountain was dreadfully steep and rugged, and there was no pathway at all. They were firing and throwing their assegais at us while they rushed upon us. The third man, whose name is unknown to me, was killed about halfway down. While I was running by myself and trying to catch up, I turned round and shot one with my revolver. I was then quite exhausted and out of breath, and intended to sit down and give up all chance of saving my life, as the Zulus were within a few yards of me; but Major Leet persisted in waiting for me, and called to me to catch hold of the pack-saddle he was riding, which I did. Major Leet then, finding that I could not keep beside the horse, I was so done up and the hill so steep and rugged, insisted, though I told him it was no use, on stopping and dragging me up behind him on the horse, which was also greatly exhausted. By the greatest good luck, he escaped from the bullets and assegais of the Zulus and got near the Colonel’s men, coming down the end of the mountain. Had it not been fro Major Leet, nothing could have saved me, and I owe him the deepest gratitude, which I shall feel as long as I live.’

The following announcement of the award of the Victoria Cross to Major William K. Leet, 1st Battalion, 13th Regiment, appeared in The London Gazette of 17 June 1879:

‘For his gallant conduct on 28 March 1879, in rescuing from the Zulus, Lieutenant A. M. Smith, of the Frontier Light Horse, during the retreat from Inhlobane. Lieutenant Smith, whilst on foot, his horse having been shot, was closely pursued by the Zulus, and would have been killed, had not Major Leet taken him upon his horse, and rode with him under the fire of the enemy to a place of safety.’"
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Join date : 2011-02-26
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PostSubject: Re: Lieutenant A. M. Smith, Frontier Light Horse   Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:59 pm

Smith's medal is in my collection, during my research I found the following regarding Smith being later dismissed from the FLH, possibly a case of PTSD


Lt Smith was Mentioned in Dispatches by Buller for his courage during the battle of Hlobane but sent out of camp in disgrace in May 1879 and resigned his Commission From the Times of Natal;

‘An unfortunate incident occurred here last night by which a promising young Officer of the Frontier Light Horse by the name of Smith has disgraced himself and thrown unmerited discredit on the fine corps of which he is a part. At 10pm the camp was alarmed by a shot, which caused everyone to stand to their Arms, though the call of ‘all right’ soon dissipated all fears of Zulu’s. …… Shortly after the same thing was repeated and it turned out that it was the Officer in Question who had drunk himself into a condition of frenzy and defied anyone to approach him. I believe he was only secured without doing damage by the judicious expedient of ‘extinguishing’ him with his own tent, and he passed the night spread-eagled to the wheels of a wagon. He was a repentant and sorrowful man this morning on finding he was dismissed with disgrace and ordered to be escorted over the Blood River to reflect on the consequences of his want of self control…’

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