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 Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry

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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySun Jul 03, 2022 7:04 pm

"LINCOLNSHIRE. THE DRUG HABIT. Story of Gainsboro' Army Veteran Who Has Pauper Relief. The Gainsborongh Guardians have had from! 'the Ministry of Health a number of letters received by that body from the Local Government Board, the King, the Accountant General of the Navy, and others. The letters have been written by Robert Smith, of Gainsborough, making charges against the relieving officer, and the Ministry of Health have asked the Guardians to consider the matter and report to them.

One of Smith's letters derails an interesting career. Fifty years ago he was in the Navy, and from the naval service he joined the 199th Regiment and served - under Lord Chelmsford in the Zulu War and under Lord Roberts in India. He had received a medal for special campaign services in South Africa, 1878-79, when he was in the Mounted Infantry.

He was now 79 years of age and had 9d. a day pension.  He complained that some of the authorities treated a man more like a dog than a British subject, and added: "If a man is down, trample on him." When the correspondence was read before the Board, the chairman. Mr. Gamble, aluded to the vagueness of the letter which the writer had signed, asked what it was the man wanted. Mr. Vickers, the relieving officer, said he wanted relief in money and not in kind, which the man himself bore out. The chairman asked the old man if he would spend the money in drugs if they gave it to him? He gave a negative reply. Mr. Vickers said that one chemist told him the man paid him 5s. a week for chlorodyne, and another chemist said the man spent 2s. 6d. a week on the same drug. The Guardians decided they would make no change in - the form of relief."

Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 07 February 1920

In Robert Hopes chapter on the IMI there are 2 John Smiths  a William, Mark and a Daniel Smith but no Robert Smith. 199th Regiment? Was he really there?

In Duttons there is an R. Smith with 1879 bar in the 99th Regiment p343
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyMon Jul 04, 2022 7:45 pm

It might be referring to 38B 2289 Pte. John Smith of the 99th Regt. if it got the Xian name wrong.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyMon Jul 04, 2022 8:12 pm

I can tell you definitively that I with the assistance of Bill Sherriff have compiled complete rolls for both squadrons of the IMI, finishing my earlier researches, and there is no Robert Smith named among their soldiers from any contributing regiment.
The complete research will be published in the next volume of Studies in the ZW.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyMon Jul 04, 2022 10:00 pm

If you are sure Julian, it might be worth mentioning/eliminating him in one of your many footnotes in case he crops up somewhere else in the future as an IMI man.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyTue Jul 05, 2022 6:46 am

Yes it might. There was no Robert Smith but of course he might have chosen to call himself John. a footnote certainly.
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Bill8183




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyFri Jul 08, 2022 10:01 pm

There was a 99/1633 Pte. Robert Smith serving in the 99th Regt. There is however, no indication in the pay-lists that he was connected to the I.M.I. in any way.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptyFri Jul 08, 2022 10:50 pm

Bill
Exactly. Whereas all the other 99th MI men were specifically mentioned.
It sounds like Robert might have enlarged upon the role he played in the war or became confused in later life.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 6:43 am

Enlarged upon hmmm possibly. Become confused probably not.

Its an odd thing to claim  being in the I.M.I. If you were enlarging on your experiences wouldn't you put yurself somewhere more dramatic like serving behind the barricades at RD or personally capturing  Cetshwayo?

As for being confused, even if his memory was a bit hazy, I think he would probably remember being on horse back.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:04 am

I don't think a 99th man would have put himself at RD and expect to be believed. Neither would he have got away with being among Marter's men.
If, for example, he did serve as MI during the 1st Boer War or elsewhere (there is no evidence that he did), then he might have confused times and events.
All that aside, the absence of those little words on the payroll 'MI duty' and the extra pennies due are decisive.
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Bill8183




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:22 am

You also have to consider the content of the article and the reasoning of the Guardians, if he was spending money on Chlorodyne weekly it's suggesting a drug abuse habit. That drug contained an amount of opiates and cannabis which proved addictive in some cases. So you can perhaps believe he was confused or muddled about his service.
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Bill8183




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:26 am

Oh I did quick check through the Mounted Infantry section from the lists of the PMB General Depot 1880-81 and didn't see a R. Smith listed.
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:27 am

Indeed Bill. And if he really thought he was in the 199th regiment then a memory of being on horseback was the least of his confusions.
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:35 am

199th probably just a newspaper type set error
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Julian Whybra




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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:47 am

Yes, it probably was. However, the MI records evidence is pretty conclusive. Bill and I searched the records (independently and at different times) and the 99th MI contingent is complete, including subsequent attachments. Indeed the squadron number in total is also 'complete' in the sense that the aim was for the cavalry squadron of 120 men.
As you wrote earlier, R. Smith IS worth a footnote, so thank you for that contribution!
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gardner1879

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PostSubject: Re: Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry   Robert Smith Imperial Mounted Infantry EmptySat Jul 09, 2022 7:49 am

Thanks Julian.
Glad we sorted out the mystery of Mr Smith
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