Wednesday June 7, 1933
THE SHAH AND
THE HUASCAR ACTION
Rear-Admiral A. H. Smith-Dorrien, whose body was found yesterday in a railway cutting near Berkhamsted, where he lived, was 77. He belonged to the family of Tresco Abbey, of which the successive heads were lords of the Scilly Islands. In his naval career, he was present at the celebrated action 56 years ago between the British frigate Shah and the Peruvian turret-ship Huascar.
Arthur Hale Smith-Dorrien was the fourth son of Colonel R. A. Smith-Dorrien and an elder brother of the late General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien. His nephew, Major A. A. Dorrien-Smith, D.S.O., now of Tresco Abbey, who is, like his late father, a great horticulturist, is the third of his race to be Lord of the Scilly Islands, a position associated first with the Blanchminsters in the fourteenth century and later with the Godolphin family, seigneurs of the islands under the Crown from 1687 to 1831. On the termination of the original lease, the Duchy of Cornwall resumed possession of all the islands except Tresco.
Born on May 23, 1856, Smith-Dorrien entered the Britannia as a naval cadet in January, 1870, and from 1872, served as midshipman in the screw corvette Volage, and the armour-plated iron ship Sultan. He became a sub-lieutenant in December, 1875, and in this rank he served in the Shah, flagship of Rear-Admiral Algernon de Horsey, in the Pacific during her engagement with the Peruvian rebel turret-ship Huascar on May 29, 1877. The Shah was an iron frigate, cased with wood, larger than her antagonist, which not only lay low in the water and offered a very small target, but was also protected by iron armour. The action was intermittent owing to the desire of the British Admiral not to damage the town of Ylo, off which the Huascar steamed, and although the latter ship was struck 60 times, only one shell penetrated her armour without, however, doing any serious damage. The affair was much discussed in after years as an example of the resisting powers of armour against the old types of muzzle-loading guns.
While still a sub-lieutenant Smith-Dorrien was landed for service with the Naval Brigade in Zululand in 1879. He was with the advance guard of the Ekowe relief column, and was present at the Battle of Gingihlovo on April 2. He afterwards joined General Crealock's column and advanced
to Port Durnford. He was mentioned in dispatches and received the South African medal, 1877-79. As a lieutenant he was appointed in January, 1880 to the corvette Eclipse, in the East Indies. In her he took part in the operations of the Egyptian War of 1882, receiving the medal and the Khedive's Bronze Star. In 1889-93 he was first lieutenant of the small cruiser Phaeton, Captain R. N. Custance, in the Mediterranean, and was promoted to commander on June 30, 1893.
In the following January he was selected to be commander of the Britannia, cadets' training ship at Dartmouth, and three years later he took command of the dispatch vessel Alacrity on the China Station. His promotion to Captain was dated June 30, 1900, and he afterwards commanded H.M.S. Rainbow, in the Cruiser Squadron. After retiring as a captain in 1904, he was promoted to rear-admiral on the retired list in 1909.
On his retirement, Rear Admiral Smith-Dorrien returned to his old family home town of Berkhamsted, and was active in local affairs. He was keenly patriotic and outspoken in his criticism of any measure or action he considered detrimental to the country or the Empire. He was possessed of much the same energy to see wrongs righted as his relative, Augustus Smith, in the famous law suit with Lord Brownlow regarding commoners' rights at Berkhamsted. There, he and his sisters have long been much beloved for their kindliness to help in trouble. Their home, New Lodge, and it's gardens, has often been the scene of fêtes or garden parties in aid of some good object. Rear-Admiral Smith-Dorrien's life in the Senior Service and his staunch loyalty to the memory of his brother, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, drew him to the cause of the ex-service man and the British Legion. All who had served the empire were assured of his friendship and support, and he never wearied in his advocacy of the project that there should be a British Legion day each year. He was president of the local chrysanthemum society, at which he was a regular exhibitor and frequent prize-winner.
Monday June 12, 1933
Rear-Admiral Arthur H. Smith-Dorrien
The funeral of Rear-Admiral Arthur Hale Smith-Dorrien took place at Berkhamsted, Herts, on Friday. The Rev. W. C. Tainsby officiated, pall bearers were supplied by the local branch of the British Legion, and included Mr. J. A. Littlejohns, who had served in the Zulu campaign with the Admiral.
The family mourners were:
Miss B. Smith-Dorrien,
Miss A. Smith-Dorrien (Sisters),
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Constable Curtis (Sister and Brother-in-Law),
Lady Smith-Dorrien (Sister-in-Law),
Mr. G.H.G Smith-Dorrien,
Mr. and Mrs. P.L. Smith-Dorrien,
Mr. D. B. Smith-Dorrien,
Major and Mrs. A. R. Boyle,
Major A. A. Dorrien-Smith,
Lieutenant Colonel Horace Kirby,
Mr. and Mrs. Townshend Boscawen (Nephew and Niece),
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes
and Lady Keyes (Cousins),
Mr. John Boscawen (Great-Nephew), and,
Mr. G. W. Breitmeyer.
Among others present were,
Sir Walter and Lady Halsey,
The Misses Halsey,
Sir Richard and Lady Cooper,
Mr. R. P. Cooper,
Mrs. Gustavus Talbot,
Mr. G.G. Talbot,
Colonel C. B. Wood,
The Rev. C. T. T. Wood,
Miss Graham Brown,
Mr. H. L. Lubbock (Representing the Boy Scouts Assn.),
Mr. Havelock Collins,
Engineer Captain L. W. Curgenven, R.N., Miss Sedgwick, Miss F. Wood,
Miss C. F. Wood,
Mr. E. C. Graves (Representing Mr. J.C.C. Davidson, M.P., and the Hemel Hempstead Conservative Association,
Mr. Gerald Kingsley,
Mr. C. J. Parsons (Also Representing Major J. Parsons),
the Rev, L. G. E. Sunderland, the Rev. T. F. Yale,
the Rev. H. H. Thompson,
Mrs. R. Humphrey Haslam,
Bigadier General J. E. Bush,
Colonel N. Wilson,
Lieutenantt -Colonel H. V. Lane,
Admiral Sir ReginaldCustance,
Surgeon Captain Robley Browne, R.N.,
Mr. P. Clutterbuck,
Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Craufurd,
Colonel R. Q. Caufurd, (In charge of the large parade of ex-Service men),
Dr. Esme Wingfield-Stratford,
Mr. Herbert F. Eve,
Mr. and Mrs L. Granville Ram,
Major E. K. Ridley,
Lieutenent-Commander D. Wainwright,
Mr. K. L. Mackenzie,
Mr. G. W. Randle,
Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Fellows,
Dr. J. W. Turner,
Mr. W. R. K. Saville (chairman of the Berkhamsted Urban District council), And Representatives of local sosieties, clubs, and charitable organizations.