31243 Pte. A. HARDY-SMITH. 51st. Coy. IMP: YEO:).
"Arnold Hardy-Smith was born at Lewisham in Kent, and attested for service with Paget's Horse at London on 28th February 1901. At the time of enlistment he was 19 years and 11 months old, single, gave his trade as that of clerk, and his next of kin as his father, R. Hardy-Smith of Briscoe House, Abbey Wood, Kent, and had previously seen 1 year's service with the Middlesex Yeomanry. He was a tall man for that time, standing some 6 feet 1.5 inches in height and weighing a healthy 165 pounds. Paget-Smith saw service at home with Paget's Horse for 18 days, from 28th February 1901 to 17th March 1901, in South Africa from 18th March 1901 to 20th May 1902, and at home from 21st May 1902 to 24th June 1902 (the date of Paget-Smith's arrival in South Africa clearly indicate that he was shipped out to the front almost immediately after enlisting, no doubt because his prior service in the yeomanry would have rendered him fit for immediate active service). He was eventually invalided out of the services as a result of rheumatism. At a Medical Board convened at the Imperial Yeomanry depot, Elandsfontein, on 10th April 1902, it was noted that "about the middle of August 1901 he began to feel pains in limbs which became aggravated he states by getting a wetting. He was admitted into No. 11 General Hospital on 28th March 1901, where he remained under treatment for about three weeks. He was discharged, but had to go into hospital again on 12th December 1901 suffering from the same ailment. He was once more admitted on February 18th (1902). He now complains of pains and is not fit for active service." Hardy-Smith was discharged as a result of "exposure as a soldier from the hardships of active service". He was discharged on 24th June 1902, after 1 year and 117 days with the colours.
Paget's Horse, the 51st, 52nd, 68th and 73rd Companies, which together made up the 19th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, was an elite unit. The following description of that regiment, the man who raised it and its recruits is taken from "Absent Minded Beggars" by Will Bennett'. "They were public school-educated men recruited through advertisements in gentlemen's clubs. The battalion was raised by George Paget, the son of a British general and a compulsive amateur soldier with a penchant for getting himself involved in any conflict that afforded the chance of action. He never seems to have been a regular officer but served in the Russo- Turkish War of 1877-8 and the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, as well as the Zulu War in 1879. Although aged 46 when the Boer War broke out, he went out to South Africa as second-in-command of his regiment and proved himself to be a man of some courage, being wounded twice. A portly figure who felt at home in the dining rooms and smoking rooms of Pall Mall, Paget recruited 500 officers and men from a tiny, hopelessly inadequate room at the Imperial Yeomanry Committee's offices in Suffolk Street. However, it at least had the advantage of being only a short stroll from the clubs of which he was a member. Paget's Horse wore a badge made up of the letters PH which provided a source of instant merriment for the wags on the streets of London, who suggested that it stood for 'Piccadilly Heroes' or more commonly for 'Perfectly Harmless'. Gentlemen troopers such as Cosmo Rose-Innes, a barrister, found that wearing their new uniforms in the capital produced a rich variety of reactions and some odd social contradictions. He later recalled: "The khaki drew to its wearer, however, many amusing experiences; the fervent 'God bless you' of old ladies in the bus, the friendly offers of navvies to "ave half a pint' in the street, the respect of substantial citizens for one's opinion on the war. The "ave half a pint' situation was the most embarrassing. We were clad as troopers but flattered ourselves we bore the impress of officers and hence a conflict of emotions, the desire to be rollicking good fellows qualified by surprise that our would-be host should not detect the gentleman under the plain khaki."