[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Birth: May 23, 1856
Death: Jun. 5, 1933
British Admiral. Entered the Royal Navy in 1870, and sent to the naval cadet training ship H.M.S. Trafalgar. Upon graduation his first post was aboard H.M.S. Endymion, 1872-1873. Joined H.M.S. Volage, and then H.M.S. Sultan for service in the Channel Squadron. In 1876 Smith-Dorrien was assigned to H.M.S. Shah upon her appointment as flagship in the Pacific fleet, and was present at the action with the Peruvian turret-ship Huascar. During the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879, he served as a member of the Naval Brigade and was promoted to Lieutenant. His younger brother, Lieutenant (later General Sir) Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, served in Zululand at the same time. Active in the supression of the slave trade while stationed aboard H.M.S. Eclipse of the East Indies Station. His gunnery skills led to further service, in 1882, in the Naval Brigade for service in Egypt. Upon his return to England, he was appointed Flag-Lieutenant to the Commander-in-Chief, Devonport. Served in the Mediterranean and later in China while posted to H.M.S. Invincible, 1884-1885. Susequently posted to the Red Sea, where he served aboard H.M.S. Condor, 1886-1887. Smith-Dorrien was again sent to the Pacific, 1887-1889, serving aboard H.M.S. Espiegle. He returned to service in the Mediterranean Sea, 1889-1893, aboard H.M.S. Phaeton. Promoted to Commander in 1893, and assigned to H.M.S. Britannia. In 1897 Smith-Dorrien was again sent to the China station, and posted to H.M.S. Alacrity. Promoted to Captain in 1900. Given command of H.M.S. Rainbow in 1901. Smith-Dorrien retired from active service in 1904, and in 1909 was promoted to Rear-Admiral on the retired list. His papers are held by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
Obituary from "The Times" (Wednesday, June 7, 1933) reads as follows:
- 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."[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
"In loving memory of
Arthur Hale Smith-Dorrien
Rear Admiral R.N.
23rd May 1856, died 5th June 1933."
Rectory Lane Cemetery