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Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, 1858-1930

Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, 1858-1930


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Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, 1858-1930

Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien was a British General, prominent during the first year of the First World War. His father was a retired colonel, and after attending Harrow, Smith-Dorrien joined the army in 1876. He was commissioned second lieutenant in the 95th (Derbyshire) foot, before attending Sandhurst.

Smith-Dorrien’s first experience of battle came during the Zulu War of 1879. He was present in South Africa as a supernumerary transport officer (extra to the established staff of the regiments present in the field). He was present at the battle of Isandlwana, and was one of only five officers to escape from that defeat, attributing his survival partly to his blue jacket. He remained in South Africa, and was present at the battle of Ulundi (4 July), where he won a mention in dispatches.

He next saw action in Egypt and the Sudan. In 1882 the 95th took park in the campaign against Colonel Ahmad Arabi Pasha. In 1885 he was adjutant of the mounted infantry battalion in the Suakin field force, and was present at the battle of Giniss (30 December 1885), winning the DSO.

In 1887 he attended the Staff College at Camberley, where despite his experience of such work, he did not excel. Like so many British army officers of the period, he spent most of the next decade in India, where he saw little active service (his only campaign was the Tirah expedition of 1897-8), but plenty of the polo field.

He returned to the Sudan in 1898, commanding the 13th Sudanese battalion at the battle of Omdurman (2 September 1898). This campaign renewed his close association with General Kitchener, which would later come to haunt him.

After the Sudan, Smith-Dorrien was promoted to brevet colonel, and given command of the 1st battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. In December 1899 that battalion was part of the army corps sent to South Africa under the command of Sir Redvers Buller. In the aftermath of a series of humiliating defeats (Black Week), Buller was replaced by Lord Roberts, with Kitchener as his chief of staff.

Smith-Dorrien was promoted to command the 19th infantry brigade. This brigade took part in the Great Flank March, the campaign that combined the relief of Kimberly with the capture of Bloemfontein and Pretoria. Smith-Dorrien’s brigade was present at the battle of Paardeberg (18-27 February 1900), which saw the capture of the force that had been besieging Kimberley. It then took part in the advance on Pretoria. The capture of the two Boer capitals was widely seen as ending the war, and Lord Roberts returned to Britain. Kitchener was left in command in South Africa. As it became clear that the Boers had not given up, but were instead conducting guerrilla warfare, Kitchener began a series of great sweeps. Smith-Dorrien was given command of one of the columns used in this period of the war, effectively giving him command of a division.

The war in South Africa would begin a feud between Kitchener and Sir John French. Kitchener was a supporter of Lord Roberts, and served as his chief of staff. Neither Kitchener nor Roberts were impressed with French’s performance during the Great Flank March, and perhaps unfairly blamed him for the escape of the Boer army at Poplar Grove. Smith-Dorrien sided with his patron Kitchener, while French had the support of his own chief of staff, Douglas Haig. All four men would hold senior posts in 1914.

For the moment Smith-Dorrien’s association with the Roberts-Kitchener faction helped his career. Lord Roberts became commander-in-chief of the British army, and appointed Smith-Dorrien adjutant-general of the Indian army. He arrived at a period when the Indian army was in conflict with the viceroy, Lord Curzon. The arrival of Kitchener as command-in-chief of the Indian army in November 1902 only made the situation worse. In April 1903 Smith-Dorrien requested a transfer away from a job he found detestable, and was appointed commander of the 4th (Quetta) division.

The controversy between French and Smith-Dorrien renewed in 1907 after Smith-Dorrien was promoted to lieutenant-general and appointed to replace French as commander of the Aldershot command. This was a crucial period for the British army, struggling to come to terms with the lessons of the South African war, where the British regulars had struggled against Boer riflemen. Despite the arguments between French and Smith-Dorrien, which were only intermittent during this period, the training on offer at Aldershot did not suffer. The BEF of 1914 was a much better trained force than the Army Corps of 1899. In 1912 Smith-Dorrien was moved to the southern command and promoted to full general.

Smith-Dorrien was not initially appointed to a senior command in the BEF in August 1914. II corps was to be commanded by General Sir James Grierson, an officer with a deep knowledge of the German army, and good relations with the French. On 17 August, the day after arriving in France, Grierson died of a heart attack. A successor would be needed.

Sir John French was now commander of the BEF. He wanted Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Plumer to take over II corps, but Lord Kitchener had just been appointed secretary of state for war. He decided to appoint his old protégé Smith-Dorrien to command II corps, creating a potential for disaster in the British high command.

To both of their credit the perhaps inevitable clash did not come until the second battle of Ypres. Smith-Dorrien arrived to take over his new command on 20 August, three days before they were heavily engaged at the battle of Mons. There the BEF demonstrated the value of the training they had received under French, Smith-Dorrien and Haig at Aldershot, but were forced to retreat to avoid a gap developing on their flanks.

The high point of Smith-Dorrien’s career came six days later, during the long retreat to the Marne. On 26 August Smith-Dorrien was forced to stand and fight to prevent the Germans from overwhelming his column on the march. His skilful handling of II corps at Le Cateau held off a much larger German force and allowed the corps to escape to the south.

Once there it would play a role in the first battle of the Marne and the battle of the Aisne. When the BEF relocated to Flanders in October 1914, II corps would take up a position to the immediate left of the French line, fighting the battle of La Bassée, 10 October-2 November 1914, the first of the series of battles that led up to the first battle of Ypres. On 26 December II corps would be renamed as the Second Army.

The feud with French finally cost Smith-Dorrien his command during the second battle of Ypres (22 April-25 May 1915). After the chaos caused by the first German gas attacks on 27 April, Smith-Dorrien recommended pulling back closer to Ypres. French was in one of his more optimistic moods, and felt that Smith-Dorrien was being unduly defeatist. On 27 April Smith-Dorrien was ordered to pass command of his troops to Heneral Sir Herbert Plumer, command of V corps. On 6 May Smith-Dorrien requested to be relieved of command, and returned to Britain. Meanwhile, Plumer ordered exactly the same retreat as Smith-Dorrien had planned.

This was not the end of his military career. In November 1917 he was appointed to command the campaign in East Africa, where Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck was carrying out a successful guerrilla campaign that would last for the entire war. Smith-Dorrien got no further than Cape Town before being struck down by pneumonia and invalided back to Britain. In January 1917 he was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London. Between September 1917 and November 1923 he served as governor of Gibraltar.

The controversy between French and Smith-Dorrien erupted against after the war. French’s memoirs, published in 1919, badly misrepresented Le Cateau. Smith-Dorrien, as a serving officer, was refused permission to publish his own account of the battle, but was vindicated by the publication of the official history of the fighting in 1914. Smith-Dorrien died on 12 August 1930, of injuries sustained in a car crash.

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Horace Smith-Dorrien

General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien, GCB, GCMG, DSO, ADC (26 May 1858 – 12 August 1930) was a British soldier. One of the few British survivors of the Battle of Isandlwana as a young officer, he also distinguished himself in the Second Boer War.

Smith-Dorrien held senior commands in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the First World War. He commanded II Corps at the Battle of Mons, the first major action fought by the BEF, and the Battle of Le Cateau, where he fought a vigorous and successful defensive action contrary to the wishes of the Commander-in-Chief Sir John French, with whom he had had a personality clash dating back some years. In the spring of 1915 he commanded the Second Army at the Second Battle of Ypres. He was relieved of command by French for requesting permission to retreat from the Ypres Salient to a more defensible position.


Biography

Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England on 26 May 1858, and he graduated from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1877. He served as a British Army transport officer during the Anglo-Zulu War, and he was one of the few survivors of the Battle of Isandhlwana in 1879. He was promoted to Captain in 1882 while serving in Egypt, and he forged a lifelong friendship with Herbert Kitchener. In 1892, he was promoted to Major while he was posted to British India, and he returned to Egypt in 1898, when he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel he fought at the Battle of Omdurman that same year. In 1900, he was promoted to Major-General and given a divisional command during the Second Boer War, and he was one of few British commanders to enhance his reputation during that war. In 1901, he was named Adjutant-General of India, and he commanded a division at Quetta, Baluchistan from 1903 to 1907 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General in 1906. His reforms during his service at Aldershot made him rivals with John French, who despised Smith-Dorrien for being popular among his soldiers. In 1911, he was made aide-de-camp to King George V, and he was given command of the Southern Department and promoted to General in 1912. In 1914, Smith-Dorrien was given command of II Corps, British Expeditionary Force (BEF) under his old rival John French, and he bravely led his corps in inflicting heavy losses on the numerically-superior German army at the Battle of Mons that same year. In the spring of 1915, he commanded the British 2nd Army at the Second Battle of Ypres, and he was relieved of command by French for requesting permission to retreat from the Ypres Salient to a more defensible position. In 1917, he was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London, and he led a campaign in London for moral purity and called for the suppression of "suggestive or indecent" media. From 1918 to 1923, he served as Governor of Gibraltar, introducing an element of democracy and closing some brothels. He retired in 1923, living in Portugal and England. He died in a car accident in Chippenham in 1930 at the age of 72.


The Gibraltar War Memorial, also referred to as the British War Memorial, is located to the west of Line Wall Road in Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. [1] [2] [3] The monument, which commemorates the fallen of the First World War, was sculpted by Jose Piquet Catoli of Barcelona, Spain and was constructed of Carrara marble. [3] [4] The memorial was unveiled by the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Charles Monro, 1st Baronet (1860–1929), during a ceremony on 27 September 1923. [3] [4] [5] The inscription reads: "To the Memory of all Officers and Seamen of the Gibraltar Straits Patrol Who Gave Their Lives for Their King and Empire in the Great War." [6]

The monument is positioned on an esplanade and steps, west of the City Hall and John Mackintosh Square, upon which there are several inscribed tablets. On one tablet is inscribed: "To Our Heroes of Gibraltar and of the Straits Patrol 1914–1918 This tablet is Dedicated by the Association of Gibraltarian Residents in the Argentine Republic." Another is inscribed with: [6]

This Esplanade and These Steps Were Constructed in the Year 1921 During the Governorship of His Excellency General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith Dorrien G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O. They Form a Memoria of His Regard for the Welfare of the People of Gibraltar

Smith-Dorrien (1858–1930) served as Governor of Gibraltar from 1918 to 1923. [7] [8] [9] The governor had the esplanade and steps built along the Line Wall Curtain for the residents of Gibraltar in 1921. [4] A third tablet's inscription reads: [6]

This Tablet is Dedicated by Belgium to the Fortress of Gibraltar in Grateful Recognition of the Warmth and Understanding With Which During the Years 1940–1944 It Received Belgians from Enemy Occupied Europe on Their Way to Serve in the Allied Struggle for Freedom 21st July 1945

Adjacent to the monument are two Russian guns that were captured during the Crimean War (1854–1856). [3] [6] [10] The inscription reads: "These Four Russian Guns, Captured in the Crimea 1854—1856, Were Presented to Gibraltar by the British Government 1858." The guns were given to Gibraltar in 1858 for its assistance during that conflict. The other two pieces of artillery are located at the entrance to the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, also known as the Alameda Gardens. [3] [11] [12]


General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien – The Hero of Le Cateau

After education at Harrow and then military training at Sandhurst, he spent his entire career with the Sherwood Foresters (95th Foot) and commanded the 19th Brigade during the Boer War.

At the start of the First World War, he was selected by Kitchener as successor to Lt. Gen. Sir James Grierson as commander of British Second (II) Corps.

Envelope commemorating the Battle of Le Cateau,Envelope commemorating the Battle of Le Cateau, designed by David Smith-Dorrien. designed by David Smith-Dorrien.
Picture: Dacorum Heritage Trust

This rear-guard action checked the German advance and saved the British Army. After the second battle at Ypres he again clashed with French and retired.

In November 1915 he went to East Africa to direct operations there, but retired a year later through ill health.

He was regarded as a man with a high sense of duty and an affection for those who served under him. As a general, his faults were that he was too kind and his comprehension of tactics did not rise above regimental level.

He was made Governor of Gibraltar in 1918 until 1922 and died in a car crash at Chippenham in August 1930.


General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien

Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien was born in 1858 and was the 11th child of Col. Robert Smith-Dorrien of Haresfoot House, Berkhamsted.

After education at Harrow and then military training at Sandhurst, he spent his entire career with the Sherwood Foresters (95th Foot) and commanded the 19th Brigade during the Boer War.

At the start of the First World War, he was selected by Kitchener as successor to Lt. Gen. Sir James Grierson as commander of British Second (II) Corps.

His finest hour came during the first few weeks of war when the British forces were retreating from Mons (25-26 August). Smith-Dorrien ignored Field Marshal French’s orders and made a stand at Le Cateau with the brief comment “Very, well, gentleman, we will fight”.

This rear-guard action checked the German advance and saved the British Army.

In November 1915 he went to East Africa to direct operations there, but retired a year later due to ill health.

He was regarded as a man with a high sense of duty and affection for those who served under him.

He was made Governor of Gibraltar in 1918 until 1922 and died in a car crash at Chippenham in August 1930.


History [ edit | edit source ]

The Gibraltar War Memorial in the 1920s

The Gibraltar War Memorial, also referred to as the British War Memorial, is located to the west of Line Wall Road in Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. Ώ] ΐ] Α] The monument, which commemorates the fallen of the First World War, was sculpted by Jose Piquet Catoli of Barcelona, Spain and was constructed of Carrara marble. Α] Β] The memorial was unveiled by the Governor of Gibraltar, Sir Charles Monro, 1st Baronet (1860–1929), during a ceremony on 27 September 1923. Α] Β] Γ] The inscription reads: "To the Memory of all Officers and Seamen of the Gibraltar Straits Patrol Who Gave Their Lives for Their King and Empire in the Great War." Δ]

The monument is positioned on an esplanade and steps, west of the City Hall and John Mackintosh Square, upon which there are several inscribed tablets. On one tablet is inscribed: "To Our Heroes of Gibraltar and of the Straits Patrol 1914–1918 This tablet is Dedicated by the Association of Gibraltarian Residents in the Argentine Republic." Another is inscribed with: Δ]

This Esplanade and These Steps Were Constructed in the Year 1921 During the Governorship of His Excellency General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith Dorrien G.C.B., G.C.M.G., D.S.O. They Form a Memoria of His Regard for the Welfare of the People of Gibraltar

Smith-Dorrien (1858–1930) served as Governor of Gibraltar from 1918 to 1923. Ε] Ζ] Η] The governor had the esplanade and steps built along the Line Wall Curtain for the residents of Gibraltar in 1921. Β] A third tablet's inscription reads: Δ]

This Tablet is Dedicated by Belgium to the Fortress of Gibraltar in Grateful Recognition of the Warmth and Understanding With Which During the Years 1940–1944 It Received Belgians from Enemy Occupied Europe on Their Way to Serve in the Allied Struggle for Freedom 21st July 1945

Adjacent to the monument are two Russian guns that were captured during the Crimean War (1854–1856). Α] Δ] ⎖] The inscription reads: "These Four Russian Guns, Captured in the Crimea 1854—1856, Were Presented to Gibraltar by the British Government 1858." The guns were given to Gibraltar in 1858 for its assistance during that conflict. The other two pieces of artillery are located at the entrance to the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, also known as the Alameda Gardens. Α] ⎗] ⎘]


Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material

This Summary Guide and draft catalogue of the 1 st accession available online and in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.


CRICH PARISH

What follows is a transcript of hand-written history of the Sherwood Forester Memorial Tower by Mr Ludlam. It comes courtesy of Malcolm and Brenda Adderson who were wardens at the Tower 1980 – 1992.

Contents

Original Flag day handbill 1922

Reports of the meetings relative to the tower 1921, 22 and 23

Report of the opening ceremony 10th Aug 1923

Death of and Tributes to Gen. Sir Horace Smith Dorrien

Short history of the Tower site

“The Old Stubborns” from Sunday Pictorial 1935

The Brooke Taylor seat and obituary of the Colonel

Photo of Mr Woolley and Mr Ludlam

Col C. B. Fairbanks, Major General C.B., C.B.E.

The beginning of the memorial

The meeting at the Old Comrades Association at the Assembly Rooms Chesterfield 8th Oct 1921
Brigadier General J.W.C. Roy in the chair
100 members attend
Proposed by Major C.D. Harvey D.S.O. and seconded by Mr Milner
“Proposed that the Association take an active part in assisting a Committee to work on the scheme for a Regimental Memorial by giving them support in some way to be agreed by the meeting”
The following suggestions were made:–
That the memorial should be placed at the Depot (Normanton Barracks Derby, now demolished) afterwards reconsidered
That a flag day be held in Notts and Derbys
That District Representatives from small local committees
That the Mayors of the various towns be asked to cooperate in the work of rising money
That the numbers at each Battalion casualties might be shown on the memorial.

The following representative committee was then suggested:–
O.C. all Battalions and Service Battalions whenever possible – O.C./Depot – the executive committee of the O.C.A. Col. Stepney, Col. Pearson, Col. Goodman and Mayor Banes with power to add to these numbers.
At the 10th annual dinner which followed Lt Gen the Rt. Hon Sir Frederick Shaw K.C.B. (better known as “Buster” Shaw) addressed the company in the absence of the President General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, prevented by duty from attending.
General Shaw said – – – Prior to the ’14 war the Regiment comprised 1800 in the 2 line Battalion whereas during the war the Sherwood Foresters raised 32 battalions, 150,000 men almost equal to the entire peace time strength of the British Army – – – he was in sympathy with the idea of a memorial and they must do something worthy. He had not crystallised his views on the form the memorial should take. It should be one that could be seen by the public, the bereaved relatives and the young soldiers were coming into the Regiment to uphold its future honour and the honour or the honour of the Country.

Extracts from the account in Derbyshire Advertiser of 10th Aug 1923

It is doubtful whether in the whole history of Crich so many people have congregated as on Mon 6th August. The opening of the memorial tower attracted a host of people. It would be difficult to discover a more suitable site – – can be seen for many miles and neither resident nor visitor can look upon it without giving a thought to the tremendous sacrifices it commemorates – – the site was granted to the War Memorial Committee on the most generous terms by Major F.C.A. Hurt of Alderwasley Hall. It was erected at a cost of £4,000 raised by flag days etc.
The Bank holiday gave everyone a chance to attend and large numbers did so. Special trains and char-a-bancs were run from all parts and a motor bus service ran between Crich and Ambergate Station.
The weather was so good it could not have been improved apart from low visibility which interfered with the extensive view.
“Many of the male members of the crowd wore war medals and not a few had the appearance of men still suffering from the European holocaust. These were the most pathetic of all visitors poor, broken men who had braved the difficulties of the long and steep climb and suffered much pain that they might be present at the honouring of their lost comrades.”
The following officers were present:–
Lt. Col J.H. Wybergh, Brig Gen J.W.C. Roy CMC, Brig Gen Leveson-Cower CMC DSO, Lt Col Weldon DSO, Lt Col Dunbell DSO, Major Gen C.C. Van Straubenzee CB CMC, Col Goodman CMC DSO, Capt J. Da Whichen, Lt Col Graham MC, Lt Col Rook, Major Bradwell, Lt Col Hall DSO, Lt Col Newbold, Lt Col Wise, Lt Col Sadler, Col Able-Smith DSO MC, Capt Willison DSO MC, Lieut P.N. White, Major McCuine, Cat A Troops, Capt Finch, Capt Pollard, Capt Q.M. Keith, Major Q.M. Tyler, Capt Mariott MC, Major Checkland, Major Franklyn DSO, Major Harry DSO, Capt Douglas MC, Capt Q.M. McGevor, Col Mellish* and Lieutant Roberts. [*c/o of 8th Batt]
Mr Barns, chairman of Derbyshire C.C.,the Mayor of Nottingham, the Mayor of Derby, the Mayor of Chesterfield, the Mayor and Vice Chairman of Notts County Council Mansfield, the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Mr Barret Kenyon M.P. the Chief Constable of Derby and Derbyshire.
There were present the band of the 1st Battalion and 170 regular troops from the Depot and detachment from 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Battalion.
The ceremony of opening the door was performed by Gen Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien GCB, CC, MC, DSO, Colonel of the Regiment.
The service commenced at 4 pm with the singing of ‘O Valiant Hearts’. The lesson was read Rev A Stanley Bishop Hon Chaplain to the Foresters.
A golden key was then handed to Gen Smith-Dorrien by Capt Brewill who was associated with his late father Col A.W. Brewill in designing the tower.
The Rt/ Rev the Lord Bishop of Southwell DD gave the dedication. The last post was sounded by the 1st Batt buglers then the hymn “O God our help” After the blessing the Reveille.
The Duke of Portland VC GCVO asked the General to address the assembly. The memorial, he said, was erected not only to the 11,409 gallant and patriotic men of the regiment who lost their lives but also to commemorate all the comrades to the number of 140,000 and to whom, no less than the dead, we owed an immense debt of gratitude. The monument was designed by the late Col Brewill whose skill in architecture was a notable as the gallant efficiency with which he commanded the 7th Batt
It was a great gratitude that Sir Horace had come. They remembered with pride and gratitude his glorious services at the beginning of the war and it was most fitting that he, as Colonel in Chief, should discharge this inaugural function – – –
The General was received with enthusiastic cheers. He said the memorial was unique and it seemed wonderful that within a month of giving active service he should have the great honour of opening the war memorial of his own beloved regiment. The tower would be a reminder to their children of the 150,000 men who, leaving hearth and home, underwent hardships with marvellous endurance – – –the name of the Sherwood Foresters became synonymous with bravery – – – In conclusion the General appealed to them to see that neither want nor unemployment fell to the lot of these splendid fellows who served the Empire in its hour of need.

The Annual Pilgrimage
The Annual Gen Meeting of the O.C.A. at the Mechanics Institute Nottingham 20th October 1923.
Gen. Smith-Dorrien in the chair supported by Brig Gen Roy and Lt Col Dunbell and 120 members.
Lt Col Dunbell gave particulars relating to the work of the erection of the memorial and a questions was raised drawing attention to the erection of the caretakers cottage and the Government subsidy of £6 a year for 20 years which it was hopeful would be taken advantage of.

The cost of the tower memorial bronzes etc was £2,481. Preliminary expenses were £550 and the Rolls of Honour £585 making a total of £3,617
A caretaker, Mr J. I. Woolley of Crich was appointed on 21st July 1923 at a salary of £1 a week plus 10% of the takings.

ANNUAL PILGRIMAGE
Proposed by Mr Ludlam and seconded by Mr Harrison that “in order to keep alive the feelings of admiration that we have for those of our comrades who during the war made the supreme sacrifice a yearly pilgrimage be made to the regimental memorial by the members of this association.”
This was agreed to.

D.C.M. 1925 An estimate of £849-9-8 was accepted from Mr Payne of Crich to build the caretakers cottage and the work was completed. Mr Woolley moved in. Entrance fees for 1st October 1924 to 30th Sept 1925 amounted to £89-4-0 a total of 7136 persons paying for admission.

Death of General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien GCB, GCMG, DSO, died on the 12th August 1930 at age of 72. Most beloved Colonel, Comrade and Friend.
Poem on the death of Horace Smith-Dorrien published in Regimental Annals 1930.
At Bertry in the little room
With maps at dead of night
He, for our sake diced with doom
Till – there was light!
“Retire your left!” said General French
“Before the Prussian might!”
The dead man mused: “In this poor trench
I could hold up the right.”
He said to General Allenby
“This will be tug and pull
Will you take orders under me?”
“I will” replied “the Bull”.
Then to his officers he said
“French falls back on the right.
But since the left by me is led,
Why, gentlemen we’ll fight.”
Fate and he were hand to throat –
Did he think mayhap,
Of the little man in the grey coat
In the inn before Jemappes –
Of one who came from Westerham
and in the boat read Gray.
Beneath the heights of Abraham
They soared – to perfect Day –
Of Paul Jones and his splendid pluck
When spake that spirit bright
To those who asked “Sir have you struck?”
“I’ve not commenced to fight.”
Von Cluck’s men were not bad men
He was a soldier deft
But though they fought like mad men
They could not break our left.
The man the Germans could not break
Our Pooh-Bahs broke, because
In saving us, his one mistake
Was to break Pooh-Bah laws
The names of those feint-hearted
Are as hissing in out ears
But the man with whom they parted
Shines immortal down the years
Life’s tyrannies have ceased to toy
There sinks unto Death’s deep Nirvana
The fair young radiant soldier boy
Of Isandhlwana!
Tears in thine eyes! Bays on his brow!
O England! this dear son
Is with thy deathless Captains now
With Wolfe, with Wellington

With thanks to the Regimental Archivist of the Sherwood Forester Collection for sending a printed copy of the memorial poem to General Sir Horace Smith Dorien so that it could be checked for accuracy against the hand-written copy.

GERMAN TRIBUTE
“I tried hard to outflank him but could not do so. If I had succeeded the war would have been won.” GEN. VON KLUCK


TRIBUTE TO OUR LATE COLONEL
On the 19th July Lieut Gen Sir W.R. Marshall unveiled the memorial to the General. Included in the scheme was the roadway from the main road to the plinth so that vehicular traffic might reach the spot. Previously a pilgrimage meant a tiring climb up narrow boulder strewn footpaths.

1950, The Colonel of the Regiment arrives at Crich

SHORT HISTORY OF THE TOWER SITE
Hundreds of years ago a wooden signalling platform stood on the summit, rebuilt in 1788 by a cone shaped stone tower with a platform on top. This in turn was replaced on the edge of the escarpment by a circular stand, using the same stones, in 1851. With a spiral staircase to the top. This escaped the great landslip of 1882 bur was later damaged and was closed to the public, being demolished in 1922 and much of the material was used in the construction of the memorial carried out by Mr Joseph Payne of Crich. The land for the memorial was leased in perpetuity to the Sherwood Foresters by the owner, Major T. Hurt. The stones of the old tower were given by Brigadier Jackson of the Clay Cross Co. who also gave £200 as they did not then have to re-erect the tower themselves.

THE LIGHT
The new revolving light was lit on 12 Aug 1934 on the anniversary of General Smith Dorrien’s death. That year it was reported as seen from Burrouch Hill in Leicestershire 38½ miles away.
The two tablets in honour of men of the World War Two were dedicated in 1952 by Major General P.N. White CB CBE Hon Colonel in Chief of the Foresters.
The heavy oak seat is a memorial to Colonel Edward Brooke-Taylor MC TD and was given by the Buxton branch whose president he was at at whose annual dinner he unfortunately passed away. It was constructed by Mr F. Ludlam and his son to the request of the then secretary of the Old Comrades Association. Lt. Col A.A. Deane on behalf of the Buxton branch. It was constructed in Oct 1953 at the works at Spondon and transported by a lorry and fatigue party from the regiment. The cost was £12-0-0. It was dedicated at the pilgrimage in 1954.

Pilgrimage of 1964 when two Sherwood Forester V.C.s were present

Mr I. Woolley and Mr F. Ludlam.

Mr Woolley was Warden of the Tower for 47 years. Pictured above with his life-long friend, Mr Fred Ludlam of the 2nd Battalion 1910-1914 originator of the Annual Pilgrimage.
Last week of Mr Woolley’s service.

General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith Dorrien

An important man in this history was General Sir Horace Lockwood Smith Dorrien, GCB, GCMG, DSO, ADC (26 May 1858 – 12 August 1930) Colonel of the Regiment, who died of injuries sustained in a car crash.

It seems appropriate to add a very brief biography of the man.

He joined the army in 1876 and was commissioned second lieutenant in the 95th (Derbyshire) foot.
Smith-Dorrien’s first experience of battle came during the Zulu War of 1879 where he was present at the battle of Isandlwana, – one of only five officers to escape from that defeat.
In 1882 the 95th saw action in Egypt and the Sudan. At at the battle of Giniss he won the DSO.
After the Sudan, Smith-Dorrien was promoted to brevet colonel, and given command of the 1st battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. In December 1899 that battalion was part of the army corps sent to South Africa.
The war in South Africa would begin a feud between Kitchener and Sir John French. Kitchener was a supporter of Lord Roberts, and served as his chief of staff. Neither Kitchener nor Roberts were impressed with French’s performance. Smith-Dorrien sided with his patron Kitchener, while French had the support of his own chief of staff, Douglas Haig. All four men would hold senior posts in 1914.
The controversy between French and Smith-Dorrien renewed in 1907 after Smith-Dorrien was promoted to lieutenant-general and appointed to replace French as commander of the Aldershot command. In 1912 Smith-Dorrien was moved to the southern command and promoted to full general.
Smith-Dorrien was not initially appointed to a senior command in the BEF in August 1914. II corps was to be commanded by General Sir James Grierson he died shortly after appointment of a heart attack. Sir John French was now commander of the BEF and wanted Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Plumer to take over II corps.Kitchener had just been appointed secretary of state for war and decided to appoint his old protégé Smith-Dorrien to command II corps, creating a potential for disaster in the British high command.
The high point of Smith-Dorrien’s career came when he was forced to stand and fight to prevent the Germans from overwhelming his column. His skilful handling of II corps at Le Cateau, holding off a much larger German force, allowing the corps to escape to the south.
The feud with French finally cost Smith-Dorrien his command during the second battle of Ypres (22 April – 25 May 1915). After the German gas attacks Smith-Dorrien recommended pulling back closer to Ypres. French felt that Smith-Dorrien was being unduly defeatist and Smith-Dorrien was ordered to pass command of his troops to General Sir Herbert Plumer. Smith-Dorrien requested to be relieved of command, and returned to Britain. Meanwhile, Plumer ordered exactly the same retreat as Smith-Dorrien had planned.
In January 1917 he was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London and between 1917 and 1923 served as governor of Gibraltar.
The row between French and Smith-Dorrien erupted again after the war. French’s memoirs, badly misrepresented Le Cateau. Smith-Dorrien, as a serving officer, was refused permission to publish his own account of the battle, but was vindicated by the publication of the official history of the fighting in 1914.

This information was garnered from www.historyofwar.org and Wikipedia .

Click on the link to view the official Order of Service for the opening of Crich Memorial Tower in 1923 – Programme


Indice

I primi anni e gli inizi della carriera Modifica

Horace Smith-Dorrien [3] nacque a Haresfoot, nelle vicinanze di Berkhamsted, dodicesimo di sedici figli. [4] Fu educato alla Harrow School e il 26 febbraio 1876 entrò alla prestigiosa Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, venendo poi aggregato come ufficiale subalterno 95th Regiment of Foot. Il 1º novembre 1878, fu inviato in Sudafrica dove lavorò come ufficiale addetto ai trasporti. In questa occasione s'imbatté nella corruzione che affliggeva l'esercito, combattendola.

Durante la guerra anglo-zulu, Smith-Dorrien prese parte, il 22 gennaio 1879 alla battaglia di Isandlwana, servendo nel distaccamento della Royal Artillery. Non appena le forze zulu misero in rotta le truppe inglesi, Smith-Dorrien fu uno dei 55 soldati che riuscirono a mettersi in salvo, scappando sul suo pony. Le sue osservazioni sulla difficoltà di apertura delle casse di munizioni, poi, provocarono dei cambiamenti in tale attività per il resto della guerra. Nonostante fosse stato proposto per ricevere l'ambitissima Victoria Cross, per il fatto che durante quel drammatico evento continuò a provare ad aiutare i soldati in difficoltà, la proposta non passò mai attraverso i canali adeguati ed egli non ricevette mai tale decorazione. Continuò comunque a prestare servizio per tutto il resto della guerra.

Successivamente fu trasferito in Egitto con compiti di polizia, venendo nominato assistente del capo della polizia di Alessandria il 22 agosto 1882. Durante questo periodo, egli instaurò una forte amicizia con Horatio Herbert Kitchener, che sarebbe durata una vita, troncata solo dalla morte di Kitchener nel 1916. Il 30 dicembre 1885, fu testimone della battaglia di Gennis, l'ultima in cui i soldati britannici combatterono con la divisa rossa. Il giorno successivo gli fu affidato un comando indipendente e, dopo una coraggiosa azione dove andò oltre i suoi compiti, fu insignito del Distinguished Service Order.

Dal 1887 al 1889, Smith-Dorrien lasciò il comando attivo per trasferirsi allo Staff College di Camberley. Dopo di che ritornò al suo reggimento, dove comandò alcune unità durante la Campagna di Tirah.

Dopo questa esperienza fece ritorno in Egitto e combatté a Omdurman e comandò alcune unità durante la Crisi di Fascioda. Durante tale periodo fu promosso al grado di colonnello.

Il 31 ottobre 1899, s'imbarcò alla volta del Sudafrica, dove arrivò il 13 dicembre. Il 2 febbraio 1900, Lord Frederick Roberts lo nominò comandante della 19th Brigade e, l'11, fu promosso maggior generale. Egli giocò un ruolo importante durante la battaglia di Paardeberg (18-27 febbraio 1900), allontanando Kitchener e Henry Edward Colville dalla tattica di attaccare il nemico quando trincerato, consigliando di attaccarlo in campo aperto. Inoltre egli, grazie alle sue ottime qualità di comandante, fu uno dei pochi ufficiali inglesi a migliorare la sua reputazione durante la seconda guerra boera.

Il 22 aprile 1901, gli fu ordinato di ritornare in India dove, sotto il comando di Kitchener, divenne Aiutante Generale (6 novembre 1901). Fu poi insediato al comando della 4th Division in Belucistan, comando che mantenne fino al 1907.

L'Aldershot Command e altri compiti in patria Modifica

Fece poi ritorno in Gran Bretagna e nel 1907 fu posto a capo dell'Aldershot Command. [5] Durante questo periodo, egli attuò una serie di riforme volte a migliorare la vita del soldato medio. Una di queste fu quella di eliminare la pratica di controllare, tramite dei picchetti, i soldati quando sono al di fuori della base. Un'altra fu quella di aumentare gli impianti sportivi. Queste riforme riscossero molto successo, pur venendo criticate implicitamente dal suo predecessore, il generale John French.

Aumentò la frequenza e migliorò il metodo dell'addestramento della precisione di tiro di tutti i soldati. Inoltre, durante tale periodo, gli alti ranghi era divisi su quale fosse l'uso migliore della cavalleria. Smith-Dorrien, insieme a Sir Frederick Roberts, a SirIan Standish Monteith Hamilton e ad altri dubitava del suo effettivo uso come "cavalleria", ritenendo che sarebbe stata più utile come fanteria a cavallo. Proprio per questo motivo, incominciò a migliorare la precisione di tiro della cavalleria. Questo non lo fece molto benvoluto da parte di coloro che sostenevano l'utilità dei cavalieri utilizzati stricto sensu, come French e Haig. Inoltre si batté per l'acquisto da parte dell'esercito di nuove e migliori mitragliatrici.

Sebbene Smith-Dorrien fosse molto cortese e molto più (rispetto allo standard del periodo) di buon cuore verso le truppe, egli era anche molto noto per i suoi scatti d'ira, che potevano durare anche alcune ore prima che si fosse calmato. Molto probabilmente, questi improvvisi scatti erano dovuti a un dolore fisso al ginocchio, dovuto a un precedente incidente.

Il 1º marzo 1912 fu posto a capo del Southern Command [6] e nel 1912 fu promosso generale.

Prima guerra mondiale Modifica

Con lo scoppio della prima guerra mondiale, gli fu affidato il comando della "Home Defence Army" dopo la morte del generale James Grierson, però, fu nominato a capo del II corpo d'armata della BEF dal generale Kitchener, nuovo Ministro della Guerra inglese. Il generale French avrebbe preferito il generale Herbert Plumer, ma Kitchener scelse Smith-Dorrien perché sapeva che non avrebbe esitato a opporsi a French qualora lo avesse ritenuto necessario.

Il suo II corpo d'armata ebbe il suo battesimo del fuoco a Mons, quando subirono l'impatto delle truppe tedesche guidate da Alexander von Kluck, che stavano cercando di aggirare lo schieramento Alleato.

Le Cateau Modifica

Smith-Dorrien, che in quel momento si trovava a Le Cateau-Cambrésis, si accorse che le sue forze, isolate, rischiavano di essere travolte. Decise dunque di concentrarle, supportato inoltre dalla cavalleria del generale Allenby e dalla 4th Division del generale Thomas D'Oyly Snow. Il 26 agosto 1914 capeggiò una vigorosa azione difensiva che, nonostante grosse perdite, fermò l'avanzata tedesca. Salvata dunque l'intera Forza di Spedizione (la BEF), fece ricominciare ordinatamente la ritirata.

La sua decisione di fermarsi e combattere fece infuriare French, che lo accusò di aver rischiato di far compromettere tutta la BEF. Questa affermazione non piacque ad Haig, comandante dell'altro corpo, che già riteneva che French fosse un incompetente.

Il II corpo di Smith-Dorrien prese parte anche alla prima battaglia della Marna e alla prima battaglia dell'Aisne, prima che gli Inglesi riuscissero ad essere più vicini alle loro linee di rifornimento.

Prima battaglia di Ypres Modifica

Partecipò alla prima battaglia di Ypres, che si risolse con una vittoria degli Alleati. Smith-Dorrien comandò le truppe britanniche anche a Neuve Chapelle, dove la linea difensiva prese il suo nome (si parla infatti di "Linea Smith-Dorrien"). Il 26 dicembre 1914 Smith-Dorrien ricevette il comando della Second Army.

Seconda battaglia di Ypres Modifica

Durante la seconda battaglia di Ypres, gli Inglesi dovettero difendere un saliente pressoché indifendibile. Il 22 aprile 1915, per la prima volta, sul Fronte occidentale, i Tedeschi usarono gas venefici e si registrarono perdite molto pesanti. Il 27 aprile, Smith-Dorrien consigliò di ritirarsi verso una posizione più difendibile. Il 30 aprile, Haig scrisse sul suo diario:

«Sir John mi ha detto che Smith-Dorrien gli ha causato molti problemi. "Era troppo incapace - mi disse - per comandare un'armata" così Sir John ritirò tutte le truppe sotto il suo comando, fuorché il II corpo. Ma Smith-D. rimase! French sta per chiedere a Lord Kitchener di trovare qualcosa da fare a casa. Inoltre egli rimprovera anche la condotta di Smith-Dorrien durante la ritirata, e già aveva detto che lui avrebbe dovuto condurlo davanti alla Corte Marziale, poiché (a Le Cateau) lui "gli aveva ordinato di ritirarsi alle 8:00 e quegli non eseguì ciò ma continuò a combattere nonostante l'ordine di ritirarsi". [7] »

French sfruttò il "pessimismo" del consiglio di ritirarsi come scusa per far destituire Smith-Dorrien, cosa che avvenne il 6 maggio. Il suo rimpiazzo, il generale Herbert Plumer, raccomandò un ritiro quasi identico a quello proposto da Smith-Dorrien, ma French lo accettò. Nel dicembre del 1915, lo stesso French fu rimosso da Kitchener ed al suo posto di comandante della BEF fu nominato il generale Douglas Haig.

Più tardi, French, nel suo libro "1914", attaccò Smith-Dorrien, al quale, essendo ancora in servizio, fu negato il permesso di rispondere pubblicamente alle accuse del suo ex-superiore.

Il resto della guerra Modifica

Dopo un periodo trascorso in Gran Bretagna, Smith-Dorrien fu assegnato al comando delle truppe inglesi che combattevano nell'Africa Orientale tedesca, ma durante il viaggio verso il Sudafrica contrasse una polmonite, che gli impedì di prendere il comando, venendo quindi sostituito dal generale Jan Smuts. Il resto della guerra non lo vide prendere parte a particolari eventi militari. Il 29 gennaio 1917, Smith-Dorrien fu nominato Governatore della Torre di Londra.



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