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19/11/2018 11:35am

Sir Harry Smith’s Medal For Gallantry

Conflict
 
The 8th Cape Frontier War 1850 - 1853.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
The Sir Harry Smith’s Medal For Gallantry is an un-offical British campaign medal, which was presented for service during the 8th Cape Frontier War. The medal was privately established in 1851 by Major-General Sir Harry Smith, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief at the Cape and was awarded for actions following the siege of Fort Cox in December 1850.
 
The fort was situated inland from King Williams Town and after coming under siege from warriors of the Xhosa tribes under the command of Chief Sandilli - resulting in Smith being trapped there - several attempts were made to relieve the Fort but these were unsuccessful.
 
Smith, worried that being trapped in Fort Cox by '…uncivilised Kaffirs', would affect the Colony's morale and cause the defection of loyal tribes, decided to fight his way out.
 
Escorted by about 250 men of the Cape Mounted Riflemen, he succeeded in getting through the Xhosa lines, and safely reached King Williams Town.
 
Impressed by the showing of the Cape Mounted Riflemen under his command, Smith created this medal in recognition of their conduct. Fort Cox was finally relieved in January 1851.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 34mm in diameter and was struck in silver. The obverse of this medal depict a lion with crown of laurel leaves above and the date; ‘1851’ below.
 
The reverse contains the inscription; ‘PRESENTED BY HIS EXCELLENCY SIR H, G. SMITH BART CGB TO (space for private naming) FOR GALLANTRY IN THE FIELD’.
 
The ribbon suspender is a curved bar attached to the top of the medal by a substantial fastening that pierces the actual medal.
 
The medal was issued un-named. Only around 31 are thought of have been issued of which 23 of these (see further historical information below) are known to exist today - 20 are thought to have been privately named in various styles.
 
Ribbon
 
Sutlej Medal BAR.svg
 
The ribbon is 32mm wide and is dark blue in colour with a narrow crimson stripe along either edge.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Sir Harry Smith’s Medal For Gallantry un-named
£3500.00
Medal named in line with the 1853 medal roll
£7500.00+
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- Sir Harry Smith.
- The Cape Frontier Wars.
- The Cape Mounted Riflemen.
- Known Recipiants Of The Medal
 
Sir Harry Smith - Lieutenant General Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith, 1st Baronet of Aliwal GCB (28 June 1787 - 12 October 1860), known as Sir Harry Smith, was a notable English soldier and military commander in the British Army of the early 19th century. A veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, he is also particularly remembered for his role in the Battle of Aliwal (India) in 1846, and as the husband of Lady Smith.
 
In 1828 he was ordered to the Cape of Good Hope, where he commanded a division in the Xhosa Wars of 1834-36. In 1835 he accomplished the feat of riding from Cape Town to Grahamstown, in less than six days; and having restored confidence among the whites by his energetic measures, he was appointed governor of the Province of Queen Adelaide, where he gained unbounded influence over the native tribes, whom he vigorously set himself to civilize and benefit.
 
But though supported by Sir Benjamin D'Urban, the high commissioner, the ministry in London reversed his policy and, to quote Smith's own words, directed the Province of Queen Adelaide to be restored to barbarism. Smith himself was removed from his command, his departure being deplored alike by the Bantu and the Dutch; and numbers of the latter, largely in consequence of this policy of Lord Glenelg began the migration to the interior known as the Great Trek.
 
After this he was appointed deputy-adjutant-general of the forces in India, where he took part in the Gwalior campaign of 1843, for which he was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and the First Anglo-Sikh War of 1845-46.
 
He was in command of a division under Sir Hugh Gough at the battles of Mudki and Ferozeshah, where he conspicuously distinguished himself, but was insufficiently supported by the commander-in-chief. After the second of these actions Sir Harry Smith was appointed to an independent command, and on 28 January 1846 he inflicted a crushing defeat on the Sikhs at Aliwal on the Sutlej.
 
At the battle of Sobraon on 10 February he again commanded a division under Gough. For the great victory of Aliwal he was awarded the thanks of Parliament; and the speech of the Duke of Wellington was perhaps the warmest encomium ever bestowed by that great commander on a meritorious officer.
 
Sir Harry was at the same time created a baronet; and as a special distinction the words of Aliwal were by the patent appended to the title. He was promoted to major-general on 9 November 1846.
 
In 1847 he returned to South Africa as governor of Cape Colony and high commissioner, with the local rank of lieutenant-general, to grapple with the difficulties he had foreseen eleven years before. He took command of an expedition to deal with the disaffected Boers in the Orange River Sovereignty, and fought the Battle of Boomplaats on 29 August 1848.
 
It has been asserted that 'the half-mad Smith's' seizure of the entire region of 'British Kaffraria' in 1848 was launched and carried out 'entirely on his own initiative'. Piers Brendon described ‘Smith, placing his foot on the neck of the Xhosan ruler and proclaiming, 'I am your Paramount Chief, and the Kaffirs are my dogs!'
 
In December 1850 war broke out with the Xhosa and some of the Khoikhoi; Sir Harry Smith was insufficiently supplied with troops from England; and though his conduct of the operations was warmly approved by the Duke of Wellington and other military authorities, Lord Grey, in a dispatch never submitted to the queen, recalled him in 1852 before the Xhosa and Khoikhoi had been completely subdued.
 
He protested strongly against the abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty to the Boers, which was carried out two years after his departure, and he actively furthered the granting of responsible government to Cape Colony. His reputation now is of someone who behaved autocratically and oppressively towards the Xhosas, and did a great deal of harm. It is said he insisted chiefs kiss his feet, for example.
 
His wife Juana gave her name to Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal. Harrismith in the Free State was named after Smith himself (two other towns, Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape and Smithfield in the Free State, also mark Smith's connection with South Africa).
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Cape Frontier Wars - The Xhosa Wars (also known as the Cape Frontier Wars or ‘Africa's 100 Years War’), were a series of nine wars or flair-ups (from 1779 to 1879) between the Xhosa tribes and European settlers, in what is now the Eastern Cape in South Africa. These events were the longest running military action in African colonialism history.
 
The reality of the conflicts between the Europeans and Xhosa involves a balance of tension. At times, tensions existed between the various Europeans in the Cape region, tensions between Empire administration and colonial governments, and tensions and alliances of the Xhosa tribes.
 
Alliances with Europeans introduced to the Xhosa tribes the use of firearms; even so, the Xhosa lost most of their territory and were incorporated into the British Empire. The Xhosa include some groups that have adopted the Xhosa language and several groups that are now classed as being Xhosa, such as the Mfengu nation that had an alliance with the Cape Colony.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Cape Mounted Riflemen - The Cape Mounted Riflemen were South African military units. There were two separate successive regiments of that name.
 
To distinguish them, some military historians describe the first as the 'imperial' Cape Mounted Riflemen (originally the 'Cape Regiment'), and the second as the 'colonial' Cape Mounted Riflemen.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
Known Recipiants Of The Medal - Taken from various sources, the list below is a summary of those who are known (or reputed) to have recieved the medal. 
 
Medals known or reputed to have been named are as follows:
 

Paul Arendt.

Piet Jan Cornelis.

R.S.M. William Richard Dakins.

Thomas Dicks.

Thomas Duncan.

Sapper R. Dunning R.E.

Henry Evans.

Girt Roots

David Faroe.

Hendrick Ferara.

Fundi.

J. Hassall.

John Keiburg.

Lt. Edward Lister-Green.

John Main.

H. McKain.

John McVarrie.

Francis Meades C.M.R.

J. Mouatt C.M.R.

Capt. Skead R.N.

Adrian Strauss.

Medals known or reputed to have been issued are as follows:

Sgt. Lodewyck Kleinhans.

Sgt. Appolis Lieuw.

Sgt. Maj. Johannes Tass.