21 August 2011

Victoria Cross: J. M. Smith


Lieutenant, Indian Staff Corps

Born: 30 August 1864, Lahore, India
Died: 6 January 1920, Central London

Citation: For his conspicuous bravery when leading the storming party at the attack and capture of the strong position occupied by the enemy near Nilt, in the Hunza-Nagar Country, on the 20th December, 1891.
The position was, owing to the nature of the country, an extremely strong one, and had barred the advance of the force for seventeen days. It was eventually forced by a small party of 50 rifles, with another of equal strength in support. The first of these parties was under the command of Lieutenant Smith, and it was entirely owing to his splended leading, and the coolness, combined with dash, he displayed while doing so, that a success was obtained. For nearly four hours, on the face of a cliff which was almost precipitous, he steadily moved his handful of men from point to point, as the difficulties of the ground and showers of stones from above gave him an opportunity, and during the whole of this time he was in such a position as to be unable to defend himself from any attack the enemy might choose to make.
He was the first man to reach the summit, within a few yards of one of the enemy's sungars, which was immediately rushed, Lieutenant Smith pistolling the first man.

[London Gazette issue 26306 dated 12 Jul 1892, published 12 Jul 1892.]

Note: Nilt is a town in northern Pakistan. Lahore, where Smith (later Lt-Col J M Smith VC CIE CVO) was born, is also now in Pakistan.

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