b. 1861 London. d. 06/01/1932 Plumstead, London.
Alfred Smith (1861-1932) was born in 1861 in London. Little is known of his early life before he enlisted with the Royal Regiment of Artillery and became a Gunner. He became involved with his Regiment in the Sudan Campaign and would be awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Battle of Abu Klea.
On 17th January 1885, Gunner Smith went to the rescue of a Lieutenant would was being attacked by a native. The officer was superintending his gun at the time and was unarmed. Gunner Smith approached and using the hand spike of the gun warded off the enemy’s thrust of a spear, allowed the officer to draw his sword and bring the assailant to his knees. The assailant made a wild swipe at the officer with a knife, which again Smith blocked, but not before the Lieutenant was wounded. Smith then managed to kill the native before he tried again.
Smith was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 12th May 1885 under the erroneous name of Albert, and was presented with the medal on 3rd August 1885 by the GOC Egypt, General Sir F C A Stephenson.
Little is known about his life following service in the Artillery, and he lived to the age of 71, dying on 6th January 1932 at his home in Harger Road, Plumstead, London. He was buried in Plumstead Cemetery. The headstone was replaced in 1986, having been donated by the CWS Memorial Service. His medals are held by the Royal Artillery, though not on display due to the closure of the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: ROYAL ARTILLERY MUSEUM, WOOLWICH.
BURIAL PLACE: WYCH HILL CEMETERY, PLUMSTEAD, LONDON.
Alfred Smith's medals including his VC on display at the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich, London (January 2015).
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
SECTION N, GRAVE 885
RA Chapel, Woolwich