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Major T. R. Johnson-Smyth, Durham Light Infantry - killed in action on 5.2.1900 2 months 1 week ago #71767

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The Teesdale Mercury referred to him as T. B. Johnson-Smythe, but he's named on the Rossall School ABW memorial as T. R. Johnson-Smyth. I can't find a record of his birth registration in England and Wales.


….Of all the sad items of intelligence which have yet reached Barnard Castle of irreparable local losses in the Boer War, the news of the death of Major T. B. Johnson-Smythe, of the 1st Durham Light Infantry, was surely the most painful. When in residence in this town, the quiet, gentlemanly, retiring, and unobtrusive character of the deceased gentleman won for him troops of friends, and his death on the battlefield is sincerely regretted by all classes of the community. For some time, with his wife and family, the gallant officer lived in the house now owned and occupied Mrs Farrar, in John-street. The esteemed Major was particularly well-known in the district, he having served his five years as Adjutant with the 3rd Durham Light Infantry at Barnard Castle. Capt. D'Arcy Hildyard, of Startforth Villa - whose first cousin (Major-General Hildyard) holds an important command in South Africa - witnessed the departure of the 68th (Capt. Hildyard's own regiment), and speaks in most affecting terms of the leave-taking of Major Johnson-Smythe and his wife on that memorable occasion. The affectionate adieu has proved to be the last earthly parting, for the heroic soldier's bones "where Afric's sunny fountains roll down their golden sand." The deceased gentleman was an ardent cricketer, and played with the local club. In September, 1878, the deceased officer was gazetted Second-Lieutenant in the "Faithfuls," and in the ensuing March received his Lieutenancy. Excepting the period spent with the Militia, Major Johnson-Smythe served with his regiment. He had seen over twenty-one years' service, and was with the Soudan Frontier Field Force in 1885-6, and wore the medal and star for the campaign. Since leaving Barnard Castle in March, 1892, Major Johnson-Smythe served at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in Ireland, and at Aldershot with his regiment, and was at the last-named place in charge of the school of instruction, when Captain Briggs and other officers went successfully through the school. Up to a few months ago the deceased soldier had charge of the depôt companies at Newcastle, when his command was taken over by Major the Hon. W. L. Vane. Major Johnson-Smythe was only 42 years of age, and leaves a widow and two young children, for whom much heartfelt sympathy is justly expressed.

Teesdale Mercury, Wednesday 14th February 1900


….On arriving at the foot of the kopje, word was given to fix bayonets and charge, and the Durhams ran up the hill to the chorus of a rousing British cheer. Some forty Boers who stayed to the last on the near base scurried before them, leaving their horses behind them. The fire from the high ridge to the left became very deadly, and Major Johnson-Smythe fell, shot through the throat, while leading his company. Up, still up, panting through the steepness of the ascent, but not to be stayed in their victorious career, the men of the Durhams charged the Boers still fleeing before them, until the latter, hurrying for dear life, disappeared over the crest.

Teesdale Mercury, Wednesday 7th March 1900

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