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DateOriginal Topic
24th July 2003Stuart Smith gravesite
By Melvin Hunt
Does anyone know exactly where Major Stuart Smiths' grave is?
25th July 2003Martin Everett
Dear Melvin,
My understanding is that a mark was made of the location of his grave on a tree on the Fugitives' Traii, but the tree has long disappeared. No guide has pointed out to me a likely spot on the trail. Perhaps, some of the experts can come up with some quotes.
25th July 2003Mark Hobson
The following is a famous quote from Smith Dorrien, concerning his escape from Isandlwana.

"We came to a kind of precipice down to the river Buffalo. I jumped off and led my horse down. There was a poor fellow of the mounted infantry (a private) struck through the arm who said as I passed that if I could bind up his arm and stop the bleeding he would be alright. I accordingly took out my handkerchief and tied up his arm. Just as I had done it, Major Smith of the Artillery came down by me wounded, saying "For God's sake get on, man; the Zulus are on top of us." I had done all that I could for the wounded man and so turned to jump on my horse. Just as I was doing so the horse went with a bound to the bottom of the precipice, being struck with an assegai. I gave up all hope, as the Zulus were all around me, finishing off the wounded, the man I had helped and Major Smith amoung the number."

It's impossible to pinpoint this exact spot today as the whole area is much overgrown with bush and trees. Apparantly, a number of dead horses were found at the bottom of this precipice, and hoof marks could be seen in the stone where they had slid down. Shortly after the battle, when the dead were being buried, a patrol followed the route of the Fugitives' Trail and found Major Smith's body. On 22nd May 1879 Colonel Harness and Lieutenant Curling helped with the burial. Harness gave a clue as to the whereabouts of the grave when he wrote

"Some two hundred yards up, we found poor Stuart Smith's remains and we dug a grave. One of us read a service and marked the place with stones and a wooden cross. Melton Prior was with us and he took four sketches, so you will see them in the Illustrated London News. We also buried another artilery man we found."

For some reason these sketches were not printed, otherwise they might give some clue as to where Smith is buried. Incidentally, Smith was not riding his own horse at the time of his death. In the confusion at the camp Sergeant Costellow grabbed the wrong horse (Smith's) when he fled the camp.

Major Smith's uniform can be seen at the Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich, and the assegai holes are clearly visible!

26th July 2003Keith Smith
Quite off your subject, I tried to email you at this address and it was returned - apparently you are doing the same as I am. If you still want to get in touch, please let me know.

2nd September 2003Mike McCabe
In those days Maj Smith would have been entitled to two horses (or chargers) at government expense, and government provided remounts should they fall irretrievably lame or die. He could also have purchased a third for which he would have been entitled to fodder and bedding/straw at government expense. Sgt Costellow, in making off with one of Smith's (presumably spare) horses would have been combining self-preservation with securing his Battery Commander's property. Explaining himself would have been the problem.