George Smith

Chaplain, Deceased Person

1845 – 1918


Who was George Smith?

Reverend 'Padre' George Smith, Army Chaplain, was a defender of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War of 1879, an action which saw the winning of eleven Victoria Crosses.

Born in Docking in Norfolk in 1845, 'Padre' George Smith served as a missionary in South Africa from 1870. However, he is best remembered for his part in the famous defence of Rorke's Drift during the Zulu War of 1877–79 which won him the praise of several officers involved in that action in their reports. As an assistant army chaplain, and therefore a non-combatant, Smith played a supportive role in the defence, where he distributed ammunition to the soldiers of the 24th Regiment of Foot who were manning the barricades. Smith was not portrayed in the 1964 film Zulu by which most people know of the battle.

After the Zulu War he was often referred to as "Ammunition Smith". As an assistant army chaplain, and therefore technically a civilian, Smith was not entitled to receive a campaign medal or other award for his part in the defence. Instead he was offered, and accepted, a position as a regular army chaplain.

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on July 23, 2013


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