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May Pte John Smith - Rorkes Drift

May Pte John Smith - Rorkes Drift

The Royal British Legion Ashby Branch would like to thank Laura Hughes Director of LH Financial Planning based at Ashby's Old Cottage Hospital for generously sponsoring the rededication of the burial of Pte John Smith at Ashby Cemetery on 18th May followed by a reception at Ashby’s Lyric Rooms on upper Church Street. Pte John Smith survived the Rorkes Drift battle where 150 troops from the British Empire successfully held off 4000 Zulu Warriors gaining a record 11 VCs.


Amongst the dignitaries attending were Major General "Mitch" Mitchel CB MBE (retired), Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire David Young , Chairman of LCC Joe Orson & The Mayor of Ashby Avril Wilson.

Pte Smith was wounded in the stomach but survived only to take his own life due to what was believed to be PTSD ( Post traumatic Stress Disorder) as we know it now. The ceremony was well attended by members of both The Ashby & Whitwick Branches along with many members of the public.

Major General “Mitch” Mitchel likened Pte Smiths mental condition to that known today as PTSD which so many of our current veterans suffer from and should be recognised with more empathy and understanding. Branch Chairman Cllr Dan Harrison, talked about Pte Smiths background , when Pte Smith lived and worked in Ashby along with the importance that the RBL at branch level gives to our veterans.

Dan explained that the Ashby Branch was actively seeking new members from both the veteran family and non -veteran community. Its easy to join , just call 0800 3077 773 ( calls are free) and membership cost just £18 pa plus a £2 branch contribution, so £20 to join a caring group of like-minded people , and is open to both men and women weather you have served in the armed forces or not. We meet as a branch the 1st Tuesday of every month at Ashby Ivanhoe Club.

The encounter was the story is told in the historic drama blockbuster film ZULU starring Michael Caine. Laura's sponsorship will also provide a story board which will be located within Ashby Museum.

ITV Central news covered the event.

Graham Allman Branch Media Officer 07765 251208 for more information.

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