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Imperial Camel Corps

The photograph of Temporary Brigadier-General Clement Leslie Smith VC MC appears on page 6 of this issue of Sabretache as part of Jim Underwood's article 'The Organisation of the Imperial Camel Brigade, 1916-1918'. Clement Leslie Smith was born on 17 January 1878, the son of Canon Clement Smith, Rector of Whippingham, Isle of Wight, and Mary Eliza, nee Spurling. He was commissioned into the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry on 5 May 1900 and served in South Africa during 1901-02 receiving the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps. On 9 August 1902, he was promoted to Lieutenant. Smith served in Somaliland from 15 May 1903 to 12 June 1904 as a Special Service Officer being present at the action at Jidballi where he was awarded the Victoria Cross. The award was promulgated in The London Gazette on 7 June 1904 with the following citation:
 At the commencement of the fight at Jidballi, on l0 January 1904,
 the enemy made a very sudden and determined rush on the 5th Somali
 Mounted Infantry from under cover of bushes close at hand. They were
 supported by rifle-fire, advanced very rapidly, and got right
 amongst our men. Lieutenant Smith, Somali Mounted Infantry, and
 Lieutenant J R Welland, MD, Royal Army Medical Corps, went out to
 the aid of Hospital Assistant Rahamat-Ali, who was wounded, and
 endeavoured to bring him out of action on a horse, but the rapidity
 of the enemy's advance rendered this impossible and the hospital
 assistant was killed. Lieutenant Smith then did all that any man
 could do to bring out Dr. Welland, helping him to mount a horse,
 and when that was shot, a mule. This also was hit, and Dr Welland
 was speared by the enemy. Lieutenant Smith stood by Dr. Welland to
 the end, and when that officer was killed, was within a few paces of
 him, endeavouring to keep off the enemy with his revolver. At that
 time the Dervishes appeared to be all round him, and it was
 marvellous that he escaped with his life.

Six months after the action and exactly four weeks after the gazettal; Smith attended an investiture on Tuesday 5 July 1904 in the Quadrangle at Buckingham Palace where he received the Victoria Cross from the hands of King Edward VII. His award was for the second last VC action prior to World War I. The last VC action occurred the day following Smith's investiture when Lieutenant J D Grant of the 8th Gurkha Rifles was decorated for gallantry for Tibet.

Smith was employed with the Egyptian Army from 15 November 1905 and was promoted to Major on 8 January 1916. On of 25 April 1916, The London Gazette announced the award of the Military Cross to Smith for distinguished service in the field from April to June 1915, during the operations against Jebel Miri, Kadugh District, Nuba Mountain, Province of the Sudan.

Following the disbandment of the Imperial Camel Corps, Smith was given command of the 24th Brigade, 10th Division. He died aged 49 on 14 December 1927 at Alassio, Italy and is buried at the English Cemetery, Alassio. He VC and medals are held by the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum.

VC presented to Army Museum of Western Australia

On Sunday, 23 November 2003, the family of William Chase VC CB presented his VC medal group VC to the Army Museum of Western Australia, Freemantle. The Australian Cultural Gifts Programme Committee have formally approved the donation to the group to the museum taking the museum's VC collection to four. The medal entitlement of Colonel William St Lucien Chase:

Victoria Cross

Companion, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)

Afghan Medal 1878-80 with clasp "Kandahar"

India General Service Medal 1854-95 with clasp "Chin Lushai"

India Medal (1895-1902) with clasps "Punjab Frontier 1897-98", "Tirah 1897-98"

William Chase was born on 2 July 1856 at St Lucia, West Indies, eldest son of Captain R H Chase and Susan Ifill, daughter of John Buhott. He was educated privately and joined the 15th Foot in September 1875. After two years, with his regiment in India he was admitted to the Bombay Staff Corps.

In the Second Afghan War, 1878-1880, Chase served with the 28th Bombay Native Infantry as part of the Kandahar Field Force. He was present with his regiment throughout the defence of Kandahar, and took part with the four companies in the ill-fated sortie to the village of Deh Khoja where the casualties of the regiment included Lt-Colonel Newport and thirty rank and file killed, and Lt-Colonel Nimmo and twenty rank and file wounded. In a letter, the late Lt-Colonel Daubeny of the 7th Fusiliers wrote:
 Thus while holding our ground to cover the the retreat of the
 stragglers or wounded from Deh Khoja, an officer, Lieutenant
 Chase, was suddenly seen coming towards us from the block-house,
 with a wounded soldier on his back, and attended by a fusilier. The
 enemy had also seen him, and turned their fire on him. A few yards
 and he is down and all thought he was dune for. Not so; he only
 wanted breath; and jumping up, he brought his man in amid a shower
 of bullets and the cheers of our men.

The Victoria Cross was promilgmated in the London Gazette of 7 October 1881:
 For conspicuous gallantry on the occasion of the sortie from
 Kandahar, on the 16th August 1880, against the village of Deh Khoja,
 in having rescued and carried for a distance of over 200 yards,
 under the fire of the enemy, a wounded soldier, Private Massey, of
 the Royal Fusiliers, who had taken shelter in a block-house. Several
 times they were compelled to rest, but they persevered in bringing
 him to a place of safety. Private Ashford rendered Lieutenant Chase
 every assistance and remained with him throughout.

The Victoria Cross was prsentedto ro Chase by the General Offic ComandingBmany at Poona India on 23 Jabuary 1882. In 1884 William Chase sewed in the Zhob Campaign, in the Chin Lushai Expedition and the advance on Fort Haka. In 1893 he took part in the Naga Hills Campaign and Manipur; in 1897 in the Mohmand Expedition; in 1897 and 1898 in the Tirah Campaign and was present at the actions at Sampagha Pass; occupation of Maiden and Bagh Valley and operations in Dwatoi Defile, Rajghul Valley and Bara Valley. He was continually mentioned in Despatches. Colonel William Chase died, aged 51, on 24 June 1908 at Quetta, Baluchistan (now North West Pakistan) and is buried in The English Cemetery, Quetta Cemetery. A photgraph of the beadstome appears Monuments to Courage ; Vcixctoria Crposs headstones and memorials by David Harver.

The Journal of The Victoria Cross Society

The third issue of The Journal of The Victoria Cross Society was published in the UK in October. My article on Private John Carroll VC, 33rd Battalion AIF, addressed the reason Carroll's award for gallantry at St Yves, Belgium during the Messines offensive in June 1917, is frequently incorrectly listed as St Ives or St Yves, France. The article explains why Carroll was transferred from the 44th (Western Australian) Battalion to the 33rd (New South Wales) Battalion and why he was transferred to London in July 1918. It also looks at the claim that Carroll missed three investitures and had to be sent for on the fourth occasion.

The Victoria Cross Society website is at The October 2003 edition covered three Australian VCs, one each from the Boer War, World War I and World War II. The contents included:

The unveiling and dedication of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Memorial

The Anglo-Persian War 1856-57. The Indian Army's first VCs. Part One

"Ulundi" Beresford VC

Paul Aloysius Kenna VC DSO ADC--Omdurman VC Part 2

Australia's First Winner of The Victoria Cross

VC who was once a convict.

Sergeant David Finlay--The Silent VC

Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher--Canada's first WWI VC

Hero of Messines--Private John Carroll VC

George Gabriel Coury VC--Part 2

The Victoria Cross trader the hammer--Michael Naxton and the Sotheby's Auctions

We can turn 'em back! The life and death of Bruce Kingsbury VC

Fred Tilston VC
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Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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