Details of rededication service for Rorke's Drift survivor John at Ashby Cemetery have been released

By Ashby Nub News Reporter

24th May 2023 | Local News

Members of the Whitwick Royal British Legion attended the unmarked grave earlier this year. Photos: Whitwick Royal British Legion
Members of the Whitwick Royal British Legion attended the unmarked grave earlier this year. Photos: Whitwick Royal British Legion

Details of Saturday's rededication service for Rorke's Drift survivor, Private John Smith, have been announced.

The service takes place at Ashby Cemetery, starting at noon, and will be attended by Royal British Legion members from both Whitwick and Ashby branches.

Representatives of the Royal Welsh Regiment - which played a major role in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 - will also be part of the remembrance.

Wreaths will also be laid and the Last Post played by a Royal Engineers bugler, before a minute's silence.

John Lynn – Chairman of Ashby De La Zouch Royal British Legion - will speak at the service and talk about Pte Smith's service history and civil life.

Phil Beet—Chairman of Whitwick Royal British Legion - will be part of the wreath laying.

John Smith was buried in an unmarked grave at Ashby Cemetery on 11 July, 1899. This was after taking his own life at Heather Railway Station.

But in the defence of Rorke's Drift he was wounded to the stomach having been stabbed by an assegai, a Zulu spear. However, he survived the battle.

Those present on Saturday will hear that the service is to share his story, his trials, his tribulations, his life, his death. 

The rededication is to honour him and to mark his grave, so that future generations can "show their respect for a brave man", who until recently was left alone and forgotten. 

The opening words will say that "as servicemen and veterans, we have a duty to remember those who came before".


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