Rededication anniversary service of Rorke's Drift survivor will be held at Ashby Cemetery this weekend

By Ashby Nub News Reporter

14th May 2024 | Local News

The original rededication service was held 12 months ago at Ashby Cemetery. Photo: Ashby Nub News
The original rededication service was held 12 months ago at Ashby Cemetery. Photo: Ashby Nub News

Details have been announced about this Saturday's first anniversary of the rededication service of Rorke's Drift survivor Private John Smith.

The service is being organised by the Ashby branch of the Royal British Legion who will be recognising the soldier 12 months after the original ceremony which was held at Ashby Cemetery last year.

Pte Smith was a surviving defender at the battle of Rorke's Drift in January 1879, which happened during the the Anglo-Zulu War.

He was wounded by a spear in the battle which saw 150 troops from the British Empire defend the station from 4,000 Zulu Warriors.

A record number of 11 Victoria Crosses (VCs) were awarded, something which has never been repeated.

Pte John Smith lived and worked around Ashby and the area, sadly committing suicide, suffering from what is now suspected to be PTSD ( post-traumatic stress disorder) which the Ashby Branch fully and actively supports.

The battle was recorded as a historical drama in 1964 called Zulu starring Michael Caine, Stanley Baker and Jack Hawkins.

The event is being held at Pte Smith's graveside in Ashby cemetery, located on Moria Road ,Ashby, which, until May last year, was un-marked.

It will be on Saturday (May 18) with an invitation to congregate at 10.30am for the commemorative service to commence at 11.00am.

Several VIP Dignitaries including a former Head of a British Army ,Major General "Mitch" Mitchell MBE have confirmed their attendance.

An Ashby based business, LH Financial Planning, with offices at The Old Cottage Hospital in Ashby, is sponsoring the event along with a proposed 'fact display'  to be sited within Ashby Museum.

Director of the firm, Laura Hughes, has first-hand experience of veterans suffering with PTSD and was the first to step forward in sponsoring the event.

The service is expected to last approximately 30 minutes and there will then be refreshments and a buffet at the Lyric Rooms in Ashby. 


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