Herbert Smith, Vere

He was the son of Norman Herbert Smith and Christine L. Herbert Smith, formerly of The Hall, Hickling, Norwich and 107 Ashley Gardens, Westminster, London (later of 16 Old Court Mansions, Kensington, London). Before coming to Winchester he was with Mr. C.E. Stanford at St. Aubyns, Rottingdean. He was for two years Head of House, and Senior Commoner Prefect in his last half; he played for two years in OTH VI (and was captain in 1911), for one year in the soccer XI (as captain), rowed in the school IV and won the Steeplechase. Early in 1912 he went up to New College, Oxford, where he took his degree with First Class Honours in Jurisprudence in his eighth term.

At the outbreak of war he applied for a commission and was gazetted on August 15th 1914 to 5th Battalion, Rifle Brigade; he had previously had seven years’ experience with the OTC. With this battalion he served on the Isle of Sheppey until, on February 2nd 1915, he went to France to join 3rd Battalion. He was killed by a hand-grenade near Neuve Chapelle on March 21st, while inspecting rifles in a front line trench. He was twenty-two years old, and rests in grave B.11 of Chapelle-D’Armentieres Old Military Cemetery.

The Vere Herbert Smith School History Prizes were founded by his uncle in 1916 in his memory. Herbert Smith is also commemorated by a memorial plaque in St Mary’s Church, Hickling: “To the dear memory of Norman Herbert Smith 13th Nov. 1857 – 15th April 1920 and of his wife Christine Louise 19th April 1869 – 11th Nov. 1947. The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God. Also in honoured memory of their beloved elder son Vere Herbert Smith 2nd Lieutenant The Rifle Brigade, who fell in action in France March 21st 1915 Aged 22 Yrs. Laid to rest at Chappelle D’Armentieres. His life for his country; his soul to God”. A bronze memorial bust of him was created by Sir William Reynolds-Stephens (1862-1943), but its location is not currently known.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: HERBERT SMITH
  • Forenames or initials: Vere
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1906-1911
  • Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
  • Regiment: Rifle Brigade
  • Date of Birth: 17th December 1892
  • Date of Death: 21st March 1915
  • How Died: Accident whilst inspecting weapons
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer D6
  • Decoration: NA