The Allan and Janet Woodliffe Collection of Medals relating to the Reconquest and Pacification of The Sudan 1896-1956

Date of Auction: 18th May 2011

Sold for £13,000

Estimate: £7,000 - £8,000

The remarkable inter-war C.B., Great War C.M.G., D.S.O. group of twelve awarded to Major-General William Dunlop Smith, Director General of Army Veterinary Services, who rode with the 21st Lancers in their famous charge at Omdurman and was afterwards taken prisoner during the defence of Mafeking in the Boer War

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels; The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, C.M.G., Companion’s neck badge, silver-gilt and enamels, reverse centre depressed; Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R.; Queen’s Sudan 1896-98 (Vet. Lt. W. D. Smith, A.V.D.); Queen’s South Africa 1899-1902, 3 clasps, Orange Free State, Defence of Mafeking, Transvaal (Lieut. W. D. Smith, Protect. Rgt. F.F.); King’s South Africa 1901-02, 2 clasps, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902 (Vet: Capt: W. D. Smith, A.V.D.); 1914 Star, with clasp (Lt. Col. W. D. Smith, A.V.C.); British War and Victory Medals, with M.I.D. oak leaf (Brig. Gen. W. D. Smith); Coronation 1911; Khedive’s Sudan 1896-1908, 2 clasps, Hafir, Khartoum, unnamed as issued; Order of the Medjidie, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, gold and enamel, light contact marks, otherwise good very fine (12)


London Gazette 18 February 1915. One of the first two R.A.V.C. awards in the Great War and almost certainly in respect of his services in 1914.

C.M.G. London Gazette 25 August 1917 (Mesopotamia).

C.B. London Gazette 4 June 1921 (Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, Eastern Command).

Order of the Medjidie, 4th Class London Gazette 5 March 1897.

M.I.D. London Gazette 3 November 1896 (Dongola); 30 September 1898 (Omdurman); 10 September 1901 (South Africa; Mafeking); 19 October 1914 (Flanders); 19 January and 15 August, 1917 (Mesopotamia); 12 March and 27 August, 1918 (Mesopotamia).

William Dunlop Smith was appointed Veterinary Lieutenant on 27 July 1892. He saw his first active service in the Dongola Expedition of 1896 as a Special Service Officer attached to the 21st Lancers, was mentioned in despatches and received the fourth class Medijidie. Still attached to the 21st Lancers, he served in the Nile expedition of 1898, he rode in the charge at Omdurman and was again mentioned in despatches.

Bennet Burleigh in Khartoum Campaign 1898, says,’Major Wyndham, the second in command of the Lancers, had his horse shot in the khor. He was one of the few who escaped after such a calamity. The animal fortunately carried him across, up, and beyond the slope ere it dropped down dead. Lieutenant Smith, who was near, offered him a seat, and the Major grasped the stirrup to mount. Just then - for these events have taken longer in telling than in happening - Montmorency and Kenna found the dervishes pressing them hard, both being in instant danger of being killed. Swarbrick had brought back the horse, and Kenna turned to Major Wyndham and gave him a seat behind, then leaving Grenfell's body they re-joined their command.’

When the South African War broke out he went to the front as Special Service Officer attached to the Protectorate Regiment at Mafeking. During the ensuing defence of the town he performed an act of gallantry for which he received accelerated promotion and a further mention in despatches, when an outpost was overwhelmed by Boers and a trooper (Pte. A. Hazelrigg, Cape Police) was left in ‘no man’s land’ mortally wounded. Dunlop Smith went out under heavy fire and dressed his wounds, remaining with him until he died and later carrying the body back to British lines.

On 12 May he and two fellow officers were captured when the fort at Mafeking was over-run by General Eloff’s forces during a daring daylight raid. While a prisoner of the Boers he attended to the Boer wounded at Eloff’s request for assistance. He was released when the Boers retreated from Mafeking, having been besieged with Col. Baden Powell for 6½ months.

He took part in operations in the Transvaal, June 1900; in the Transvaal, east and west of Pretoria, including the action at Rhenoster Kop, July to 29 November 1900, on which latter date he was promoted Captain. He subsequently took part in the operations in Orange River Colony and Cape Colony; in the Transvaal, 30 November to March 1901; operations in the Orange River Colony, May 1901 to 31 May 1902. Also operations in Cape Colony, March to April 1901 (Despatches; promoted Veterinary Captain).

He became Major in January 1906, and Lieutenant-Colonel in October 1913. When the Great War broke out he was Assistant Director of Veterinary Services at the Curragh (Ireland), and as such went to France and Belgium with the 5th Division, 5 August 1914 to 5 February 1915. For his services he was mentioned in despatches and created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. He was appointed A.D.V.S., 1st Army B.E.F. 6 February 1915, and served as Deputy Director Veterinary Services on the Lines of Communication, B.E.F., and British Armies in France, September 1915 to August 1916. He became temporary Colonel 4 October 1916, on receiving the appointment of D.D.V.S., Indian Expeditionary Force “D”; Temporary Brigadier-General, D.D.V.S., Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 5 November 1917; Acting Colonel, D.D.V.S., 28 September 1918. He was mentioned in despatches, and was made C.M.G. in 1917. In 1921 he was made C.B. and promoted Major General in December 1921. After the War he was Director-General of Army Veterinary Services at the War Office, until he retired in 1925. Major-General William Dunlop Smith died on 10 February 1940.

With a folder containing extensive copied research.