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Death of Sir Harry Smith



Harry Smith was born in Whittlesey in 1787. In 1805 he joined the 95th rifles as a lieutenant serving in South America and from 1808 in Spain and Portugal. In 1812 he married a well-born Spanish girl, Juana Maria de los Dolores de Leon, and she remained with him on nearly all his subsequent travels. Before fighting at the Battle of Waterloo as a Brigade Major, he served in America and was present at the burning of Washington. After the Napoleonic War he served in South Africa as a provincial governor then in India as deputy-adjutant-general. He was made Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, then served as High Commissioner and Governor of Cape Colony where he and Juana are memorialised in the names of the towns of 'Harrismith' and 'Ladysmith'. In this country he is remembered in the name of the Sir Harry Smith College in Whittlesey. As an interesting aside, his love story with Juana was the basis of a novel, 'The Spanish Bride' by Georgette Heyer (1940).