|Mounted Photograph (Trimmed)
As it turns out the officer of the 21st Lancers standing at center was Captain and Brevet Major Robert Napier Smyth. Smyth was a veteran of the 21st's famous charge at Omdurman in
1898, but of more interest to some of his brother officers were Smyth's marriageable sisters. After some feints and adroit manuvoring, Captain Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood, DSO of the
King's Dragoon Guards (seated, left) and Major Richard Lionel Hippsley, CB, Royal Engineers won the day and the hands of the Smyth sisters in matrimony.
|Robert Napier Smyth (highlighted standing, center) of the 21st Lancers. Smyth took part in the 21st's famous
(or infamous) charge at Omdurman and would go on to serve in the Anglo-Boer War (DSO) and World War
One. A fairly complete, if academic outline of Smyth's military career appears in The DSO & VC, Vol II:
SMYTH, ROBERT NAPIER, Brevet Major, was born 26 June 1868, son of the late General J. H. Smyth,
C.B., of Frimhurst. He was educated at Wellington, and joined the 21st Hussars on 12 Feb. 1890, as Second
Lieutenant, becoming Lieutenant, 21st Lancers, 6 Nov. 1892.
He served with the Nile Expedition, 1898; was present at the Battle of Khartoum, and was mentioned in
Despatches [London Gazette, 30 Sept. 1898], receiving the Medal and the Egyptian Medal and clasp. He was
A.D.C. to the G.O.C., Scottish District, 12 Aug. 1896, to 20 Jan. 1898, and was promoted to Captain 9 Oct.
Capt. Smyth served in the South African War, 1899-1902, a D.A.A.G. (Intelligence), South Africa, 13 Nov.
1900, to2 Oct. 1902. He was present at the Relief of Ladysmith, including the action at Colenso; operations of
17 to 24 Jan. 1900, and action at Spion Kop; operations of 5 to 7 Feb. 1900, and action at Vaal Kranz; during
the operations on Tugela Heights (17 to 26 Feb.) and action at Pieter's Hill; in Natal, March to June 1900,
including action at Laing's Nek (6 to 9 June); in the Transvaal, east of Pretoria, July to 29 Nov. 1900,
including actions at Reit Vlei, Belfast (26 and 27 Aug.), Lydenberg (5 to 8 Sept.) and Rhenoster Kop; again in
the Transvaal and Orange River Colony 30 Nov. 1900, to 31 May 1902. He was mentioned in Despatches
(London Gazette, 8 Feb. 1901) He was given the Brevet of Major 29 Nov. 1900; the Queen's Medal with four
clasps; the King's Medal with two clasps, and was created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
(London Gazette, 31 Oct. 1902): "Robert Napier Smyth, Captain and Brevet Major, 21st Lancers. In
recognition of services during the operations in South Africa." He was employed with the South African
Constabulary 20 Dec. 1902, to 28 Feb. 1905; became Major 9 Dec. 1905; Lieutenant-Colonel 7 Sept. 1910,
and Colonel 16 Dec. 1913.
He served in the European War, as G.0.2, 2nd Cavalry Division, British Expeditionary Force, 19 Sept. to 9
Oct. 1914; was G.S.0.2, G.H.Q., B.E.F., 10 Oct. 1914, to 4 Jan. 1915; Commanded the North Midland
Reserve Mounted Brigade, Home Force, 12 Jan. 1915, to 10 Jan. 1917; commanded a Brigade 11 Jan. 1917,
to 21 March 1919; commanded the 7th Cyclist Brigade, Forces in Great Britain, 26 May 1919. He was
created a C.B.E. in 1910.
Smyth would attain the rank of Brigadier and passed away in 1947.
|Richard Lionel Hippsley (highlighted seated, right) was born in 1853 and was educated at Cheltenham College
and the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. He joined the Royal Engineers, rising to the rank of Colonel by
He served in the Egyptian campaign of 1882 and was an instructor at the School of Military Engineering in
Chatham, Kent. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath on 29th November 1900. He served on the
staff in the South African War (1899-1902) as Director of Telegraphs and took part in the advance on
Kimberley and in operations in Orange Free State and Transvaal, gaining the Queen's Medal with three clasps
and the King's medal with two clasps. The Royal Corp of Signals had its origin in the organization he created in
After the war, Richard returned to England and served as Chief Engineer of the Royal Engineers' Scottish
Command from June 1905 to August 1908. In the First World War, he served as Deputy Director of Army
Signals, Central Force. After retiring he became interested in the Boy Scout movement and was awarded the
Scout Medal of Merit on 22nd January 1930. He was the author of "History of the Telegraph Operations
during the South African War, 1899-1902". He was also a mathematician of very considerable ability.
Richard married Violet Honoria Smyth on 4th November 1885. Violet was the daughter of Major-General John
Hall Smyth of Frimhurst, Surrrey, and Nina Struth and the sister of Robert Napier Smyth, 21st Lancers. She
was also the younger sister of Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858-1944), the composer and suffragette.
|Captain Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood (highlighted seated, left) was born on 25 January 1863, second son of
T. S. B. Eastwood, JP, Barrister-at-Law of 28, Gloucester Terrace, London, and Lincoln's Inn, and of Rosalie
He was educated at Eton, and joined the Royal Scots Greys, from the 1st Lanark Militia on 19 August 1885; was
transferred to the 1st King's Dragoon Guards, as Lieutenant, 29 December 1886.
He served in India, 1887-88; was Assistant Adjutant, Cavalry Depot, Canterbury, 1889-91; of the King's Dragoon
Guards, 1891-94; was promoted Captain 4 June 1894.
He served in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, and was present in operations in the Transvaal, Orange
River Colony and Cape Colony. He was twice wounded (once severely) and Mentioned in Despatches (London
Gazette, 17 January 1902). He received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with four clasps, and was created a
Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (London Gazette, 31 October 1902):
"Hugh de Crespigny Eastwood, Captain, 1st Dragoon Guards. In recognition of services during the operations in
He was promoted Major on 20 June 1903 and was Adjutant and Instructor, Imperial Yeomanry, Aldershot, 1902-4.
Eastwood retired on 26 February 1908.
Recalled to active duty during the Great War, he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, and was from 1915 to 1917
Commandant, Army Cyclist Training Centre. He was Inspector of Cyclist Units, 1916-18, and was promoted
Colonel in 1916, and was Mentioned in Despatches in 1919.
He married Ellinor, youngest sister of Robert Napier Smyth, 21st Lancers on 25 January 1887, at Frimley, Surrey.