Sir Harry Smith Medal for Gallantry 1851, awarded to Paul Arendt
During the 8th Cape Frontier War (1850-1853), Major-General Sir Harry Smith, the Governor and Commander-in-Chief at the Cape, found himself besieged in Fort Cox by Gaikas under Chief Sandilli. The fort was situated inland from Kingwilliamstown. Several attempts to relieve it were unsuccessful.
Smith, worried that being trapped by 'uncivilised Kaffirs' would affect the Colony's morale and cause the defection of loyal tribes, decided to fight his way out. Escorted by about 250 men of the Cape Mounted Riflemen, he succeeded in getting through the Gaika lines, and safely reached Kingwilliamstown. Impressed by the showing of the Cape Mounted Riflemen under his command, Smith awarded them a special medal in recognition of their conduct. Only around 30 of these medals are know to exist today.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection