b. 07/1822 St Luke’s, London. d. 06/05/1866 Tanjore, India.
John Thomas Smith (1822-1866) was born in St Luke’s Parish, London in July 1822. He enlisted with the 1st Madras European Fusiliers in 1841 and would have taken part in the early events of the Indian Mutiny under the command of Colonel Neill.
On 16th November 1857, Private John Smith was one of the first men to try and enter the gateway on the north side of the Secundra Bagh. When the gateway burst open, Smith was one of the first to enter, and was immediately surrounded by the enemy. He received a sword cut to the head, a bayonet wound to the left side, and a contusion from the butt-end of a musket on the right shoulder. Despite these injuries, he managed to fight his way out and continue to fight for the remainder of the action.
Smith’s actions were duly noted by his fellow soldiers who elected him by ballot for the VC, which was announced on 24th December 1858. Smith received his medal whilst still in India in 1859. Smith was discharged from the Army with a pension in 1861, and decided to stay in India. Sadly, died only five years later, on 6th May 1866, aged just 43 at Thanjavur. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Taujore Cemetery, Trichinopoly District. Smith’s medal came up for auction on 27th June 2016 and was sold for £88,000 to an unknown bidder.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: SOLD AT AUCTION 27/06/2016 FOR £88,000.
BURIAL PLACE: TANJORE CEMETERY, TANJORE, INDIA. (UNMARKED GRAVE)
Dix Noonan Webb – Image of John Smith’s VC.