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Abel-Smith, Henry

Date of birth:
March 8th, 1900 (London, United Kingdom)
Date of death:
January 24th, 1993 (Winkfield/Berkshire, United Kingdom)
Buried on:
Frogmore Royal Burial Ground
Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


Military career:
1919: Officer
1930: Captain
1934: Major
1941: Temp. Lieutenant Colonel
1944: Lieutenant Colonel
1946: Acting Colonel

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel
2nd Household Cavalry Regiment, Headquarters, VIII Corps, British Army
Awarded on:
February 1st, 1945
In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in North West Europe.
"1. Lt. Col H Abel Smith has been in Command of 2 HCR since June 1941
2. Throughout this period he has been constantly imbued with the one idea of preparing his unit for the coming battle. Twice he has had the role of his unit altered, twice has he re-organized and re-trained it.
3. On arrival in FRANCE his unit immediately made its mark and has since hown, in the break through EAST of CAEN and again in the break through SOUTH of CAUMONT, that the enthusiasm and unsparing efforts of Lt.Col Abel Smith to train it to manoeuvre and fight have been completely successfully.
4. In both the actions mentioned, Lt.Col Abel Smith has, in the face of enemy fire, visited his far flung widespread detachments and by his coolness in danger proved an inspiration to his officers and men.
5. I most strongly recommend Lt.Col Abel Smith for the award of the DSO."
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Second World War (1939-1945)
Acting Colonel
Armoured Car Regiment, Headquarters, Guards Armoured Division, British Army
Awarded on:
April 24th, 1946
Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau (ON.4)
"Henry Abel-Smith distinguished himself in multiple functions for the Dutch cause."
"This officer commanded the Armoured Car Regiment which covered the advance of Guards Armoured Division. The boldness and accurate infm supplied by this Regiment were instrumental in the rapid advance of the Guards Armoured Division from the frontline to NIJMEGEN, and later the armoured cards of this unit slipped through the enemy lines and first made contact with the Airborne Division at ARNHEM. Lt-Col Abel Smith showed the greatest skill and energy throughout all these vital operations which resulted in the liberation of a large area of Dutch territory."

Royal Decree No. 29, with swords
Awarded on:
June 8th, 1950

On the occasion of the Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II Birthday.
Knight/Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (K(D)CVO)
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1958
Knight/Dame to the Venerable Order of Saint John (KStJ/DStJ)
Governor of the State of Queensland
Awarded on:
June 10th, 1961
Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG/DCMG)

War Diary mentions

3 November 1944 WO 171/840 - 1 Royal Dragoons
The Regt leaves its present location at 1000 hrs to concentrate in the area of MlLL. The C.O. attended a conference in the morning at HQ 3 (Br) Inf Div (Maj-Gen L.G. Whistler, DSO). The Regt is to come under this Div and is to operate under comd of 2 Household Cav Regt (Lt-Col Henry Abel-Smith). The Royals are to patrol the West bank of the MEUSE between BOXMEER and GROENINGEN and report on enemy movement on the opposite bank. They are to relieve The Inns of Court Regt in this area. On he right flank The Royals are supported by 3 Recce Regt and on the left by 2 Household Cav Regt. Rain during the morning, but brighter in the afternoon.