‘Making Woolwich’ Their Stories:  Alfred Smith VC (1861-1932)

by Helen Moon

Alfred was 24 when he was awarded his Victoria Cross on 17th January 1885 at the Battle of Abu Klea, Sudan. Gunner Smith, armed only with a hand spike used for moving artillery, saved the life of an officer, Lieutenant Guthrie, who was under attack. 

After leaving the Army, Alfred returned to Woolwich and, like many former Gunners, started to work at the Royal Arsenal. Tragically, in 1895, his forearm was crushed in an industrial accident.

In memory of his Victoria Cross, Smith’s former unit, now called 176 Battery Royal Artillery, was awarded the honour title “Abu Klea” in 1955.

His medals, including a replica of his Victoria Cross, is displayed in the ‘Making Woolwich’ exhibition.

Are you interested in finding out more about other famous Woolwich people, or knowing more about your own family’s history? Then contact or visit the Search Room at Greenwich Heritage Centre. 

Do you have a story to share? Leave it in the comments below, or call Greenwich Heritage Centre on 020 8854 2452.

Tags: ra, royal artillery, making woolwich, mark tindle, woolwich, ghc, greenwich heritage centre, rght, hfllondon