“Smith-Dorrien was more or less responsible for the commencement of the Egyptian War”. The Gazette, 23 May 1931.
In 1880, he joined the Admiral’s flagship, HMS Invincible, as Flag Lieutenant, and was to make his name during the troubles in Egypt in 1882. Nationalist riots in Alexandria on 11 June 1882 had resulted in the massacre of a number of Europeans there. Arabi Pasha, the rebel leader who had led an army mutiny the previous year, threw up new earthworks and gun emplacements around the city and declared that he could hold out against all the fleets of Europe.
On 10 July, Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour, GCB, Senior Flag Officer Mediterranean Station, issued an ultimatum that either the forts were to be surrendered and no new gun emplacements were to be built, or they would be bombarded. Arabi disregarded this and continued working on the emplacements.
Henry retired as Lieutenant Commander in August 1890. He died in West Hampstead on 17 May 1931 aged 82 and is buried in Three Close Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted.
An acre of additional land had been given to the parish for burials by the Countess of Bridgewater and an extra adjoining piece was added in 1921. However, even this extra land was soon filled and a new town cemetery was opened at Kingshill. The Three Close Lane Cemetery was the last resting place for many well-known Berkhamsted people, including some Smith-Dorrien family members.
By the Dacorum Heritage Trust Ltd
22nd December 2010