It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Neil 'Smudge' Smith who passed away at Hilton, South Africa on 12 April 2017. He was 89 years of age. Smudge was born 11 March 1928 in Pietermaritzburg, where he was raised, and following his schooling he joined the Royal Natal Carbineers, a mounted rifle regiment, before joining the BSA Police. He joined the force on 1 May 1948.
His early service in the BSA Police was in the uniform branch which included a secondment to the Nyasaland Police in October 1953, along with 5 of his Depot colleagues, for which he was later to receive a Commissioner's Commendation for Meritorious Service. He served in Nyasaland (now Malawi) between September 1953 to April 1954.
In June 1954, Smudge was promoted to 1st Sergeant and for the better duration of his service thereafter he was an Equitation Instructor at Morris Depot. There he taught and polished the equitation skills of hundreds of young police recruits. He was a very active organiser of annual police displays and will be remembered by those who served in 'Display Squads'. It was here that he became somewhat of a legend in the force.
He was a keen sportsman and could be found wherever there was a ball or a pool within police social circles.
In July 1960 Smudge was promoted to Sub-Inspector and he was soon to be made Chief Inspector. He was awarded the PLSM in January 1971 (for long and exemplary service). Smudge retired from the force in July 1971 and for a short while worked with horses at Troutbeck Inn, post service, and is credited with giving many members of the force 'refresher courses' on their trips to Inyanga.
Smudge joined the Grey Scouts, the Rhodesian Army mounted infantry unit, and was involved in the raising of the first troops in the Eastern Highlands before formation of the regiment. He eventually moved back to Salisbury and served with the Grey Scouts out of Inkomo Barracks, near the city.
He returned to South Africa at about the time of Zimbabwean Independence, settling in Durban, where he took up a position with the local polo club. Smudge was instrumental in setting up the Durban City Police mounted unit. He maintained strong ties with the Regiment. Up until his demise he was an active member of the Kwazulu Natal Branch of the Regimental Association.
Smudge's beloved wife, Shirley, passed away recently. He is survived by sons Billy and Nigel.