Craig Robertson

Staff member
Sir Rupert Anthony
  • UNIT
Parachute Regiment
  • RANK
Major (QGM), Lieutenant Colonel (OBE)
Queen's Gallantry Medal, Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Northern Ireland 1978 (QGM), 1981 (OBE), Yugoslavia 1995 (DSO Bar)
London Gazette 47610, 7th August 1978, Page 9495
London Gazette 48837, 30th December 1981, Page 6 (OBE)
London Gazette 52588, 28th June 1991, Page 7 (DSO)
London Gazette 54393, 9th May 1996, Page 6547 (DSO Bar)
2002 retired


Officer of the Order of the British Empire : Following the manifest success of the Commonwealth Monitoring Force in Southern Rhodesia it became apparent that continuing military assistance to the newly independent Zimbabwe would be necessary. As a result the British Military Advisory and Training Team was formed in April 1980. At very short notice Lieutenant Colonel Smith was selected to be the sole staff officer in establishing the team which in the last year has expanded from an initial strength of 20 to a tri-service force of over 160 officers and senior NCOs of the Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force spread throughout Zimbabwe - by far the largest overseas training team.

The task of the team has been to assist in the amalgamation and training of the three formerly warring armies of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army, the Zimbabwe Peoples Republican Army and the Rhodesian Security Forces and to give military advice. This was a unique situation and has been a most difficult, delicate and sensitive task. Moreover the various steps in the amalgamation process have been made in a highly charged political and security situation in which any inept move by the British team could have precipitated a disastrous situation with wide ranging implications for the stability of Zimbabwe and British policy in Southern Africa.

In this task Lieutenant Colonel Smith has played a key role. To him has fallen not only the intricate detail of ensuring that the team was correctly deployed and employed to the optimum advantage in a constantly shifting political, military and security situation but also that a proper course was set for the future. He has been a constant source of original and imaginative plans and a catalyst between the factions, de-fusing difficult situations and engendering an impetus to events which would otherwise have remained moribund. He has dealt with many crises calmly and effectively. In addition, as the nominated commanding officer of the team, he has played an exemplary role in achieving and maintaining their high morale in difficult and often dangerous circumstances.

There is no doubt that but for his tireless, unremitting and selfless efforts the comparative stability which Zimbabwe currently enjoys would have been jeopardised and British political and military policy following independence handicapped. Equally, his moral courage, dedication and professional skill and ability have done much to enhance the reputation of the British Army among all factions and has significantly improved relations between British and Zimbabweans. His exceptional personal contribution to the success of the British Military Advisory and Training Team and consequently to British policy in Zimbabwe has been outstanding and undoubtedly deserves recognition.

Place : Zimbabwe
Date of Action : April 1980 to June 1981
How Employed : GSO 1 British Military Advisory and Training Team Zimbabwe

I know Lieutenant-Colonel Smith well and I am in close touch with the work of the British Military Advisory and Training Team in Zimbabwe.

Following the independence of Southern Rhodesia the Team has played a most important role in achieving stability in Zimbabwe. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith's personal contribution has. been outstanding. In particular I recall that, during Major General Palmer's absence on leave, when major fighting broke out between the factions in Bulawayo his advice to the Joint High Command on how the situation should be handled was a significant factor in bringing the situation under control and in safeguarding the interests of the team.

I therefore strongly support the recommendation that an award would be most appropriate and well deserved.

R.A.C. Byatt
High Commissioner

Distinguished Service Order : Major General Smith has led the largest British armoured force deployed in action since World War II. He has done so with consummate skill and outstanding personal leadership and under direct enemy fire.

Within two weeks of taking over 1 Armoured Division in Germany, Major General Smith was despatched to the Gulf to command 35,000 men and women making up the British Ground Force contribution to Operation Granby. The force was made up of a wide variety of individuals, many never having served together before. He was given a two Brigade Division with exceptionally strong artillery and engineer support. Although he did not know it at the tune, he had only six weeks to pull his force together, train it, and deploy it some 350 miles, and set up a close working relationship with the Americans under whose tactical control he was placed.

By the time the war started he had achieved all of these targets and had a first class fighting Division under his command.

During the land battle his Division was given a key role in the US VII Corps battle which involved a rapid exploitation of the minefield breach and a rapid advance to destroy some three Iraqi divisions. Failure to achieve it would have destroyed the main thrust of the Commander in Chiefs battle plan and could have resulted in grave and heavy US casualties.

With consummate personal attention to the detailed planning, and with outstanding personal leadership, Major General Smith swept his command through the breach and attacked the Iraqi division in detail. He personally led from the front with fearless disregard for the enemy anti tank fire, and despite the high threat of chemical weapons being used. With outstanding skill, and no little personal bravery, his Division achieved its objectives, secured the flank of VII Corps and enabled the main thrust of Desert Storm to sweep through and destroy the Iraqi rear divisions.

Major General Smith has led the major British land force operations on Operation Granby with a level of skill and personal bravery that is a credit to our nation.

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