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Biography
Henry John De Berniere Smartt
  • Born 4 April 1845 Farley Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • Died 30 January 1929 Middlesex
  • Educated
  • Occupation Army Officer
  • Debut 11 May 1865 v United South of England XI at Rathmines
  • Cap Number 82
  • Style Batting hand unknown, slow round arm hand unknown
  • Teams Phoenix

Henry Smartt was one of the several military cricketers who owed their Irish caps to their regiments being based in Ireland at the time of their appearances. His own record was moderate though he seems to have been a useful bowler. No scores of matches he played outside Ireland have been found, we would be pleased to have any details of such games as may be known.

He was one of the four children of Newton Smartt, Vicar of Alderbury and Charlotte de Berniere, the Vicar also having a son by a previous marriage. The de Bernieres were a predominantly military family whose service records stretched back to the early years of the 18th century. It was, perhaps, inevitable that the young Henry should enter the Army, being first commissioned in the 58th Foot. The de Berniere name, and the practice of purchasing commissions, no doubt helped him to advance in his career, he was, only weeks past his 21st birthday when, holding the rank of captain, he made his sole appearance for XXII of Ireland, against the United South of England XI in May 1865.

Batting first, after winning the toss, the visitors, feeling the effects of a rough crossing from Holyhead, were dismissed for 59, all rounder WS Ashton and the Phoenix professional Pat Smith doing the damage. Only Tom Sewell, a batsman with a high reputation and John Lillywhite, one time business partner of John Wisden before they split with some acrimony, reached double figures. However Ireland found the going no easier, being dismissed for 86. The principal destroyers were Edgar Willsher, a thorn In Ireland's cricketing flesh on several occasions, and James Lillywhite, still eleven years away from becoming England's first Test captain. Henry, however, batting at 21, was bowled for a duck by paceman George Griffith. Batting again, before time ran out, the USE totalled 171, Henry claiming two wickets for 38 while sending down 42 four ball overs. . He began by having Harry Jupp, caught by George Barry, then later in the innings clean bowled William Mortlock. Both were well regarded batsmen, Jupp, a stonewaller as reluctant to leave the crease as WG, was in 1877, to become England's first opening batsman and, with a score of 63, was to make his country's first half century.

Thereafter Henry seems to have concentrated on his military career, eventually becoming a Colonel and commanding officer of the Second battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment in 1889. In 1886 he had changed his name to de Berniere, adopting Smartt as one of his forenames.

Edward Liddle, September 2014

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