Living Pictures – Vet History Podcast

This year, RCVS Knowledge were very pleased to participate in an internship scheme organised by the Kings College London History department. MA student Abbie Latham spent a few months with us, reading and transcribing Fred Smith’s Boer War letters. She also recorded the following podcast, in which she explores aspects of the letters relating to […]

Soga's entry in the RCVS roll of members

Making history: UK’s first black vet

October is Black History Month so this seems an appropriate time to look at the life and work of Jotello Soga the first black member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Jotello Festiri Soga  (1865-1906) was born in the Transkei, South Africa, the fifth son of the Reverend Tiyo Soga.  Reverend Soga had been educated […]

Smith's sketch of the new hospital

South African War Diaries

In  1900, Frederick Smith was serving as a veterinary officer in the South African War.  The entries in his official war diary for August of that year show that the focus of his attention at that time was on finding a new site for the veterinary hospital which he had responsibility for. The hospital was […]

Smith - skeleton of a horse shoing back bone and ribs

Horses and the problem of sore backs

“Sore backs appear inseparable from mounted service, they have existed as long as the horse has been used in war … it was reasonable to suppose … as knowledge advanced, a reduction in this class of injury should have been possible.” So says Frederick Smith in his book A veterinary history of the war in […]

Burying a horse at sea

All aboard the SS Templemore

‘We embarked on Friday 10th November, but owing to bad weather did not leave L/pool [Liverpool] until 12.30 noon on 12th November’ so reads an entry in a small notebook which is part of one of the treasures of our archives – the Sir Frederick Smith Collection. Smith sailed for South Africa  on the 12 November 1899 with […]