Five Years in Siam by H. Warington Smyth
From the cover of the White Lotus edition, 1994

H. Warington Smyth

Herbert Warington SMYTH was born on June 4, 1867 and died December 19, 1943 at age 76, He was a Barrister and widely traveled. He was to serve as Director of the Department of Mines in Siam, Secretary for Mines in the Transvaal, Commissioner for Mines in Natal and as Secretary of Mines and Industries in the Union of South Africa. He was the author of several books, including: Five Years in Siam, Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia, Sea Wake and Jungle Trail and Chase and Chance in Indochina. The son of Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth and the grandson of Admiral W. H. Smyth, he was Baden-Powell’s first cousin. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society, the Royal Geographical Society, a Lieutenant-Commander in the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve (1915-1918) and was honored as a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and as Commander of the Order of the White Elephant of Siam. He married Amabel Mary Sutton in 1900.


Badge of Commander of the Order of the White Elephant of Siam

The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant

Founded by HM King Mongkut Rama IV in 1861 and remodelled by HM King Chulalongkorn Rama V on 29th December 1869. Awarded in five classes and two medals to both gentlemen and ladies. The order was originally modelled on the French system with classes arranged as Grand Cordon, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight. However, the increasing unpopularity of France led to a change more in keeping with British practice. The officers of the order are the Sovereign and Chief of the Order (HM The King), the Grand Master (usually a high ranking Prince of the blood Royal), the Chancellor, Secretary and King-at-Arms.

Books by H. Warington Smyth

  Five Years in Siam (1898). Introduction by Professor Tamara Loos; Chapter I: The River and Port of Bangkok.
  Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia (1906). "Illustrated from drawings by E.W. Cooke, R.A., W.L. Wyllie, A.R.A., W. Robins, Sir W. Warington Smyth, F.R.S., Major Nevill Smyth, V.C., and the author. A momentous work of reference for world sail. There is more concentration of eastern sail types in this book than in any of our other reference volumes on the subject and each is fully illustrated in a volume that is just stuffed with illustrations…. There are also line drawings and/or sail plans of a number of the craft described, including a Norwegian Pilot Boat, a Northland Boat, a Norwegian Skiff, a Redningskoite, a Scotch Fifie and a Scotch Zulu. A thorough-going reference indeed!"  (Description from D. N. Goodchild, "The Shellback’s Library").
  Sea Wake and Jungle Trail (1925). "Mr. Warington Smyth, who is head of the Mines Department in South Africa, is not only one of those fortunate authors who is equally skilled with pen and pencil, but also an exceptionally expert, practical sailor, as his previous book, Mast and Sail, testifies. He is thus able to depict as well as to describe his various experiences and adventures during many years’ travel. His devotion to animals and to the sea is such that he has the power of treating them as personal friends, and, above all, he has the gift of humour, which enables him—and his friends—to see the bright side of everything." (From the publishers advertisement for Sea Wake and Jungle Trail).
  Chase and Chance in Indochina (1934). "Autobiographical, fictional account, Chase and Chance in Indo-China, might be read alongside this publication (Five Years in Siam) for insights into Smyth’s outlook. Its narrator, "H. W.," works with people who have the same names and personalities as did Smyth’s actual associates in Siam. His duties at the Department of Mines, the time period and even the episodes are familiar. There is, however, an element of fantasy that the rubric of fiction allows him to pursue." (From the Introduction to Five Years in Siam by Tamara Loos of Cornell University).

  Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth, M.A., F.R.S. was the father of H. Warington Smyth and Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth. He was a brother of Henrietta Grace Smyth Baden-Powell and Uncle to B-P. He was Professor of Mining and Mineralogy at the Royal School of Mines, President of the Geological Society of London in 1866-1868 and a Fellow of the Royal Society. After university, he spent more than four years in Europe, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, paying great attention to mineralogy and mining. Among his published works were A Year with the Turks” (1854), and A Treatise on Coal and Coal-Mining” (1867). He was knighted in 1887.
  Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth, son of Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth, brother of  H. Warington Smyth and B-P’s first cousin. He had a distinguished career in the army, rising to the rank of Major-General. He won the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Khartoum.
  Admiral William H. Smyth, grandfather of H. Warington Smyth, rose through the ranks of the Royal Navy to retire as an Admiral in 1863. He was a noted hydrographer and astronomer and was Vice President of the Royal Society. According to his great-grandson, his charts of the Mediterranean were still in use in 1961. His "Cycle of Celestial Objects" remains a classical text in the history of astronomy and was republished in 1986.
B-P’s Mother: Henrietta Grace Smyth Baden-Powell, 1824-1914. Links to Admiral W. H. Smyth (B-P’s grandfather) and other members of the Smyth family including: Charles Piazzi Smyth, Sir Warington Wilkinson Smyth, H. Warington Smyth, General Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth and Nevil Maskelyne. She was the aunt of both H. Warington Smyth and General Sir Nevill Maskelyne Smyth.
  Baden-Powell Family History. A series of links based on the research of Robin Baden Clay, a grandson of Baden-Powell. They are focused on the genealogy of the Powell family. The author is extremely grateful to Mr. Clay for sharing the results of his labors with the Scouting community. Links are provided to pages for three of B-P’s brothers: Baden, Warington and Sir George Baden-Powell as well as to the genealogy of the Smyth and Warington families.
  Baden-Powell Home Page

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