[Skip to content]

  • This photograph was originally published in the Worksop Guardian and is courtesy of Robert Illett.
Person Details
Believed to have been born in 1884, Rudolf was the son of Anna Karolina Schmidt. Rudolph Schmidt at the time of his marriage had adopted the Anglicised name of 'Richard Smith', no doubt to avoid difficulties linked to prevalent feelings about Germanic sounding names (This change was not completed legally until after his death). In the 1911 census he is shown as being 25 years of age,single and is a boarder with George Anderson and his wife Sarah at New Cottages,Clumber Park,Worksop. He states he is a house carpenter but his place of birth is unknown.In fact as far back as the 1891 Census Rudolph when he 7 years of age and a scholar was boarding with George Anderson and his family in Clumber Park, his place of birth noted at this time is France. In fact in the 1901 Census George and Sarah Anderson are still living in Clumber park with their family and now refer to Rudolph as their adopted son , he is 17 years of age and an apprentice , however his name is given as Rudolph Smith The commonwealth war graves details states he was named Smith and his wife was A. M. C. Smith, of 13, Bedford Square, Loughborough, Leicestershire Below is an extract from 'Ornament of Sherwood Forest, from Ducal estate to public park' by John Fletcher. Believed to have been born in 1884, Rudolf was the son of Anna Karolina Schmidt. Anna Karolina was born in 1840 in Steinmaur, Zurich, Switzerland and at the time of Rudolph’s birth, she was employed in the Paris household of the Hon Mrs Frances Kathleen Candy, the dukes future mother in law. The father of Rudolf’s is not known, although he was said (by Mrs Candy) to have been a gardener. When the Candy’s returned to England in the late 1880’s they offered to bring Anna Karolina and her young son with them, to which she agreed. Anna Karolina Schmidt died in 1890 at the Candy’s home in Somerby, Leicestershire. After his mother’s death, Rudolph was fostered firstly at Barsby and then in Somerby. In the early 1890’s it was arranged that the boy should be placed on the estate of the Duke of Newcastle, Nottinghamshire. At Clumber Rudolph was entrusted to the care of a family of a highly respected houseman, George Anderson and his wife. The Anderson’s lived at Gas House Cottages, and had three children of their own, Charles, Fred and Annie. On Mrs Elizabeth Anderson’s death, in her early forties, George married again and he and his new bride continued to accept Rudolph as their ‘adopted’ son. He in his turn was happy to call George his dad. Rudolph attended the village school at Hardwick. From an early age, he was noted for his regular attendance at Clumber Chapel where he first became a boy acolyte and later, in 1911, the adult thurifer. When he reached his fourteenth birthday in 1898, Rudolph began training as a joiner in the Estate Workshop at Hardwick. Eleven year later he was selected as Clumber House carpenter. At the time his weekly wage was £1 8s 0d and he put 10/- (50p) to Mrs Anderson for his board. Keen on sport, he played cricket and football for the Clumber Park team. He took on the duties of the Cricket Club secretary and served as fixture secretary and Captain to the football team. He made many friends (being known to all by the nickname of ‘Dolph’) and enjoyed many and varied leisure time activities. These pastimes included cycling, walking, playing cards and billiards he also attended dances at the ‘Gaiety’ theatre/ cinema in Worksop. The Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Cavalry (Clumber Troop) was one of his greatest interests. Some twenty-six men of Clumber Park estate joined this force in 1909. During training they received a gratuity of £2 per week in lieu of wages. Over four years Rudolph attended regular training sessions at Normanton Inn and at a variety of Training Camps including Salisbury Plain. When he had completed his agreed period with these ‘Territorials’ ‘ Dolph’ volunteered for duty in the Army on 25th August 1914. By 1915, he was serving in the Sherwood Foresters Regiment and was involved in fighting at Gallipoli. There he was in injured and (after spending a month or so in hospital at Alexandria) was invalided home to England. On Valentine’s Day 1916, Dolph married Annie Mabel Constance Belfit in London (the duke sent £5 as a wedding present). Twenty four year old Miss Belfit was from a London based family who originated in Worksop. She had been confirmed at Clumber Chapel on 9th March 1909. Before her marriage the bride had been employed in Clumber House for several years and had risen to the position of Head Parlour maid. At the time of his marriage, Rudolph had adopted the Anglicised name of Richard Smith, no doubt to avoid confusion linked to prevalent feelings about Germanic sounding names. This change was not completed legally until after his death. He was soon back on active service being sent to France where, in 1917, he was again wounded, this time seriously. Returned home again, he was (by the Spring of 1918) considered to have recovered to be returned to the front line in France. He was killed in action on Saturday21st September 1918 – less than two months before the end of the war – and was buried at Bellicourt British Cemetery. He is also commemorated on the memorials of Hardwick and in Clumber Chapel. On the former he is shown as Richard Smith and in the Chapel as Rudolph Schmidt. In October 1918, Clumber’s Chaplain prepared a notice of Rudolph’s death for the “Worksop Guardian” newspaper giving ‘Dolph’ his original name. Rudolph’s son, (subsequently Major Frank Richard Smith M.B.E.) was born on 20th October 1918
21 Sep 1918
238649 - CWGC Website
1/5th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Private Rudolph Schmidt Worksop Guardian 4 October 1918 Another name has already been added to those inscribed at the base of the Calvary erected at Hardwick to the men from Clumber Park, who have fallen in the war, news reaching Clumber on Monday that Private Rudolph Schmidt, Sherwood Foresters, had been killed in the front line of trenches. “Dolph,” as he was called, was one of the sterling good boys whose influence in any place, was of the utmost value. So writes one who knew him well. For about 29 years he had lived in the Park and enjoyed the confidence and esteem of everybody. Though by nature, reserved and particularly shy, his was an extremely delightful character, as only those who knew him well could testify. His loyalty to his chiefs in the shops where he daily worked, chiefly lay in the direction of quiet earnestness, or in the playing fields, or above all, in the church which he dearly loved, was extraordinary. How keen he was about everything he undertook. How he let himself go in the games he played, always giving of his best. Will cricketers ever forget the dejected look on his face, if perchance he dropped a catch or that smile of genuine joy when he achieved some triumph. It was while he was quite a small boy he became an acolyte and a more reverent or earnest one it was impossible to find. When war broke out he was then thurifer, and that office he carried out with the same reverence. He saw service in Gallipoli, and was invalided home, and shortly after went to France. Last year he was badly wounded, and on recovery went back in the spring of this year. He was married three years ago, and to his widow we extend our heartfelt sympathy. The deceased soldier was house carpenter at Clumber. SDGW gives his place of enlistment as Worksop and that he resided in New Cross London.
He is buried in Bellicourt British cemetery, France. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on


  • This photograph was originally published in the Worksop Guardian and is courtesy of Robert Illett.
    Rudolph Schmidtz - This photograph was originally published in the Worksop Guardian and is courtesy of Robert Illett.