Robert Smetham was a local Romsey lad who was known for his heroic action in stopping a runway horse and cart from trampling over people on market day held on 22 February 1912. He hung on to the horse and guided him away from the shoppers, thereby averting what would have been a major disaster. He was eventually knocked over by the horse and went through a shop window! For this public-spirited deed, he was presented with the Scouts Medal of Merit.
As a child, Robert lived with his family in 20 Church Terrace and attended the Boys National School, which is presently Romsey Library. At school, he was chosen to plant a young chestnut tree, which can be seen today in the library car park. He later worked as a young clerk where he was given the responsibility of banking money for his employer. During World War I, he was enlisted with the Royal Engineers, while he spent most of his time overseas during World War II, mainly in India.
On his return from the First World War, Robert Smetham became one of the founding members of the first scout group in Romsey, 1st Romsey and was later appointed as Assistant Scout Master.
The Scout Medal of Merit is one of the many important objects in the collection, which has an interesting story of courage associated with the object.