Taken to the rifle range at Caesar’s Camp, Aldershot, for firing practice, Private Thomas Smith, 40, of the 20th Hussars, swivelled his rifle round from the butts and lined up Captain John Dent Bird in his sights. He squeezed the trigger, and the officer fell dead.

“It was an accident,” he protested, as he was clapped in irons. But everyone knew that the officer had put Smith on a charge the previous day, and the soldier was smouldering with revenge. He was hanged on Monday, November 16th, 1874, in Winchester Prison.