Herbert Warington Smyth

Portrait of Herbert   Warington Smyth

Herbert Warington Smyth, "Warington" (4 June 1867 – 19 Dec. 1943, Redruth, UK) was a British traveler, writer, naval officer and mining engineer who served the government of Siam in the 1890s and later held several posts in the Union of South Africa.

Warington went to Siam in 1890 as an unpaid assistant to the Mineral Adviser to the Office of Woods, was Secretary of the Government Department of Mines from 1891 to 1895, and Director General from 1895 to 1897. He was secretary of the Siamese legation from 1898 to 1901.

In his book Five Years in Siam, and especially in his study Exploring for Gemstones on the Upper Mekong - Northern Siam and Parts of Laos in the Years 1892-1893 (repub. by White Lotus, Bangkok, 109 p., ISBN 9748434249), he accounted his six-month journey from Bangkok to Luang Prabang and through Nong Khai and Korat, exploring the regions opposite Chiang Khong, on the left bank of the Mekong, for deposits of rubies and sapphires.

Warington had a special interest in the Tonle Sap (which he called "Tale Sap") for geological and hydrological reasons, and he visited the Siem Reap-Battambang area while "being busy making expeditions in various directions in pursuit of rumoured gold mines", as he noted.

A dedicated yachtman, he also published in 1906 Mast and Sail in Europe and Asia, and in 1925 Sea-wake and Jungle Trail. He also observed the boat races in Bangkok, noting that the crews were often made of men and women, and the latter, "with their cross sashes of yellow, green or blue, not only looked but also proved the smartest". He himself illustrated most of his published book with sketches, drawings and maps.

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