SMITH, Alfred John

No.59061, Private, Alfred John SMITH
Aged 30

36th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps(Infantry)
formerly No 26356, Norfolk Regiment
Died as a Prisoner of War on Thursday, 6th June 1918

Alfred John SMITH, born on 30th August 1887 in Hayton, Nottinghamshire,(East Retford Q4-1887 7B:5), son of Edward Albert and Mary Anne SMITH (née DUNKLEY).

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at The School, Cavenham with his father Edward A SMITH [36] a gardener born Bumpstead, Essex; his mother Marian [40], schoolmistress, born Brafield, Northants; brother Edward Hollack [7] born Easton, Essex and sister Maud A [1] born Hayton, Notts.

1901 census...Aged 14, an upholsterer's apprentice, he was at Bull Lane,Barton Mills with his father Edward SMITH [41]farmer, born Steeple Bumpstead; his mother Mary Ann [44] born Bradfield St George, Suffolk; brother Edward H [18] grocer's assistant, born Great Easton, Essex; sisters Maud A [13] born Hayton, Notts., Elsie R[9] born Cavenham and Gwendoline [6] born Barton Mills.

1911 census...Aged 23, a carpenter, he was at Street Farm, Tuddenham Road, Barton Mills with his father Edward Albert SMITH [52] farmer, born Steeple Bumpstead; his mother Mary Anne [54] born Brayfield, Northampton; brother Edward Hollack [27] butcher, born Easton, Essex; sisters Elsie Reah [19] born Cavenham, Gwyndoline [15] born Barton Mills and niece Winnie [3] born Ealing, London.

He married Alice Mabel WELLS (5-10-1877) in Lavenham, later of 17 Prentice Street, Lavenham, Suffolk. Their sons were Edward [9-12-1914] and Ernest [23-6-1916].

The records have several variations of which village is in which county. "Soldier Died" have him born at Hayton in Lancashire ! His mother's place of birth also varies from census to census. Adding to the confusion is the possibility that he is the man on the Bradfield Combust memorial. All these possibilities will be studied in greater depth at a later date His elder brother Edward was killed in 1917 in Belgium and is also commemorated on the Tuddenham war memorial. see here

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds.
CWGC have him dying on 6th June 1918. Alfred was buried first in the German Military Cemetery in Muille-Villette, SW of St Quentin. There is an Alfred SMITH, Machine Gun Corps, date of birth 30-8-87 in Heyton living Breadfield, Suffolk taken by the German near St Quentin on 21st March 1918. Unfortunately the International Red Cross have no further information on line about this soldier, not the usual burial information, or cause of death. His battalion was over-run by the Germans on the 1st day of the Kaiserschlacht (21st March 1918), at Happencourt, between St Quentin and Ham, where he is now buried. The CWGC concentration form just shows his cross is marked "Buried near this spot". The graves were re-aligned after the war when the German dead were all removed to their large concentration cemeteries.

Alfred Smith is buried in Ham British Cemetery, Muille-Villette, grave 2:E:32

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details