SMITH, Cecil Edward Arthur

No.31546, Private, Cecil Edward Arthur SMITH
Aged 19

13th Battalion, Essex Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Saturday, 28th April 1917

Cecil Edward Arthur SMITH was born in 1897 in West Row, (Mildenhall Q3-1897 4A:837) son of Henry and Annie SMITH (née REDGRAVE).

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at Main Street, West Row with his father Herny SMITH [36] groom, born Lewknor, Oxford; his mother Annie [37] born Barton Mills; sister Dorothy E [8] born Barton Mills and sister Frances F [5] born Mildenhall.

1911 census...Aged 14 (as Arthur), he was at The Street, Barton Mills with his parents and brother Willie [6] born Worlington.

He enlisted in Bury St. Edmunds.
The 13th Service Battalion, the Essex Regiment were known as the West Ham Pals, nicknamed " The Hammers". On the 28th April 1917 they attacked the village of Oppy and were decimated by well prepared German defenders. Of the 126 men killed, only 5 have an identified grave, the rest are named on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg d'Amiens CVemetery.

The Bury Free Press of 23rd February 1918 recorded:-

As long ago as last June, Mr. and Mrs.H. Smith of Barton Mills, were notified that their son, Prvt C.E.Smith, had been posted missing following a serious engagement on April 28th on the Western Front. Recently the anxious parents have received a communication from the War Office, which states that the authorities now reluctantly conclude that the gallant youth was killed the date named above. Prvt Smith had been in the Army about a year when he took part in the engagement which cost him his life. He was an intelligent lad with a happy disposition and the news of his death at the early age of 19 has been heard with much regret in the village, where the great sympathy has been aroused towards his sorrowing parents.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Cecil Smith is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, bay 7

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