No.G/5663, Acting Corporal, John Walter SMITH
Aged 26

8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
Died of his Wounds on Tuesday, 17th October 1916

John Walter Smith was born on 4th August 1890 in Coddenham, Suffolk, (Bosmere Q3-1890 4A:777) baptised at St Mary's, Coddenham on 21st September 1890, son of George and Sarah Ann SMITH (née DURRANT ? ).

1891 census...Aged 8 months, he was at Lime Kiln, Needham Road, Coddenham with his father George SMITH [34] agricultural labourer born Creeting All Saints; his mother Sarah Ann [38] born Hintlesham; sisters Emma E. [10], Mary A [5] and Florence A [3] and brother George F [6]. All the children were born in Coddenham.

1901 census...Aged 11, he was at Mill Hill , Glemsford with his parents (father now a domestic groom), brother George (agricultural labourer) and sisters Emma and Florence and Lily [7] and Millie [5] both born in Chelmondiston and Elsie [1] born in Glemsford.

1911 census...Aged 20, a farm labourer, he was at 7 Carlton Grange Cottages, Brinkley with his parents (father now yard man on farm)and sisters Nellie, Elsie and Annie [9] born in Weston Colville.

He enlisted in Newmarket. This has to be our John Smith, he certainly had a mother Sarah Ann, and was born in Coddenham. The pension card gives the family home still as Carlton Grange

As John Smith died of his wounds at a General Hospital in Wimereux it is impossible without his Army records to say exactly when or where he was wounded. The 8th East Surreys were not in the front line at the start of October 1916, being mainly involved in on going training, parades and drill. Their most recent operation had been at the Schwaben Redoubt at the end of September.
There is a mention in the war diary of the 8th Battalion for September 30th, as follow:-
"In the assault "C" Company lost all their officers and nearly half their fighting strength. Sergeant Palmer, L/Cpl Smith and L/Cpl Theedon especially distinguished themselves by rushing a Hun blocking post about 50 yds north of point 15. L/Cpl Smith had a Lewis gun with him with which he did tremendous execution, firing straight down the trench which was full of the enemy"
The battalion lost 5 Officers and 43 other ranks killed that day and 238 wounded.

photo; Commonwealth War Graves Commission

John Smith is buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France - grave 1:R:13A

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