SMITH, George Henry

No.13714, Private, George Henry SMITH
Aged 30

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 22nd March 1918

George Henry Smith was born in Fornham All Saints (Thingoe Q1-1888 4A:707), baptised in All Saints on 6th May 1888, son of Henry and Betsy SMITH (née WEBB).

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at The Coalyards, Fornham All Saints with his grandmother, widow Louisa UNDERWOOD [69]; father Henry SMITH [40] farm labourer; his mother Betsy [40] born Cowlinge; and sister Miller Louisa Smith [1]. All except his mother were born in Fornham All Saints.

1901 census...Aged 13, a farm labourer, he was boarding with widow Emma PASK and her 4 sons at 6 The Green, Fornham All Saints. Father seems to have died in 1899,grandmother apparently is in the Workhouse

1911 census...Aged 23, farm labourer, he was boarding with Henry and Ellen SCOULDING.

His mother has not been traced since 1891, nor has his marriage and child been found, but with a surname of Smith, it is obviously necessary to find relatives to provide answer. He have had daughter since an N.G.Grogan applied from Australia for her late father's medals. His medals were returned but re-issued in 1924. This implies his widow re married. Another problem is the executrix of his will was recorded by the Army as widow Miss Florence H Potten.

The pension card gives Miss May Potter of 100 Seward Road, Hanwell as guardian, moving to H.J.Lacey, Supt. Newport Market, Army Training School, 28-30 Greencourt Place, SW1 and a stepson, Vernon George Arthur Joseph de Landre GROGAN [31-7-1906]. No birth registration in England has been found for ths stepson

He enlisted in Fornham All Saints. "Personal effects" show he served in 9th, 11th and 12th Battalions.
It was the second day of the German Spring Offensive, the Kaiserschlacht and practically all along the Somme front the Allies were in retreat. The actual war diary has not been found but Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment says that the 11th Suffolks were struggling from dawn to defend Henin Hill. All day they battled and held off the Germans but at 7 pm one company began to give way. During the retreat "C" company HQ came across 8 Germans with 5 prisoners. They killed the Germans and brought back the released prisoners. An hour later HQ and 2 platoons moved to the 3rd system in front of BOYELLES,one party remaining near the CRUCIFIX covering the withdrawal to HENIN of 9th Brigade. The remainder of the battalion rejoined battalion HQ at Hamelincourt by the morning of the 23rd.

CWGC have recorded 50 of the 11th Suffolk killed, none have an identified grave.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

George Smith is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, bay 4

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