SMITH, James David

No.12114, Private, James David SMITH
Aged 22

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action presumed on Friday, 30th November 1917

James David Smith was born in West Row in 1895,(Mildenhall Q3-1895 4A:811) son of Joseph Pitches and Emma SMITH (née RUMBELOW).

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Main Street, West Row with his mother Emma SMITH [27] and brother George F. [4]. All born in Mildenhall. His father was away in the Army.

1911 census...Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was at West Row with his father Joseph SMITH [45] game keeper; his mother Emma; brothers George, Victor [9] Sydney [7] and Charlie [2]; sister Elise [4]. All were born in West Row.

Enlisted in Newmarket.

From Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment":-
On the night of the 29th November 1917 the battalion was relieved and marched back to Brigade reserve, into a sunken road less than half a mile behind the front line. HQ was in the Cheshire Quarry, officers accommodated in old dugouts separate form the men. It was intended to be purely temporary and there was no trench system
Lt .Col FS Cooper left, seriously ill and Major Henty assumed command. Major Walker arrived after dark and would taken over command the next day. Events decreed otherwise.
Early on the 30th the hostile artillery became very active and before the battalion had time to stand-to, the Germans, in enormous masses, swarmed round the flanks of the division, attacking from all sides. At the same time numbers of low flying aircraft wheeled about overhead firing machine guns and dropping bombs. The men banded together as best they could, offering as much resistance as possible. Some time before the position was lost, Major Henty and Captain and Adjutant Taylor were killed. and 11 other officers were captured or missing.

CWGC gives 33 other ranks killed and not one has an identified grave, all are named on the Cambrai Memorial.

James Smith is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, panel 4

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