SMITH, James

No.21006, Private, James SMITH
Aged 19

"F" Coy., 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 28th April 1917

James Smith was born in Stetchworth in 1898 (Newmarket Q1-1898 3B:514) son of Edward and Ada SMITH (née JACOBS).

1901 census...Aged 3, he was in Tea Kettle Lane, Stetchworth with his father Edward SMITH [36] a brick layer born in Stetchworth; his mother Ada [33] born Dullingham; brother Edward [5] born Dullingham and twin sister Emma [3] and sister Annie [11 months] both born in Stetchworth.

1911 census...Aged 13, he was at Hall Farm with his parents, brother Edward, sisters Emma (now 10 ?) and Annie now 8?) and brothers Charles [5] and John [7 months] both born in Stetchworth. Later his parents were living at Mill Corner, Stetchworth

He enlisted in Newmarket.
From "History of the Suffolk Regiment" by Lt Col CCR Murphy we learn that;
April 28th 1917, at 4:27 am the 11th Suffolks forming the left battalion of the 101st Brigade, attacked the chemical works north of Roeux and immediately south of the railway . It was soon held up, and then driven back by intense machine gun fire from a trench which appeared to have been missed by our barrage, but a few men actually got through and into a quarry to the east of the works, coming back in the evening with 2 or 3 prisoners.
At 9:45 am the enemy counter attacked from the direction of Roeux, capturing Mount Pleasant Wood and part of Ceylon communications trench. Major Tuck then went up into the line again and found the battalion front intact, Ceylon trench once more in our hands and the enemy in the process of being driven out of Mount Pleasant wood. At 10 that night the battalion was withdrawn from the front to the support line trenches for two hours to enable our artillery to bombard the chemical works, which were attacked - but again unsuccessfully - by a fresh unit afterwards.

The 11th Suffolks suffered 107 killed, 82 having no identified grave.

photo: Rodney Gibson

James Smith is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras - bay 4

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