John Smith, Private 24970, 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regt
Died 7th June 1917 near Ypres, Belgium
Husband of Mrs E Smith, later of 18 Stanley St, Macclesfield, Cheshire.
The death of Private John Smith was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 29 June 1917:
KILLED AT MESSINES RIDGE: A GALLANT FIGHTER’S DEATH – Mrs Smith, Duke Street, Macclesfield, has been informed that her husband, Private Jack Smith, of the Cheshire Regt, was killed in action while serving in France on June 7th. The sad news was conveyed in letters from an officer, a lance-corporal and a private… Lance-Corporal Hodkinson states, “A week yesterday, on June 7th, we went over the top and I am sorry to say I lost my best pal, your husband Jack. We had been together as long as I can remember, always sharing everything… Just before we went over the top together, a shell burst close to a great many of us, Jack, along with more, getting killed… He said just before we went over that if anything happened to either of us, one would write…”
Private Smith was 31 years of age and well-known in Macclesfield. He received his education at Duke Street Day School and was connected with the Old Church [St Michael’s], being a member of the Men’s Bible Class. He also played for St Michael’s football team. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a painter and decorator by Mr E V Rumsey, Brown Street. Private Smith was married six years ago, on the same day as Private V Mottershead (whose death was reported in our last issue). On the outbreak of war, the deceased made five attempts to join the Army, but was rejected on each occasion… the sixth time he was accepted… He was drafted on service eighteen months ago, arriving in France on Christmas Day. He took part in the fighting on the Somme, and had his helmet blown off by the explosion of a bomb, shrapnel dust injuring him int he face. His thumb was also penetrated by a piece of shrapnel. Private Smith underwent treatment in hospital and on recovery returned to the trenches. He came home on draft leave before bring transferred a second time to France, and in a letter dated two days before his death, Private Smith stated that he expected to have a furlough if he came through the Messines fighting safely. His mother resides at 29 Roe Street.
Private John Smith is buried in Grave Ref. II. B. 3. of the Lone Tree Cemetery in Belgium. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private John Smith, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.