Smith, Alfred W

Alfred William Smith, Private 282581 (formerly 33928), 1st/5th Battn, Lancashire Fusiliers
Killed in action 6th September 1917 in Belgium, aged 22

 

EARLY LIFE

Alfred Smith was born at Hinckley, Leicestershire and baptised at Hinckley Wesleyan Methodist Church on 13 October 1895, the son of Elizabeth Ann and Alfred William Smith, a foreman in the boot trade.

In 1901, five-year-old Alfred was living at 112 Woodbridge Rd, Ipswich, Suffolk, with his parents and siblings Gertrude May (8) and Lilian (2). By 1911 the family had moved to 26 Crossall St, Macclesfield and sixteen-year-old Alfred was living there with his parents and siblings Gertrude May (18), Lilian (12), John (7) and Albert Edward (5), having moved there from Bacup in Lancashire, where John and Albert were born. Young Alfred was employed as a boot finisher; one might say he was following in his father’s footsteps.

The family later moved to 27 Duckworth St, Chesham, Bury, where Alfred found employment at Messrs Parker’s Greenbrook Slipper Works.

 

WW1 SERVICE

Alfred enlisted into the Lancashire Fusiliers at Bury in May 1916. He was twice invalided home suffering from trench foot and septic poisoning in his hands, and was drafted out for a third time in 1917.

The war diaries for the period of September 1917 show the Lancashire Fusiliers in the vicinity of Wilde Wood, and at midnight of the 5th, C and D Companies assembled in trenches ready for a 7.30 a.m. zero hour. At 7.15 a.m. the heavy bombardment commenced, with the attack on Borry Farm, starting 15 minutes later, under a creeping barrage. The 1/6th Lancashire Regiment was in support attacking Beck House and Iberian on the left, whilst the 61st Division attacked Hill 35. There was sharp fighting throughout the day, a heavy toll of casualties was caused by strong machine gun fire.

Alfred was killed during this action on 6th September 1917, aged 22 years. An obituary is included in research carried out by the Rev. Beryl Allerton, former Minister of Bury Unitarian Church, and can be downloaded in pdf format from the church website.

 

COMMEMORATION

Private Alfred Smith is buried in Grave Ref. XXVIII. D. 11 of the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. His father asked for the inscription GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN to be added to his headstone.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Alfred Smith, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.

In Macclesfield, Private Alfred Smith is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials.

 

NOTES

 

SOURCES

GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
FamilySearch England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975:
Film 1469442 – Wesleyan Methodist Church, Hinckley, Leicestershire
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website
Bury Unitarian Church website

 


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