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Corporal James Smith

Civilian Occupation: Avenue MillSmith1smith2James Smith was 35 years old when he died at Guillemont on 08/08/1916.

His sacrifice is recalled at DELVILLE WOOD CEMETERY, LONGUEVAL and he is recorded in the Chorley Memorial Album in Astley Hall on page CMB/I/205b.

Notes of his life and service include:    

Served on the Belgian and French Fronts. Wounded 15th June 1915. Being an old Reservist, he was called to France in August 1914, and was in the Retreat from Mons. Previously, he served in the South African War. Killed at Guillemont Station. Chorley Guardian article of 26/8/1916 giving occupation as Ellerbeck Colliery and address as 7, Brighton Street, noting as “Missing”. Chorley Guardian photograph of 21/4/1917 gives same address, agreeing age 35, but gives occupation as Avenue Mill and note “Ex-Regular”. A Chorley Guardian photograph of 10/11/1917 agrees address and age, giving occupation, again, as Avenue Mill and noting “”Ex-Boer War”.Smith, James CG 26-8-1916

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects  gives an additional and earlier service number as 162. His death was presumed on or since 8/8/1916. His widow, Elizabeth, is noted as sole legatee.

The Service Records of Joseph Hurley [CMB-II-54a] and James Smith [CMB-I-205b], both of Chorley and both killed 8/8/1916, are muddled within each other on Ancestry.

The partial Service Record gives the address of his wife, Elizabeth, as 7 Brighton Street, Chorley on Attestation and at least in Octoebr 1917 with correspondence with the War Office. In correspondence regarding a widow’s pension the Service Record notes his children as William Carney Smith (23/2/1908) and David Smith (18/12/1912). It notes that the elder was at St James’ School.

The 1911 Census has him at 24 Wright Street, Chorley: James Smith (29, Head, Twister, Cotton Mill), Elizabeth Smith (32, Wife, Married 2 years, 2 children, 1 living, 1 dead, Born in Manchester), William Carney (3, Son, Born in Chorley). James Smith married Elizabeth Carney at St George’s Church, Chorley, in 1909 [Lancashire BMD].

Here is an extract about the death of Captain Lindsay, he died around the same time as Corporal Smith. “After a night in bivouacs, preparations were made to go over the ground prior to an attack on GUILLEMONT on the 8th. The Battalion returned to the line that night and assembled in trenches east and west of the road which ran south from the east corner of TRONES WOOD, C Company being detailed to consolidate the right of the enemy line and D Company the left on the west side of GUILLEMONT. A and B Companies acted in conjunction with the 1,4th Royal Lancasters and the 1 8th Liverpool Regiments respectively. The attack was not a success. The right was held up from the start by the switch line which had been reported by our patrol on the 6th, such report having been either overlooked or ignored, and the men had to fall back to the original line, though the 1 8th Liverpools went through the village on the left, and D Company of our Battalion commenced to consolidate, but were driven off by the enemy coming behind them and cutting them off from the Liverpools. Considerable confusion was caused owing to the mist and the employment by the enemy of smoke bombs, the four platoons in reserve not being called upon for this reason, though all their officers were killed and they suffered many other casualties. The operation was a costly one. Nine Other Ranks were killed, 97 wounded, and 107 reported missing; whilst of the Officers, Captain E. M. Rennard and Captain H. Lindsay were killed. Second Lieutenants 0. H. Ducksbury and J. H. Holden missing (afterwards found to be prisoners of war), and Lieutenants De Blaby and A. T. D. Evans and Second Lieutenants E. L. Fairclough and T. A. Bigger wounded. Lieutenant De Blaby died the following day. On the 9th of August the remnant of the Battalion was relieved by one Company of the 1 5th South Lancashires and marched to bivouacs, where Lieutenant-Colonel Hindle again took over command.””

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016


Rank: Corporal
Service No: 200072
Date of Death: 08/08/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Adam Cree
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