Smith, James William

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James William Smith

Second Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery, Mentioned in Dispatches
Died of wounds, 30 November 1918, aged 24
Buried at Chester (Overleigh) Cemetery

CWGC registered (Son of James and Gertrude Smith, of Wilfred House, Harcourt Rd, Llandudno. Born at Chester)

James William Smith, the son of James Smith, and his wife, Gertrude Smith (née Grice) was born at Hoole, Cheshire in 1894. The Census of 1901 records the family living at 210 New Hospital Road, Wolverhampton; James Smith (senior) was the manager of a bookshop. The Census of Wales for 1911 records the family as visitors to 11 Warren Road, Prestatyn; James Smith (senior) was now a commercial traveller and his sons James William (17) and Reginald Horace (8) were a railway clerk and at school respectively. James later became a cattle food traveller.

When James William Smith joined the army is presently unknown but it is recorded that he disembarked in France on 19 December 1914. He was then a private in the Army Service Corps and his regimental number of SS/1539 indicates that he was in the Special Supply section which consisted of trades such as bakers, butchers and clerks. James must have proved to have been a good soldier for he was gazetted on 4 January 1917 as having been Mentioned in Dispatches in the rank of private (acting sergeant). He was discharged from the Army Service Corps on 17 March 1918 because he had been appointed to a commission in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

It is not known when James took up his new duties in France, though it is recorded that he served with the 251st Battery. On 26 August 1918, James Smith received a gunshot wound to the right arm (according to his death certificate) and/or gunshot wounds resulting in the amputation of one leg, a severe fracture of his other leg, and injuries to his right hand requiring the amputation of some fingers (according to a contemporary newspaper report).

After being evacuated to England, James William Smith died of septicaemia and endocarditis following an operation at St. Thomas’ Home, Lambeth on 30 November 1918 aged 24. His body was taken to Chester and interred at Overleigh Cemetery.

James parents’ address after the war was “Wilfred House”, Harcourt Road, Llandudno. They both still lived at this address in 1939 but when they subsequently died, they were buried in the same grave as their son James William Smith in Chester.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Town Hall, Chester
  • Llanrhos Parish War Memorial, All Saints’ Church, Deganwy

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