Thank you to Patricia Brazier from Dorking Museum and John Callcut from Newdigate Local History Society for the following research.
William was born on 25th June 1880 and baptised at the parish church of Lynch in Sussex on the 18th July. His father is James, an Agricultural Labour and his mother is Louisa.
In the 1881 census the family are living in Woodman’s Green in Lynch. William is 9 months old, he has two sisters, Emily aged 11 and Lucy aged 9 and three brothers, James aged 6, Josiah aged 4 and Harry aged 2.
In the 1891 census the family are living in Fernhurst in Sussex, William’s father is now a carter on a farm. William has more siblings, Kate aged 8, Frank aged 5, Ann aged 3 and Charles Archibald aged 1.
William attended Hollycombe School in Lynch, from March 1885 until April 1893. He left when the family moved to Surrey.
In the 1901 census William is a Woodman in Kingswood Warren in Surrey. He is living with his sister Emily who is married to Charles West, a Gamekeeper.
When the 1911 census was taken, William has moved to Walton Heath Golf Club and is now a Greenkeeper. On 20th May 1911 he married Annie Boniface in Walton-on-the-Hill, their only child Jack was born on 9th February 1913.
By 1911, James and Louisa had moved to Spring Cottages, Partridge Lane, Newdigate.
William enlisted on 3rd December 1915. He arrived in France on 8th December 1916.
On the day he died, 11th July 1917, his battalion were in trenches in Mazingarbe, northern France. He is buried in Philosophe British Cemetery. His wife Annie requested that the inscription “Peace Perfect Peace” be put on his headstone.
Annie did not re-marry. She received a pension of £18 and 9 pence per week with effect from 28th January 1918. She died in 1955.
Their son Jack became the Reverend Jack Smithers of St Peters Church in Portsmouth.
Son of James and Lucy Smithers of Spring Cottage, Newdigate.
Husband of Annie Bonniface
Regiment 1st Battalion. The Buffs. East Kent Regiment
Date of Death 11th July 1917
Place of Death Loos, France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Cemetery Philosophe Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France