Private (Ernest) Albert Edward Smith

Thank you to Jane Anthony for this research.

Albert Edward Ernest Smith, who was know as Ernest was born at Wotton in 1894. By 1901, his father Charles had died leaving his mother Isabella to bring up Ernest and his sister Phyllis singlehandedly. Charles had been a gardener and Isabella worked as a laundress. In both 1901 and 1911, Henry Cooper, who was described as a nephew, was living with the family. In 1911 Ernest was working as a house and garden boy.

Ernest enlisted at Horsham into the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, which was a London regiment. It is possible that he was living at Buchan Hill which is on the outskirts of Crawley at the time he enlisted, but his name does not appear on any of the war memorials for that area.

At the time the Private Smith was killed his Battalion was heavily involved in the battle for Arras, contemporary war diaries give details of their movements at the time. On 1st May his Battalion was part of a large attack, the Battalions orders were to capture and consolidate, and then proceed to the front line near “Shrapnel Trench”, presumably Erenst Smith was killed during the course of this battle.

He was killed on 3rd May 1917 and is buried at Dury Crucifix Cemetery which is about 17 kilometres south east of Arras. The cemetery was begun by Canadian units (mainly the 46th and 47th Battalions) immediately after the capture of the village, and it initially contained 72 graves at the time of the Armistice; however it was then enlarged by the concentration of graves from the battlefields of April and May, 1917. One of those that were reinterred was Private Ernest Smith.

Born Wotton, Surrey
Lived Abinger Bottom, Surrey
Son of Charles and Isabella Smith
Enlisted Horsham
Regiment 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
Number 27677
Date of Death 3rd May 1917
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 23
Cemetery Dury Crucifix Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
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