Corporal 15383 Alfred Smith

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 21st November 1917, age 24.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

'B' Company of 7th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

Son of Alfred and Jane E. Smith; husband of Ruth Smith, of 10, Court, 17 House, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed Balkans, 21st July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1653402/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
29 Providence Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Smith (39, Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Jane E. (37, Born Coseley), and their 2 children: John C. (11, born Tipton), and Alfred (7, born Tipton).

1911 Census
4 House 2 Court, Providence Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Alfred Smith (48, Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (45, Born Coseley), and their 2 children: John Charles (21, Puddler born Tipton) and Alfred (17, born Tipton).

Marriage of Alfred Smith and Ruth Goode registered March quarter 1912 in Dudley.

Personal Data

Alfred's Medal Index Card says that he Died of Wounds, "Soldiers Died in the Great War" records him as Killed in Action.

After Alfred's death, his widow, Ruth, received payments of £6/12/15d (6 pounds, 12 shillings and 5 pence) in September 1919, and £13/4/9d (13 pounds, 4 shillings and 9 pence) in December 1919. This included Alfred's War Gratuity of £18/10/0d (18 pounds and 10 shillings), the value of the War Gratuity suggests that Alfred had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

From Ashcroft's History of the Seventh South Staffs: "Two companies were sent back to Les Brebis to prepare for a raid. The raid took place on the morning of the November 21st, the objective being a semi-circular bit of trench in front of Mason's House. Owing to the darkness of the morning, and the incredibly muddy state of no-man's land, we did not attain the full success we hoped for, and the milk of human kindness being frozen with cold, no prisoners were taken, despite the willingness of the Boche to "Kamerad." Two dug-outs were blown in and about 20 of the enemy disposed of".

Ashcroft does not mention that the 7th South Staffs itself had 13 men killed in action on that day, including Alfred Smith who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

7th South Staffs War Diary.
"A" & "B" Companies left ST. PIERRE at 2a.m. "B" Company leading and arriving at Battalion H.Q. at 4a.m. Forming Up was delayed for a while owing to the guides losing their way, this was rectified however, and the forming up took place without incident. The code word for "Formed up" arrived at Battalion H.Q. at 5.50a.m. The Raiding Party took off at Zero and at Zero plus 6 minutes "B" Company under the command of Lieut. J.F. FREEMAN were in the first objective. Unfortunately "A" Company under the command of Capt. F.J. LINDNER lost direction and did not gain their objective, with the exception of half a platoon commanded by Sgt. CRADDOCK, and a Lewis Gun Section under Sgt. GRIFFIN, both these N.C.O.s pushed on, but were forced to withdraw owing to lack of support by remainder of Company. No identification was obtained.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Chronicle, 19th January 1918
Missing: Pte. E. Dudley, 16485, Worcesters; Acting Corpl. A. Smith, 15383, South Staffords; Pte. J. Taylor, 241471, Somerset Light Infantry, and J. Lovell, 203717, Somerset Light Infantry, all of Tipton are reported missing.
Editor: Of the above 4 men, only Lovell was to survive the war.