Private 4975 Ernest Smith

Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916, age 30.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 9 A 9 B and 10 B of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

1st/6th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 143rd Brigade of 48th Division.

Son of Roland and Nell Smith; husband of Elizabeth Smith, of 13, Factory Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Cannock Chase, Enlisted: Birmingham, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/812560/

Genealogical Data

Cannot find Ernest Smith on the 1901 or 1911 census.

Personal Data

Ernest's outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/17/5d (2 pounds, 17 shillings, and 5 pence) and was paid to his widow, Elizabeth, in October 1916. His War Gratuity of £3/0/0d was paid to Elizabeth in September 1919; the value of the War Gratuity suggests that Ernest had been in the army for less than 12 months.

Action resulting in his death

The 1/6th Royal Warwicks were part of 143rd (Warwickshire) Brigade of 48th (South Midlands) Division, this Division was to be in reserve on 1st July 1916 - the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. The 1/6th Royal Warwicks were, however, loaned to 11th Brigade, 4th Division for their attack between Serre and the Quadrilateral Redoubt, modern day Serre No 2 CWGC cemetery. 11th Brigade was to lead this sector of the attack, the first wave had the objective of the first four line of German trenches, the second wave, including the 1/6 Royal Warwicks, was to pass through and advance beyond Munich trench and secure the first German position.

The first wave took the first two lines quickly, casualties were taken from machine gun fire in the third line, but this and the fourth lines were taken. The second wave, including the 1/6th Royal Warwicks, took heavy casualties from artillery fire in No-Mans-Land and arrived too weak to advance to Munich Trench. By afternoon, most remaining troops of the 11th Brigade were concentrated around the Quadrilateral, but taking fire from all sides as Divisions on both flanks had failed to make any gains. The 11th Brigade was relieved in the late afternoon.

During this day, 148 men from the 1/6th Royal Warwicks were killed, amongst them three Tipton men. Sgt Raymond Jukes and Private Ernest Smith have no known graves and are commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, and Private Thomas Watters is buried in Serre No. 2 Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette 28th August 1916
Many Warwicks wounded and missing.
Warwicks- Smith, 4975, E. (Tipton).