Private 74551 George Henry Smith

Smith George 96 410x600 Smith George 96 650x439
Photograph of George is courtesy of Helen Sasia. Grave photograph courtesy The War Graves Photographic Project.

Died Bulgaria on Thursday, 7th November 1918, age unknown.
Buried in Grave I. C. 1. at Sofia War Cemetery, Bulgaria.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 79th Company.
Formerly 16292 Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Eldest Son of Mr George Henry and Mrs Mary Smith
Born: Dudley Port, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/472986/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
267 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
George Henry Smith (32, Shoe Maker (on own account, at home), born Dudley), his wife Mary Ann (33, born Tipton), and their 2 children: George Henry (6, born Tipton), and William Smith (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
220 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
George Henry Smith (42, Bootmaker and Repairer (employer), born Dudley), his wife Mary Ann (43, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 5: George Henry (16, Apprentice House Painter, born Tipton), William Smith (11, School born Tipton), and Eliza May (4, born Tipton).

Personal Data

George was initially in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, probably the 8th Battalion as they were in the 79th Brigade of 26th Division, to which the 79th Company, Machine Gun Corps was assigned when formed in 1916.

After George's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/13/10d (1 pound, 13 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his father, George H., in April 1919. His War Gratuity was £24/10/0d (24 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in April 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that George had enlisted in approximately August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The 26th Division embarked for France in September 1915, but were transfered to the Salonika Front in December 1915. They remained here for the duration of the war, taking part in the following operations:
10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill
24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917: the Battles of Doiran
18-19 September 1918: the Battle of Doiran
22-30 September 1918: the Pursuit to the Strumica Valley.

Forward units crossed the Serbian-Bulgarian boundary on 25 September 1918, hostilities with Bulgaria ceased two days later.

The 26th Division had suffered casualties of 8,022 killed, wounded and missing during the war but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases rife in the Salonika theatre. (courtesy www.1914-1918.net)

George served with the 26th Division from the day they landed in France in September 1915 until a week before the war's end. According to a relative, George died from pneumonia on the 7th November 1918, his parents receiving this news on Armistice Day. This is partially confirmed as his entry in the 'Soldier's Effects Register' says death was due to 'illness'.

Newspaper Cuttings