Tipton

Remembers

Serjeant R/3159 John Darcy Leonard Smith


Smith John DL 96 452x600
Photograph courtesy of Jean.


Killed in Action on Friday, 30th November 1917, age 25.
Commemorated on Panel 9 of Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

10th Bn., King's Royal Rifle Corps. 59th Brigade of 20th Division.

Son of John George and Harriett Smith (nee Clemson) of 60 Bell Street, Wolverhampton.
Born: Wolverhampton, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 21st July 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/1756817/


Genealogical Data

Birth of John Darcy Leonard Smith registered June quarter 1892 in Wolverhampton.

1901 Census
2 Temple Street, Wolverhampton, Staffs.
John G. Smith (34, Widower, Hairdresser, born Norton Cuckney, Notts), and his 4 children: George E. (9, born Wolverhampton), John D.L. (7, born Wolverhampton), William (6, born Wolverhampton), and James H. (5, born Wolverhampton).

1911 Census
Cannot trace.


Personal Data

After John's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £17/7/9d (17 pounds, 7 shillings and 9 pence); this was to be paid equally between his 4 siblings: James, Julia, William and George. The payments were made in March, April and May 1918, however William and George requested that their share also be given to Julia. His War Gratuity was £17/10/0d (17 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his brother James in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that John had enlisted in September 1914.


Action resulting in his death

The 10th King's Royal Rifles had been in the Cambrai sector since the start of the Battle of Cambrai on 20th November, when they had advanced from Villers Plouich north-eastwards towards Marcoing. As the Germans began their counter-attack on 30th November, the 10th KRRC held part of the front line on Bonavis Ridge, opposite Bonavis Farm and Latteau Wood. Casualties had reduced the battalion's numbers to less than 400. They faced superior German forces who had the advantage of higher ground.

The mist was particularly thick around Latteau Wood, and they found themselves under attack not only from their front but from their right and left. The German infantry advanced in a succession of from eight to twelve waves, at times preceded by low-flying aircraft firing machine-guns at the defenders.

Thus it was that the men of the 10th KRRC found themselves confronted by swarms of German infantry emerging from the mist. With no time to fall back or reorganise, the battalion battled it out. By the end of the day only four officers and sixteen men of the 10th KRRC were on their feet, having managed to work their way back to La Vacquerie.

On 30th November, 61 men of the 10th KRRC died, amongst them Pte John Darcy Leonard Smith. A further 10 died of their wounds in the next week. The 10th KRRC was for the time being, finished as a fighting force.


Newspaper Cuttings

RANK AND FILE: Birmingham Daily Post 11th May 1917
MIDLANDS MEN.
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
WOUNDED.
KING'S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS- Smith, 3159, Corpl., J.D.L., (Tipton).

Birmingham Daily Post 20th September 1917
RANK AND FILE: MIDLANDS MEN.
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
WOUNDED.
KING'S ROYAL RIFLE CORPS- Smith, 3159, Lce-Sergt., J.D.L., (Tipton).