Charles Edwin Moores Weller
46th Battalion Canadian Infantry (Saskatchewan)
Charles Edwin Moores Weller was the son of Charles Weller, of 127, Queens Road, Reading. He is commemorated on the headstone of the grave of Fanny Briden and Charles Weller. Grave number 8711. Charles was the eldest son of this marriage. The inscription, which is now very feint, states that he was killed in action at Passchendaele on 26th October 1917, aged 37.
The 26th October marked what was officially designated the 2nd Battle of Passchendaele. The action began at 5.40 in the morning. British divisions were either side of the Menin Road. Along the Passchendaele ridge and the Passchendaele to Broodseinde road were the 46th Canadians and the 18th Australian Battalions. They moved forward in the early mist and later steady rain. The Canadians and Australians took there objectives. However, the Canadians paid heavily with 70% casualties and because two different units had been used in the capture of Decline Copse, and each left it to the other unit to consolidate, the Germans were able to mount a successful counter attack and they were not ejected for a further 24 hours.
Charles Weller was first reported missing and his father had many appeals for information published in local papers, it was not until March 1918 that he was confirmed as killed.
Charles Weller’s body was lost and therefore his name was commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, Panels 18-26-28. His name is listed in the Canadian Book of Remembrance.
Company Sergeant Major 193
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (Eastern Ontario Division)
Division 79 Extension
H.G.L. Smith was known as Slope and this name is inscribed on the headstone of his registered war grave. The distinctive memorial bears a cross and an angel. Grave number 16062. He died on 2nd February 1915.
Slope’s funeral was the first military funeral in the Reading Borough and was unusual because he died of wounds in France and his body was brought back to this country as a result of his sisters endeavours. Shortly after it was decreed that British service men would be buried in the country where they died.
Slope Smith a native of Reading was living in Canada at the outbreak of war and came to England with the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry. The P.P.C.L..I. were not part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, in spite of its name, but part of 27th Division British Army. The were a unique force raised by Hamilton Gault a Montreal business man.Slope Smith already had an impressive army record having served in the South African War with the Royal Horse Guards and at one time with the 12th Lancers. After the South African war served as a native commissioner in NW Rhodesia.
The Reading Chronicle on the 5th February 1915 published an article about Slope and his wounding on the 25th January The article included a letter to his sister. By the time the paper was publish Slope Smith had already died although the editor did not know that fact his wounding and rather critical state were commented upon. The following week, 12th February the Chronicle gave details of his death and funeral.
E.J. Smith was the brother of Slope Smith, he is buried in his brother’s grave, the inscription giving his details states:
“Died from the effects of the War”
He died on the 27th March 1923 aged 42 years. His death occurred too late for him to be counted as an official war casualty with his name registered by the CWGC.
It is known that he joined the army voluntarily but not the regiment to which he belonged. It is possible that his first name was Edmund.
Henry Leonard Smith
Private 425336 31st Battalion Alberta Regt.
Canadian Expeditionary Force
Henry Leonard Smith was the eldest son of a Mr Henry and Mrs Mary Ann Smith, of 19, Southampton Street, Reading. Henry worked with his father in the family butchers shop. Henry had six other siblings who were of school age in 1911. He is commemorated on a family grave, number 16365. Henry was wounded in Ypres according to the caption with his photograph, probably in 1915.
Henry Leonard Smith was finally killed in action, aged 21, on the 15th September 1916. This day marked the begging of the 3rd Phase of the Somme battle. There was a massive allied advance along a six mile front and tanks were used for the first time. The CEF followed the tanks into battle along the left hand of the front between Flers and Courcelette. Although the Canadian infantry moved more quickly than the slowly moving tanks and soon overtook them, the fact that tanks were there enabled the Canadians not only to capture Courcelette but also many German prisoners who gave themselves up when they saw the lumbering iron monsters. The battle raged throughout the rest of September and October, finally coming to an end on the 18th November 1916.
Henry Leonard Smith is buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery. Location II.B.6.
Percival Harold Smith
who died 10th November 1918, aged 20, is commemorated on grave 16365 but no further details have been found. A CWGC trace has not revealed any information via the Internet dure to the large number of “Smith’s” killed during the war.