Category Archives: Arras

Leonard Smith, Cecil Trice Smith, Cornelius Smith & Archibald Smith

Division 74 Extension

Smith bros Leo Corn Cecil A

Leonard, Cornelius and Cecil Trice Smith were the sons of  Albert and Alice Smith of 42, De Beauvior Road, Reading.  They are named on the headstone of their parents grave. Grave number 17619.   Archibald Smith, who is pictured with Leonard and Cecil is assumed to be another son and to have survived the war. The 1901 census indicates that the family were living in South Western Cottages, Basingstoke and that Albert was a train carriage examiner and son Archibald, then 14, was a boiler riveter. Cecil, the oldest at 16wasnot recorded as having an occupation. Cornelius was aged 10 and Leonard was 4 years old. They had two sisters Dorcus aged 6 and Alice 2 months. 

 Leonard Smith
Rifleman R/12278
1st Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps

 He was reported missing on 27th July 1916, and was reported to have died on or after that date.  He was 19 years old.  His is named on the family grave along with his brothers.

Leonard Smith is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, the Somme,  Pier and Face 13A & 13B.

 Cecil Trice Smith
Sergeant 132088
73rd Battalion Canadian Infantry (Quebec)

Smith CT grave

Cecil Trice Smith was married to E. M. Smith of 21 Linwood Terrace, Abingdon.  He was killed in action on 9th April 1917 and is buried in Zouave Valley Cemetery, Souchez, location I.G.1.

The Battle of Arras began on the 9th April.  The Canadians took Vimy Ridge in a well rehearsed battle which involved the use of underground tunnels to move masses of troops unseen and close to the German trenches.  Cecil Smith was killed during this action but where exactly is not clear.  He is buried in Plot I of the cemetery which was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from a wide area around Souchez.

Cornelius Smith
Lance Corporal WR/263564 29th Broad Gauge Company
Royal Engineers 

Smith Cornelius grave

Cornelius Smith was killed an air raid on Boulogne on 1st August 1918.  He is buried in Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille Plot II. A. 7.

 Archibald Smith
Canadian Expeditionary Force

 Archibald Smith is the brother of Leonard and Cecil Trice Smith.  He appears on the photograph accompanying this biography.  However, it has not been possible to find information about him when carrying out a CWGC search.  It has been assumed by the author that Archibald Smith survived the war and his brothers, Archibald’s name does not appear on the family headstone.

Charles Francis Simonds

Charles Francis Simonds
Major 13th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps

 Division 45

Simonds CF photo

Charles Francis Simonds was the eldest son of James and Cecilia Simonds, of Redlands House, Reading. James Simonds was already dead when news came that Charles had been killed in action.  The Simonds family were a well-known banking family in Reading. Although the bank, Messers. J & C Simonds & Co. had already incorporated with Barclay’s & Co. Ltd.  However, the original brass nameplates could still be seen on the door of the Barclay’s bank which is sited opposite the ‘Jacksons’ corner until Barclays vacated the building.

 Charles Simonds was educated at Wellington College and Trinity College, Oxford.  He served in the South African war as a member of the Berkshire Mounted Infantry and received the Queen’s Medal with four clasps.   Charles rejoined the Army in September 1914 leaving his work as a businessman and partner in the Simonds bank.  He was gazetted as captain to the Service Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. and received his majority February 1st 1915, he went to the front in July 1915.

 He married Evelyn Hickman, granddaughter of the late Sir Alfred Hickman, in 1907.   They had two sons and had their family home at The Crofts, Spencer’s Wood.  By the time of CWGC registration Evelyn remarried and taking the name of Fuller and moving to Strattonend, Cirencester.   

 Charles Simonds was well known in Reading as a sports man, he rode to hounds with the South Berkshire Hunt and was a member of their committee.  Charles had rowed at Oxford and in his twenties was a member of the Reading Rowing club, serving a period as Captain when the club was particularly successful.

Charles   Simonds had been home on leave only three weeks before his death.  On his return to the front Simonds was  charged with the planning of a trench raid. This was carried out successfully due to his outstanding organisation.  However, during the accompanying  bombardment shells fell on the command dugout, which should have been safe from danger, and Charles Simonds and other key officers were killed   instantly.  A mining party was sent in immediately to dig the place out and eventually after much heavy digging found the bodies which were removed to the unit church hut.

Charles   Simonds was killed on 29th June 1916 aged 38.  He was buried in Berles-au-Bois Churchyard  Extension, Pas de Calais. The unit had been in the village some two months at   the time of Simonds death.  The grave   location is G.5.  He is commemorated on the Simonds family grave number 2297, in the Reading Cemetery. Berkshire   Family History Society classification 45B1.



J W Porter

J W Porter
Bugler 9137
“G” Company 2nd Battalion
Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Division 69

Porter W photo

J W Porter was the son of  Mr and Mrs F. Porter of Reading and the husband of Emily Walker (nee Porter) of 449, Brooklyn Street, St. James’, Winnipeg, Canada.  He died of wounds on 14th September 1915.  He is commemorated on his parents grave, number 18168. 

Bugler Porter is buried in Chocques Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.  Location Plot I. D. 99.

 Chocques  lies north west of Bethune near Gonnheim.  From late autumn 1914 to the end of the war Chocques was occupied by the British.  The graves in Plot I were on men who died of wounds in No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station which was posted in the village.  The officers were buried in Plot V.  The casualties would have been fighting on the Bethune front.