4th Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars
Note: Research has only revealed limited information. The detail has come from CWGC register. It is possible the family moved to Streatly at the time of registration. However, Ancestry UK searches have revealed nothing with searches defaulting to the name Smith. I suspect the information presented does not refer to the same H. Smythe as named on Alfred Sutton Memorial. The QOOH were a territorial mounted unit.
H. Smythe – The son of Frank and Annie Smythe, Northlands Streatley on Thames died 16th October 1914, aged 21 years. His name is on the La Ferte-sous-Jouare Memorial.
The Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars were sent to France as a supporting Cavalry Unit in the early days of the war and were part of the British Expeditionary Force. They had the distinction of being the first Territorial (Yeomanry) Force to embark for France as the Cavalry of the Marines Division. The Marines were the baby of Winston Churchill who was First Lord of the Admiralty and his family had been associated with the Hussars for more than a hundred years.
On 3rd October 1914 the Hussars were the only British force standing between the Germans and the sea, the Marines had been ordered to Antwerp. The action there resulted in the small Belgium army escaping to fight another day although the town itself fell to the Germans. After the action the Royal Naval Division was withdrawn and the Q.O.O.H. were recalled to England. However, the officers of the unit, having enjoyed chasing German cavalry were reluctant to leave and all but mutinied. The sent representatives to see the Commander-in-Chief Sir john French, pleading to be allowed to stay. French liked their cheek and explained that whilst he could not absorb them into the official fighting force as they were not part of the official BEF, he would allow them to stay as guards for the HQ in St. Omer. By the end of October 1914 they found themselves in action at Messines Ridge in the First Battle of Ypres.
It would have been in the action at the First Battle of Ypres that H. Smythe would have lost his life. His body was probably lost or was not able to be identified hence he has no known grave and his name is commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing.