Category Archives: Ypres

H. Smythe

H. Smythe
Corporal 8254
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  After the action the Royal Naval Division was withdrawn and the Q.O.O.H. were recalled to England.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.

William Rowsell Smith

William Rowsell Smith
Private 33989
6th Battalion
Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry



William Rowsell Smith was the son of Mr Frederick William Smith a hairdresser of The Arcade, Reading and Mrs Anne Amelia Smith of, Melrose, Culver Road, Reading.  He was one of four brothers who served during the war.

 William Smith is remembered on the grave of his parents and other family members.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.  Panel 80 to 82 and 163A.

He was killed on 22nd August 1917, aged 21, during the very heavy fighting of the battle of 3rd Ypres.

 William Rowsell Smith is also commemorated on the Park Church Memorial.

Albert William Smith & Edwin George Smith

Albert W. Smith
Sergeant 9th Siege Battalion
Royal Garrison Artillery.

 Division 34

Smith AW & EG and bros phot

Both Albert and Edwin are commemorated in the Reading Cemetery on the grave of their  parents George and Matilda Smith. The grave is marked by a small opened book. The 1901 census records indicate the names of the brothers as Edwin, Albert, Sidney and Charles. There are two younger brothers also named Ernest and Reginald. George Smith and Edwin were listed as farm labourers. It has not been possible to find information after 1901.

Smith AW photo

Albert W. Smith, known as Bert and “Fatty” died of wounds on 17th July 1917, after nine years of service, aged 27.  He was the second son of George and Matilda Smith.

 Bert died ten days after his return to France from leave.  (It was actually Belgium and he received wounds during a time which the British carried out some successful raids in the Ypres sector, two weeks prior to the Third Battle of Ypres)

He is buried at La Clytte Military Cemetery, Belgium. Location II. F. 18.

 The family remembered the anniversary of his death –

In memoriam Std. July 19th 1919- Smith – “In loving memory of my dear brother….

In a soldier’s grave in a foreign land
Lies a brother true and kind,
We little thought when we said goodbye
‘Twas our last parting-you were to die.
Though the blow was cruel, we miss you still,
In grief we must bend to God’s will.

His loving sister, Nancy, 4. Laurel Cottage, Basingstoke Rd. Whitley, Berks.

Edwin George Smith
Private 15512
 8th  Battalion. Royal Berkshire Regiment 

Edwin George Smith, is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing Panels 93 -95. He died on the 25th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Loos.  He was the eldest of the four Smith brothers.  

Standard January 10th 1920

In proud memory ….
Till the morning breaks and the shadows flee away. RIP  
From their ever loving Mother and sisters and brothers.

also from sister Nancy – Edwin George Smith and Albert William Smith

They too loved life, but loving, dared not stay,
Lest those they loved should pay the price,
Sunshine and youth and laughter, all they gave in sacrifice.