Sunday, February 22, 2015

200583 Corporal Frederick James Smith, 4th Suffolk Regt

Frederick James Smith was born in 1884, his birth registered at Lewes in the December quarter of that year. 

He appears on the 1891 census of England and Wales living at Hanly Farm, Cooksbridge Road, Barcombe, with his family.  The household comprised James Smith (head, married, aged 32, working as a groom), his wife Margaret Emma Smith (nee Diplock), also aged 32 and their five sons: Arthur Vere Smith (aged eight), Frederick (aged six), Spencer M Smith (aged four), Henry William Smith (aged two) and Edward George Smith (aged five months).  James was from Newick, his wife from Lindfield.  Arthur had been born in Newick, Frederick in Hamsey and the other four boys in Barcombe. 

Next door to them lived William Diplock and his family.  William was almost certainly directly related to Margaret; either an older brother or her father.
By the time the 1901 census was taken, the family had grown and had also moved house to Colonel’s Bank, Newick.  The household now comprised: James Smith (42, by now working as an agricultural labourer), his wife Margaret Emily [sic] Smith and their nine children: Arthur Vere Smith (aged 18, working as an agricultural labourer), Frederick (aged 16, working as a gardener), Spencer Maryon Smith (aged 14, working as a gardener), Henry William Smith (aged 12), Edward George Smith (aged ten), Leonard Diplock Smith (aged eight), Cissie Eva Smith (the only daughter, aged seven), Sydney Septimus Smith (aged 5) and Cyril Frank Smith (aged two).  The four younger children had all been born in Newick. 

Frederick does not get a mention in Chailey’s parish magazine but The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Debt of Honour Register notes that he was 32 years old and was the son of James and Margaret Emma Smith of Yew Tree Cottage, Colonels Bank, Chailey, Lewes, Sussex. 

200583 Corporal F J Smith was killed in action at the Battle of Arras on 17th April 1917 whilst serving with the 4th Suffolk Regiment.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on bay four of the Arras memorial in France. 

Both Frederick and George attended the village school at Newick and the photo that appears on this page is the one which Frederick sent his old headmaster, John Oldaker.  My thanks to Simon Stevens of Newick for sharing this with me.

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