Harry Smith


About Harry

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    9 April 1881
  • Birth town
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Coal Hewer

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Lancashire Fusiliers


Private Harry Smith was serving with the Lancashire Fusiliers when he passed through Peterborough East Station on 25 November 1916.

Harry was born in Manchester on 9 April 1881, to parents John, a blacksmith and Martha Ann (possibly nee Thornton).  In 1891 Harry, aged nine was living at 4 Taylor Buildings, Kearsley with John (43), Martha Ann (45) and siblings Sidney (12), Edward (5) and Albert (3).  The family moved to 34 Dearden Road, Little Lever, Lancashire by 1901, and Harry (19) is employed as a coal hewer.  All his siblings, except Fanny (8) are working: Sidney (22) coal hewer, Edward (15) coal mine pony driver and Albert (12) paper maker’s folder.

By 1911, Harry (29) was living with his parents and sister Fanny (18), calico weaver at 8 Cemetery Road, Droylesden.  His parents have been married for 33 years, and have had eight children, but only four were still living.

On 15 August 1914, Harry married Sarah Ann Spotswood (nee Rouse), a widow, at St Mary’s Church, Droylesden.

Harry attested on 10 November 1914 at the age of 33 years 7 months, into the Lancashire Fusiliers.  His address was 24 Angola Street, Droylesden, Manchester and he had worked as a collier.  He served at home until 25 September 1915, and was then posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force where he served until 8 July 1916 with 11th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers, C Company Machine Gun section.  He transferred to the 2/3rd Monmouth Regiment on 23 November 1916 and to the14th South Lancashire Regiment on 22 July 1917.

Harry transferred to the Army Reserve for four months on compassionate grounds on 27 November 1917.  His son Edward, who was born on 9 June 1916, died from tuberculosis of the lungs on 16 September 1917, aged 15 months.  Then, just two days later on 18 September 1917, his baby son Sydney died, aged just two months, he had a congenital debility and acute diarrhoea.

Harry was tried by a District Court Martial at Palling for absenting himself without leave from 28 March 1918 to 25 May 1918. He was found guilty and sentenced to 56 days detention, 28 days of which were remitted.  He re-joined the Army Reserves on 25 May 1918, and was posted to France on 10 October 1918.  He was discharged on 24 January 1919.  His home address was then 10 Alma Street, Droylesden, Manchester.  Harry was suffering from nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), which was attributed to his war service.  He was awarded a pension of 5s6d per week from 25 January 1919, and an allowance of 3s2d for three children from 10 February 1919.  Harry was awarded the British War and Allied Victory medals, and the 15 Star.

Harry and Sarah Ann had six children, two of whom died as infants as mentioned above.  The other children were Sarah Ann (Spotswood) born on 10 March 1911 in Droylesden, Harry on 26 August 1914, Elsie (1918) and William on 26 February 1920 all born in Ashton-under-Lyne.

In 1939 Harry, now widowed, was living at 12 Alma Street, Droylesden, Manchester and was working as a waiter in a public house.  He was living with his two sons William, a cotton spinner and Harry.

Harry Smith died in Ashton-under-Lyne in 1948, aged 60.

Do you recognise Harry’s story? Please get in touch if you can tell us more about Harry.


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