Private Albert Ernest Smith

Regiment:  58th Battalion Canadian Infantry
Service No: 2562353
Date & place of birth: 22 October 1887 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Date & place of death: 29 August 1918 (aged 30) near Béthune, France.

 Albert’s connection to Rogate is unclear. His father and mother may have moved to Rogate sometime after 1911 as they are recorded as his Next of Kin living in the village but with no actual address. His elder brother, William, died in Flanders on 23 June 1917.

 Family background

Albert Ernest Smith was born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire on 22 October 1887, the fourth of seven children born to William Smith and Maria née Grant. In 1891 the family lived at 5 Charlton Street, Grimsby. By 1901 the family of William Smith [a sailmaker] and Maria had moved to 13 Port Street, Glasgow, Scotland with William, the eldest son, Albert and two other brothers and two sisters.

In 1911, the census shows that William and Maria, together with four of their seven children, had moved to 35 Mayhall Road, Copnor, Portsmouth. No evidence could be found as to whether Albert ever lived in Rogate, other than on Albert’s attestation papers signed in 1917.

Military service

It appears that Albert emigrated to Canada sometime after 1911. However his Attestation Paper, which he signed on 1 July 1917 in Toronto, when he joined up, showed that he was actually living at 2348 Mt. Howard Street, Philadelphia, USA, working as a weaver.

His medical examination had taken place on 25 June in New York. His Service Record shows that he sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 26 November 1917 on the SS Scotian, arriving in England on 7 December. Albert was transferred to the 2nd Canadian Reserve Battalion on 15 February 1918 from the 8th Reserve Battalion, and then to the 58th Battalion (2nd Central Ontario regiment) on 1 June, landing in France on 2 June 1918.

He is recorded as having been admitted to the 12th Canadian General Hospital at Bramshott, near Liphook, on 15 April 1918 with impetigo. He was discharged from hospital on 2 May and returned to his battalion in France.

Death and commemoration

Albert Ernest Smith is buried in the Ligny-St.Flochel British Cemetery, 17 miles south-west of Béthune in the Pas-de-Calais department of France and his name is recorded on the Rogate War Memorial.

On his death, his affects were left to his mother (now a widow). At the time of his death his mother is mentioned as living in Station Road, East Liss and later at Hatchlands Bungalow, (in Huntsbottom Lane) East Liss.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project