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Acting Captain Edward Jeffrey Watson Smyth


stephen p nunn
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Dear all,

Some friends of ours own a fantastic Tudor, double-moated manor house, built in 1570 and called 'Edwin's Hall', in old Woodham Ferrers, Essex. A couple of years I wrote a book about the history of the place - covering the origins, its use as a summer palace for the Archbishop of York, a Civil War siege, Napolionic POW camp, even an ME110 that crashed in the moat in 1940! During the Great War the owners were the Watson Smyth family. Edward (Teddy) Jeffrey Watson Smyth owned it from 1916 and he was in the Coldstream Guards. He was killed on the 27/8/1918 (aged 21) fighting to re-take Mory and St. Leger. There is a great account of his character on pages 355 and 356 of Richard Holmes' 'Tommy' - an "intensely sociable man...well off to the point of opulence and had extravagant tastes in food and dress". As well as walking the corridors of his former home, I have visited his grave and found a reference to his medal card (in the National Archives but it doesn't seem to be on Ancestry). Does anyone have anything more on him please?

Many thanks.

SPN

Maldon

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Maldon

Service File at Kew under WO339/3677.

Sotonmate

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Maldon

Service File at Kew under WO339/3677.

Sotonmate

Thanks for this. I can see a visit coming on sometime.

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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The Times, Saturday, September 7, 1918 -

John

post-38480-1236465439.jpg

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The Times, Saturday, September 7, 1918 -

John

Thanks John - excellent information. What a lot happened to him in such a short life! I will show the owners your posting when I see them next/am next at the Hall.

Best regards

SPN

Maldon

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joined 17th feb 1915

His memorial plaque was on the market a few years back

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he is mentioned alot in a book "have you forgotten yet" by CP Blacker MC GM

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joined 17th feb 1915

His memorial plaque was on the market a few years back

Wow - I would have liked to have got hold of that, framed it and returned it to the Hall!

Regards

SPN

Maldon

he is mentioned alot in a book "have you forgotten yet" by CP Blacker MC GM

Many thanks for that lead - can you recall if it adds anything more about his character or the Edwin's Hall link?

Regards

SPN

Maldon

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I know he had expsensive tastes and was very sociable in the regiment

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I know he had expsensive tastes and was very sociable in the regiment

Sounds about right. You should see his house! His name appears on the Woodham Ferrers war memorial and there is a brass plaque to him inside St. Mary's church. His sister (or step-sister) Miss Wilemina, lived at the Hall for a while (she married in 1925) and his widowed step-mother, Annora, stayed on but had sold up by the beginning of the 2nd World War. A fascinating family and key to their story is Captain Edward who, at 21, ended his days "in some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England".

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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  • 7 months later...
Guest Miles Watson-Smyth
Dear all,

Some friends of ours own a fantastic Tudor, double-moated manor house, built in 1570 and called 'Edwin's Hall', in old Woodham Ferrers, Essex. A couple of years I wrote a book about the history of the place - covering the origins, its use as a summer palace for the Archbishop of York, a Civil War siege, Napolionic POW camp, even an ME110 that crashed in the moat in 1940! During the Great War the owners were the Watson Smyth family. Edward (Teddy) Jeffrey Watson Smyth owned it from 1916 and he was in the Coldstream Guards. He was killed on the 27/8/1918 (aged 21) fighting to re-take Mory and St. Leger. There is a great account of his character on pages 355 and 356 of Richard Holmes' 'Tommy' - an "intensely sociable man...well off to the point of opulence and had extravagant tastes in food and dress". As well as walking the corridors of his former home, I have visited his grave and found a reference to his medal card (in the National Archives but it doesn't seem to be on Ancestry). Does anyone have anything more on him please?

Many thanks.

SPN

Maldon

Edward Watson-Smyth would have been my Great Uncle. I also would be interested to know more about the man. I know that he was the son of William Douglas Watson-Smyth and Ethel Renton. The Watson-Smyths also lived at Wadhurst Castle in East Sussex. His elder brother George Robert Watson-Smyth lost a leg but survived the war and inherited Wadhurst.. I believe that Edward inherited Edwin's Hall through the Renton family. I have a series of Victorian watercolour portraits of them. I am also told that he left his fortune to his regiment.

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Edward Watson-Smyth would have been my Great Uncle. I also would be interested to know more about the man. I know that he was the son of William Douglas Watson-Smyth and Ethel Renton. The Watson-Smyths also lived at Wadhurst Castle in East Sussex. His elder brother George Robert Watson-Smyth lost a leg but survived the war and inherited Wadhurst.. I believe that Edward inherited Edwin's Hall through the Renton family. I have a series of Victorian watercolour portraits of them. I am also told that he left his fortune to his regiment.

Thanks Miles - wonderful to hear from you. Have you ever visited the house? As well as mentioning him and the family in my book 'Edwin's Hall - House of History', I have a paragraph on him in my forthcoming 'Maldon, Heybridge and the Great War'. A friend purposely visited his grave for me recently. Would love to see the watercolours.

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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Thought you maybe interested in these pictures .... :)

A view of Edwin's Hall from Edwin's Hall Road ..... this is a fragment of a much larger house that said to have built by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, in the 16th century. It is still surrounded by its original moat.

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/756531

http://www.wadhurstcastle.co.uk/history.php

Annie :)

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Thought you maybe interested in these pictures .... :)

A view of Edwin's Hall from Edwin's Hall Road ..... this is a fragment of a much larger house that said to have built by Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, in the 16th century. It is still surrounded by its original moat.

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/756531

http://www.wadhurstcastle.co.uk/history.php

Annie :)

Yes thanks. You should see the inside!

SPN

Maldon

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  • 2 months later...

I still keep coming across references to this (local) officer. As well as being mentioned in Richard Holmes' 'Tommy' I have just been reading about him in 'Tea, Rum and Fags' by Alan Weeks. It's a great book and on page 92 he says;

".....Captain Watson-Smyth was a company commander in the 4/Coldstream Guards and he entertained other company commanders with the contents of his magnificent parcels in 1918 at Bienvillers - the best hare, tongue, foie gras, cakes, biscuits, assorted chocolates and other delicacies. It was reckoned he got a parcel in every post...!.

What a man! This stuff really brings him alive during my visits to his former home - Edwin's Hall, Woodham Ferrers, Essex.

(Also in Alan Weeks' book - on page 78 - there is a reference to another officer writing home on 30/5/15 for some 'Tiptree Farm' jam. Tiptree Jam is still going strong and is not far from here).

Regards.

SPN

Maldon

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Tiptree Farm also has an interesting WW1 display in their museum.

TR

Thanks Terry - they do indeed including links with Jam orders from the pilots of 37(HD) Squadron at Goldhanger and Stow Maries.

All the best.

SPN

Maldon

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  • 5 years later...

I gave a talk on Maldon and the Great War last Wednesday and mentioned Teddy. Someone then told me about the sale of his watch a few years ago! This is it - London Hallmark for 1915. it is engraved "E. Watson Smyth Coldstream Guards". Wow - how I wish I had bought that. Wonder where it is now?

Best regards.

SPN
Maldon

post-43629-0-99002500-1423422058_thumb.j

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its a nice watch

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Mrs. Maldon bought me a copy of C.P. Blacker's 'Have You Forgotten Yet?'. Just started it but it looks like there are loads of references to Teddy Watson Smyth. Sadly no photograph of Teddy. Has anyone a picture of him please?

Thank you.

SPN
Maldon

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  • 4 months later...

I dont have a picture sorry

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