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Walter Smellie 1st Cameronians


Pirnmill
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Whilst researching my Great Grandfathers, both of whom came through the full 4 years, I have found some information which would indicate that my Great Grandfather Walter Smellie Pte 7460 1St Scottish Rifles received the MM and bar. My Grandfather(his son) never mentioned this at all, despite the fact that he new of my interest in WW1 and my visits to Ypres. I was hoping therefore that someone could help me to confirm that he did indeed receive the awards. Everything I have found only relates to a W. Smellie and there is no mention of the awards on his medal index card so I am a bit perplexed.

Thanks

Fiona

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Hello Fiona,

Welcome to the forum.

Pte. Walter Smellie, 7460, was awarded the M.M. It was gazetted on 6th July 1917. Unfortunately no reason was given. Your best bet for information would be a local newspaper at the time.

Regards,

Alf McM

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Thanks to you both for the information. It seems he can never have mentioned his exploits to anyone after the war, including his sons. I daresay many men tried to block it from their minds such was the horror of it all.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Fiona,

I am looking for information on Cameronians who were awarded multiple gallantry medals and noticed your post. I am building a database of them as a research project. I have Pte. Walter Smellie MM&Bar on my list, but have found very little information on him - could you provide any more details? I know the following :

Name Walter Smellie. Born 1884 Shettleston, Glasgow. Landed France 13/9/14. Wounded in Action - likely at Battle of Meteren 14/4/18, reported in Official records 05/6/18. Awarded - MM & Bar, 14 Star & Bar Trio. I believe he may also have been Mentioned in Despatches, but have never been able to find evidence of it.

Do you know what he did as a job? Do you have any photos of him?

Cheers,

Smithy

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  • 4 months later...

Hi Smithy26,

I've not been on the forum for a while so apologies for not replying sooner.

My Great Grandfather was a coal miner when he married in 1913. He died in 1941, age 59, from Chronic Bronchitis, his occupation at that time was as General Labourer. Whilst researching my family history I came across the sad death of his first child, a daughter Janet, on 23rd April 1918, age 3, from measles and broncho pneumonia. - I wonder if he ever saw her?. I have very little information on his time in the war but it looks like he may have been injured days before his daughter died.

I am very fortunate to have a photo of him which I would gladly share with you. I would be interested in any additional information you have on his service.

Thanks

Fiona

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I have the War Diary of the 1st Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), (WO95 2422/2 2nd Dec 1915 to 24th May 1919).

I have searched but do not see Pte 7460 Smellie, M.M. & Bar, named.

There are other O.R's mentioned (at times) but, as usual, it is only officers who are mentioned by name.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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Hi Tom,

Thanks for looking that up. I fear that the acts for which Walter was awarded his MM's will remain a mystery.

All the best

Fiona

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From the A&Q diary - extracted from a two page list of men being awarded the MM. Unfortunately still no citation, but hopefully gives a better idea of the approximate date for his first award.

post-113776-0-62673100-1438006105_thumb.

Regards

Chris

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Hi Tom,

Thanks for looking that up. I fear that the acts for which Walter was awarded his MM's will remain a mystery.

All the best

Fiona

Fiona,

Don't stop searching and looking.

You just never know...

Tom

From the A&Q diary - extracted from a two page list of men being awarded the MM. Unfortunately still no citation, but hopefully gives a better idea of the approximate date for his first award.

attachicon.gifSmellie.jpg

Regards

Chris

Great find Chris.

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Thank you Chris and Tom,

This is the first time I've seen Walter's name in any official diary from during the war, I must admit it was quite emotional.

This is the only picture I have of Walter.

post-101772-0-54366600-1438078958_thumb.

I will hope more info comes to light and will continue to search.

Thank you both.

Fiona

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Fiona,

Maybe you know this, but Barrie Duncan is the resident expert on the GWF on The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

He'll deny this, but we all know better.

He also does volunteer work at the Low Waters Museum in Hamilton which houses the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Museum:

http://www.cameronians.org/museum/

I can't say that the staff will provide any further help, but you just never know...

Kindest Regards,

Tom Lang.

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Thanks Tom,

If there is more info out there that might be the place to find it.

Fiona

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Smithy26,

I've not been on the forum for a while so apologies for not replying sooner.

My Great Grandfather was a coal miner when he married in 1913. He died in 1941, age 59, from Chronic Bronchitis, his occupation at that time was as General Labourer. Whilst researching my family history I came across the sad death of his first child, a daughter Janet, on 23rd April 1918, age 3, from measles and broncho pneumonia. - I wonder if he ever saw her?. I have very little information on his time in the war but it looks like he may have been injured days before his daughter died.

I am very fortunate to have a photo of him which I would gladly share with you. I would be interested in any additional information you have on his service.

Thanks

Fiona

Thanks for posting the photo Fiona. Unfortunately, his Service Papers were not one of the survivors of the WW2 bombing and what i posted above is pretty much all the info i have on him. Quite a common problem with WW1 service details. At least i have got a bit more on him now. Thanks again.

Barrie is a friend of mine, i have already asked him a while ago if he had any more info at the museum. Sadly i think what we have between us is more than he could probably provide. Little info on private soldiers was recorded and the museum archive has limited extra detail because of this - unless they became an officer or won the VC. There is the odd bit here and there though, so still ask him - he might turn something up?

Smithy

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Now that I have had a chance to check the History, I think the 8 MMs (Including Walter's first) awarded by Divisional Commander of 33rd Division on 11/05/1917 are likely to be for gallantry during the attack on Croisilles and the break in to the Hindenburg Line between 14-25/04/17. (This is part of the Battle of Arras). It's not certain, but pretty likely? The 1st Bttn War Diary will give more details of the actions during this period.

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Fiona, Smithy,

With the dates in question it is likely that the first MM was for actions on either 14, 16 or 23 April 1917 - the former two being more likely as, to me, two weeks is quite a quick turnaround for an MM to be awarded. On all three actions were for bombing actions in the Hindenburg Line, near Croisilles, but which were not blessed with great success. If memory serves the diary is pretty weak on detail.

Two personal accounts cover some of his service with 1st Cameronians;

Stewart, Captain Alexander (2009) A Very Unimportant Officer (London: Hodder). - covers July 1916 to mid 1917

Baynes and MacLean, A Tale of Two Captains (Haddington: Pentland Press, 1990) - Jun 1917 onwards.

They are unlikely to mention him but may give a little background to his service.

Kind regards

Colin

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Hi,

Thanks Colin and Smithy,

I've now bought the war diary from the National Archive so will have a look at it.

The personal accounts also sound interesting, might make some reference to the action around mid to late April 1917.

Yours

Fiona

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