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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Private Harold Smith.


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Hi, I have recently started trying to find out the history of my Grandfather, Albert Smith.

So far I have found that he served in the Royal Sussex 5th Regiment, his conscription papers

are dated 1914

He was born in 1899 and lived in Fordcombe, although the records list his address as Faccombe

due to the poor reproduction.

Where I am struggling is finding records of his military service, my mother tells the story that

her father Harold Smith was left for dead somewhere in Belgium, but despite his injuries made it

back to the UK. Whilst recovering in Guys hospital, he was then treated by the same doctor

that had left him on the battlefield.

I have tried to find him by medal and campaign records, but without success. Again on checking records

at the villages of Fordcombe and Chiddingstone where he lived after the war, there are records of the

fallen, but none apparent of those who returned.

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I think you may have only seen his attestation form on Ancestry. If you use the left arrow to navigate down in "page numbers" you will find his service details there. basically he served overseas with the 9th Royal Sussex Regiment for a couple of months from August 1916 before falling ill. He was medically classified "PB" (Permament Base) in early 1917 and then transferred to the Labour Corps, being posted to 269th Area Employment Company of the Labour Corps where he spent the rest of the war.

Incidentally, 1914 = Volunteer. There was no conscription until 1916.


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Hi, many thanks for your assistance. Clearly the family tail as handed down has lost a bit in translation. Given the dates

that you have listed I assume that he would have been in or around the Loos area.

All of the above is of surprise as my mother has never mentioned her fathers military service prior to last month.

The catalyst to this being the fact that I had driven back from Germany and spent a couple of days in

the Ypre and Poperinge area.

Again many thanks for the info.


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Hi David,

To add to what Steve says, looking at his docs I think he was posted to the 9th in Sept 1916 (I think it says 14th of September but it is very unclear) and may have been among the drafts they received on the 15th, 17th and 18th of that month whilst at Brucamps to make up for their losses near Delville Wood 30th August - 4th September.

Hope this helps


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Steve/ Jim,

Many thanks for the info. If i may, which site have you found this info on, is it Ancestry? I have not yet paid for an account on

any of the research websites, but am happy to do so, any recommendations?

I have applied to the MOD for his records, but I guess that will not arrive overnight.

Many thanks


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