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Remembered Today:

13th Kensington Bn, London Regiment - 1917


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According to the CWGC My great grandfather Frederick Thomas Smith died on 9th April, 1917, remembered at the London Cemetary, Neuville-Vitasse. 493600. I would be delighted to receive any information about his war life and where he was killed. The only other information I have are his parents name and address and his wife's name (my grandmothers parents), much appreciated and thankyou for any help Al

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I've had a quick look online and found he served first in the 1st London Bn. with the number 2656, he was then transferred to the 13 London bn. with the regimental number 7657 and was at some stage promoted to Lance Corporal. His number later changed to 493600.

He first entered the Egyptian theatre of war 30/8/15 and no doubt fought in the Dardanelles before the evacuation.

His service record doesn't appear to have survived and below is his Soldiers Died entry.

Name: Frederick Thomas Smith

Residence: W. Hampstead

Death Date: 9 Apr 1917

Death Location: France & Flanders

Enlistment Location: Bloomsbury

Rank: L/Corporal

Regiment: London Regiment

Battalion: 13th (County of London) Battalion (Princess Louises Kensington Battalion)

Number: 493600

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Theatre of War: Western European Theatre

Comments: Formerly 2656, 1St London Regt.

The 1/13 battalion war diary is online but unfortunately it pre-dates your great grandfather's entry into a theatre of war and his MIC doesn't state which company he served in. It might be worth while clicking on the Long Long Trail link at the top of the page, you may find some information about where they served.


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Tony, you are a star thankyou ever so much for this valued information. I will indeed continue looking from your advice. Thanks again Al

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When you look at the Long Long Trail (here), you will find that there were a large number of battalions of the London Regiment. One is called 1st/ 1st (which comes up at the top of the list) but if you scroll down the page you will also find an entry for 2nd/1st - I think this is the battalion you want as their date of arrival in Egypt exactly coincides with the date on the Medal Index Card.

You will see that, after being evacuated from Gallipoli, they were sent to France in April 1916 and then disbanded in June that year. I'm not certain, but this just may have been when your great great grandfather was transferred to the 13th (Kensingtons).


Edited - Link to LLT added

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Fantastic C. Many many thanks for your reply. I have been searching for details about the battalion but found it rather confusing and frustrating! You have now pointed me to a new direction, thanks again , Al i

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Hi Al

Your great grandfather died in the attack on Neuville Vitasse on the first day of the 1st Battle of the Scarpe, part of the Battle of Arras in April and May 1917. There are quite a number of threads here on the Forum which cover that battle so a search would be worthwhile. if you send me a PM with your email address I can provide you with a variety of documentation.

In the meantime this is London Cemetery.



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  • 3 weeks later...


I now have a copy of the Kensingtons' War Diary for 9 April 1917. Have you seen it yet and, if not, shall I post a transcription?


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I'd advise getting hold of a copy of 'Johnny Get Your Gun' by John Tucker through your local library. The author went over the top with the battalion on this day; it'll provide some background.

Kind regards


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  • 1 year later...

Good morning all

I'm researching this soldier with sadly no Ancestry account

Francis Manning Sproston Service Record

Shown as married to Stella Ross- Campbell

Address: 20 Sutherland Avenue, Maida Vale

Army No: 6252 / 40 (or 9)3069


County of London Regiment, 13th Battalion (Princess Louise’s Kensington Battalion)

Entitled to British War Medal, Victory Medal

Francis Sproston volunteered under the Derby Scheme on 10 December 1915 - occupation given as an actor - and was mobilised on 2 August 1916, being sent to France to join the 1st/ 13th London regiment (Kensingtons) on 14 December 1916. He was discharged on 27 August 1917 with a Silver War badge through sickness, described in his pension papers as Valvular Disease of the Heart.

I believe he participated in these actions

Battles that the 1/13 Kensington’s in 168th (2nd London) Brigade of the 56th (1st London) Division participated in between Dec 16 and Aug 17 during the period of Francis’s service.


The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14 March – 5 April)

· The First Battle of the Scarpe (9 – 14 April)+

· The Third Battle of the Scarpe (3 – 4 May)+

+ these battles are phases of the Battles of Arras 1917

· The Battle of Langemarck (16 – 17 August)**

** this battle was a phase of the Third Battles of the Ypres

Really grateful if you could give me a link to the Kensingtons War diaries

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Three War Diaries for the period Dec 1916 to Aug 1917 on Discovery database at the Nat Archives. Each element costs £3.45 to download:

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14056011 Dec 1916

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14056012 Jan to Jul 1917

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14056013 Aug 1917

Later: seems to be a linking problem as this is the normal format for finding these files. In sequence the War Diary refs are WO95/2955/2. 2955/3, and 2955/4.

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