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Remembered Today:

Arthur Smith - Gloucestershire Reg


the_ageing_young_rebel

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I have just recently recieved an old family photo album with loads of great images and names to add to my family tree. There are a couple of Great War related items that are a mystery to me though. One is this photo which has Arthur Smith written on the back. I can tell he's in the Gloucesters from his cap badge but that doesn't narrow down my research very far as its such a common name. So I thought I'd ask the experts; Are there any clues in this image that I'm missing? 

Thanks in advance everybody

Photo675199216993_inner_166-230-539-234-152-898-583-906.JPG

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On 25/05/2022 at 20:29, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

photo which has Arthur Smith written on the back. I can tell he's in the Gloucesters from his cap badge but that doesn't narrow down my research very far as its such a common name.

Have you a likely/specific geographical area for his residence and/or that of his NoK?  Any photographer's marks?

Do you know if he died or survived?

Edit: I think his jacket is an economy version with unpleated longer breast pockets and no shoulder reinforcement - so suggest perhaps taken first half of the war ??

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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4 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Have you a likely/specific geographical area for his residence and/or that of his NoK?  Any photographer's marks?

Do you know if he died or survived?

Edit: I think his jacket is an economy version with unpleated longer breast pockets and no shoulder reinforcement - so suggest perhaps taken first half of the war ??

M

Good questions! The back of the card shows that it was taken in Castle Street Bristol. Beyond that, all I have is a name though. The only clue may be that I had a relation who served in the 1/4th Gloucesters so he could've been a friend. He must've meant something to my family to keep the photo for 100 years though

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Questions, more questions ...

Is he a relative?  Do you know of any relatives called Smith at that time?   Do you know of any of his potential relatives' names: parents, siblings etc.?

I'm just wondering, if he died - and a big if, then pension cards may have places and names to cross-reference against ???  There were some Arthur Smiths in Bristol who served in the Glosters!

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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1 minute ago, Matlock1418 said:

Questions, more questions ...

Is he a relative?  Do you know of any relatives called Smith at that time?   Do you know of any of his potential relatives' names: parents, siblings etc.?

I'm just wondering, if he died - and a big if, then pension cards may have places and names to cross-reference against ???  There are some Smiths in Bristol!

M

I've done a pretty extensive family tree but haven't found any Smiths in it, so I assume he's not a relative. The only other clue is that it looks like the writting on the back may once have said Reg Smith, then was corrected to Arthur

IMG_8214.jpg

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13 minutes ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

The only other clue is that it looks like the writting on the back may once have said Reg Smith, then was corrected to Arthur

Perhaps he had a brother Reg.  Also in the Glosters.  Hence some confusion. ??

Not getting me any closer!

M

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1 minute ago, Matlock1418 said:

Perhaps he had a brother Reg.  Also in the Glosters.  Hence some confusion. ??

Not getting me any closer!

M

Yeah its a real tough one to solve. There can't be many more common names than his. I just hate not being able to put a story to a picture like this.

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5 minutes ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

Yeah its a real tough one to solve. There can't be many more common names than his. I just hate not being able to put a story to a picture like this.

It's a great photo.

Do we take it your relatives came from Bristol ??  Got a street/address?

If so, as you wondered, might have been a friend - from the same street??

M

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1 minute ago, Matlock1418 said:

It's a great photo.

Do we take it your relatives came from Bristol ??  Got a street/address?

If so, as you wondered, might have been a friend - from the same street??

M

Thats not a bad idea. The family that this album came from lived in Richmond Street in Bristol and prior to that they lived in White Street

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  • Admin

There’s a 1st Btn Arthur Smith on SDGW who was born in Totterdown. 

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5 minutes ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

The family that this album came from lived in Richmond Street in Bristol

Well got this one:

Arthur Albert SMITH, 26243, 60 Richmond St, Totterdown, Bristol

???

M

Edit: from WFA/Fold3 disability dependant's claim pension card - claiming into the mid-1920s, possibly 1930s

Edited by Matlock1418
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7 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

There’s a 1st Btn Arthur Smith on SDGW who was born in Totterdown. 

See above: Arthur Albert SMITH, 26243, DoW 26.7.16 - 1st Bn

Mother: Catherine Lucy and father: Albert

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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4 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Well got this one:

Arthur Albert SMITH, 26243, 60 Richmond St, Totterdown, Bristol

???

M

You're a superstar, I bet thats him! If it is him it seems he died in 1916. Poor guy

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  • Admin

I only have the analogue version of SDGW, the book……….

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Arthur Albert SMITH, 26243, Gloucestershire Regt.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/77686/arthur-albert-smith

Dying in 1916 would seem to likely fit with a simplified uniform jacket from earlier in the war.

CWGC have this: Son of Albert and Catherine Smith; brother of R. G. Smith, of 60, Richmond St., Totterdown, Bristol. = What's the betting R G Smith is Reg?

M

Edited by Matlock1418
refer to brother
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3 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Arthur Albert SMITH, 26243, Gloucestershire Regt.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/77686/arthur-albert-smith

Dying in 1916 would seem to likely fit with a simplified uniform jacket from earlier in the war.

M

And it looks like you might be right about his brother. He definatly had a brother whose name started with an R https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/77686/arthur-albert-smith/#&gid=1&pid=2

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10 minutes ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

He definatly had a brother whose name started with an R 

As you have his parents' names, and Arthur's name and DoB c. 1895, you could probably check that in the 1911 Census [I don't have access to the Census]

M

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10 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

As you have his parents' names, and Arthur's name and DoB c. 1895, you could probably check that in the 1911 Census [I don't have access to the Census]

M

I just found that census and he had a brother named Reginald. You are a ninja of the research world

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5 minutes ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

I just found that census and he had a brother named Reginald.

Very pleased it has turned out as it has.  Good to put a name to a face.

RIP Arthur :poppy:

M

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19 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Very pleased it has turned out as it has.  Good to put a name to a face.

RIP Arthur :poppy:

M

On the 1911 census he's also listed as an apprentice to a printer. My Great Great Grandfather and his son who lived 5 doors down the road were lithographic printers, so maybe they worked together as well.

RIP Arthur

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10 hours ago, the_ageing_young_rebel said:

maybe they worked together as well.

RIP Arthur

I think you’ve cracked it.  There was a particular phenomenon of WW1 usually described as the “Pals battalions”, which was an official nationwide policy of recruiting friends to join the Army together because it was felt that young men would be more likely to join if with their mates.  They joined in droves throughout 1915 especially having been encouraged by Lord Kitchener who presided over the recruitment effort at the time, often joining battalions formed from the same trade, sports club, town or city.  Many of them were issued with the simplified jacket mentioned by Matlock. They spent the best part of a year training to be ready for a planned offensive on the River Somme (area) that launched on 1st July 1916 but went on for many more months in various phases.  The start day in particular was a slaughter but the drum beat of death continued for many more weeks before fizzling out.  In the process many of the Pals battalions were decimated and the recruiting ploy turned out to be disastrous because the families grieving were often in the same streets with whole rows of houses plunged into mourning.  It seems very likely that this was the fate of Arthur Smith.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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Appreciate we have him but when I looked at this pic I was struck by his stature, was he a Bantam? If there are other men photographed at this studio it would give a height comparison.

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1 hour ago, Mick M said:

Appreciate we have him but when I looked at this pic I was struck by his stature, was he a Bantam? If there are other men photographed at this studio it would give a height comparison.

I don’t think so Mick.  In general the male population was on average smaller then, especially among the working classes, apparently due to poor diets.  This young fellow looks quite stout, a well fed Bristolian lad perhaps, and although his height might be below average I suspect he gets in at the lower end.  There were real problems with bantams, who apart from some small stature miners and other strong manual workers, were apparently so weedy that far fewer battalions then originally hoped could be formed.  Providing consistent reinforcement by men of similar height proved impossible and efforts were soon abandoned and the bantam moniker discontinued.  It was a gimmick that said more about desperate recruiting measures than anything else.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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6 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

I don’t think so Mick.  In general the male population was on average smaller then, especially among the working classes, apparently due to poor diets.  This young fellow looks quite stout, a well fed Bristolian lad perhaps, and although his height might be below average I suspect he gets in at the lower end.  There were real problems with bantams, who apart from some small stature miners and other strong manual workers, were apparently so weedy that far fewer battalions then originally hoped could be formed.  Providing consistent reinforcement by men of similar height proved impossible and efforts were soon abandoned and the bantam moniker discontinued.  It was a gimmick that said more about desperate recruiting measures than anything else.

Thanks, I like your take on it being a hopeful fad, ive found a few files and they all fizzle out with being transferred to ASC or the like.

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4 minutes ago, Mick M said:

Thanks, I like your take on it being a hopeful fad, ive found a few files and they all fizzle out with being transferred to ASC or the like.

Yes it was really quite a short lived contrivance Mick.  One of those ‘good ideas’ that someone had with good intentions, but that did not pass the litmus test of pragmatic reality.

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