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Remembered Today:

DCM winner Gordon Smith

Tim Lynch

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Hi guys,

I'm currently researching the activities of 9th West Yorks during the defence of Arras in 1940 and want to try to track down a name.

The 9th was a veterans battalion (their youngest casualty was 39) and among those KIA was Private Gordon Smith DCM and Belgian Croix de Guerre who was killed on 20th May at the age of 55. His number is given as 4541007 which is a new allocation for WW2.

The awards would be likely to be from service in WW1 but I don't know anything about his service in 14-18 and hope that someone out there might know. He was from the Bradford area.

On the off chance, any info at all about the 9th would be welcome, the National Archives has a few letters, all saying there was no info to deposit (£10 well spent there!). I've unearthed some unit returns but the whole battalion disappeared by late summer 1940.



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There was a Gordon Smith, 12th HLI from Bradford with both a Belgian Croix de Guerre and a DCM.

Belgian Croix de Guerre, LG 4-9-1919

41125 Corporal 'Gordon .Smith, 12th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (Bradford).


LG 3-6-1919

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal

41125 CpL '(A./Sjt.) -G. Smith, 12th Bn., High. L.I. (Bradford).


Citation, LG 11-3-1920

41125 Cpl. (A./Sjt.) G. Smith, 12th Bn., High. L.I. (Bradford).

For-conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a bridging party over the Lys, on the night of the 15th/16th October. He took his party over the river under, very, heavy machine-gun fire and took up an advanced position, which-he held until the bridging was completed. His complete disregard for personal danger and his cheerfulness and devotion to duty under most trying circumstances have been most marked.



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Copy of MIC - don't ask if the HLI or Scottish Rifles came first....


(No information on the back)


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Looking at the service numbers around Gordon Smith in the HLI, they are grouped alphabetically by surname, which suggests that there was a sizeable draft of 30+ men transferred about the same time.

41087 Ambridge John 10/11th HLI per MIC (2 x MICs)

41088 Barker Jonathan Foster DCM LG 3-6-1919 and 11-3-1920 *

41089 Beresford Albert

41090 Beton Frederick Isaac A

41091 Bradsell Francis William Henry

41092 Brennan Dennis

41093 Brown William A N Army Service Corps T/368791, Yorkshire Light Infantry 38526

41094 Casey Edwin

41095 Chester Arthur Scottish Rifles 42854

41096 Clare Walter Frederick

41097 Colbourne James 1st Dragoons GS/15301, 1st Dragoons D/15302

41098 Connell James

41099 Craven Henry

41100 Dinsdale Arnold

41101 Duncan James

41102 Franklin William

41103 Emerson Wilfred MM LG 6-8-1918 "41103 L./C. W. Emerson, H.L.I. (Grimsby)."

41104 Fraser John M

41105 Gibb George Labour Corps 630887, Middlesex Regiment G/107220

41106 Goodrick Clement O Labour Corps 464442, Royal Air Force 130487

41107 Goody Daniel J

41108 -

41109 Holmes Ernest

41110 Holt John

41111 Hunter Charles

41112 -

41113 Jarvis John H

41114 Jobbins Ernest G Gloucestershire Regiment 26819 - HLI - Royal Scots Fusiliers 41345

41115 Johnston James D B King's Own Scottish Borderers 46657

41116 King Thomas

41117 Lamph William Durham Light Infantry 108741

41118 Lloyd Arthur Dragoons GS/15269, Dragoons D/15290

41119 -

41120 Telford William Dragoons GS/22189, Corps of Dragoons D/16972

41121 Miles Herbert G

41122 Morris Wilfred Labour Corps 248035

41123 Pears George

41124 Scott George

41125 Smith Gordon DCM LG 3-6-1919 and 11-3-1920 & C de G, Scottish Rifles 43927

41126 Stirling Allan

41127 Stables Thomas

41128 Stumbke Thomas W

41129 Sutton William E Royal Fusiliers GS/95849

41130 ?

41131 Turnbull Robert

* DCM citation of J F Barker: "41088 Cpl. J. F. Barker, 10th Bn., High. L.I. (London, E.). For continued good service and gallantry in action. In the operations of Se ptember, October and November, 1918, he was in charge of a Lewis gun section. His coolness and initiative in face of the enemy were of the greatest service in steadying his men, and his powers of leadership were most marked."

This may have been on 4th December 1916, when 41094 Edwin Casey (one of the group of men) went to France. On arrival he went to 21st Infantry Base Depot and then joined 10/11th Highland Light Infantry on 21st December 1916.

Also 41091 Francis William Henry Bradsell, HLI, to France 4-12-1916 to 10/11th HLI 21-12-1916, and 41090 Frederick Isaac A Beton, HLI, to France 4-12-1916, joined 10/11th HLI on 21-12-1916, both part of the same "batch" support this timeline. If he did therefore go to France with 10/11th HLI then he must have transferred to the 12th some time later. Perhaps, coincidentally 41094 Edwin Casey also served later with 12th HLI being transferred to them in June 1917 after a period back in England, having been evacuated with trench foot/frostbite in January 1917. In fact, all three of these men were invalided home with trench-foot/frostbite from 10/11th HLI in January 1917 and returned to France with new HLI battalions before the Summer of 1917.

All three of the above men had previously served in England in the Cavalry (Dragoons) and this MAY have been Gordon Smith's previous unit also.


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The Scottish Rifles number seems to be consistent with a "Complusory & Permanent Transfer" to the Scottish Rifles in March 1919.

So in summary my first guess would be:

Enlisted into the Dragoons and served with a Reserve Brigade of Cavalry in England.

Crossed to France in December 1916 and transferred to the 10/11th HLI.

Possibly suffered frostbite in the first few weeks in France and evacuated home, or perhaps wounded during 1917.

Alternatively, he may have transferred to 12th HLI when 10/11th HLI was reduced to Cadre strength in May 1918.

Served with the 12th HLI in 1918 and awarded DCM and C de G (possibly for the same action), date 15/16-10-1918.

Transferred to Scottish Rifles in early 1919, possibly on disbandment of 12th HLI ?


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