Private Thomas Alfred Smith

Service Army Service No. 22145
Rank Private
Regiment:Devonshire Regiment, 9th Battalion
Date of Birth: 1877
Born Dartmouth
Date of Death: 13/01/1917
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription SMITH T.A. PTE. DEVON REGT.

Service History

Thomas's military record is sketchy. The Army Medals Roll index card gives no more than his regiment and number, but appears to place him in the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. There is no date given for his arrival in France. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Other references place him in the 9th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, which was composed mainly of Kitchener's volunteers. The 9th Battalion had been engaged in the assault on Mametz Wood on 1st July and the Battle of Guillemont on 3rd September (Battles of the Somme).

A Casualty Clearing Station entry shows that he was admiited on 5th January 1917 with “Pyrexia of unknown origin”, which is a fever for which there is no certain diagnosis. He died in hospital on 13th January.

A Death Grant of £4.10s.6d and a War Gratuity of £3.10s.0d were paid to his widow

Association with Dawlish

Thomas Alfred Smith was the grandson of William Smith (1803- ) and Lumley Hunt Jago (1801-1873). William was a carpenter and joiner, born close by Dartmouth at Dittisham.

In 1861 they were living “above town” in St Saviour's, Dartmouth with two sons, Richard Egg Smith, 23, a carpenter, and Thomas H Smith, 14, a joiner(learner).
Richard Egg Smith (1838- ) married Louisa Allford Bell (1844-1883) in April 1863 in the Wesleyan Chapel, Totnes. He was also a carpenter, like his father.

By 1881 Richard and Louisa were living in Smith Street, Dartmouth and they had six children, William John (1864- ), Emma Louisa (1866- ), Richard George (1869 -), Amy Alford (1872- ), Mary Ann (1874- ), and Thomas Alfred (1877-1917). A further child, Sarah Jane, was born after the census in 1882 and a year before the death of her mother.

In 1891 Richard E Smith was still working as a carpenter, was aged 53, and living at Smith Street, Dartmouth with Amy, 19, Mary Ann, 17, Thomas, 14, and Sarah Jane, 8. From this time the family appears to disintegrate and it has not been possible to identify with certainty the death of the father.

We know that Thomas Alfred Smith married Hannah Bell (Lambshead) on 24th August 1907 in St Gregory's Church, Dawlish and one child, Edith Janie Smith, (1909-) is shown on the 1911 Census when her mother is shown as “Annie Smith”, 28, the daughter of John Lambshead, 57, and Hannah Bell Lambshead, 60, of 4 Brook Street, Dawlish. John had been born in Dawlish (1854- ) and she was born in Dartmouth which may explain the link to the Smiths of Dartmouth. John Lambshead worked for the railway company as a labourer. Thomas is absent from the household but there is a Thomas Smith shown in the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth as a boot cleaner, married and 34 years old. Another child has been recorded later by a descendant as Hannah Louisa Smith (1911-1989). There were four children of the marriage (see Dawlish Gazette report in Document, below).

Devon Roll of Honour Smith, Thomas Alfred, Pte, Devon Regt (no date) France
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Hannah Bell Smith, widow
Last Known Address: 5 Stonelands Cottages

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Family reference data

Subscription website references:

Forces War Records for hospital admissions

Ancestry for census data,

Medal Rolls,

UK, Soldiers died in the Great War (death date in error, shown as 15 January 1917)

UK, Army Register of Soldiers' Effects.