“The name “George R. Smith” is found in a list of names being prepared for the Elgin County Book of Remembrance, which was printed in the St. Thomas Times-Journal in 1927, under Bayham.
According to his attestation paper, George R. Smith was born on February 16, 1888 at Burton-on-Strathe, Lincolnshire, England. A birth registration was found for a George Richard Smith in the January-March quarter of 1888 in Lincolnshire. On the 1891 census for the parish of Holy Trinity, Yorkshire, in England, there is a George R. Smith, age 3, born Burton Stather, Lincolnshire, son of Herbert C. & Elizabeth Smith. These references may be for the same George Smith.
He enlisted for service on October 29, 1914 in St. Thomas. His address is given as R.R. #1 Aylmer. He was a dairyman, and not married. He names his next of kin as his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Story, of Summangorry Road, Hull, England.
G. R. Smith is also listed as one of the “Aylmer Boys” in training in London, Ont., in a letter from them dated November 23, 1914. It is believed he is the “Dick Smith” referred to in a letter from Douglas Dunnett which appeared in the East Elgin Reformer, January 6, 1916, referring to Dick Smith as the first Aylmer boy to be wounded. The fact that Dick Smith had been wounded was also reported in the East Elgin Reformer, November 18, 1915 in a letter from Bob Brackstone:
AYLMER BOY WOUNDED
Dick Smith, of the Fighting 18th Battalion, Wounded by Shrapnel
Pte. Brackstone’s Letter to the Editor
From “Somewhere in France” Pte. Bob Brackstone writes of the wounding of Dick Smith of C. Company, 18th Battalion. The letter is dated Nov. 1, 1915. At that date the rest of the Aylmer boys were well. The letter follows:
“Dear Mr. Powell – Just a few more lines to say that the boys of Aylmer are feeling fine, except Dick Smith, who was wounded in the head while carrying messages to the officers in the front line. I can tell you, all the boys feel pretty bad over it, but still we never know when our turn is coming. We are up to our knees in mud. It rains nearly all the time. We have just been issued raincoats, so they will help us a bit. But it’s rotten walking about in the mud. We must put up with it till the war is over. I hope that will be soon, and everybody thinks the same now. I hope Dick will soon be better and rejoin the company. I must now draw my letter to a close, hoping we will all meet again.