Smith, James: Service no. 54170

Digitized Service Record

Source: Diary Entry

Minor. Born June 18, 1899.

Enlisted with his father, Pte. Frederick Smith, reg. no. 53157, serving with him in A Company of the 18th Battalion.

London Advertiser. March 31, 1916. Page 4.

INVALDIED SOLDIER’S MEDALS STOLEN AS HE DOZES IN TRAIN
Pte. F. Smith Robbed on Way to London.
HAD STIRRING ADVENTURE

Only One of Five to Escape Death From German Shell.

Pte. F. Smith[1] of 305 Cheapside street, who went into the front with the 18th Battalion, was among the invalided soldiers who arrived in the city at noon today. The others were Corp. W.E. Mitchell of Berlin, who has his right arm missing as a result of having to have it amputated after it had been mangled by a German explosive bullet: Pte. Charles Reilly of Galt, Pte. James Dunbar of Windsor and Elbert Anderson of Woodstock.

Pte. Smith has had many stirring adventures since leaving London, but the worst happened to him last evening, when, as he was sleeping in the car someone all his medals. He feels their loss very keenly.

Miraculous Escape

Pte. Smith had a miraculous escape from death in Belgium. He had only just returned to duty, after being ill in the hospital, and was in the cookhouse on December 2 when a big German shell struck the building.

“I was the only one of the five men in the building who was not killed,” said Pte. Smith to The Advertiser. “How I escaped I don’t know, as the other were blown to pieces.”

The shock to his system, however, was so great that even yet, after weeks of treatment in the hospital, his memory is affected and he shakes like a leaf at times.

He feels very badly because the military authorities would not allow him to visit his son, Pte. James Smith[2], who is in the hospital at Bromley. Father and son were both in A Company of the 18th Battalion.

Sniper Got Him.

Pte. James Smith was on duty in the trenches and lay down behind the parapet. In a moment of carelessness he turned over and one of his legs showed above the sandbags. In a few seconds he had a bullet through the knee from a German sniper, and has been in the hospital ever since.

“They told me he is getting along all right,” said Pte. Smith, “but I would have liked to see him.

Corp. Mitchell went over with the 1st Battalion.

“I was only about twenty yards from Col. Becher when he was killed at Givenchy,” he said. “He was a splendid officer, and everyone felt his loss keenly. I was struck in the arm by an explosive bullet, and was so badly hurt that the doctors had to amputate my arm at the shoulder.”

The invalided soldiers were met at the C.P.R. by George O’Neil of the Sportsmen’s Association and Captain Alexander of the Convalescent Hospital. They were escorted to the Tecumseh House by the band and bugle band of the 135th Battalion, and after dinner were set to the Convalescent Hospital to be given every attention necessary.

Source: London Advertiser. March 31, 1916. Page 4.

[1] Pte. Frederick Smith, reg. no. 53157.

[2] Pte. James Smith, reg. no. 54170.

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