WW1 - Surnames starting with the letter S. 

William Alfred Smedley

Rank:PrivateNumber:2755
Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:04th Bn [1]
Name of Rgt or Ship:Duke of Albany's (Seaforth Highlanders)*
Died:30/07/1916Age:25
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:FranceGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Caterpillar Valley Cemetery
Town Memorial:Sale, Hale & Cheadle
Extra Information:
Born on the 14th July 1892 at 10 Era St - (birth certificate)  later
residing at 29 Albion Street, Sale.     Father's occupation: Master
Decorator and he lived at Stamford Place, Ashton on Mersey.

1901 Census - 24 Seymour Grove, Sale.   Son - aged: 8 - born; Chester.  
Head of household - Alfred Smedley - Married - aged: 37 - occ: House
Painter - born: Chester.   Also Eliza Smedley - Wife - aged: 37 - born:
Sutton Hill, Shropshire.  Plus 1 elder sister.

1911 Census - 40 Linley Road, Sale.   Son - aged: 18 - occ: Grocer's
Assistant - born: Sale.   Head of household - Alfred Smedley - Married -
aged: 47 - occ: House Painter - born: Chester.   Also Eliza Smedley - Wife
- aged: 47 - born: Bridgenorth, Shropshire.

He was over 6 feet tall and was a member of the Sale Wesley Mens' Bible
Class.

Married - Florence Pickston at St. Peter's P.C. Hale on the 12th August
1914.  Their daughter - Margaret Irene Smedley was born on 2nd June 1915.  
 Listed on St. Peter's War Memorial - his name no doubt being submitted by
his in-laws.

He was an Apprentice at Messrs. John Williams & Sons, Grocers, Sale, but
later transferred to their establishment at Hale.    Two months before
enlisting he moved to Seymour Mead's at  their shop on the London Rd,
Manchester.

Enlisted in the Ross-shire Buffs, the Duke of Albany's Regiment in January
1915, which means that he could have been drafted to France/Belgium as
early as May 1915.    The 1/4th Bn Seaforths went to France/Belgium in
January 1915, so he could have been sent on later as a replacement for
those killed.

Killed instantly by a shell, he left a widow and a young child.

M.I. "Till we meet again".

During the 1916 Battle of the Somme, the 1/4th Bn Seaforth Highlanders were
part of the 154th Brigade, 51st (Highland) Division. The Bn arrived at
Prouville -16/07 - the village was then mostly occupied by the Indian
Cavalry Corps.    Entrained at Candas for Méricourt - 20/07 and from
there, marched to Méaulte.     Went into the reserve trenches at
Bazentine-le-Grand - 21/07.     Relieved the the 1/4th Gordon Highlanders
at High Wood - 23/07 and were in action until relieved by the 9th Bn Black
Watch - 26/07.    They then withdrew to Méaulte, having sustained 186
casualties since 21/07.     The Bn went into reserve positions at Fricourt
Wood on the 1st August., but without Private Smedley.

On the 27th July, the British advanced into Delville Wood and Longueval,
which the British 2nd Division captures on the 28th.    On the 29th July,
the Germans make two failed attempts to retake Delville Wood.     The 30th
July was a very hot, clear day, but there is no mention of any action by
the Seaforths that day.     Presume that he was killed by a chance German
shell - just because there was no actual set piece battle going on - it was
still not a healthy place to be.

The 51st (Highland) Division have a memorial in the Newfoundland Park at
Beaumont Hamel, as they were involved in the Battle of the Ancre. 13-18 Nov
1916, including the capture of Beaumont Hamel.

The Cheadle War Memorial Web-site states:- 

William lived at 4 Newlands Cottages, Cheadle, with his wife, Florence.  He
enlisted in Manchester, probably quite early in the war. William would have
seen action in the Battle of the Somme which had started on 1 July. The
Battalion’s War Diary reports that they were relieved during the evening
of 26 July, from positions near High Wood, the scene of an attack some days
before. It suffered some casualties from gas shelling on its way to the
reserve positions. 

By 30 July, the Battalion is reported at rest in Meaulte, some kilometres
away from High Wood and there are no reports of any casualties. William’s
burial in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is entirely consistent with him
having been killed whilst the relief was taking place from High Wood. It is
only a few hundred yards from the Wood and tends to confirm that there is,
simply, an error in the reporting of the date he was killed. Such errors
are not uncommon.

William’s headstone is inscribed “Till we meet again” – presumably
arranged by Florence after the Armistice.   

Commemorated on the Family Grave A.474 in Sale (Brooklands) Cemetery (per
M&LFHS) - "In affectionate remembrance of Nellie Gertrude, the beloved
daughter of Alfred and Eliza SMEDLEY, who died June 22nd 1887 aged 1 year 3
weeks. (verse). Also Alfred, the beloved husband of Eliza SMEDLEY, who died
July 21st 1940, aged 77 years. Leonard, aged 7 months, Elsie, who died
March 2nd 1931. William Alfred, killed in France July 30th 1916. (verse).
Also Eliza, their beloved mother, who died June 7th 1951, aged 88 years".



Memorials found on:
St. Peter's (Hale)
Altrincham & District Roll of Honour
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