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  •  This photo of Henry Smithson was first published in the Retford Times newspaper following his death.
Person Details
Mattersey, Notts
Charles Smithson, a farm worker, married Annie Elizabeth Spencer in 1880 at Mattersey. They went on to have eight children who were all born and raised in Mattersey. They were Lilian born 1882, Alice Maud 1884, George Frederick 1886, Frank 1888, Herbert 1890, Gertrude Mary 1893, Henry 1895 and Emily born 1898. In 1901, both George and Frank had moved from their parent’s home but were resident in Mattersey, George working as a servant horseman and Frank a servant with farm work. Ten years later, George was back in the family home at Thorpe Road, Mattersey working as a market gardener on his own account. His younger brother, Henry was also living at home at that time and was working as a ‘packer’ for a local steel manufacturer and Frank had left to joined the army in 1905. Of the four sons, at least three of them, George, Frank and Henry answered the call to arms when the war came.
19 Sep 1915
20
149494 - CWGC Website
18307
Private
6th Bn King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Pte Harry Smithson Retford Times 8 October 1915 The sad news has reached Mr and Mrs C Smithson of Mattersey, that their youngest son, Pte Harry Smithson, 18307, ‘D’ Co. 6th KOYLI who went out to France only five weeks ago, has fallen a victim to the terrible Huns. The information was transmitted through the kindness of an Army Chaplain who was with the brave young soldier when he died. It has since transpired that a piece of shell struck him on the head and fracturing the skull, rendered him unconscious. This happened at 11.30 am on Sunday Sept 19th and the poor young fellow passed away about three hours later. Only that morning had his thoughts turned to his native village, as is shown in a letter to a chum written before he recived the fatal blow. He had evidently taken note of this friends birthday and had completed a letter to him which contained the usual greetings. The letter was found on him by a sergeant in the RAMC, who immediately forwarded it, with a covering note, to the person to who it was addressed, so that the dreadful news already received by the parents of the young hero was quickly confirmed. The deceased was only 21 years of age last March and at the time of his enlistment, about a year ago he was engaged as an assistant in the Woodlands branch of the Doncaster Co-operative Society. Previous to taking up his duties at Woodland, he had been in the employ of Messrs Skinner and Johnson, Ranskill and amongst the men and boys there, he was highly respected. Undoubtedly they were much grieved when the intimation reached them through some of his former fellow worker. In private life the deceased always presented a smart appearance and this coupled with his jovial manner and gentlemanly conduct, made him a great favourite with the people in Mattersey, and when the sad news got afloat, many faces put on a sorrowful appearance and expressions of regret and also of sympathy were heard in every part of the village. His military career was fated to be dogged by ill luck, for during his training he was in hospital with rheumatism and scarlet fever, this being prevented from getting out to France with his own unit some considerable time ago, but it is learnt that eventually became attached to his own battalion and was with his first soldier comrades when the worst happened. Mr and Mrs Smithson have another son in the Army who was a reservist when war broke out. At that time he was a sergeant in the York and Lancs Regiment and was very soon sent out to the front. He has been wounded on two occasions and is now coaching young non-commissioned officers in musketry near Durham.
Buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium 3.A.30a. CWG additional information:- Son of Charles and Ann Elizabeth Smithson, of Bellmoor Sutton, Retford, Notts. Henry’s brother George was the second son of Charles and Annie Smithson to die in the war. He was killed in action in May 1918 in France. His other brother Frank, had joined the York and Lancs Regiment, as a regular soldier in 1905 and although he survived the war, was discharged in 1919 due to wounds and awarded a disability pension. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on

Photos

  •  This photo of Henry Smithson was first published in the Retford Times newspaper following his death.
    Henry Smithson - This photo of Henry Smithson was first published in the Retford Times newspaper following his death.
  • Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery , Belgium . Courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Henry Smithson - Commonwealth war grave headstone marking his grave at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery , Belgium . Courtesy of Murray Biddle