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Person Details
14 Oct 1897
He was the son of Henry Walter, a doctor, and Frances Sarah Smith of 'Hill Mount' Pleasley, Mansfield Nottinghamshire
04 Oct 1917
19
3065289 - CWGC Website
Second Lieutenant
9th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He was attached to 6th Bn York and Lancaster Regiment. His unit was part of the 11th (Northern) Division and he was killed at the Battle of Broodseinde on 4th October 1917, part of the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Mansfield Reporter, 19 October 1917: ‘2nd-Lieut Eric D Smith killed. Dr and Mrs HW Smith of Pleasley, have received information that their only son, 2nd-Lieutenant Eric Drummond Smith of the Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action on October 4th 1917. He was educated at Margate and the Nottingham High School. He joined the Lincolns from the OTC and received his commission in September 1916, and was killed on the first anniversary of his going to the front, and within ten days of attaining his 20th birthday. A memorial service was held at the Parish church last Sunday.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) The Battle of Broodseinde, 4 October 1917 Favourable weather held prior to the third of Plumer's 'limited objective', or “bite and hold”, offensives. Re-scheduled for 4 October, the operation aimed to complete the capture the Gheluvelt Plateau and the occupation of Broodseinde Ridge. Notably, I and II Anzac Corps were allocated principal roles at the centre of the line, supported by simultaneous advances by eight British Divisions. Despite vigorous German counter-attacks after 26 September preparations for the battle were not seriously interrupted. Seeking to mislead the enemy about the timing of the attack intermittent 'practice barrages', starting 27 September, were preferred to continuous massive bombardments. In blustery drizzle, assault troops entered the line at dusk on 3 October and, wet-through by early next morning, occupied start-lines on the eight mile attack frontage. Forty minutes before zero-hour an intense German bombardment fell on the assembled Anzacs but did not disrupt the main attack. At 6am the surprise British hurricane bombardment hammered down on German positions; the attackers surged forward. I Anzac Corps, moving up the forward slopes of Broodseinde Ridge, unexpectedly collided with advancing German infantry; a vicious combat ensued and the enemy was overwhelmed. Pressing on, the line of pillboxes just below the crest was, with much gallant and desperate fighting, cleared; the Australians and New Zealanders topped the ridge by 9am. Supporting on the right, X Corps drove on to the eastern edge of Gheluvelt Plateau; on the left, Fifth Army formations advancing towards Poelcappelle kept pace with Anzac forward moves. By noon most main objectives had been gained. Many elated participants felt the day marked a monumental victory; German losses were high and many prisoners taken. But the limited advance had been costly and by evening rain set in; once more the battlefield began its transformation into a swamp. Research Simon Williams
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