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Person Details
14 Apr 1884
Basford Nottingham
George Arthur Smith was born on 14th April 1884 in Basford and was the son of John and Rebecca Smith (née Flecknell) His father John was born in about 1848 in Rugeley, Staffordshire, and his mother Rebecca Flecknell was born in Basford in 1850 (reg. J/F/M). They were married at Carrington St John the Evangelist on 25 December 1870 and had ten children, the first five children were born in Basford and the younger five in Hyson Green: William birth registered 1875 (J/F/M); Maria Tennant b. 1877; Florence b. 1879; John Henry b. 1882; George Arthur b. 14 April 1884; Wallace b. 1885; Charles Flecknell b. 1887; Harold b. 1889; Tennant b. 1891 and Lily b. 1893. In 1881 John, a brass fitter (brass foundry), and Rebecca, a cotton winder, were living at 32 Chelsea Street, Basford. Two of their three children were in the home on the night of the census, Maria (4) and Florence (1). By 1901 they had moved to Goodall Street, Radford, where on the night of the census both parents and their then eight children were at home: John, a steam gauge maker, Rebecca, William (16) a steam gauge maker, Maria, Florence, John (9), George (7), Wallace (6), Charles (4) and Harold (1). Also in the household were two of John's cousins, Tom Edmunds (22) a brass finisher, and Harry Edmunds (20) a lace designer and draughtsman. John and Rebecca had moved to 19 Beaconsfield Street, Hyson Green, by 1901. In the home on the night of the census were all their children apart from William: Florence hosiery machinist, John a bobbin and carriage maker, George a hosiery maker, Wallace, Charles, Harold, Tennant (9), Lily (7) together with Maria (Scrivens) and her child Florence (under 1 year). Maria had married William Frederick Scrivens at Hyson Green St Paul's on 30 September 1900 and her husband, a striker at Basford Gas Works, was recorded on the census at Hudson's Yard, Spondon Street, Nottingham. The family home was still at 19 Beaconsfield Street in 1911. Only John, a brass finishing labourer, Rebecca, Harold, a lace maker, Lily who was assisting in a surgical business, and Florence Scrivens (10) were in the home on the night of the census. George Arthur, who had joined the RMLI in 1902, was serving with a detachment onboard HMS Cumberland, a cruiser. John and Rebecca later lived at 18 Carver Street, Hyson Green, which remained their home until their deaths. John died on 26 June 1923 and Rebecca on 13 August 1936. According to a newspaper report of George's funeral, his six brothers also served in the war: William (Motor Transport Army Service Corps, served in the Boer War); John (Jack) Henry (Sherwood Foresters, KIA, see 'Extra Information' and record on this Roll of Honour); Wallace (Sherwood Foresters, POW); Charles (Royal Navy); Tennant (Royal Field Artillery) and Harold (Sherwood Foresters). Tennant continued to serve in the RFA after the war and died at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire, on 22 May 1930; he was buried in the family grave at Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery.
Attended Berridge Road, School. In 1901 he was a hosiery maker. He joined the RMLI on 14 April 1902, his eighteenth birthday.
23 Apr 1918
33
2750687 - CWGC Website
PLY/11530
19 Beaconsfield Street, Hyson Green, Nottingham. Enlisted Nottingham.
Private
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Private George Arthur Smith enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 14th April 1902, his 18th birthday. He joined at the Recruit Depot Deal (Private 'C' Coy) and was drafted to Plymouth on 18 December that year. He was discharged on 14 April 1914 on completion of his limited engagement but enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve (5 years) on 15 April 1914 (RMR.B.965). He underwent training between 19 April - 25 April 1914. He was mobilised at Plymouth on 4 August 1914 and was drafted on 8 August 1914 (Caronia). On 6 April 1918 he was drafted to the 4th Bn, presumably for the impending operation at Zeebrugge, Belgium (22/23 April). He served with the 4th Royal Marine Battalion in H.M.S. Vindictive and was either killed in action or died of wounds sustained in the action at Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918. George's body was recovered and he was buried with full military honours in Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery on 26 April 1918. (Grave ref. A.S.29).
Inscription headstone, Nottingham (New Basford) Cemetery: ‘In loving memory of John Henry who died of wounds in France Oct. 6th, 1917, aged 35 years. Also of George Arthur who died of wounds at Zeebrugge, April 23rd, 1918, aged 35 years. The beloved sons of John & Rebecca Smith. Also of John, the beloved husband of Rebecca Smith who died June 26th, 1923, aged 75 years. Also the above Rebecca Smith who died August13th 1936, aged 87 years. Reunited. Also of Mary Giles Fell who died June (-) aged (-). Also Gunner Tennant Smith son of the above, who died May 22nd 1930, aged 47 years.’ His brother John Henry Smith also served in the Great War. He entered theatre (France) after 1 January 1916 and served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. John was wounded in the successful but costly attack on Poelcappelle Belgium on 4 October 1917. He was treated at the Dozinghem Casualty Clearing Station where he died two days later. He was buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery (grave VII. I. 15). Article published on 27th April 1918 in the Nottingham Journal & Express :- “DIED OF WOUNDS. “The body of a hero of the Marines, Pte. George Smith, reached Nottingham last evening. [26th April 1918] "Pte. Smith, who was 33 and a single man, with 15 years' service to his credit, succumbed to wounds sustained in action. “His home was at Hyson Green, and military honours are to mark the funeral, which is to take place at Basford Cemetery on Monday [29th April 1918] at 2.30. “The coffin is to be borne to the grave on a gun-carriage, and a band, and bearer and firing parties are to be provided by the Notts. Volunteer Regiment.” Nottingham Evening Post, 29 April 1918: DIED AT ZEEBRUGGE. NOTTINGHAM HEROES BURIED AT BASFORD 'Two local heroes of the Zeebrugge operations on St. George’s Day were laid to rest on Monday in the quiet cemetery at Basford – George Smith (Royal Marines) and Ernest Charles Pool (Royal Naval Air Service). Smith, who had served 15 years in the Marines, was a native of Hyson Green, his home being in Carver-street. He succumbed to wounds sustained in action ... Full military honours were bestowed on Smith’s internment. Among those present were the Mayor and Sheriff (Mr. J.G. Small and Mr. H. Offiler); the firing party came from the 2nd Battalion of the Notts. Volunteer Regiment; representatives of the Royal Marines followed the cortege; and the roads to the cemetery were lined by a sympathetic crowd. The coffin, borne on a gun-carriage, was covered with the Union Jack and four beautiful wreaths of lilies, narcissi, and pinks. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. C.D. Gordon, vicar of St. Stephen’s Church, Bobbers Mill-road. 'Private George Smith, who joined the Navy 14 years ago, was one of the seven fighting sons of Mr and Mrs John Smith, 18, Carver-street, Nottingham. Of his brothers, Lance-Corpl. Jack Smith, Sherwood Foresters, was killed in action in October last; Lance-Corpl. Wallace Smith, Sherwood Foresters, who has completed nearly 15 years’ service, is now a prisoner of war; Driver Tennant Smith, RFA, and AB Charles Smith, RN, have each eight years; service to their credit; Driver Will Smith, MT, ASC, went through the Boer War, and the last of the seven, Lance-Corpl. Harold Smith, is on active service with the Sherwoods. The family posseses a record of patriotism of which they have just reason to be proud.’ 'In memoriam' notices published 22nd April 1919 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “SMITH. – In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. G. A. Smith, who fell at Zeebrugge April 23rd, 1918. There is a link death cannot sever, love and remembrance last for ever. – Loving sister Flo and Horace, also nephew. “SMITH. – In cherished memory of our dear George Arthur, killed at Zeebrugge 22nd April 1918. [sic] Oh, why was he taken, so fresh and so fair, from those at home who loved him most dear? Hard was the blow that compelled us to part; the one so loving and dear to our hearts. – Sorrowing mother, father, Charlie, Tennent (serving), [1] Lily, little Flo.” 'In memoriam' notice published 23rd April 1919 in the Nottingham Evening Post :- “SMITH. – In loving memory of our dear brother, Pte. George Arthur Smith, Royal Marines, who was killed at Zeebrugge on April 23rd, 1918 (St. George's Day). God grant his reward be greater than his sacrifice. Always remembered. – From his brothers Wallace, Harold (Charlie and Tennant serving), and sister Florrie.” Above articles and in memoriam are courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 Nottingham Evening Post, 27 May 1930: ‘Notts Family’s Patriotism. Gunner’s Death Recalls Great War Sacrifice. An echo of the Great War and the patriotism of a Nottingham family is occasioned by the death at Catterick Camp of Gunner Tennant Smith, Royal Field Artillery, who has had 20 years’ service in the army. He was one of the seven sons of the late Mr John Smith and Mrs Smith, of 18, Carver-street, Hyson Green, Nottingham, who were all on active service at the same time in the war. Of the seven, only three remain. George Smith was killed while serving in the RMLI in the historic naval raid on Zeebrugge; Jack [John] was killed on service with the Sherwood Foresters; whilst Will, who went through both the Boer War and the Great War, has since died. The three brothers alive are Harold, who served in the Sherwood Foresters, and now resides at 20, Carver-street, Wallace, also a Sherwood Forester; and Charles, who was in the Royal Navy. The deceased was a driver in the RFA during the was and had since risen to the rank of gunner. His death came after a short illness. The funeral will take place at Basford tom-morrow, but owing to the desire to remove the body from Catterick, it has been rendered impossible to give military honours.’ (‘www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 27 May 1930: ‘Smith. Gunner T Smith, RFA, at Catterick Camp, on the 22nd, after a short illness, dearly beloved son of Mrs R Smith, 18 Carver-street, Hyson Green. Deeply mourned by all. Funeral Basford, Wednesday, 3 o’clock.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Acknowledgements’, 20 August 1936: ‘Family of Mrs Smith, 18, Carver-street, give thanks, friends, neighbours, also St Stephen’s Mother’s Meeting, for sympathy and floral tributes in their sad bereavement.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on

Photos

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  • Family gravestone, Basford Cemetery, commemorating George Arthur. Photograph Rachel Farrand (February 2019).
    George Arthur Smith - Family gravestone, Basford Cemetery, commemorating George Arthur. Photograph Rachel Farrand (February 2019).