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  • Commonwealth War Grave Commissionn headstone marking the grave at Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, Pas De Calais, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
Person Details
He was the son of Ellen Smith of 45 Peas Hill Road, Nottingham
01 Jul 1916
33
305632 - CWGC Website
265600
Private
1/7th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
He was killed in action on 1 July 1916 although his death was not confirmed until May the following year. He is buried in Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, Pas de Calais (grave ref. 2.C.28).
It was reported on 29th May 1915 that Ellen Smith had received official notification of the death in action of her son, George - Pte. George Smith, 2/7th Battalion Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Robin Hood Rifles). However, her son had not left Luton where he was under training and was still alive and well. “MISTAKEN IDENTITY. “Extraordinary Coincidence of a Robin Hood Casualty. .“An extraordinary case of mistaken identity in connection with the Robin Hoods has just come to light, and has resulted in a mother being able to discard her mourning which she had put on for a soldier son who was reported to her as killed in action in France. “It appears that there are two Smiths in the Robin Hoods both bearing the Christian name of George. One is – or was – with the Active Service Battalion in France, and the other is in the second line at Luton, which is awaiting orders to go to the front. By an extraordinary coincidence both apparently had the same number – 2647. “The name of Private George Smith of the Active Service Battalion has been inscribed on the scroll of honour, for he died a soldier's death about three weeks ago. He was a native of Awsworth, his bereaved family residing in Main-street. “The fact that both men had apparently the same number seems to be suggested by the painful experience of Mrs. Smith, of 45, Peas Hill-road, the mother of Private G. A. Smith, of the second line. Mrs. Smith was plunged into grief by the receipt of a telegram from the War authorities announcing that her son had been killed in action. She had no idea he was in the trenches, believing him to be still at Luton, from which town she had received a letter from his a week or two before. “Then a letter conveying to her the King's sympathy and regret at the death of her son arrived. “Son Never Left Luton. “While mourning the death, Mrs. Smith was stricken with astonishment to receive a letter from his bearing the Luton postmark. He commenced the missive with the news that he was “quite well.” Considerably mystified, Mrs. Smith lost no time in paying a visit to the headquarters of the Robin Hoods on Derby-road, where she was informed that Private G.A. Smith had never left Luton so far as they were aware. “The officer commanding the Robin Hoods' second line was communicated with by wire, and his reply satisfied the staff at the headquarters that the Private Smith in question had certainly not been drafted to the Active Service Battalion. Later, a wire, and then another letter from the soldier son completely turned his mother's grief into joy. “How the confusion came about is a matter which the officers at Derby-road have not yet been able to settle.” [1] Ellen Smith was to receive another telegram informing her of George Smith's death in action. On that occasion, there was no mistake. He had been killed in action on 1st July 1916 serving with 1/7th Battalion and is buried in Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers. [1] 'Nottingham Daily Express,' 29th May 1915. Above item courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918 :- Nottingham Evening Post , ‘Roll of Honour’, 26 May 1917: ‘Smith. Missing since July 1st, now reported killed, Private George Smith, Sherwood Foresters, beloved son of Ellen Smith, 45, Peas Hill-road, aged 29 years. Deeply mourned by mother, brothers, and sisters.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
Remembered on

Photos

  • Commonwealth War Grave Commissionn headstone marking the grave at Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, Pas De Calais, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
    George Smith - Commonwealth War Grave Commissionn headstone marking the grave at Gommecourt Wood New Cemetery, Foncquevillers, Pas De Calais, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle