George Smith

  • Private George Smith (Oxford Chronicle, 29 September 1916)

9974 Private George Smith served with 5th (Service) Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, which embarked for Gallipoli from Liverpool on 3 July 1915, bound for Mudros, the base facility on the island of Imbros. It took part in the landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, on 6 August, engaging with Turkish forces to take Sari Bair and adjoining ridges to link up with the ANZAC beach heads further south. It was a costly failure: many died needlessly including George Smith, and the GOC Gallipoli, Sir Ian Hamilton, himself a mediocre commander, dismissed several generals and brigadiers immediately. George died on 21 August, aged 19, as his Battalion stormed slopes behind Suvla in thick mist. His body was not found, but his name is commemorated on the Cape Helles monument at the southern end of the peninsula (ref: Panel 136-139). On 16 December 1915 the Battalion was evacuated from Gallipoli, among the first away, due to severe casualties.

‘Pte G. Smith, son of Mr F. Smith, Farm Close Lane, Wheatley, was reported missing during the Gallipoli campaign and official information has now been received that he was killed. His brother, Pte M. [Mark] Smith, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire L.I. is reported wounded and missing'.

The records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission state that he was the son of Frederick and Clara Ann Smith nee Putt born in Oxford in 1873, who lived on Crown Road. George's birth was registered in Hammersmith in 1894. On his Attestation Form (August 1914) he gave his occupation as kitchen porter. He also stated that he had previously served with the Royal Navy but had been discharged as medically unfit. On 10 October 1914 he was confined to camp for seven days for using obscene language to an NCO.

He was reported missing on 22 August 1915; 24 June 1916 was the date of his death as assumed for official purposes. On 1 July 1919 private property, i.e. 22 photographs, were returned to George's father Frederick, who was living in Wheatley. See also reference to George in the Wheatley in a World at War chapter.

Dorset Regiment
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