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Harry Smith was born on 1st July 1885 at Colonels Lane, the son of John and Jane Smith (nee Osborne) of Boughton. His army records indicate that he first enlisted in The Buffs in October 1901, giving his age as 18, and served in South Africa. He then transferred to the Militia, and returned home to work as a farm labourer; in the 1911 census he was living with his parents at Plommers Cottage, Hickmans Green.He married Minnie Wanstall from Dunkirk in 1911, and they lived at Winterbourne.
Their only son, Harold, was tragically knocked off his bicycle in 1926, at the age of 14, and died a few days later. Harry’s widow had meanwhile remarried, and became Minnie Wills, moving to “Bounds View Cottages” (now 53 The Street), Boughton.
Private Smith is remembered with honour at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, Pas de Calais, France, where his grave reference is III.G.11. He is also remembered with honour at the War Memorial at St Barnabas, Boughton.
Harry was badly wounded when the battalion headquarters in the Givenchy area, near Lille, were hit by heavy bombardment on New Year’s Day, 1916. He died at the dressing station at Cuinchy on 6th January.
National Archives in association with Ancestry.com. 1901 and 1911 England census database.
British Army WWI Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: CWGC.org
Faversham and North Kent News
Harry Smith’s name had somehow slipped through the net when the roll of honour was first compiled. It was finally added to the Boughton Memorial only in 1991, following research and representations by his great-nephew Bill Bush. Harry’s younger brother John served in The Royal Field Artillery, and survived the war. Bill Bush was John’s grandson.
Photos - Owen and Smith Family Tree
Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner