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Swinford Smith was born in 1881 at Prices Cottage, Horselees, Dunkirk, the son of George and Eliza Rosina Jane Smith. The 1881 census shows that his father was a painter by trade. His name is spelt as Swinford on the birth register and Synford on the CWGC records.
Swinford joined the Buffs in Canterbury in 1900 at the age of 19, giving his occupation as Labourer, and he served 12 years with the colours before being discharged in 1912 at the end of his service. His army records show that he served in India in 1901, South Africa in 1905 and Singapore in 1910. On the 1911 Census, when he would have been in Singapore, his occupation was given as Cook. He rejoined the Buffs on 8 August 1914, four days after the outbreak of war, was posted to France on 23 February 1916 and was killed in action near Ypres on 24 April 1916.
Private Smith is remembered with honour at the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres, Belgium, and also at the War Memorial at Dunkirk Church.
The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders. The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites.The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.
National Archives in association with Ancestry.com. 1901 and 1911 England census database.
British Army WWI Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: CWGC.org
Dunkirk Parish Magazine
Photos - Owen