Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Smith, William Henry - Private (9552)

Pte William Henry Smith
2nd Battalion,
East Lancashire Regiment
Died on 29th December 1916
at the 3rd Western General Hospital, Newport, Monmouthshire.
Buried at St. Thomas Musbury.

Newspaper Report:


At Musbury Church on Wednesday afternoon, the funeral of Private W.H. Smith, of the 2nd East Lancashires was attended with full military honours. The deceased was a native of Chelsea, and joined the East Lancashire Regiment when 18 years of age.  From the Preston depot he went to the Carragh Camp, Ireland, afterwards to India, and then to South Africa.  He was engaged in the war with German West Africa, from whence he was drafted to France, in November 1914.  He was eventually wounded at Neuve Chappelle, and was then transferred to the Haslingden auxiliary Military Hospital.  During seven months stay in hospital he earned the respect of the staff.  He went to Blackpool for convalenscence, after which he returned to France, where he saw much fighting; was gassed and wounded, and ultimately met with further wounds on the Somme, which led to his subsequent death in the military hospital, Newport, Monmouthshire, where he died on Friday night last.  The body of the deceased was conveyed to Helmshore, being carried from the station on Tuesday evening to St. Thomas Church by Helmshore lads who had volunteered for the task through the inability of the wounded soldiers to attend at the hour of arrival, the remains being followed by the deceased's wife and mother, who were sympathetically received by the vicar, the Rev. A. Winfield, M.A.  The coffin was left in the chancel overnight, bearing the Union Jack and the deceased's strap and bayonet.  At the funeral on Wednesday afternoon the officiating ministers were the vicar, Rev. A. Winfield and the Rev. T. Miller Johnson (military chaplain), of Haslingden, the latter reading a lesson and offering prayer.  The procession started from Lane House, and was preceded by a detachment of the 2nd East Lancashires from Preston, comprising about twenty men.  There were also in attendance Mrs. Smith (wife), Mrs. Smith (mother), Mr. R.V.S. Houghton, Mrs. Houghton, Alderman Witham J.P., Alderman Warburton, Dr. Harrison, Miss Harrison, Nurse Brown (matron of the Haslingden hospital) Nurses Tupling, Ward and Brandwood, Miss McGrail, Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Birtwistle, Miss Taylor, Messrs. Barker, Haslam, Ayrton, and Heaton.
After the completion of the burial service by the vicar, a firing party under the command of a sergeant, fired three volleys and the buglers sounded "The Last Post."  The wounded soldiers from the hospital also paid a last tribute to their departed comrade.  Floral tributes were contributed by "Wife and Little Willie," "Mother", his ward comrades from Newport, the staff of the Haslingden Military hospital, Mr and Mrs. Houghton, "Sally and Dorothy," "Mary and Uncle Pat." There was a considerable gathering of the public, and much sympathy was manifested.