Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Smithson, Joshua - Private (45685)

Private Joshua Smithson
2nd/4th Battalion,
South Lancashire Regiment,
Killed in Action
27th September 1918,
Age 19
Buried at Hermies Hill British Cemetery.

Joshua Smithson 45685 of the 2nd/4th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, was killed in action south of Cambrai, in France, 27 September 1918. He was aged nineteen and a single man. Pte. Smithson was the youngest son of Christopher and Ann Smithson of 177 Grane Road. He was the youngest of nine children. In civilian life he was a weaver at L Whittaker and Sons, Grane Road Mill. He was a member of the congregation at St Stephen’s Church. He was taken for military service two days before the funeral of his brother, Hartley. On 27 September 1918 the Battalion advanced over open country to secure a bridgehead over the Canal du Nord outside the village of Graincourt near Cambrai. As they entered the village the leading troops came under heavy machine-gun fire and suffered many casualties. They continued their advance however and occupied the German positions. Two fieldguns which had been firing over open sights were captured and the crews killed. Fifty others and several machine-guns were also captured and the crossing of the canal completed. Twenty men, one of whom was Pte. Smithson were killed and ninety wounded during the attack. Pte.Smithson had served in France only two weeks before he was killed. Three other brothers serving in France returned safely. Pte.Smithson is buried in Hermies Hill British Cemetery. Hermies is a large village some three miles (4.8 Kms) south of the Bapaume to Cambrai road. The cemetery was begun by fighting units in 1917 and used again in September 1918. It was enlarged after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from the battlefield and other smaller cemeteries. There are 1,005 war graves and Pte.Smithson lies in Plot 111, Row H, Grave 1. 

Newspaper Reports:


Mr. Christopher Smithson and Mrs, Smithson, of 177 Grane Road, Haslingden, have just lost their second of five sons serving in the war, this being Private Joshua Smithson (19), of the South Lancashires.  Deceased joined up in January - two days, before the funeral at Haslingden of his brother Private Hartley Smithson, (33) who had died in hospital in England without having had opportunity to see active service.  He had been in France, only a fortnight, and only one letter has come from him from France. Previous to joining up he was an overlooker at L. Whittaker's , Grane Road Mill.  He is on the roll of honour of Grane Parish Church, though previous to the opening of the Grane Mission Hall he attended Haslingden Parish Church.  He was a very quiet lad, and much liked by all who knew him.
The three other brothers serving are Private Houghton Smithson (23), East Lancashires, who has been in the Army four years and was wounded in the Dardenelles and who is home on leave at present; Milton (35 married), R.F.A.l and Tom (37) who joined a Canadian regiment and is now in Kent with them.

Newspaper Memorials:

In loving memory of our dear son, Private Joshua Smithson, 2/4th South Lancs. Regt., killed in France September 27th, 1918; also Hartley, died at Ripon, January 1918; also Christopher.

"God called you home our loved ones,
Because He saw it best,
From the dreadful road of battle,
To the land of peace and rest".

From their Mother and Father, Knowl Gap Farm.

"And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which we have loved long since and lost awhile."

From their Brother and Sister and Nephews, Tom and Edith in Canada.

"Love never dies though years may pass away,
We think of them, speak of them, and miss them every day."

From their Brother and Sister, Milton and Millie

"May the winds of heaven blow softly,
O'er that sweet and hallowed spot,
Where our dear loved ones lie sleeping,
Who will never be forgot.

From their Sister and Brother, Cissie and Jim

"Two minutes silence is not much,
But it breaks an aching heart,
Two minutes thought each day we live,
Remembers a hero's part

From their Sister and Brother, Maria and Ted.

"Just when their days were brightest,
Just when their hopes were best,
They were called from this land of sorrow,
To that beautiful land of rest".

From their Brother and Sister, Haughton and Florrie.

"Could we have raised his dying head,
Or heard his last request,
The grief would not have been so hard,
For those who loved him best.

When last we saw his smiling face,
He looked so strong and brave,
We little thought how soon he'd be
Laid in a soldier's grave"

From his loving Father, Mother, and Brother haughton, serving somewhere in France.

"We pictured his safe returning,
And longed to clasp his hand;
But God postponed the meeting,
Till we meet in a Better Land."

From his loving Brother Tom, serving, and Edith in Canada, and little Newphews.

"Fold him in Thine arms, O Lord,
And ever let him be,
A messenger of love between,
Our aching hearts and Thee."

From his sorrowing Brother and Sister in law, Milton (in France) and Millie

"Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be in the Better Lane,
We shall know the meaning of our tears,
And perhaps sometime we'll understand."

"To memory ever dear."

From his sorrowing Sister and Brother In law Cissie and Jim.

"Only a simple wooden cross,
Only a name and number,
In his mound of earth and moss,
Peaceful be my brother's slumbers."

From his loving Sister and Brother in Law, Marie and Ted.

"Dearest nephew thou has left us,
Thy sad loss we deeply feel;
But the God who has bereaved us,
He can all our sorrows heal."

From Uncle and Aunt and Cousins, Waterside House.

"We often think of the days gone by,
And the joys we shared together;
We didn't think when we said good-bye,
That it was farewell for ever."

From his Cousin Sis, and Ernest in France.

"What would i give to clasp your hand,
Your dear, sweet face to see,
Your loving smile and welcome voice,
Which were so much to me.

May heavenly sinds blow softly,
On that weet and hallowed spot;
Though the sea divides his grave from us,
He will never be forgot."

From his sorrowing father and mother, Knowl Gap Farm, Flaxmoss

"As we loved you, so we miss you,
And our memory fondly strays,
To a spot, unknown, but sacred,
To our dear brother's honoured grave."

From his brother and sister in law, and nepews, Tom and Edith in Canada.

"He was one of the noble thousands,
Who answered their country's call;
In years he was young, in strength he was strong,
And he gave up his life for us all.

A day of remembrance sad to recall,
Killed by a shell, in sorrow we tell,
And what he suffered no one can tell,
He did his bit and did it well."

Sadly missed by his brother, Haughton.

"We have lost, and heaven has gained,
The best of brothers this world contained."

"Too dearly loved to be forgotten."

From Milton and Millie and nephews.

"Dear brothers, in our hearts you still have a place,
Your home is now lonely without your sweet faces;
We think of you always, and oft' breathe your names,
We cannot forget you - love will always remain."

From their loving sister and brother, Cissie and Jim, and little nieces.

"We look around and see them not,
We "list," but hear no more,
The welcome of those well known voices,
That cheered our hearts of yore.

Dear brother, we'll never forget the words,
You said to soothe our pain;
"Don't worry, dears," was your last farewell,
"I shall soon be home again"

From their loving sister and brother, Maria and Ted.

"Short and sudden was the call,
Of one so dearly loved by all,
Deep in our hearts, firm and fast,
Live golden memories of the past."

From uncle and aunt and cousins, Waterside.

Another photo of
Pte Joshua Smithson

Joshua is shown on this family photo
young boy sat on front row to the far right.
His older brother Hartley who also died in this war
is also shown on this photo standing 2nd from the left on the back row.
Photo: 1903/1904

Pte Joshua Smithson's Grave at the Hermies Hill Cemetery in France