Samuel Harris Smith (1888–1919)


Manchester Regiment 15515 2nd& 9th Battalions
Labour Corps 699968 18th Coy

Photo courtesy Maureen and John Churchill

photo of Samuel Smith in WW1

Samuel Smith was born at Crich in 1888, the third son of George Smith and Ann Smith (née Oliver). His mother passed away, aged 27, either shortly after Samuel's birth, or as a direct result of it. He was subsequently raised by his mother's sister and her husband, Elizabeth Harris (née Oliver) and Samuel Harris. As a result, he was not raised alongside his brothers at Crich and appears to have used the surname Harris during his youth and early adulthood. He evidently retained contact with his Crich family after moving away from the area.

Samuel lived with his aunt and uncle for several years at Codnor Park. In December 1904, he attested for service with the militia, serving with the 3rd Notts & Derby Regiment, using the name 'Samuel Harris'. In May 1905, he attested for service with the Manchester Regiment at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. During 1906, he served in South Africa for several months. In January 1907, he was discharged at his own request with a view to enlisting with the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, which doesn't appear to have happened.

By 1911, he was living with his aunt and uncle at Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool in County Durham, where both he and his uncle were employed at a zinc smelting works. Later that year he married, in Derbyshire, to a Crich girl named Florence Martha Mellors. They settled at Seaton Carew, where they had two daughters and a son. Samuel's father, George Smith, and his brother, John Oliver, also relocated to Seaton Carew around this time, though John later settled with his family at Crich.

At the outbreak of war, Samuel attested for service at Hartlepool in November 1914 and re-enlisted into the Manchester Regiment. He was appointed lance corporal and arrived in France in January 1916, though soon returned to his old employer at Seaton Carew to work in munitions. He was posted to the 3rd Manchester Regiment in April 1918 and returned to France. He was hospitalised for about a month in October 1918 and was demobilised from service in March 1919.

Shortly after his demobilisation, he re-enlisted into the Labour Corps in May 1919 and soon returned to France. In July 1919, he died from acute septic endocarditis at a casualty clearing station at Ruitz, France. He was interred at Houchin British Cemetery and his name was included on the war memorial at Seaton Carew. It is also thought that he is the 'Pte. Saml. H. Smith' listed on the WW1 'Roll of Honour' inside Crich Parish Church, and on the war memorial in the churchyard. His widow and three children returned to live at Crich.

Photos courtesy Maureen and John Churchill

Samuel Smith medal dated 1906

A medal presented to Samuel Harris, inscribed :
S.A. Trophy Winners 1906
S. Harris
5th Battn

Florence Martha Smith (née Mellors)

Samuel Smith's widow, Florence Martha Smith (née Mellors) (1883-1974)

Samuel and Florence were married at Belper Register Office in 1911. They started their married life at Seaton Carew, Durham, but Florence returned to Crich with her children following Samuel's death in 1919. Two of Florence's brothers are listed on the WW1 Roll of Honour at Crich: John Mellors (1891-1917) and Walter Mellors (1895-1963). The surname is sometimes given as 'Mellows' rather than 'Mellors'.

Medal Roll Index card
Samuel was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals

Army Service Record
Attested 18/11/14 at West Hartlepool, (having enlisted 29/05/14) aged 28 years 7 month; married, address 31 Zinc Cottages, Seaton Carew. Birth address Crich. Previously served with 3rd & 4th Manchester Regiment for 4 years, discharged on 14 January 1907 . Next of kin was his wife Florence Martha Smith c/o James Mellors, Near Sun Lane, Crich. His height was 5ft 7¼in, weight 147lb; he had blue eyes, brown hair and was C of E. There was a cross and square tattoo on his forearm. He married Florence Martha Mellors on 04/07/11 at Belper Register Office (witnesses John Oliver & Mary Green). They had a son Walter Harris (born 17/09/18), and daughters Florence Elizabeth (born 25/05/17) and Evelyn born (16/10/16) all at Seaton Carew.
19/11/14 Enlisted 3rd Manchester Regiment
16/03/15 Posted 2nd Manchester Regiment
28/09/15 Appointed unpaid Lance Corporal
17/01/16 Arrived Rouen
29/01/16 To England Munitions Work from Havre
30/01/16 Posted supernumary
02/02/16 Attached for duty with Central Zinc Co. at Seaton Carew, W. Hartlepool for munitions work
13/01/18 Posted unpaid Lance Corporal
09/04/18 Posted 3rd Manchester Reg
06/05/18 Folkestone to Boulogne & Etaples
10/05/18 Joined Unit 2/6 Manchester Regt
07/10/18 Sick
16/11/18 Rejoined Regt
11/02/19 To UK via Dunkirk
12/03/19 Demobbed

After being demobbed Samuel seems to have re-enlisted, aged 36 years 52 days. He was a married furnace man, current address Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool and it stated he was in the Manchester Reg 18/11/14 to 12/03/19. His wife's address was Corners Court, Seaton Carew, W. Hartlepool
He was awarded the Victory, British War and 15 Star Medals. His Father was George Smith living at West Hartlepool (mother dead) and he had a brother, J O Smith, aged 37 of 19 Snook Cottages, Seaton Carew.
29/05/19 Joined the Labour Corp 699968 aged 36
20/06/19 Posted BEF France
01/07/19 Posted to 18 Labour Corp
03/07/19 Admitted to Hospital
10/07/19 Died from acute septic endocarditis at Casualty Clearing Station Ruitz, Germany
27/11/19 Wife living at Oak Cottages, Crich
08/01/20 Wife was born 1885 pension of 50s 2d. Husband born 1883
17/01/20 Letter requesting return of all property to wife

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials S
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Private
Regiment/Service Manchester Regiment transferred to 2nd Bn.(699968) 18th Coy. Labour Corps
Service Number 15515
Unit 9th Bn
Age 35
Date of Death
Additional Information Husband of Florence Martha Smith, of Oak Cottage, Crich, Matlock, Derbyshire.
Casualty type Died in hospital
Grave/Memorial Reference
IV. A. 22.


War Graves Certificate for Samuel Smith in WW1

WW1 headstone for Samuel Smith

15515 Private S. Smith
Manchester Regiment
10th July 1919 aged 35

Gone but not forgotten
Rest in Peace
From his loving wife and children

Photos courtesy Maureen and John Churchill

Samuel smith memorial marker

A memorial showing the original wood cross marking Samuel's grave
The red numeral 15515 was his regimental number.

Golden Roll of Honour
Sometime after the end of the First World War, relatives of fallen soldiers received a letter and a 'Golden Roll of Honour' sent to them as a private fund-raising initiative of Captain Malcolm Cockerell who had served with the Army Service Corps in 1918 and on the Western Front from 8 September 1918. Cockerell was commissioned as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 29 April 1918 into the Army Service Corps, and he appears to have continued to serve into the early 1920s, and was serving in February 1921 with a home address of Deauville Court, Clapham, London. The wording "For King and Country to the Glory of God and Everlasting Memory of" appears on each certificate which is then followed by a pasted-on cutting from the Imperial War Graves Commission Register detailing the individual soldier.

Samuel Smith's Golden Roll of Honour WW1

The 'Golden Roll of Honour' for Samuel Smith

Seaton Carew War Memorial

Photo Ray Wilkins

Seaton Carew War Memorial

Samuel Smith is inscribed on the South panel

Soldiers' Effects Book
Samuel Smith; Labour Corps; Private 699968; died 15 C C Station, Ruitz Germany; War Gratuity £5; paid out to:
19.1.20 widow Florence £8 1s 0d

Samuel Harris Smith's brother Thomas Smith is also on the Roll of Honour.


1891: Elmton Green, Elmton, Worksop

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Harris Head 23 Police constable Newbold Moor
Elizabeth Harris wife 24   Crich
Samuel Smith nephew 4   Crich

RG12 piece 2647 folio 178 page 18

1901: Codnor Park, Ironville

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Harris Head 33 Steel furnacceman Newbold
Elizabeth Harris wife 34   Crich
Samuel Harris son 13 bootmaker's assistant Crich

RG13 piece 3243 folio 69 page 23

1911: Seaton Carew, Hartlepool

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Harris Head 44 Zinc ore roastero Newbold
Elizabeth Harris wife 44   Crich
Samuel Harris son 23 Zinc ore roastero Crich

RG14 29658 0119