Wilfred Smith

G/15354, Lance Corporal, 2nd Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment.

Killed In Action on the 26th October 1917 aged 26 .

Wilfred was the son of Reuben & Rosanna Smith of High Sreet, Walkern.

He was tolose his life in the closing stages of The Battle of  Passchendaele. The offensive had been launched on 31st July 1917 and continued until the fall of Passchendaele village on 6th November.  Although it resulted in gains for the Allies it was by no means the breakthrough General Haig intended, and such gains as were made came at great cost in human terms. The area had suffered the heaviest rains it had seen for 30 years and this, combined with intensive shelling from both sides, had turned the ground into a hellish morass.

On the 24th October 1917 the Battalion relieved the 16th & 17th Sherwood Foresters at Bodmin Copse. The ground conditions were terrible and the Battalion moved into position at night using duckboard walkways. This made progress very slow and the relief was not completed until 1.30am due to the darkness, the fact it was raining and that they had to share the walkways with the outgoing troops.

The 25th October was described as “relatively quiet” with the Battalion preparing for an assault the following day on a position known as Lewis House. The attack began at 5.40 am and quickly became disorganised due to the fact that most of the Officers and NCO’s had become casualties. It also appears that two lines of troops converged on each other as they reached the objective, increasing the confusion and possibly resulting on troops firing on each other. In total the Battalion suffered 101 casualties during this disastrous attack, one of whom was Wilfred Smith.

Wilfred is buried in the Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Zillebeke, Belgium. 

Medal Entitlement:  British War Medal & Victory Medal

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