Reginald Holt Smith (1882-1917), a Private (G/18130) in the 7th (Service) Battalion, the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, formerly Private (3654) of the Suffolk Yeomanry, was killed in action on 23 July 1917, aged 35. His death, caused by shelling, is recorded on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 45 and 47), and is remembered also in this imposing grave alongside many of his family. He is also commemorated on the war memorial in Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge.
The Third Battle of Ypres (known as ‛Passchendaele’) lasted from 21 July to 6 November 1917. Thus it is probably in the opening days of this battle — of the three battles fought around the Belgian town of Ypres the costliest in terms of human life, with half a million lives lost in all — that Reginald Smith died.
Reginald was born in 1882 in Cambridge. He was the sixth of ten children born to William Henry Chappel Smith and Elizabeth Jane Smith (née Holt). He was also the younger brother Arthur Frederic Smith and the older brother of Ethel Holt Carter (née Smith), and Archibald Holt Smith. Reginald was baptised on 29 August 1882 in Cambridge. The family grew up at 13 Clarendon Street and 13 Market Street, Cambridge. Reginald became a hosier like his father (William Henry Chapel Smith), grandfather (Chappel Brand Smith), great grandfather and many of his family before him. He enlisted in Cambridge on 9 December 1915 as Private (3654) in the Suffolk Yeomanry. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall with a mole on the back of his neck.
Reginald went to France on 27 August 1916. At some point he was transferred to the 7th (Service) Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) as Private (G/18130). Reginald was twice reprimanded for having a dirty rifle on parade and once for being improperly dressed. He received the British War and Victory medals and he directed that his medals be sent to his older brother, Arthur Frederic Smith (1874–1918), in the event of his death. He was killed in action on 23 July 1917 in France. His possessions were returned to his father and included: letters, photos, pipe, wallet, cheque book, and safety razor.
His death was reported in the newspaper as:
Pte Reginald Holt Smith, of the Royal West Kents, third son of Mr W H C Smith, 13, Market-street, Cambridge, was killed in action on July 24th, aged 34.
Cambridge Independent Press and Cambridgeshire Weekly News and Express, 10 August 1917
Lat Lon : 52.201973, 0.13826034 – click here for location
Parish : Holy Trinity
War Graves Photographic Project
Census returns for England: 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901, 1911
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837 – 1915
Birmingham, England, Baptisms, 1813 – 1912
England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837 – 1915
London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754 – 1921
England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837 – 1915
England & Wales, Death Index, 1916 – 2007
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858 – 1966
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914 – 1919
Communications from Jacquie Walsh, Chappel Brand Smith’s great great granddaughter.
By Emma Easterbrook, Robin Mansfield and Ian Bent