SMITH, Thomas Henry

Sergeant Thomas Henry Smith
11406 1st & 2nd Battalions Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)

Thomas was born about 1889 at Danesmoor, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, son of Thomas Smith a coal miner from Navenby, Lincs and his wife Annie (nee Reast), a dressmaker from Lincoln. In 1901 Thomas Henry was aged 11, living at 7, Barlow Hill, Pilsley with his parents and brothers and sister, Fanny, William Robert, George and Wilfred.

Thomas is listed on the Jacksdale War Memorial as a private but actually attained the rank of sergeant. He was a regular soldier before the outbreak of World War One as he is listed on the 1911 Census at Crownhill Fort RSO, Plympton St. Mary’s, Devon with the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters. There were 122 other ranks at the fort, living in 14 barrack rooms, plus 5 commissioned officers.  Alfred Bacon another 2nd Bn. Sherwood Forester listed on the Jacksdale War Memorial, a casualty of WW1, was also billeted at Crownhill Fort, with a service number of 11402. Alfred Bacon was also born in Danesmoor, so it is likely they joined up together in 1910, particularly as their service numbers are so close.  It may also explain why Thomas went on to marry a Westwood girl, Harriet Knight on 10th December 1916 at Westwood St. Mary’s. Perhaps Thomas came home on furlough with Alfred to visit Alfred’s family in Jacksdale and that is how he met Harriet. On the marriage record, Thomas’s occupation is given as ‘soldier’ and his place of residence, 1, Brunswick Street, Pilsley.

Thomas was part of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914, disembarking in France on 4th November 1914. His Medal Rolls Index Card states he was a recipient of the British War and Victory Medals but oddly does not mention the 1914 or 1914-15 Star. It does, however, make mention of a “Clasp & Roses” issued on 16 April 1920, so Thomas must have received a 1914 Star. A newspaper article from the Nottingham Evening Post dated 6th June 1918, reports the following, ‘Sergt. T. H. Smith of Old Westwood, Jacksdale, late of Pilsley, of the Sherwood Foresters, is reported to be a prisoner of war in Germany and quite well.’ His index card records the rank of Private and Sergeant, but he is listed as a private on the war memorial. His army pal, Alfred Bacon was also taken prisoner of war by the Germans.

Thomas and Harriett had children Lily D born 1917, Thomas V born 1920 and possibly Joseph in 1921 and Joan in 1924.

We would be very pleased to hear from his descendants.