PTE ALBERT SMITH
EAST SURREY REGT
6 APR. 1916
Connection with Effingham
He was born in Effingham, although his parents were not, and was residing at “Manor House” in Effingham when he enlisted in 1915.
Albert’s parents were Thomas Smith, born probably in Woking in 1864 [GRO Ref: Guildford 2a 41, 1864 (Q3)], and Mary (née) Franks, born in Thursley, Surrey in 1867 [GRO Ref: Hambledon 2a 88, 1867 (Q2)]. They married – possibly in Effingham – in 1889 [GRO Ref: Dorking 2a 225, 1889 (Q2)].
In 1890 their first child Alice Elizabeth was born in Effingham [GRO Ref: Dorking 2a 146, 1890 (Q2)]. The 1891 Census finds Mary and this child living at Westmoor Cottage – or perhaps in an associated dwelling next to it – in Orestan Lane, although Thomas was absent:
Westmore [sic] Cottage, Effingham : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 576 Folio 90 Page 8
Mary Smith : head : mar : 32 : — : Thursley, Surrey
Alice E. Smith : dau : unm : 1 : — : Effingham, Surrey
Albert was born in Effingham in 1896 [GRO Ref: Dorking 2a 178, 1896 (Q4)]. Here he is with his family in 1901, now living on Bookham Common:
Bookham Common, Great Bookham : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 586 Folio 115 Page 7
Thomas Smith : head : mar : 34 [sic] : general labourer : Woking, Surrey
Mary Smith : wife : mar : 44 : — : Thursley, Surrey
Alice E. Smith : dau : unm : 11 : — : Effingham, Surrey
William J. Smith : son : unm : 9 : — : Effingham, Surrey
Frederick J. Smith : son : unm : 8 : — : Effingham, Surrey
Ellen M. Smith : dau : unm : 6 : — : Effingham, Surrey
Albert H. Smith : son : unm : 5 : — : Effingham, Surrey
Ernest E. Smith : son : unm : 2 : — : Effingham, Surrey
By 1911 the family had moved to Dunley Hill in the far south of the parish. The 1911 Census finds them there, except that Mary was then visiting her daughter Alice in Merton – Alice had married the year before to Frederick George Harrison [GRO Ref: Dorking 2a 323, 1910 (Q2)]:
Dunley Hill, Effingham : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 3193 Schedule 100
Thomas Smith : head : mar : 46 : waggoner [sic] on farm : Effingham [in error – Woking], Surrey
William Smith : son : unm : 19 : shepherd on farm : Effingham, Surrey
Frederick Smith : son : unm : 18 : groom domestic : Effingham, Surrey
Ellen Smith : dau : unm : 16 : house work : Effingham, Surrey
Albert Smith : son : unm : 14 : gardener domestic : Effingham, Surrey
Ernest Smith : son : unm : 12 : school : Effingham, Surrey
May Smith : dau : unm : 8 : — : Effingham, Surrey
No. 49, High Street, Colliers Wood, Merton S.W. : PRO Ref: RG14 RD39 SD6 ED28 SN107
Frederick George Harrison : head : mar : 30 : labourer [on] railway : Kennington, London
Alice Elizabeth Harrison : wife : mar : 21 : — : Effingham, Surrey
— [newborn, as yet unnamed] Harrison : dau : unm : under one month : — : Colliers Wood, Merton, Surrey
Herbert Frederick Offer Harrison : son : unm : 10 : school : Lavender Hill, London
[born to first wife of Frederick]
Mary Smith : visitor : widow [in error] : 54 : — : Thursley, Surrey
In 1915 Albert enlisted with, initially, the 4th Bn., East Surrey Regiment, giving his address as the Manor House, Effingham. In March 1916, now assigned to the 7th Bn., he was posted to France where, just two weeks afterwards – and only two days after actually joining up with that battalion – he was killed in action on April 6th.
1. Service Record
National Archives: WO363 (War Office): Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’
Albert’s service record has survived as about a dozen sheets. His Company Conduct Sheet gives his birthplace as Effingham and lists no offences. His Attestation Form states that he attested at Guildford on November 5th 1915. He gave his age as “19 years 1 month”, his occupation as footman and his address as “Manor House, Effingham”. Below is his original signature from the form:
He named his next-of-kin as his father whose address he gave as Courtland Cottage, Dunley Hill, “near Dorking”. The record of his medical inspection has not survived. He joined the East Surrey Regiment, 4th Bn., at Kingston on November 8th with Service No. 14907.
On March 22nd 1916 he embarked for France, now in the 7th Battalion. His Active Service Casualty Form states that he was “to join battalion” on April 4th, then that he had been killed in action on April 6th. On July 24th the War Office requested the Infantry Records department at Hounslow to despatch any personal effects they had to Albert’s father at the Courtland Cottage address: evidently they had none, as the request form is marked “no effects”. On September 15th 1917 a repeat request was made, marked “this form cancels one sent 24/7/16” and giving a slightly different address for Thomas – “The Farm”, Dunley Hill, Dorking”. This form bears a later stamp dated September 16th 1919 and a still later handwritten enigmatical remark “no medals 29.9.19”. Finally, the papers contain a small slip of paper, dated August 26th 1920 and signed by Thomas, acknowledging his receipt of Albert’s British War Medal.
2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record
Date of Death
SMITH, ALBERT HENRY
East Surrey Regiment, 7th Bn
20 [but was actually 19]
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, of The Farm, Dunley Hill, Dorking.
II. F. 17.
VERMELLES BRITISH CEMETERY
3. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” Record
This adds nothing to the above other than confirming that he enlisted at Kingston.
4. Medal Record