The Men from Hyde – Alfred Charles Smith

Alfred Charles Smith was known to his family as Uncle Charlie (though of course the younger ones never met him.) Born in 1893, he lived with his parents at 30 Monks Road, Winchester, and volunteered for the army in 1914.

Charlie joined the 1st/21st Bn. London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles) with regimental number 653183 and was involved in the Battle of the Somme with the 23rd Div. He took part in the capture of the village of Le Sars (which straddles the main Albert-Bapaume road) in the final stages of the advance that lasted from the first days of the Somme and inched towards the north east. In the distance loomed the notorious Butte de Warlencourt, a piece of raised ground giving whichever side possessed it the clearest of views over the other side’s lines.

Charlie was killed on 8 October 1916. His name is inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial which indicates that his body has never been recovered.

His brother, the father of Eric Smith who provided so much detailed information for this account, was born 1897, also lived at 30 Monks Road, and enlisted with the Hampshire Regiment in 1914 even before war was declared. His regimental number has not been tracked down. He brother enlisted with the Hampshire Regiment, and subsequently was transferred to the Warwickshires, but their museum has been unable to help elicit any further details. He died in 1970 .

At the cessation of hostilities in 1919, he was repatriated at Morn Hill where he met Eric’s mother! After they were married Eric’s father gradually went deaf as a result of his war service and was never able to hear his son’s voice.

The records state that £2-12-8d was paid out from Charlie’s funds to an address in Winchester.

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