Albert Edward Smith (1882-1915)
Gardener, Hampton Court
Albert Edward Smith was born in Bentley, Hampshire in 1882 to Arthur and Sarah Fanny Smith. In 1891 Arthur was listed as a wheelwright and his family were living at The Pollards, Bentley. By 1901 Albert had moved from the family home and was employed as a domestic gardener, lodging with Henry J Mulcock and family at Clare Cottage, High Street, Thames Ditton in Surrey. Ten years later Albert had changed lodgings and was living with George Morris and his family at 23 Windsor Road, Teddington, Middlesex. He had also changed jobs and was now working for the Office of Works as a gardener at Hampton Court.
Albert enlisted into the army at Hampton Hill and subsequently was posted with the British Expeditionary Force to the Western Front with the 4th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. On 23 September 1915, the battalion were camped at Ouderdom to the west of Ypres, for rest and training when orders came through that they were to form the reserve for the next attack. On 25 September, they arrived at Kruisstraat approximately 7 miles south of Ypres to take up positions. The next day they left their billet at 7.00 pm and moved up to the front line to relieve the Wiltshire Regiment. At 8.40 pm as they reached Hooge Crater they came under heavy shelling by the enemy “from all sides by Whiz Bangs [light or field artillery] and heavy crumps from Hill 60. The latter causing the most damage.” During this operation, the battalion lost one officer and had 30 ordinary ranks killed or wounded. Corporal G6969 Albert Edward Smith was one of those killed on that day.
His grave can be found at Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium with a grave reference of I.G.6. Inscribed on the headstone is “In loving memory of dear Bert, from Dad and brothers”.