Lieutenant-Colonel W R A Smith CMG


Wilfrid Robert Abel Smith was born on 13 September 1870. He was the son of Robert Smith and Isabel Adeane. He married Hon. Violet Elizabeth Katharine Somerset, daughter of Richard Henry FitzRoy Somerset, 2nd Baron Raglan and Mary Blanche Farquhar, on 3 December 1900. He died on 19 May 1915 at age 44, of wounds received in action. He fought in the First World War and gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, CO of the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He led the battalion in the first battle of Ypres. The 2nd Battalion fought incessantly from 21 Oct to 16 Nov 1914 and sustained heavy casualties. But at the battle of Festubert in May 1915 the battalion was very badly mauled. No.3 Company was all but wiped out on 18th May, and:

'Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was struck in the head by a bullet as he watched from behind a mound of earth, and though he was carried by Major Jeffreys and Major Lord Henry Seymour into a place of safety, and eventually taken to a dressing station, he never recovered consciousness, and died the following day. He was buried in the British Soldiers' Cemetery near Le Touret, and his funeral was attended by Lord Cavan and many officers and NCOs of his battalion. Never was a commanding officer more mourned by his men; he had endeared himself to them by his soldier-like qualities and constant care for their welfare. He was a gallant and distinguished soldier, imperturbable in action, never flurried or disconcerted in perilous situations, a strict disciplinarian, but the kindest and best of friends, and his loss was keenly felt by all ranks of the regiment.'

He was invested as a Companion Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG). He lived at Upton Lee, Slough. Children of Lt-Col Smith and Hon Violet Elizabeth Katharine Somerset: Ralph Richard Abel Smith b. 26 May 1903, d. 1997. Lt-Col Wilfrid Lyulph Abel Smith b. 1905


Regimental details | Commanding Officers




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by Stephen Luscombe