Topic: William V Smyth

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War killed in action.

William Smyth – 24232

William was born at Killinchy on 2 Oct 1895, son of William and Ellen Smyth. Before enlisting he was working as a farm hand for his father and was well known and greatly esteemed in the district. He was 5ft 6in tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark hair.

 William enlisted on 8th February 1916 and was assigned to the 13th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company. He trained at Featherston and whilst there was confined to barracks for 7 days and lost 1 day’s pay for overstaying his leave on 26 March 1916. He embarked for England 27th May 1916 and whilst at sea also infringed rules on 8th July resulting in another 7 days detention. He disembarked at Devonport on 26th July and marched in to Sling camp. He was posted to Canterbury Regiment on 28th July but the next day he was sent to Tidworth Military hospital with German Measles. It was a month before he was well enough to leave for France on 28th August and was attached to the strength a day later at Etaples. From there he joined the 1st Battalion CIR in the field on 22nd September. He served with them throughout the following year until he was detached to the School of Instruction on 9th September 1917 for two weeks training. Shortly after his return he was wounded in action on 12th October suffering a gunshot wound to his thigh. He was evacuated to England on 22nd October and admitted to No 1 General Hospital at Brockenhurst the following day. He was at Brockenhurst for about a month before being sent to convalesce at Hornchurch on 21st November. Then he was sent on to Codford on 11th December to await re-assignment. He must have found it somewhat boring for whilst at Codford on 19th February 1918 he was absent without leave for a day and once again was confined to barracks and lost pay. Finally he was sent to Sling and attached to the 4th Reserve Battalion on 11th March. He returned to France and was attached to the strength at Etaples on 17th May, then out to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion on 19th May. He was sent to hospital “sick” on 12th June with PUO, pyrexia of unknown origin, usually meaning trench fever. Admitted to the No 1 American General Hospital he was treated and then sent to convalesce.  Although he suffered a relapse on 3rd July he was finally well enough to re-join the Entrenching Battalion in the field on 11th August. From there he was transferred back to the Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion and posted to 13th Company on 28th August. He went into action with them during the fighting on the Hindenburg Line around Cambrai and was killed in action on 8th October 1918, aged 23, at Le Cateau. He was initially buried in the German Cemetery at Lesdain 5 miles south, south East of Cambrai but after the war he was gathered in and now lies in the Honnechy British Cemetery, Le Cateau. In New Zealand William is remembered on the Leeston Plaque of the Ellesmere County War Memorial.


CWGC Cemetery locale history: Cemetery locale history: Honnechy was part of the battlefield of Le Cateau in August 1914, and from that time it remained in German hands until the 9th October 1918, when the 25th Division and the 6th Cavalry Brigade captured it. It had been a German hospital centre, and from its capture until the end of October it was a British Field Ambulance centre. The village was inhabited by civilians during the whole of the war. The cemetery stands on the site of a German cemetery begun in the Battle of Cambrai 1917 and used by German troops and then by British until the 24th October 1918.

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William V Smyth

First Names:William
Last Name:Smyth
Date of Birth:2 October 1895
Place of Birth:Killinchy, Selwyn
Date of Death:8 October 1918
Place of Death:Le Cateau, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Honnechy British Cemetery
Age at death:23
User Name:Selwyn Library
Other names known by:No V on Birth Certificate
Occupation before enlisting: Farm hand
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 2nd Battalion
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:8 February 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of William and Ellen Smyth, of Killinchy, New Zealand.
Service Number:24232
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:27 May 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Willochra or Tofua
Theatres of War:Western Front
Cause of Death:Killed in action