George Henry Smith was born on the 3rd January 1883 at Alfriston, Eastbourne, Sussex.
His father, Richard Smith, married his mother Frances Dunk and they had eight children of whom George was the eldest. His siblings were:
1. Amy I. born in 1886 at Eastbourne
2. Mary Jane born in 1887 at Hastings
3. Mildred Elizabeth born in 1888 at Battle and died in 1893 at Hastings
4. David born in 1889 at Hastings
5. Kate born in 1893 at Hastings
6. Lily born in 1897 at Hastings
7. Rosa born in 1897 at Hastings
During the 1891 census the family were living at 3, Providence Cottage, Bentinck Place, Hastings and Richard was a Carter. Richard died in 1898 at Battle and by the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 2, Blacklands Terrace, Hollington St John, Battle. George though had already left home and joined the Army.
Early Army Service.
His Army Service Record has not survived, and we know very little about what he did other than from the census returns.
In the 1901 census living at the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich Common is Gunner George Harold Smith, age 20 and born at Eastbourne of the 10th Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.
George married Caroline Tourle Hammond in 1909 at Battle and they had a son, Harold George, born in 1910 at Ipswich.
During the 1911 census living at No. 8 Married Quarters, Anglesey Road Barracks, Ipswich, Suffolk are Sergeant George Harold Smith, Royal Horse Artillery, age 28 born at Alfriston, Sussex and Frances and Harold.
From an excerpt from Neil Osborn’s book, “The Story of Hertfordshire Police”, see below, we know George left the Army with the rank of Sergeant Major in 1911 and joined the Hertford County Constabulary and was posted to ‘G’ Division and stationed at Fleetville, St Albans as a Mounted Officer.
General Order 118 of 21st July 1915 is a list of 96 officers which included the Chief Constable, 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service. George is shown as PC 9 Smith G.H. of ‘G’ Division recalled to the Royal Horse Artillery on the 4th August 1914.
Army Service During The War.
From his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls we know the following:
Sergeant 1508 George Harold Smith, 7th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery landed in France on 15th August 1914. He was Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on the 8th June 1915.
He was awarded 1914 Star and the British War and Victory medals. He applied for and was given his Clasp and Roses and asked for his medals to be sent to Warlington, 110, North End Avenue, Porstsmouth.
From “The Story of Hertfordshire Police”
Constable G.H. Smith joined the Hertfordshire Police on leaving the Army with the rank of full Sergeant Major in the Royal Horse Artillery in 1911. He was in the mounted section at Fleetville under Superintendent Sullivan. He re-joined his regiment in 1914 and in 1915 was commissioned in the field. On this he was presented with a sword from his comrades in the Hertfordshire Police. He did not re-join the Police after the war, however, and after doing several jobs in the Watford district eventually became branch manager of the Watford and District Co-operative Society. He died in 1956.
Published on the 10th July 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
…… In regard to the composition of the Regular Police Force of the county, it has been brought to our knowledge that every man in the Force who could possibly be spared has been allowed to join the Army; and it is gratifying to know that one Constable, viz., G.H. Smith, who was groom to the Superintendent at St Albans, has been promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Royal Horse Artillery for services in the field. He joined the Royal Horse Artillery as a Sergeant, and quickly rose to Battery-Sergeant-Major, and his old comrades have recently heard with pleasure of his promotion to commissioned rank. Lieutenant Smith being home on short leave they propose to take advantage of the occasion to present him with a sword, suitably engraved. The presentation will be made at Hatfield Police Court this (Saturday) morning.
Published on the 17th July 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
Presentation to Former Police Officer.
Second Lieutenant G.H. Smith, a former member of the Hertfordshire Constabulary, was on Saturday presented with a handsome sword from his former comrades in the police force in commemoration of his promotion in the field of battle. The sword was engraved with his name and the crest of his regiment, the Royal Horse Artillery. The presentation was made in the Court Room at Hatfield by the Deputy Chief Constable, Superintendent W. Wood, in the presence of a number of Lieutenant Smith’s old comrades and his wife and little son. Superintendent Wood said the members of the Force were all very proud of the honour that had been conferred upon their old comrade. Superintendent Sullivan and Superintendent Peck also spoke with pride of Lieutenant Smith, who in acknowledging the gift was deeply affected, and said he greatly appreciated the kindness which his friends had shown to him. He was returning to the Front, and if he had occasion to use the sword, he hoped he should do himself credit. He described it as a two-edged sword, a police edge on one side and a military edge on the other.
After The War.
The Electoral Rolls of 1919 to 1922 list George and Caroline as living at Spencer Villa, Union Lane, St. Albans and in the 1923 Electoral Roll as living at 35, Oster Street, St Albans.
The Electoral Rolls of 1925 to 1929 list them as living at 11, Stanmore Road, Watford, but by the time of the 1939 Register they are living at 74, Norfolk Avenue, Watford and George is described as a Co-Op Society Warehouseman.
Caroline Tourle Smith of 55, Old Watford Road, Bricket Wood, St. Albans died on the 11th November 1954 at the Peace Memorial Hospital, Watford. George Harold Smith of the same address died on the 27th September 1956.