Last three names from my war memorial project

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Lindsay1968, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    Hi Guys

    The end is in sight and I am down to the last 3 names of 18 on the Old Catton war memorial... all called Smith and I am having the HARDEST job getting anything but the barest details. It may be that that's ALL there is, but if there is something else to find, maybe you can help? I can't bear for their stories not to be told like the others from our village. Here goes:

    Leading Aircraftman C JOHN RUSSELL SMITH D.O.B. 10/1912 (on our memorial as John K Smith) Service No. 959850 - died 2/11/1944 aged 32 "believed enemy action" Son of William Henry and Beatrice Anne Smith of Old Catton.

    Cpl. LESLIE CHARLES PERCY SMITH born circa 1921 Died 5th July 1942 as POW in camp hospital. No info on parents or marital status. Service no. 5772995 Royal Norfolks 2nd and 6th territorial battalion. Commemorated in Kranji Cemetary.

    Bombardier WALTER REUBEN SMITH Service No. 1437348 Royal Artillery D.o.b. March 1901 died 6/4/1941 Son of Harry and Laura Smith, husband of Grace Eleanor Smith of Old Catton. Duty location unknown, commemorated in Norwich Cemetery

    That's all I've got from Ancestry, FWR and CWG. Anything more would be great! Thank you so much!
  2. jonheyworth

    jonheyworth Senior Member

    I have nothing on LAC smith sorry. I think you’re going to have to write to the AHB, please let me know if you do !
  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Japanese Index Card for Corporal Leslie Smith showing mother as NoK:
    I'll have a look for more info later.

    AB64 likes this.
  4. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    For Bombardier WALTER REUBEN SMITH:

    Royal Artillery Attestation showed 78 AA. I guess a look in the war diary may give more clues.


    He also served with the Roayl marines from 1918-1922 Note his date of birth and mother appear to be different but looks like the same man:

  5. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Leading Aircraftman C JOHN RUSSELL SMITH


    There appears to also be a death and marriage record for North Walsham, Norfolk, the latter to a Dorothea E King.
  6. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    Cpl. LESLIE CHARLES PERCY SMITH. 6th Norfolks.
    Died of dysentery, Sime Road Camp.
    Mother. Mrs Smith, St. Faiths Rd, Old Catton, Norwich
    timuk likes this.
  7. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    From BRE Pilot Roll for 18 Division compiled in Changi:
    Some background info on 6th Battalion Royal Norfolks:
    Royal Norfolks

  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Possibly 78th HAA as 78th LAA was not formed until June 41.
    RA 1939-45 78 HAA Rgt

  9. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Curious choice of words for the death cause of LAC Smith - I have a suspicion of the actual event but it will be a few days before I can get back to my files to confirm one way or the other.

    Have you got a copy of his death certificate?

    17thDYRCH and jonheyworth like this.
  10. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    Where did you find this?? That's brilliant!
  11. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    No I haven't - with 18 to research I simply couldn't afford to pay for this! Thank you SO much ---
  12. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    Why the curious choice of words?? I am intrigued...
  13. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    Looking forward to hearing about it - thank you so much!
  14. Lindsay1968

    Lindsay1968 Member

    HI Ross

    Can you clarify the above? I'd like to know your suspicion. I think I've found a record that he died in Kelling Heath sanitorium - which means TB? Is that what you thought?
    I'd like to find out more about his war service, as well...
    Looking forward to hearing from you!
  15. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Not TB - this would have been recorded as such but the location may be correct.

    My suspicion is that the Coroner was instructed not to record "Death by Enemy Action".

    I have seen a few cases around this time with a similar annotation but not with a Norfolk recorded death.

    There is another related event that happened in Norfolk about this time but I need to check actual date and location from some old notes that I took while researching at the TNA.

    jonheyworth likes this.
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    LAC Smith could have met his death within any RAF Command within the British Isles.

    His NOK determined that he should be brought home for burial but which RAF station was he based at?

    From the date of LAC Smith's death,I wonder if he was a victim of the V weapon strikes of SE England which were so evident in November 1944.He may have been based at such places as RAF Gravesend or any other RAF station in the London area...may have been in involved in official transit or involved in leave transit at the time of his death.

    Looking at the data released it appears that there may have been some secrecy in reporting procedures as the Ministry of Home Security referred to V2 strikes as "Big Ben" strikes.
  17. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    I have not announced my work yet preferring to establish some evidence but it seems that Eric Cantona's seagulls are swooping.

    You are scratching round the edges Harry but with a excavator bucket rather than a trowel.

    The annotation is correct for deaths by V2 prior to the mid November speech to the house.

    However LAC Smith's death was recorded at North Walsham registry office not anywhere near the identified Big Ben strikes around the 2nd Nov.

    V1 land launch sites in range of England had been mostly over-run with UK strikes from these being almost non existent by end of Oct 1944.

    However air launched attacks were on the increase to the xmas offensive.

    One air launched V1 was against Norfolk in early Nov.

    All this is meaningless if a link cannot be made with the date and location when LAC Smith's fatal injury was inflicted.

  18. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    It also worth considering that under the Emergency Hospital Scheme parts of many hospitals, inc specalist facilities such as asylums, isolation hospitals etc were taken over and used for military casualties & the pre war use of the hospital may not relate to the cause of death of a patient by 1944.
    Emergency Hospital Service - Wikipedia
    Lindsay1968 likes this.
  19. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    My post was with good intention so I should think you should take it so.I did not claim it to be accurate.... "I wonder" was what I said.I can tell you that I had no motivation to discredit your involvement in the case.

    Had I been aware of the the Norfolk registration district,my thoughts would have not been posted here.

    Incidentally I was referring to the the V2 strikes as recorded for November 1944. V1 strikes did take place after German sites were overrun did occur from Luftwaffe He 111 aircraft platforms as late as December 1944.These were aimed at Manchester,many falling short in South Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and across the Trent into North Nottinghamshire.

    Please explain what you mean by the reference to Cantona?.I am not used to communicating in riddles.

    Finally you are not in a position to deny anyone the right to post within the rules of the forum.
    papiermache likes this.
  20. RAFCommands

    RAFCommands Senior Member

    Ok had a vague recollection that this was on the "needs more work" spike.

    John Russell Smith aged 32 died 2nd Nov 1944 did die at Kelling Sanitorium of TB but he was not serving RAF.

    Not sure where the CWGC details came from or the "believed enemy action". As you are local please check the cemetery register to see what it says.

    My theory is that he was ex RAF (index card for that name and service number in AIR78) but had been discharged from the service (poor health?) prior to his death.

    Failing some detail from the cemetery register your next step is to apply for a copy of his Service Record from Cranwell Mod Disclosures - £30 but it is the only sure fire way to solve.

    I checked the Air Launched dates from my file and confirmed that it was not on or just prior to 2nd Nov.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 28, 2020
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