Remembering today 12/01/1940: Lt (QM) E.B. Smith, VC, DCM, 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by ritsonvaljos, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Remembering today: 12/01/1940
    Lieutenant (Quartermaster) Edward Benn Smith, V.C., DCM.
    2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers

    Casualty Details
    Initials: E
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Lieutenant (Quartermaster)
    Regiment/Service: Lancashire Fusiliers
    Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
    Age: 41
    Date of Death: 12/01/1940
    Service No: 107894
    Awards: V C, D C M
    Additional information: Native of Maryport, Cumberland.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: I. B. 7.

    The following details were given in the London Gazette supplement of October 18th, 1918. Sjt. Edward Smith, D.C.M., Lancashire Fusiliers, while in command of a platoon, personally took a machine gun post with rifle and bayonet, killing at least six of the enemy, regardless of the hand grenades they flung at him. Later he led his men to the assistance of another platoon he saw in difficulties, took command, and captured the objective. During the counter attack next day he led forward a section and restored a portion of the line. His personal bravery, skill and initiative were outstanding, and his conduct throughout an inspiring example to all.

    Further information about Lieutenant "Ned" Smith, V.C., D.C.M.

    This is a link to a previous article I wrote about Lt. "Ned" Smith, V.C., D.C.M.:

    WW2 - The Second World War: Ned Smith VC DCM from Maryport: an early casualty of WW2

    (Posted on the eve of the anniversary of his passing)
    Kbak likes this.
  2. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    R.I.P Ned you were a brave man.

    Nice blog Ritsonvaljos.
  3. Kbak

    Kbak Senior Member

    :poppy:Rest in peace Lieutenant (Quartermaster) Edward Benn Smith, V.C., DCM. 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers:poppy:
    He was a very brave man.
  4. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    From the Battalions war diary:
  6. Assam

    Assam Senior Member

    :poppy:RIP Lt Smith

    A brave man & his awards

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  7. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    :poppy:RIP Lt Smith

    A brave man & his awards

    Thanks for the copy of the photograph with the 9 medals awarded to Lt. Smith. One of the photographs of him in a book I have shows Lt. Smith in his uniform wearing 7 medals. I presume this was taken when he first retired from the army in 1937 with the rank of R.S.M. The additional 2 medals would be for WW2 and issued at the end of the war.

    It was interesting to see the Battalion War Diary reference to his death and funeral. The local newspaper reports of his death at the time similarly indicate there was no obvious reason for shooting himself. It was a very sad end to an obviously popular and well known member of the regiment.

    On a more positive note, below is some further information from my notes about Ned Smith, obtained at Maryport Martime Museum, Cumbria County Archives, Maryport War Memorial, etc)

    In his hometown of Maryport Lieutenant Edward B. Smith V.C., D.C.M. was known as 'Ned', while during his military life he was known as 'Ben'. After WW1 he initially returned to civilian life in his hometown, working for a short time as a coal miner at Oughterside Colliery near Aspatria, Cumberland. He re-enlisted to the his former regiment of the Lancashire Fusiliers which included postings to Dublin (Ireland), Malaya and the Far East.

    Ned Smith left the army in 1937 having attained the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major. He re-enlisted in 1939 and, as referred to above, died in France on 12 January 1940.


    On his return to Maryport in 1919, an ex-WW1 comrade (KORLR) sent him the following poem, which was also printed in the local press:

    Sergeant Ben Smith V.C., D.C.M.

    Sergeant Ben Smith of Maryport,
    V.C. and D.C.M.
    Brave and gallant soldier
    I give you greetings Ben.

    You're a credit to old Cumberland
    And the town of Maryport,
    Also to your regiment
    Who through the war have bravely fought.

    The soldier's "Star of Hope", the Cross,
    Right gallantly you won,
    A boy in years, in deeds a man
    You proved unto the Hun.

    No less than six before you fell,
    Upon that eventful day,
    No wonder with such gallant lads
    Old England had the sway.

    Heaven's blessing on thy mother,
    Who reared such a gallant boy,
    Honour to thy native county
    How their hearts are filled with joy.

    Cumberland lads will proudly greet thee,
    Old Maryport will be en-fête,
    For the colliers swear that you Ben
    Are a chap that's hard to beat.

    Sergeant Ben Smith of Maryport,
    All honour to thy name,
    You're a credit to old Cumberland
    And the town from whence you came.

    Also to your Regiment
    The Lancashire Fusiliers,
    Hats off my lads to Sergeant Smith
    Let old Maryport ring with cheers.

    Written by Mr James Campbell
    Ex-K.O.R.L "One of the Old Contemptibles"


    Photograph attachments:

    Attachment (No 1) shows the Maryport War Memorial and Memorial Gardens at Netherhall Corner, Maryport, Cumbria. The WW1 names of The Fallen are listed on 3 tablets built into the wall behind the 'Cross of Sacrifice' (Photog. The WW2 names, totalling 64 in number, are listed on the stone pillar seen towards the right of this photograph.

    Attachment (No 2) shows a detail of this stone pillar commemorating the WW2 casualties of Maryport. This photograph shows 32 of the 64 names. The name of Lt. E.B. Smith, V.C., D.C.M. is the 23rd of the 32 names listed on this face of the stone pillar.

    Attached Files:

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Did they ever discover why he shot himself?

    There seems to have been an investigation and I thought it odd that no OR's were allowed to attend his funeral.
  9. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Here is LT (QM) E.B. Smiths rememberence family headstone from Maryport Cemetery.

    Attached Files:

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  10. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Well done for finding this memorial!

    Both of Ned Smith's parents died after he did. It must have been a bitter blow when they received the news of his death - perhaps even more so because of the circumstances.
  11. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    No other ranks permitted? Prior to 1961 suicide or attempted suicide was an illegal act, no compassion! This would, knowing as we do how the services work have been seen as condoning an illegal act if ORs attended.


    Lords — March 2, 1961
    The purpose of the Bill is to provide that it shall no longer be a criminal act, subject to the machinery and sanctions of the criminal law, to commit suicide or to attempt to commit suicide.
  12. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Does anyone happen to know where 2nd Lancs. Fusiliers (and No. 5 C.C.S) were based at in the Lille area in January 1940 please?

    The War Diary indicates 2 Lancs. Fusiliers were based at Lille at the time of this tragedy. Thus, it is strange that Ned Smith was buried at Beuvry which is a fair distance from Lille.
  13. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day jan,2012.10:13pm, #1 have been reading this old today 12/01/,b smith,v.c d.c.m.may he rest in peace.regards bernard85 :poppy: :poppy:

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