Signalman Sidney Seymour Smith, PoW Italy, died March 1944

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by tedfromscrubs, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    I and others are researching this chap who was a PoW at Sforzacosta PG53. Having escaped at the Armistice he was sheltered by Italian peasants from November 1943 to March 1944, when he was betrayed and shot by the "NaziFascisti"

    We stumbled across this story on a visit to Italy when we were shown an iron cross marking the spot where he was killed and heard some of his story from local Italians. They didn't know his name but always kept fresh flowers at the cross.

    With the help of a well-known researcher we uncovered the War Crimes file and now have a complete picture of events. We are unveiling a memorial at the spot in May

    Sidney came from Old Kilpatrick, outside Glasgow. He was 34 at date of death and an alumnus of Glasgow University. He may have been in the TA. His father was a plumber and his mother's maiden name was Douglas.

    It appears from Registry records that his only sister died unmarried. So probably no immediate descendants but perhaps his parents had siblings and they have descendants.

    We would be honoured to have any of Sidney's kin at the unveiling, and we would also like to find a photo of him.

    If anyone has any information I'd be very grateful if you could contact me on copley104@googlemail.com

    Many thanks

    Anne
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Thanks all - yes I am the Anne Copley in the story on the Camp 59 site. In fact the CWG are wrong - according to the War Crimes investigation he was killed on 21st, not the 1st March.

    Didn't know about the Scottish site, I'll have a look now

    Anne
     
  6. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Agnes, the mother, was born approx 1885. Age 26 on the 1911 Census. The Census records she had 4 live births, with 2 children remaining alive by 1911. Sidney is 1 yrs on this Census and his sister Margaret Douglas Smith is age 3. The father, Sidney is a Plumber, age 32 (approx year of birth 1879).

    Agnes should show up in the Census for 1891 (age 6) with parents George & Margaret Douglas. She would have been 16 yrs old on the 1901 Census, but there are many Agnes Douglas's listed on the 1901 Census. She may well have been away from home at that point as well.

    If anybody with Ancestry could find her on the 1891 Census at least that could give us names for potential aunts and uncles.

    When Agnes married Sidney's father in 1906, her occupation is listed as Domestic Servant. Sidney is age 27 on the marriage certificate and lists his parents as Alexander Smith (House Painter) and Jeannie Halkett.

    Sidney (Snr) dies in 1955 and his death is registered by his wife Agnes.

    I'm not convinced yet that the sister Margaret Douglas Smith died young. Can I ask where that information came from?

    Think we need to find the mother's death cert to see who registers her death. See what I can find.

    Sidney's death recorded in the Minor Record section shows his place of death as Egypt, which we know is incorrect. Date of death given as 1 March 1944, Service No: 2372205 and "Shot by Facists while trying to escape recapture". Would he have been re-interred on the 21st of March?

    If your reading this TrickyDicky, could you also check the Scottish Census records at Ancestry for Sidney (Snr)? 1881 Census he should be around age 2, 1891 age 12'ish & 1901 22'ish. Sidney (Snrs) should appear with parents Alexander and Jeannie (or Jean possibly). Could be a source of paternal aunts & uncles hopefully.
     

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Good effort :)

    Have you told the Royal Corps of Signals Museum? They may be interested in this. How many war crimes files on this did you find?

    Certa Cito
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I've posted a link and request for relatives on the Royal Signals FB Group Page for you - Good luck.
     
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Ok checked Ancestry, there are 2 Sidney Smiths born about this time, 1 in Leith and 1 in Glasgow and I assume its the latter we are after:

    1881 Scotland Census about Sidney Smith
    Name: Sidney Smith
    Age: 2
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1879
    Relationship: Son
    Father's Name: Alexander Smith
    Mother's Name: Jane H Smith
    Gender: Male
    Where born: Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    Registration Number: 646/2
    Registration District: Partick
    Civil Parish: Partick
    County: Lanarkshire
    Address: 12 Gibson St.
    ED: 27
    Household Schedule Number: 91
    Line: 24
    Roll: cssct1881_258
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Alexander Smith 40
    Jane H Smith 39
    William Smith 16
    Jane Smith 14
    Jessie Smith 12
    Alexander Smith 10
    Annie Smith 6
    Helen Smith 4
    Sidney Smith 2


    1891 Scotland Census about Sidney Smith
    Name: Sidney Smith
    Age: 12
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1879
    Relationship: Son
    Father's Name: Alexander Smith
    Gender: Male
    Where born: Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    Registration Number: 646/3
    Registration District: Partick
    Civil Parish: Govan
    County: Lanarkshire
    Address: 13 Gibson Street
    Occupation: Message Boy
    ED: 37
    Household Schedule Number: 140
    Line: 19
    Roll: CSSCT1891_307
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Alexander Smith 49
    William Smith 26
    Jane Innes Smith 24
    Jessie Smith 22
    Jannie Smith 16
    Nellie Smith 14
    Sidney Smith 12
    John Smith 8


    1901 Scotland Census about Sidney Smith
    Name: Sidney Smith
    Age: 22
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1879
    Relationship: Son
    Father's Name: Alexander Smith
    Gender: Male
    Where born: Glasgow, Lanarkshire
    Registration Number: 644/9
    Registration District: Kelvin
    Civil Parish: Glasgow Sandyford
    County: Lanarkshire
    Address: 139 Berkeley St
    Occupation: Plumber
    ED: 25
    Household Schedule Number: 41
    Line: 15
    Roll: CSSCT1901_298
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Alexander Smith 60
    Annie Smith 26
    Hellie Smith 24
    Sidney Smith 22
    John Smith 19


    So now the fun starts in tracing other relatives and families - this may take a while

    TD
     
    amberdog45 and Drew5233 like this.
  10. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Fantastic info - many many thanks all.

    The reason we think Sidney's sister died unmarried is because it was a Margaret Smith (daughter) who registered her mother's death in 1962. She doesn't seem to have had a name change (unless she married another Smith)

    I'll keep plugging on and your help really gives me hope

    Anne.
     
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Anne

    Just a general question - was/is this Smith family, from what you know, Scotland based or did anyone move to other countries?

    I ask as it appears after 1901 the records for Scotland are not as easily accessible as some others.

    Thanks
    TD
     
  12. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Hi TD

    It seems his parents lived in Old Kilpatrick outside Glasgow until their deaths. Sidney (senior) died in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. I'm afraid I know nothing about aunts and uncles and if any of them emigrated (not uncommon of course for Scots of that period)

    Sidney went to Glasgow University in the 1930s, which is very interesting to me since he seems to have come from relatively humble beginnings, though that may just be my snooty assumptions! http://www.universitystory.gla.ac.uk/biography/?id=WH0548&type=P

    Jacob - I think ELMS (Escape Lines Memorial Society) have been in touch with the Signals about this. I don't have the full War Crimes investigation file - I have seen the documents that are on the Camp 59 website. I have actually requested a full copy from the NA - don't know how long they take.....

    Having read the statements, I am certain that Sidney knew the two men who came to take him away were not "friendlies". The witness statement of the 19 yr old Italian, Dante, says they spoke perfect English (though he wouldn't have been able to judge) and Sidney told him that it was OK. But I think he was just trying to keep Dante out of trouble, given what happened next (he fought with the man accompanying him but was overpowered). Very poignant

    Anne
     
    amberdog45 likes this.
  13. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    I believe Sidney Smith (Snr's) middle sister called Jane Innes Smith on the 1891 Census married an Andrew Currie in 1892. Of note, she uses the name Jeannie Innes Smith when she marries, but Jane is used again to register her death in 1938.

    There are 2 possible entries for him on the 1911 Census (in the Ayr region of Scotland). TD, any chance for a look up for him & Jane/Jeannie on the 1901 Census to see if they had any children?

    Andrew Currie states he is a retired Post Office Telegraphs Superintendent when he registers Jane/Jeannie's death in 1938.

    Using the name Currie and the maiden name of Smith there are over 90 possible deaths entries. If we could find Andrew & Janes childrens names (especially any with a middle name) this would certainly help.

    TD, 1911 Census at the moment isn't being released outwith the Scotlandspeople website unfortunately.

    I found Sidney (Jnr's) mothers obit in the Glasgow Herald and seems to bear out that Margaret Douglas Smith was the only surviving child of Sidney (Snr) & Agnes Douglas.
     

    Attached Files:

    CL1 likes this.
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Anne - save yourself some money. The National Archives charge £1.00 a page and I charge 10p per page to copy the same documents.

    Do you know the file references?

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  15. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Fair do's Andy :)

    The file numbers are WO 310/61 and WO 311/1195

    I've alerted a (very) local reporter and am interested to see Agnes' death was reported in the Glasgow Herald. If the family took that paper perhaps they also put in something about Sidney's death. I presume they would not have known about his death until after the end of the war

    Anne
     
  16. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    I think I've found 3 children for Andrew Currie & Jane Innes Smith.

    Their son, Andrew born in 1897 I believe dies in 1975 in East Renfrewshire. It would be interesting to see his death certificate but this would cost £12 to order. There is also the potential that a wife or friend could have registered his death, leaving you with no clues as to any children this cousin of Sidney's may have had.

    If this reporter you have on the case could get to the Mitchell Library in Glasgow I'm sure he could view this death record and print for 50p. They may also be able to delve into burial details at the Bereavement Services in Glasgow or possibly at the Mitchell Library. If his headstone is recorded (if he was not cremated) this may give clues to wife/children's name.

    Currie unfortunately is also another population name here in Scotland.

    The Glasgow Herald is viewable on line up until 1906 at the British Newspaper Archive. Editions after this date are free on line at the Google Newspaper Archive, but the down side is you can't just pop in a name and search. I found Sidney's mothers obit only because I had her date of death and a bit of searching luckily found her in the edition a couple of days post death.

    I'm away to check if the paper is still on line for 1975 to see if Andrew Currie's obit may be there and give us some clues.

    Edit:
    The Glasgow Herald is on line at Google up until the 1990's, but without Andrew's specific date of birth this isn't going to be of any help (unless you want to check a years worth of obits!)

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC

    I have found his sisters death Mary Seamans Currie in Aberdeen 1978. She must have married a man called MacDonald. My aunt in Aberdeen is ancestry daft. I'll go and see what she suggests. I've also had dealings with the local authority in the past regarding a grave search in Aberdeen. Will need to look this back though.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    I've dropped an email to the Bereavement Service in Aberdeen and also asked if they could point me in the right direction to look at the originals death entries/certs in Aberdeen for Mary Seamans Currie and her husband Gordon Bryce MacDonald.

    Also asked my aunt where I could view the Aberdeen paper, the Press and Journal. Funeral details would likely have been advertised in this news paper.
     
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi amberdog45

    Have finally found what you were looking for :rolleyes: :D :( - would have been nice if they spelt his name in full.

    1901 Scotland Census about Andw Currie
    Name: Andw Currie
    Age: 35
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1866
    Relationship: Head
    Spouse's name : Jeannie Currie
    Gender: Male
    Where born: Ardrossan, Ayr
    Registration Number: 646/3
    Registration District: Partick Burgh
    Civil Parish: Govan
    County: Lanarkshire
    Address: 279 Byars Rd
    Occupation: Telegeaphist
    ED: 12
    Household Schedule Number: 57
    Line: 7
    Roll: CSSCT1901_332
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Andw Currie 35
    Jeannie Currie 34
    Jeannie J Currie 8
    Mary S Currie 5
    Andrew Currie 3




    1901 Scotland Census about Jeannie Currie
    Name: Jeannie Currie
    Age: 34
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1867
    Relationship: Wife
    Spouse's name : Andw Currie
    Gender: Female
    Where born: Glasgow, Lanark
    Registration Number: 646/3
    Registration District: Partick Burgh
    Civil Parish: Govan
    County: Lanarkshire
    Address: 279 Byars Rd
    ED: 12
    Household Schedule Number: 57
    Line: 8
    Roll: CSSCT1901_332
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Andw Currie 35
    Jeannie Currie 34
    Jeannie J Currie 8
    Mary S Currie 5
    Andrew Currie 3


    TD

    Edited to add reference links:
    http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1901Scotland&indiv=try&h=2162628
    http://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=1901Scotland&indiv=try&h=2162629
     
  19. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    To all who may read this,

    Following my attempts to find Signalman Sidney Seymour Smith via the Ancestry site (CWGC database), and noticing that CL1 found it in the direct CWGC site, I decided to contact Ancestry and ask why I could not find this grave reference via their site - my assumption here being that they would have transposed all the data from CWGC into their CWGC searchable database. Their reply came today and states:

    Thank you for contacting Ancestry.co.uk in regard to finding a CWGC grave.

    In looking for the same record, it appears that this record has not been released to ancestry at this time


    Has anyone else come across a similar occurrence - it seems a little 'daft' to me, if they have had access to the CWGC database, then why isn't 100% of it searchable via Ancestry. It also throws up the fact that others parts of their databases may not be 100%.
    This is for information to others searching for details on whatever web sites they may use.

    TD
     
  20. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    Thanks all, my head is spinning! I'm going to draw up a family tree to get this all straight and look forward to anything more you can find, including amberdog's Auntie :)

    Anne
     

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