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Walter Reginald Smith 

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Somerset Light Infantry
6th Battalion, 'A' Company
Private 19880
Died 10th April 1917

Reginald Smith's Parents

Walter Reginald Smith was known as 'Reginald' and his parents were Henry & Annie Smith.

Henry Smith originally came from Pensford and was a mason by trade. His first marriage to Mary Ann Silcox (from Rode) produced five children (Henry junior, William, Alfred, Ada & Ernest) and the family lived in Norton St Philip, but Mary Ann died sometime between 1881 and 1890. Henry then married Annie Hayden.

Annie Hayden grew up in Hinton Charterhouse as one of nine children with a wide spread of ages. Her father was a farm labourer and the 1890 marriage certificate of Henry & Annie shows that Henry’s father was also a farm labourer.

In 1881, Annie Hayden was a servant in the household of William Gregory, a well-known bookbinder and bookseller whose premises were in Green Street. Gregory also contributed to notable works on Ralph Allen and William Beckford.

BIT16677 Gregory Shop

The interior of the Green Street premises of Gregory’s bookbinders, as seen in this 1940s photograph. The business was founded by William Gregory, in whose home Reginald’s mother worked as a servant, prior to her marriage. [Image: Bath In Time]

It is not known how or where Henry and Annie came into contact, although Norton St Philip and Hinton Charterhouse are quite close, geographically, with Hinton Charterhouse en route from Norton St Philip to Bath.

The Smith Family

Henry & Annie married at St Peter’s Church on the Lower Bristol Road (now converted to flats) in 1890. They lived at 66 West Avenue and had two sons; Stanley and Walter Reginald. However Henry  (father) died in 1893, aged 44, while Annie was pregnant with Reginald, which meant that neither of the boys ever knew their father.

Smith family tree

From records such as reports of school prize-givings etc., it is clear that Walter Reginald was known by his second given name, Reginald.

He spent the early years of his life growing up alongside Willliam Membery, who was the same age and who lived a few houses away at 50 West Avenue. 

66 West Av

66 West Avenue, where Reginald spent the early years of his childhood

The 1901 census shows Reginald (age 7) living with his brother, mother and ‘niece’ (22-year-old Florence Barnett). 

We know that Reginald’s half-brother William (circa 20 years older than Reginald) married an Ada Barnett, but it is not quite clear how Florence Barnett is Reginald's mother’s niece.

In 1911, Reginald was still living at home with Stanley and his mother, at 66 West Avenue. Both Stanley and Reginald had by this time entered the world of work; both are listed in the census as workers in a ‘Publishing Works’. Reginald was a ‘Bookbinder’s Apprentice’ and Stanley a ‘Bookbinder’s Assistant (sewing machinist), both working for the Pitman Press on Lower Bristol Road. [See more details on the Pitman Press under the story of Stanley Burch].

Reginald Smith in WW1

Somerset Light Infantry

Reginald served with the 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry alongside George Collins and his old West Avenue playmate William Membery. All three were of a simiar age and would clearly have been well known to each other. The similarity of the serial numbers of Reginald Smith (19880) and William Membery (19832) means that they may have joined up on the same day.

There is  more work to do to understand the movements of the SLI  6th Battalion and the part played by Reginald Smith in the war.

Reginald's medal card survives but does not tell us on what date he first entered a 'Theatre of War'. 

Reginald Smith's Death

Private Reginald Smith died of his wounds on 10th April 1917, while serving with ‘A’ company of the 6th Battalion, the Somerset Light Infantry.


Reginald Smith is buried in Warlincourt Halte Military Cemetery, Saulty.

From the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

 "The site of the cemetery was chosen in May 1916. It was used from June 1916 to May 1917 by the 20th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations, in February 1917 by the 1/1st South Midland, and from April to June 1917 by the 32nd. The whole of plots VII, VIII, IX and X were filled in April and May 1917, the months of the Battles of Arras. From June 1917, the cemetery was practically unused until the fighting of May and June 1918, when field ambulances buried in it. After the Armistice the cemetery was increased by graves brought in from [other] small military cemeteries".

Reginald's grave is in Plot VII. A. 6

Warlincourt Halte

Warlincourt Halte military cemetery [Source :www.cwgc.org]


 Reginald Smith received the British War Medal 1914-18 and the Allied Victory Medal posthumously. There is no mention on his medal card of the award of a Star. This is a little intriguing as it shows that he clearly entered active front line service at a later date than William Membery, despite the similarity of their serial numbers suggesting that they might have served together.

British War Medal 1914-18Allied Victory Medal
British War Medal 1914-18Allied Victory Medal


Smith on S Twerton memorial

In addition to his commemoration on the South Twerton School memorial, Reginald Smith is commemorated as follows:

Bath War Memorial

See separate page for details of the Bath War Memorial. Reginald Smith's inscription:

Smith on Bath War Memorial

Ascension Church Memorial

As a parishioner of the Ascension Church, Reginald Smith's name is inscribed on the oak tablet in the Church (see separate page for details of the Ascension Church Memorial):

Smith on Ascension Memorial

Pitman Press Memorial

The Pitman Press works on the Lower Bristol Road also created a memorial in 1924 that carried the names of workers from the company who gave their lives. It includes 4 South Twertonians - including Reginald Smith - and the brother of George Strong.

See the separate page for more information on the Pitman Press memorial.

Pitman Press memorial

Family Commemoriation

Reginald Smith's family kept his memory alive in the years after the war through a series of 'In memoriam' announcements in the Chronicle. 

Reginald’s half-brother William (from his father's first marriage) went on to run the St Paul’s Dining Rooms in Bath. The disused church which stands on the corner of Chapel Row and Monmouth Street was originally called St Paul’s, but became Holy Trinity when the original Holy Trinity church in James Street West was bombed during WW2. At that time, the dedication to St Paul was removed to St Michael’s church in Broad Street (now called St Michael with St Paul). A row of buildings in Monmouth Street still bears the name ‘St Paul’s Place’ and it was here that William & Ada Smith ran the St Paul’s Dining Rooms.

1924 In memoriam Reg Smith
1924 In memoriam for Reg Smith
The above notices were posted in 1924 by Reginald Smith's mother (top) and by his step-brother's family (bottom). The lower of these two notices appeared directly above a similar notice for Harold Swain.  

The notices below are from 1925 and 1926 respectively.
1925 In memoriam Reg Smith
1926 In memoriam Reg Smith

A poignant item appeared in the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette in November 1924 in relation to Reginald's commemoriation at the Pitman Press works, whereby his brother Stanley played the Last Post:

1925 Stanley plays last post at Pitman Press

Further Information

Living relatives

It would be great to hear from any living relatives of Reginald Smith. We do not know whether Stanley married or had any children. There may be descendants of the half-siblings, also called Smith, from Henry Smith's first marriage, namely Henry Smith, William Smith, Alfred Smith, Ada Smith and Ernest Smith.  

Please get in touch!

If you have any further information on Reginald Smith, or want to suggest corrections  / improvements for this page, please use the Contact page to get in touch.

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