July ?, 1892 (Leicestershire, England) – December 11, 1916; 24 years old
Unit: Notts & Derby Regiment, Sherwood Foresters, 2nd Battalion
In the 1911 census in England, he is listed as 19 years old and Profession as “Apprentice Pattern Maker.”
Born to Walter Joseph Smith (1868-1936) and Sarah Hammond Smith (1864-1955).
British soccer player who worked at Dresden Lace Works in Norwalk who returned to Britain to fight in the war and was killed in 1916. Before and after pictures of 30 Muller Avenue.
From The Norwalk Hour (Weekly) September 14, 1917
Death and disaster have invaded the little platoon of four young men who left their employment in the Dresden Lace Works nearly two years ago to fight for their mother country, England. Word has been received the past week that Walter Smith had been killed on the western front of fighting, that is in France. This young man was barely past his majority and was a noted athlete and member of the Norwalk Soccer football team. He was also a member of the social section of Welcome Stranger Lodge, Sons of St. George. His parents reside in Williamsbridge, New York. The communication came from the chaplain of the regiment. Like in the days of old when knights were bold, four Norwalk young men Walter Smith, Arthur Hayes, Walter Spray, and Frederick Hunt, went forth to battle for their mother country. They were attached to the regiment from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, known in one sense as the “Sherwood Foresters,” but among the soldiers as “Notts and Derby.” They did their bit bravely, with this result: Hayes and Smith, killed; Spray wounded, within the French lines, but now reported at the front; Hunt, prisoner, in German hands. Verily, Sherman was right when he said: “War is hell.” Several other English-born lads from Norwalk are connected with the English and Canadian contingent of troops. These include Reuben Spray on the French front; Ernest Brogden wounded on the Mesopotamia front, Fred Henson, of the Canadian force, now on his way or at the French front; William Brogden and Arthur Spray, in Canada. The relatives of the Spray boys reside at 350 Main Street, Norwalk.
Arthur returned on the SS New York from New York, arriving at Liverpool on 6 June 1915. He gave an address of “Wooley Street”, Beeston. He was traveling with Walter Spray and Walter Smith, who gave an address of 19 Freer Street, Long Eaton, Derbys, and Fred Hunt, who gave an address of Hope Street, Beeston. Fred, the son of Edward Hunt of 29 Newton St, Beeston, is known to have gone to America in 1911, arriving at New York on SS Celtic on June 4th. He then traveled with his uncle, Henry Hunt, and traveled on to Henry’s brother, “J Hunt” in Norwalk, Connecticut, (Ellis Island and UK Arrivals records)
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SMITH, WALTER JAMES 35802; Private – 2nd Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts. & Derby Regiment); Died of wounds, in hospital on Monday 11th December 1916 Aged 24
Bethune Town Cemetery, Bethune, Pas De Calais, France – Grave Ref: VI. A. 24.
Son of Walter and Sarah Ann Smith, of Freestone Square, Barrow-upon-Soar, Leicester. Enlisted 11 December 1915 Age 23 years 4 months. Joined 3 Battalion 22 January 1916. ‘The East Akeley Deanery Parish Magazine, Holy Trinity Church, Barrow-on-Soar, January 1917 – The Roll of Honour – Killed in Action – Private Walter James Smith, died of wounds in hospital, December 11th, 1916.
Private Smith is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery, 158-498 Rue du Mont Sorel, 62400 Béthune, France; Plot VI.A.24. Photo from findagrave.com