John Charles Smith was born on 14 February 1895 in Langham, and was the son of William Smith. Like his father, he was a farmer. He enlisted into the Royal Field Artillery on 17 May 1916 and went out to the Western Front on 9 November, serving with D Battery 17th Brigade in the final stages of the Battle of the Somme. In the spring of 1917 the brigade took part in the Battle of Arras followed by the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). At some point John received gunshot wounds in his thigh, although it's not known how this happened. He died at St John's Hospital in Etaples on 3 October 1917. His Sergeant described him as "a good lad, honoured and respected by both officers and men." He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, grave XXVII.D.1A, and is remembered on the war memorial at Langham.
Photograph courtesy Langham Village History Group
There is a photograph (below) of the book plate from the copy of Rutland and the Great War which was presented to John Smith's father, kindly provided here for us by Paul Bland from Greetham's Great War project.
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