Arthur SMITH
Rank: Corporal
Number: 12272
Unit: A Company, 2nd Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 15 April 1918
Age: 34
Cemetery: Doiran Memorial, Greece

Arthur was born in the parish of St Paul's C of E Church, Portwood, Stockport, probably in the latter part of 1883.  His newspaper obituary mentioned that he was a member of the SSS Brotherhood - this is a reference to either the Stockport Sunday School or, more likely, the Socialist Sunday School (a nationwide body which operated in urban areas). At the time of the Great War, he was married to Lena and they lived at 13 Coronation Street, South Reddish. He worked locally at the Bankfield Mills of Halliday's Ltd.

Arthur's service number indicates he enlisted in August 1914, just after war was declared. The 2nd Cheshires was a regular army battalion and was in India at the time. It did not arrive back in Britain until Christmas Eve and left again, for France, on 16 January. Arthur probably joined a few weeks after that, as one of the first draft of casualty replacements.

After a short stay on the Western Front, the Battalion moved to the Salonika theatre of the war, in Greece, in October 1915. For almost the remainder of the War, there was little fighting on this front, except for the occasional raid and the Battalion was mainly engaged on construction work in reserve areas. Sickness and disease were the great killers here, not the attacks by the Bulgarian Army.

However, there was the occasional major attack. During the evening of 14 April 1918, the Battalion, part of the British 28th Division, advanced on the village of Kumli, some 50 miles north east of Thessalonika. They reached the village just after midnight and dug-in. As it became light, the Cheshires sent out two large patrols - one towards Kjupri, the other towards Barakli.

At about 8am, the patrols and the troops still at Kumli came under sniper and artillery fire. By 8.20, the fire on the party near Kjupri increased and about 500 Bulgarian soldiers advanced on them. The Cheshires opened rapid fire, but their forward posts were rushed. The patrol had to withdraw when all its officers and about 70 other ranks became casualties.

At 9am, the other patrol came under increasing sniper and artillery attack and, after about by two hours, it received orders to withdraw back to Kumli. As it was preparing to move back, the Bulgarians attacked; rushing and surrounding the advanced posts. The main patrol managed to withdraw, but one platoon, ordered to give covering fire, was captured.

The remaining troops, now all at Kumli were shelled intermittently throughout the afternoon and early evening.

Arthur was one of 18 men to be killed during the day. His body was never recovered and identified.

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