Arthur William SMITH
Rank: Private
Number: 58329
Unit: 16th Battalion WELSH REGIMENT
Date of Death: 17 May 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Bouzincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Arthur was the second son of William Smith, a coach builder of "Mostyn", Bramhall Lane. He'd been educated at Stockport Technical School and then joined the family business. Wanting to "do his bit", he joined the Royal Defence Corps. The Corps fulfilled similar functions to the Home Guard of World War 2 in guarding bridges, ports, etc. He was conscripted into the Army on 23 April 1917, no doubt when he became 18. He was originally assigned to the South Wales Borderers (service number 50193). The reason for his transfer to the Fusiliers is not known, although several Army battalions were disbanded in France early in 1918 with their troops being dispersed to other units.

It was a rare period of relative quiet near Bouzincourt in May 1918. There were no major attacks underway by either side in this sector. But life was not without its dangers.

Enemy aircraft occasionally bombed the trench line. British aircraft attacked the Germans.

British artillery would fire at German positions. The German artillery would fire back.

German snipers would be active. British fighting patrols would go into No Man's Land at night to find and kill them.

It was the story of most of the previous four years. During the morning of the 17th and in the evening, the British artillery did fire at the Germans. There was no significant retaliation except for a few shells. They were sufficient to kill Arthur and another man and wound a further seven.

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