Robert SMITH
Rank: Private
Number: 12375
Unit: 2nd Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Date of Death: 13 May 1917
Age: 22
Cemetery: Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Robert was the eldest son of James and Margaret Smith. The family originated from Carlisle and Robert had been born there. They had moved to the Stockport area some time before the War, living at 55 Bann Street. Robert worked for C E Bennett & Co , one of Manchester's major employers in the cotton industry (and Robert is commemorated on the Company's entry in the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour - page 496).

Robert enlisted into the army in Stockport and his fairly low service number suggest this will not have been long after War was declared in August 1914.

There are scant details of the day he was killed in action. The Regimental History records that, on 12 May, the Battalion started another tour of duty in the front line trenches near Oppy. Oppy is a small village about 10 kilometres north east of the French town of Arras. The History makes no detailed mention of the tour of duty, only noting that there were 30 casualties (killed and wounded) between the 12th and 19th. Most of the injuries will have been caused by enemy shelling.

It is not known if Robert suffered a direct hit from a shell and was, literally blown to pieces, or if the location of his frontline burial was lost during the remaining period of the war, but he now has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Arras.

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