Sergeant George Smith, Drum Major, 1 East Surrey Regiment

Discussion in '1940' started by PGWKATIE, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Welcome to the forum double.g. It's always nice to be able to put more detail to these 1940 casualties and also to know that they are not forgotten. The story of George's family brings home the tragedy of two major conflicts in less than thirty years which had so dramatic an effect on so many, especially the children who grew up without a father. Having progressed from a 14 year old bandsman to a Drum Major, he seems to have turned out alright

    Since the posts last year, CWGC have made more available on-line in terms of original paper records.


    The record for Kaster Churchyard shows six named East Surrey casualties for 21st May buried in a row...with an 'unknown' between 15 and 17. Bearing in mind that the War Diaries show seven East Surrey fatalities on 21st May and having read numerous accounts of local burials, it seems to me most unlikely that plot 16 could be anyone other than the seventh man - Drum Major George Smith and that sadly the local authorities were unable to make a positive identification, probably later in 1940 once removal from field graves was permitted.

    On this photo from CWGC, plot 16 would appear to be the second from left in the back row.

    [​IMG] :poppy:
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    That church has took a pounding. You can see a repaired hole above the graves and a whole new wall on the right.
  3. mannhenry

    mannhenry Junior Member

    I was in this graveyard this morning with a local man and we thought it would be interesting to try to find out who the two unnamed soldiers were. As usual, you’ve come up trumps. Is it possible that the bodies could be DNA tested by the CWGC?

    PGWKATIE Member

    I am Sgt George Smith's great niece. Having got this far in locating George - and I am extremely grateful to this site for all the help received, as the mystery was solved within hours - I often feel it is such a shame that his name isn't on his gravestone. As you say I can't see how there would be any way of positively identifying him without a DNA test - and in reality would disturbing his body be the best thing to do? Also as you have already said, whether it is likely that the CWGC would offer this is another matter. It's a dilemma though, because from my own perspective I would desperately like visitors to Kaster to know the name of the man who lies there so that he can be properly remembered.
  5. mannhenry

    mannhenry Junior Member

    It’s a dilemma for sure. The only consolation is that you know that one of those two graves holds your great uncle and it’s cared for by the people that live there.
    PGWKATIE likes this.

    PGWKATIE Member

    You are absolutely right. George's grave has been tended to for all these years and will continue to be, so that is something to be extremely grateful for.
  7. von Smallhausen

    von Smallhausen Junior Member

    For a memorial project for the Blitz casualties buried in Anzegem communal cemetery I am researching the events of 19-23 rd May 1940. War Diaries and Kriegstachebücher gave me correct info. Now I am researching the casualties focused on the burials of Anzegem. The death certificates and ID docs took me so close to the men, I am looking for a photograph of them now .
    Many years ago when I was doing volunteerswork for IFF Ypres Project Namenlijst I photographed all 14/18 casualties from 1914 till 1926. When I saw other interesting info in the archive of Anzegem, I also took a pic. In this way I photographed the ID docs of the Kaster burials. Most of the men had a fieldgrave and were excavated in 1941 and reburied in Kaster churchyard. The ID docs gives info about the casualty, their appearance, clothes, possessions in their pockets...... and the most terrible things their wounds. In my information I found files of three unknown burials. So dear PGWKatie have you more info about your uncle George? How tall, colour hair, tatoo's.........? If there is a hit I sent you a copy of a the ID Doc, after all you're his family. Don't want to put it here on the forum, sometimes there wounds are terrible. I have too much respect for the servicemen and officers .
    kind regards from Flanders.
    By the way if you want to I can take some pics on the places you want....take care stay safe.

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