Arnold Stott Smith (1895-1917)

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This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Arnold Stott Smith was the son of Lewis Stott Smith and Susan Smith, of Lindley. Huddersfield.

The Smith family lived at on Lidget Street at the very centre of the village. Lewis Stott Smith had been born in Lindley in about 1852 and married Susan Riley, a Lindley girl, in 1874. A boy, Ernest, was born in 1881. Agnes Emma, was born disabled in 1886.[1]

Annie was in Bradford, where Lewis may have been working, in about 1889. Their next two children were born in Paddock and Arnold, born 10 July 1895, was christened at All Saints, Paddock, in September 1895. Arnold's first school was the nearby church school.

Lewis may have moved for work: in the parish register of 1895 he was said to be a "smith". In 1901 and in 1911 he was a stonemason. Both are skilled trades that are wanted almost everywhere and Lewis may have been moving to secure better wages and conditions or perhaps, housing. Returning to Huddersfield at the end of the century may have been for family reasons: in 1901 his widowed mother-in-law, Emma Riley, a "Retired Inn Keeper" lived with the Smiths at 49 Hill Top, Paddock.

In 1902 they moved to Lindley. For Arnold, it meant a change of school: he joined the church school on Holly Bank Road and on 30 March 1902, was enrolled in the Zion Chapel Sunday School on Lidget Street.

The Smith's lived at 48a Lidget Street — in the alleyway alongside the Saddle public house. The house had been owned by Lewis's parents and was now owned by him, as was the shop at the front, no 48. His sister, Margaret Royston the widow of a builder (who may have employed Lewis) owned other houses in the block

Mother-in-law had passed away in 1908 but no. 48a was very small even for their reduced needs: it had only three rooms so presumably Arnold, at 15, slept in the downstairs kitchen-cum-living room, while Annie, 22 and Emily, 13, shared one of the two bedrooms. The family circumstances had always been difficult and they had lost four of the eight children Susan had borne. But 48a was the house where Lewis has lived in his teens.

Arnold's much older brother, Ernest, was a professional soldier who became a regimental sergeant major, would have been away in the army by 1902, as he is said by the family to have fought in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). He subsequently served in the First World War and survived

Lewis described himself as a mason who worked in "building". It cannot have been very well paid. Arnold did not follow in his father's footsteps but like most people in the village, worked in textiles, as a finisher as a "tad end cutter", later at R Dempster and Sons in Elland, as a pattern maker for the gas industry. His older sister, Annie, was a weaver while the thirteen-year-old Emily operated a sewing machine making "baby linen".

Lewis died in the, autumn of 1915 of mason's phthisis. Even with all her children at work, life could not have been easy for Susan Smith. Owning the family home at least relieved her of the necessity of finding the rent.

Arnold did not rush to join the forces at the outbreak of war like many of his contemporaries. He put his name forward, probably with a hope of deferment under the "Derby" or Group Scheme on 11 December 1915 soon after the death of his father. With a newly-widowed mother, it does not seem likely he would have been that keen to enlist.

Another Lindley casualty Edgar Hirst, enlisted on the same day. Many other Lindley men put their names forward before the Scheme finished on 15 December.

Although presenting himself to the Dukes at Milnsbridge in "reserve" in a Home Service battalion, he was not mobilized until well after the introduction of conscription, on the 30 December 1916 at Halifax.

By this time recruits were not sent to local regiments as such but to training battalions and Arnold found himself in 89th Training Reserve Battalion, of the West Riding Regiment which was located in Blythe in the North East.

At his medical in Milnsbridge Arnold was said to be 5' 4" tall with a 36" chest that had arrange of expansion of three inches. He weighed 116 lbs. or 8st 4 lbs, and had been vaccinated in infancy, leaving two marks on his left arm. He was of "good physical development" and an "overlapping" toe on his left foot was not enough of a problem to keep him out of the army. His occupation was given as a "pattern maker's labourer". Susan was listed as Next of Kin, his religion as "Wesleyan".

During training he did well at musketry and was trained in "bombing" and was further inoculated. His pay was 1/- per day of which half was "allotted", presumably to his mother. But his period in England was not without incident: in January 1917 he spent over a week in hospital at Ashington (Northumberland) as a result of a hand injury and led to some sick leave — when he presumably went home.

This may be the occasion when before he returned to the army Arnold's sister Emily played Danny Boy on the piano for him.

On the 4 May 1917 he was sent to France and held at Etaples near Boulogne and finally posted to the 9th Cheshires at the Front on the 20th. The following month he was seen by the 57 Field Ambulance unit suffering from a sprained right ankle which happened again on the 14th July. Eventually, he spent time in the hospital in Wimereux. He was transferred to the 2nd Battalion at Rouen a week later.

A sprained ankle on the 11 August led to the 87th FA sending him on to the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station. He was soon discharged back to the line and on 15 September received a shrapnel wound to the hip from which he died at the 53 CCS 27 September 1917.

He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension with over 4000 other soldiers, in the Nord region of France not far from the Belgium frontier, and is remembered in St. Stephen's church. The Zion Sunday School register records that Arnold was a member until 26 October 1917 when he was "killed in action in France"; he is also remembered on the Zion memorial and Roll of Honour.

An interesting end piece to the story is that Arnold's sister, Emily, married Walker Priestley, brother of John Priestley another Lindley casualty, in August 1921 at St. Stephen's. Walker himself had served in the army and was wounded. A granddaughter of the couple still lives in the Huddersfield area.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

SMITH, ARNOLD STOTT. Private. No 50970. 9th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. Born Mark Street, Paddock, 10.7.1895. Son of Lewis Stott and Susan Smith, 48a Lidget Street, Lindley, Huddersfield. Educated All Saints, Paddock, and Lindley Church of England School, Lindley. Employed by Messrs R. Dempster and Sons, Elland. Attended Zion Chapel, Lindley. Single. Enlisted 30.12.1916. Wounded near Bailleul on 23.9.1917. Died of wounds, 24.9.1917, aged 22, at No 53 Casualty Clearing Station. Buried BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION. Grave location:- Plot 3, Row E, Grave 156.
ROH:- St. Stephen's Church, Lindley; Lindley Zion Wesleyan Chapel.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

  • Private ARNOLD STOTT SMITH
  • regiment: Cheshire Regiment
  • died: Monday, September 24, 1917
  • age: 22 years
  • record ID: 201596

Links

Notes and References

  1. Agnes Emma Smith died of scarlet fever, aged 8 in 1895 the year Arnold was born; the family retained her special seat in which she had spent a lot of her life.