CWG: Stoker 1st Class Arthur Smith

Stoker 1st Class Arthur Smith

Arthur Edgar Smith was born in the Somerset village of Beckington on 12th January 1890. He was one of eight children to agricultural labourer and cowman George Smith and his wife Hester.

Arthur was after some adventure in his life, and didn’t want to be limited to Somerset. The Royal Navy offered this opportunity, and so, in December 1909, aged 19, he joined the service as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records confirm that he stood at 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall, had a fresh complexion, brown hair and hazel eyes. He signed up for the standard 12 years’ service.

After an initial five months’ training at HMS Vivid in Devonport, Stoker Smith was assigned to the battleship HMS Mars. During his two years’ service on board, he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class. In January 1912, he was reassigned, boarding HMS Orion, also a battleship.

Over the next two years, Stoker Smith served on board two further vessels, HMS Hercules and HMS Narcissus. In April 1916, Arthur was transferred back to HMS Vivid, suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. This ultimately led to him being medically discharged from the Royal Navy, and he left service in June that year.

At this point, Arthur’s trail goes a bit cold. It would seem that his lung condition ultimately got the better of him, and he passed away back at home on 2nd December 1918. He was just 27 years of age.

Arthur Edgar Smith was laid to rest in the Dissenters’ Cemetery on Vallis Road in Frome, where his parents now lived.


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