Alfred George Smith was born in Pembroke Docks, Pembrokeshire on 20th May 1886.
The 1891 census on Ancestry.co.uk shows that the Smith family were living at number 9 Butterland Terrace, Pembroke Dock, in the Civil Parish of St. Mary, Pembrokeshire. Head of the household Edward Smith was a Labourer in a Shipyard age 56, born in Clerkenwell, London, he had been a professional soldier and was posted at Winchester Barracks in 1881. His wife, Mary age 45 was a native of Pembroke as were all of there children except Maud A. Smith, age 17, their eldest child who was born in Ireland. The other four children living at home in 1891 were Margaret age 23, Martha age 11, Thomas C. age 9 and Alfred G. age 6.
Ten years on the 1901 census reveals that the family were living in Bethnal Green, London, Head Edward Smith was a Army Pensioner and there had been a considerable change in circumstances.The eldest daughter Maude Currell (nee Smith) age 27 was married and had two children, Alice age 9 and Ivy age 9 months, both children were born in Pembroke but her husband was not living at this address. Another daughter was also married but not living with her husband, Margaret Cuzey (nee Smith) was a Die Relief Stamper by trade. Alfred Smith age 15 was a Bottle Labeller by trade.
I found a Family Tree on Ancestry.co.uk (HAWKES-MCILMOIL TREE) and contacted the owner John who gave me some very interesting information and also granted permission for use of the family photographs. The following information was provided by John.
Alfred’s father was English and a simple labourer who seemingly worked at or near various UK military bases. Alfred’s mother was Welsh. Their children were born at various places in the UK – Ireland, Wales, England – as the family bounced around from base to base.
The two oldest daughters emigrated to Australia. Some other daughters remained in England, and two emigrated to Canada. The youngest children were my grandfather and Alfred, and those two emigrated to Canada at some point (I believe) between about 1907 and 1914, winding up near Fernie, BC, where they worked around the coal fields. Both joined the Canadian military in May 1916. I’m told by a paternal 1st cousin (unrelated by blood with Alfred, who was on my maternal side), that a military recruiter came through Fernie then and encouraged men to enlist.
I cannot locate an Outward Passenger List for the brothers at present, nor can I find them on a Canadian census form for 1911.
Attestation Papers for Private 490597 Alfred Smith, 1st Overseas Canadian Pioneer Detail.
Alfred George Smith enlisted into the 1st Overseas Canadian Pioneer Detail on 10th May 1916 at Fernie, British Columbia. He gave his trade as Miner, date of birth as 20th May 1886 and next of kin as Mrs Reece (sister) of Fernie B.C. On his medical form dated 10th May 1916 he was described as being 6ft tall with a dark complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. Distinctive marks were, mole right side of nose, small scar below left of lip, mole back of neck, mole 5″ left inter spaced.
After basic training in Canada, Alfred embarked from Halifax on 18th June 1916 and disembarked in Liverpool on 29th June 1916 when he was posted to Shorncliffe Army Camp to complete training.
He was transferred to various Army Camps between June 1916 and March 1917, these were, Folkstone, 24/7/16, Crowborough 29/12/16, Bramshott 21/1/17, and Seaford 17/2/17 where he was stationed to prepare for embarkation to France on 17th March 1917.
Alfred was transferred to the 11th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops on 21st November 1917 and remained in the Field of War until 4th January 1919 when he embarked for England and was posted to Kinmel Army Camp in Rhyl to await discharge and repatriation to Canada.
To read about the Canadian Railway Troops, please follow the link.
Kinmel Park Camp was a segregation camp used to house Canadian Soldiers awaiting repatriation to Canada after the end of WW1. Unfortunately the conditions at that time were extremely harsh with a lack of every kind of commodity, the camp was overcrowded and the services were poor, there were shortages of clothing, food and blankets. As a result of this situation, a vast number of servicemen and women became ill and many succumbed to the Influenza Epidemic or complications associated with this infection.
Tragically, Alfred contracted Bronchial Pneumonia, and was admitted to the Canadian General Hospital where he died at 3.10 on 2nd February 1919.
Alfred was awarded The British War Medal and the Victory Medal for service during WW1.
His brother Thomas received his medals and plaque. His address was 914, Falmouth Rd. Victoria, British Columbia.
Alfred George Smith is buried in St. Margaret’s Cemetery, Bodelwyddan.
He is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
The following information is from a Family Tree on Ancestry, the owner of the tree has kindly granted me permission to use the images in Alfred’s story.
To view this Family Tree (HAWKES-MCILMOIL TREE) please follow the link. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/31652572/person/18091011025/facts?ssrc=
Elizabeth Alice Smith born in 1867 was Alfred’s eldest sibling who emigrated to Australia in 1890. She married Arthur Ernest Stephenson in 1892 and they had seven children.
Mary Jane “Polly” Smith born 1870 emigrated to Australia on 20th May, 1896 and married William Edwin Henly in Freemantle, Western Australia on 23rd September, 1896. They had four children.
Sophia Rees (nee Smith) born 1872 emigrated to St. John, New Brunswick aboard the S.S.Lake Erie on 16th April 1910. She was accompanied by her son Thomas Rees age 8. Her destination was Coal Creek and her intention was to join up with her husband Henry Rees born 1874. Sophia was named Next of Kin on Alfred’s Attestation Papers.
Maud Anne Smith born 1874 married Thomas Currell born 1870, in Bethnal Green on 11th February 1897. They emigrated to Montreal, Canada on 1st June 1907 taking three children with them They went on to have three more children.
Margaret Smith born 1878 married Alfred Robert Puzey on 30th December 1899 in Bethnal Green, London. They had two children.
Martha Smith born 1880 married Henry John James Houghton on 30th September 1899. They had four children.
Thomas Charles Smith, born 1881, Alfred’s elder brother who received Alfred’s medals at the end of WW1 emigrated to Coal Creek, Fernie, British Columbia and married Linda Hugall on 18th July 1914. He also served in the Canadian Expeditionery Force with 13th Field Ambulance, regimental number 532745, and survived WW1. They had two children.