Horatio leaves life at the railway to fight in the Somme

Horatio Smith

Title: Horatio Smith
Description: Doncaster Gazette 04-08-1916 pg3 by-nc

Horatio Smith was born in late 1895 to John and Elizabeth Smith, and was baptised on the 13th of October 1896 in Warmsworth, Yorkshire. Horatio lived in Balby with his parents, older sister Myra, and younger brother Harold.  His father John worked as a Limestone Quarryman and later a Lime Burner. At the age of 15 Horatio worked as a Railway Clerk while sister Myra worked as a dressmaker, and younger brother Harold still attended school.

During the First World War, Horatio served with the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as a private with the service number 27908. Prior to service with KOYLI, Horatio was formerly 28921 of the 13th Res. Cavalry Regiment.  Horatio died of wounds on the 25th of July 1916. He was 20 years old. The Doncaster Chronicle reported in August 1916 that Horatio was injured by a bullet that entered his back, and he died in hospital the next day.  Horatio had only been at the front six weeks when he met his death. The article titled ‘Balby Man’s Death’ gives further details regarding his life prior to service; such as his job at the GNR Loco Offices, his Balby education and his role as assistant organist at the Balby Wesleyan Chapel.

Horatio is buried in Forceville Communal Cemetery, France. His grave lies in Plot II of the cemetery which relates to the Somme offensive of July and August 1916. At this site, there are 304 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.

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