Harry Shaw Smith

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment: HMS Unicorn, Dundee
  • Service no: Clyde Z/2260
  • Rank: Petty Officer
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Howe Battalion, R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: France
  • Age at Death: 22
  • Date of Death: 13.11.1916
  • Burial Country: France
  • Cemetery: Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: IV.C.41.

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 278 Perth Rd, Dundee
  • Occupation: Salesman, Annandale Dairy Co, Dundee
  • Mother:

    Mary Ann Shaw Smith, 278 Perth Rd, Dundee

  • Father:

    James Smith, 278 Perth Rd, Dundee

  • Siblings:


  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Harry Shaw Smith

Harry Smith was the son of Mr James and Mary Ann Shaw Smith of 278 Perth Road, Dundee and was employed as a Salesman. Exactly four years before the Armistice he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve onboard HMS Unicorn for service in the Royal Naval Division. After initial Naval Training at the Crystal Palace in South London he was advanced to Leading Seaman in January 1915 and seems to have been retained there for extra duties before he was sent to Blandford Camp in Dorset for advanced military training in mid-April. At the end of June he was drafted to the Howe Battalion in Gallipoli and arrived on the Peninsula in mid-July. He was admitted to the Anzac Base Hospital at Mudros in October with dysentery and returned to the Battalion in November. In January 1916 the RND left the Peninsula when the Allied Land forces were withdrawn and he was detached from the Battalion for duties on the island of Stavros. In March he was advanced to Petty Officer and returned to the Howe Battalion before it sailed to Marseille in May. In June he was treated for Scabies rejoining the Howe at the end of the month. After training in Army tactics the RND began to experience the war on the Western Front and was being prepared to join in the Somme battle. One of the first day’s objectives of the British attack on 1 July 1916 was the capture of the village of Beaucourt just to the west of the River Ancre. It was finally taken on 14 November by the men of the RND. This was the first major operation by the RND in France and established a reputation for being a “Can Do” Division. However, the casualty list was very long and over 30 local men were killed and countless more wounded. This was the worst ever day for Dundee’s Naval forces in the First World War. Harry Smith was killed in action and was buried in a marked trench grave. In 1917 he was re-interred in the Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Northern France.

Harry was the brother of Able Seaman Albert Smith, M.M. Clyde Z/1260, Hawke Battalion Royal Naval Division, who also served and returned home safely.


Mr James Smith, coal merchant, 278 Perth Road, Dundee, has received intimation that his eldest son Petty Officer Harry Shaw Smith, of the Royal Naval Division, was killed in action on the 13th November.  The deceased petty officer was 22 years of age, and prior to enlistment two years ago was in the employment of the Annandale Dairy Co, Dundee.  He took part in the Dardanelles campaign, while his brother, Albert was wounded at the evacuation of Suvla Bay.  Deceased had had no leave since he left England for the Dardanelles.

Dundee Courier December 5th 1916

Additional information and images kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell.

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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