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Harold Smith

Sergeant (Acting Quarter-Master Sergeant), Harold Smith, 1st Wiltshire Regiment

Harold Smith was born in Ossett in 1896, the only son of rag merchant Harvey Smith (born 26th April 1861) and his wife Mary Pollard, who married in late 1886, also in Ossett. Harold had an older sister, Annie Smith who was nine years older, born in 1888. Harold's mother Mary died in 1917 and his father remarried to Eliza Jane Joy (born 8th March 1867) on the 20th April 1919. The Smith family lived at Cross Ryecroft Street and Nettleton Street, Ossett in the 1911 census and 1901 census respectively. By 1939, the Smiths were now living at 73 Dale Street Ossett (or possibly 88, Springstone Avenue).

At the Dale Street United Methodist Church on the 4th October 1920, Harold Smith, a 24 year old builder’s clerk of 10, Cromwell Place, Dale Street, married 26 year old Marian Chappell, the daughter of mill manager, Willie Chappell of 16 Tattersfield Street, Ossett.

In 1939 Harold Smith, a builder’s manager, born on the 13th September 1896, was living at 'Briardene', Palesides Avenue, Ossett with his wife Marian Smith, born on the 28th August 1894. The couple appear not to have had children.

The "Ossett Observer" had this short report about a medal award for Harold Smith:1

"Romanian Medal for Ossett Soldier - In a recently issued list of military honours bestowed by the King of Romania appeared the name of Sergeant (Acting Quarter-Master Sergeant) Harold Smith, 1st Wiltshire Regiment of Ossett, who was awarded the Romanian Military Medal for distinguished service. Ex-Sergeant Smith is a son of Mr. Harvey Smith, rag merchant, and was formerly in the office of the borough surveyor, being now in the service of Messrs. Hepworth and Moorhouse."

It isn't clear why Harold Smith was awarded his Romanian WW1 Military Medal and there is no record of any WW1 involvement by the 1st Wiltshire Regiment in Romania.

There is a reference in the "Edinburgh Gazette" for the 24th September 1919 of the award of the "Medalia Bărbăţie şi Credinţă, 2nd Class" to "34340, Serjeant (acting Company Quartermaster-Serjeant) Harold Smith, 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment (Ossett)", together with a number of other British and Australian WW1 soldiers from different regiments.

There was a system of reciprocal awards amongst the Allied powers. The Romanians received from the UK a total of 417 honours and awards of all types up until the 15th May 1920. The U.K. in return received 264 awards for officers and 455 for other ranks. It was up to the recipient authorities in each country as to how the awards were distributed.

We suspect therefore that Harold Smith may not have served in Romania, but rather had done something meritorious in connection with the Romanian forces, who perhaps were fighting elsewhere in Europe.

Harold Smith was also awarded the British and Allied Victory medals, but not the 1914-15 Star, indicating that he didn't serve overseas until after the 31st December 1915.

Thanks to Anne-Marie Fawcett for the additional information.


1. "Ossett Observer", 15th February 1919