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William Thomas Smith (1887-1918)

From Houghton le Spring. Died at home of tuberculosis the day after the Armistice.

Born in Houghton le Spring in 1887, William Smith was living with his wife and daughter and working as a miner in Horden, when he enlisted at Castle Eden as a Territorial in the 5th Battalion DLI in March 1913.

5/1768 Lance Corporal Smith went to France with 5 DLI on 17 April 1915. In June 1915, he was gassed and his health then began to deteriorate.

William Smith was discharged from the Army in April 1916 as medically unfit for service, suffering from TB (tuberculosis) – ‘the result of active service due to exposure to cold & damp’. Unable to work, William was classed as suffering from ‘total incapacity’ and was granted a pension.

William died at his parents’ home on 12 November 1918 – the day after the Armistice ending the Great War was signed – and was buried in Houghton le Spring. He was 32 years old.

For further information:
Commonwealth War Grave Commission:,-/

North East War Memorials Project:

Civil Parish: Houghton le Spring

Birth date: 1887

Death date: 12-Nov-1918

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 11 Fifth Street, Horden, County Durham.

Employment: 1913: Miner with Horden Coal Company Ltd.

Family: Parents; George & Annie Smith, 63 Outram Street, Houghton le Spring.
Widow: Mrs Ethel Smith, 11 Fifth Street, Horden, County Durham.
Daughter: Annie.

Military service:

Served 8th Battalion DLI 1908-1912.
Enlisted as 5/1768 Private, 5th Battalion DLI 29 March 1913.
To France with 8 DLI 17 April 1915. Gassed June 1915.
Discharged as medically unfit 7 April 1916.

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Memorial(s): Buried: Houghton le Spring (Durham Road) Cemetery.
Memorial: Cenotaph, St Michael & All Angels churchyard, Houghton le Spring.

Gender: Male

Contributed by Durham County Record Office.