Eric John Garner-Smith (Ha. 1907-08)


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Lieutenant, London Regiment
Born: March 17th 1892
Died: May 25th 1915

Age at Death: 23

Killed in action, Givenchy France, May 25th 1915
No known grave. His name is commemorated at the Le Touret Memorial, along with 131 other officers and men of the battalion who lost their lives on 25 or 26 May 1915. The Givenchy area was utterly devastated by 1918, and many battlefield burials destroyed or lost: he may lie there still. 

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by Andrew Symonds (Al. 1955-59).

 "of twenty year of age he was, I gesse.
and he had been somtyme in chivachye,
In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Picardye,
And born him wel, as of so lintel space"

CHAUCER, The Canterbury Tales

A donation to the memorial statue has also been made in honour of this soldier by Nancy Louise Garnersmith Myers.

In remembrance and in Honour of my Uncle, Eric John Garner-Smith, who I knew only through my Dad, (his brother), Gerard Wylie Garner-Smith, with love from Nancy Louise Garnersmith Myers and the Francis J. Myers family.

Eric's name appeared in the official War Office casualty list in the London Times on 4 June 1915. 

Eric was born in Sydenham on 17 March 1892, the son of James Garner-Smith and Louise Abbey Hutton. He was baptised at Christ Church, Forest Hill on 11 June of that year, at which date his parents address was St Denys, Tredown Road, Sydenham, Kent. The censuses of 1901 and 1911 show that Eric was present with his family, first at Penge and then later at Cricklewood, although it is evident that he was sent away from home to be educated: he attended Holland House School in Hove and went on to Brighton College after. 

Eric was a member of the Junior Division of the Officer Training Corps. at Brighton College, a factor which would have eased his way to a commission when he applied in 1914. His mother later arranged for the erection of a memorial plaque which can be seen in the chapel at the College. 

On leaving school Eric pursued a career as an accountant, first serving his articles with the City of London firm of Viney, Price and Goodyear and passing his final examination in 1913.  He was unmarried during his military service. 

Eric's younger brother Gerard Wylie Garner-Smith, by then living in the United States of America (as was his mother), joined the Royal Flying Corps in October 1917 and served the latter part of the Great War as an officer in the Royal Air Force. 

Eric's military service:

  • He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of the 14th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment on 24 September 1914.
  • Promoted to Lieutenant on 15 December 1914.
  • Went to France with his Battalion on 15 March 1915.
  • Killed in action whilst serving with the Battalion's "B" Company on 25-26 May 1915.

His war service qualified Eric for the British War Medal, the Victory and the 1914-15 Star. Eric's mother claimed his medals and they were issued on 13 March 1922.

From the Brighton College Register: Son of James and Louise Garner-Smith of Hove. Brother to Gerard Willie Garner-Smith (Ha. 1909-10).

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