Alfred Smithers

Medals awarded

  • Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • 1914 Star
  • British War Medal 1914-1920
  • Victory Medal 1914-1919 with MID Oakleaf
  • Imperial Service Medal

Alfred Smithers joined the Green Howards, aged 20, on 3 January 1905 in Malton, not far from his home in West Heslerton, where he had been a postman.

Whilst with the regiment before the outbreak of the First World War he spent most of his time in Egypt and Sudan, serving in Alexandria, Cairo and Khartoum.

As a soldier already in the army when war broke out, he travelled to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, and was wounded ‘slightly’. Later, during the Gallipoli campaign he was promoted to sergeant and awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal for his leadership and the example he set to his men. When he returned from Gallipoli he was the promoted to Colour Sergeant Major.

Smithers went back to France to fight where he was reported as missing on the 15th May 1918. He ended up in a Prisoner of War camp in Germany and was repatriated on 4 January 1919.

Whilst on leave he injured himself whilst shooting pigeons. His records tell us he was 100% disabled for 2 months due to the injury; a 2½ inch hole in his right forearm. Alfred tried, but failed, to claim disability benefits from the army for the injury.