Rank or Title
Date of Death
16 Aug 1915
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Alfred Smith, 4275, 1st Battalion Beds Regt, was killed in action at Gallipoli on Sunday, August 15th*, 1915. He left a widow and two young children, one a baby he had never seen, at 29 Park Road West, Luton [now Strathmore Avenue].
The news of his death was conveyed to Mrs Smith by Pte Bertie Breed, who was himself wounded. He wrote: "It may be some consolation to you to know that he suffered no pain, as he was killed instantaneously by a shrapnel shell. I myself did not see him killed, as I was some distance from him, and was wounded myself almost at the same time as poor old Alf was killed.
"We who are left will miss him awfully, as he was the life and soul of our Platoon. We had been chums right the way through, and we agreed that if either of us got hit the other one left was to let our respective friends know. The last wish almost of Alf's was that he could get a letter from you letting him know how things were at home. If it is God's will that I am spared to some home again, and I have more information I can give you respecting poor old Alf, I will call and see you."
Pte Smith, who was a son of Mr and Mrs Smith, of 58 New Town Street, was a moulder at Messrs Brown and Green's until he joined the 5th Bedfordshires last September, and was well know in local sporting circles, being a capable centre-half footballer and trainer to the Luton United Harriers.
His brother, Pte Herbert Smith, formerly employed by the Midland Railway, was also on his way to Gallipoli when a poisoned hand meant he was diverted to a hospital in Malta before reaching the fighting.
Pte William King, a comrade from the firing line now in hospital with wounds, wrote that Pte Smith dropped dead right by his side with a bullet through the temple. "I shall never forget the sight of him as long as I live," wrote Pte King.
Pte Smith formerly lived at 4 Arthur Street, Luton. Parents Joseph and Jane Smith lived at 58 New Town Street, the address given on official casualty lists.
[* Eyewitness date - official record is August 16th]