Robert Smith was born on the 29th July 1898, In 1911 Lance Corporal Robert Smith aged 12 lived with Father Francis a cow keeper and Mother Alice (Francis and Alice in 1911have been married 20 years) Robert also lived with brothers Frank aged 14, George Toogood aged 8, Alfred John aged 4, Sisters Eleanor aged 16 , Alice aged 10, and a boader Harold Whitfield The family lived at 120 Allerton Road, Woolton village,
Liverpool. Robert was baptised at St Peters C of E parish Church in Woolton Village. His siblings also attended the St Peters Church & School.
When WW1 broke out, Robert’s eldest brother Frank joined the Navy. Robert had to wait until 1916 before turning 18, then he joined the 2/6th (Rifle) TF battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment TF as a Rifleman D’ Company – (via the Cheshire Regiment) Robert Held the medal for being the best shot in the Battalion.” Robert arrived in France on the 18th August 1917 as part of a draft. At the time of his arrival the battalion was in and out of the line at Fleurbaix, Passchendaele. By early March 1918, when the Spring Offensive started, the 2/6th KLR were further south and missed most of the heavy fighting mainly patrolling and raiding the German trenches. One such raid took place on the 20th June and Robert was to take part.
Rifleman Robert Smith KLR, was awarded The Military Medal Robert Smith second son of Mr Frank Smith, 120 Allerton Road, and Woolton. Rifleman Smith showed notable courage and gallantry in going out, with a comrade, believed to belong to Aigburth, to the rescue of a wounded officer. As they were bringing the latter in, the comrade was wounded and young Smith brought in the officer alone, and afterwards went out to his wounded comrade and brought him back safely. Smith is a well-known and popular Woolton youth and has been on service 12 months. He is not yet 20 years of age.”
July was spent peacefully at Rossignol Farm. On the 29th the Battalion went into support trenches south of the Fampoux Sector relieving the 72nd Canadian Infantry. During August the Battalion took part in the Battle of the Scarpe, attempting to break ‘The Hindenburg Line”. It was here on the 30th August where Robert was killed. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Cemetery near Arras.
Robert was the only casualty the Smiths were to suffer during the war. Frank returned safely and the other brothers had not yet come of age by the time hostilities ceased. Brother George Toogood was 16 years old in 1918 and Alfred John only 12. George went on to take over the family Dairy Farm when father, Frank, died in 1932. The British Government took over it when WW2 broke out.
Roberts brother George Toogood Smith married a Mimi Stanley in 1932 the sister of Julia Lennon. Julia’s son John Lennon (of Beatles fame) was brought up from the age of 5 by George and Mimi.
Lance Corporal Robert Smith MM serial number 50809 serving in the 2nd/6th Kings (Rifle) Liverpool Regiment. Died 30th August 1918.
Lance Corporal Robert Smith MM is Remembered with Honour Vis-En-Artois Memorial France