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Lieut. Leonard Hale Smith, RFC


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Going through a small coin shop in a large mall in Toronto [Ontario, Canada] I spotted three single Victory Medals, no ribbons, marked $25.00 each. The top one was to 'Lieut. L. H. Smith, RAF'. In a case across the shop were four single BWMs, each with a stub of ribbon. One was to Smith. The total for the two medals: $75.00 Canadian.

Here is some information:

Regiment/Service: Royal Flying Corps and Essex Regiment.

Cemetery: CITY OF LONDON CEMETERY AND CREMATORIUM, MANOR PARK

Grave Reference: 145. 85894

Additional Information: Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Smith; husband of Malny Hale Smith, of 25, Pembury Rd., Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

Essex Regt attached RFC 2Lt. Lt. Essex Regt Pte. Essex Regt 2140 Pte WO 372/18/162902

Supplement to the London Gazette, 27 January, 1915, p 890

6th Battalion, The Essex Regiment

The undermentioned to be Second Lieutenants dated 28 January, 1915.

Private Leonard Hale Smith

The odd thing is that Smith is listed in the Canadian Great War Project database, which lists many Canadian WWI dead. However, other than the location of the medals and that fact, there is no obvious Canadian connection. Obviously, searching the 1911 Census of Canada for all the L Smiths is out, as the info. is arranged geographically, so I'm rather at a stand still. Any suggestions gratefully received!

Peter

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Paul

Good theory. In fact, his records state "RFC" and "Essex Reg't seconded to RFC". However, The medals were obviously awarded after the formation of the RAF from the RFC and, for whatever reason, named to the new organization.

Believe it or not, some WWI medals to Indian Army recipients are named to the post 1922 units with which they served, probably an indication of how long it took Indian Mint to issue the medals.

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Peter,

I accept what you say about Indian units, although I have never yet come across a casualty named to a post 22 unit. I suspect he is a different L.H. Smith (not a hugely uncommon name), who survived the war and had previously served either with the RNAS or RFC. I have yet to come across a pre-1918 casualty named to the RFC, they were always named to the unit you were with at the time of death and in 1917 he could not have been RAF.

Paul

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You may well be right, Paul. Obviously the dead 'uns are easier to research - an absolutely obscene notion which some collectors I know cling to. The bit of ribbon on the BWM is well worn but of course one can't say when it was put on and the VM is ribbon less. And, as you say, not an uncommon name. Rather at a loss now as to how to try and research further. :angry:

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Peter,

For example LG 30/4/18 page 5156 lists a L.H. Smith as Temp 2nd Lt (on probation) RFC as of 20 Feb 1918 have not trawled gazettes fully but he is possibly your man as by the end of the war he would have been a Lt RAF.

Hope this helps.

Paul

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