SMITH, Ralph Mills

1st World War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
Wroxeter, Ontario
Original Unit
Regimental Number
Date of Death
Age at Death
20 years 5 months
Biographical Summary

DIVISIONAL UNIT:        1st Canadian Infantry Division
                                             1st Infantry Brigade
                                             4th Battalion - Central Ontario
                                             Canadian Infantry Corps
SERVICE NO:                   654749
RESIDENCE:                    Wroxeter – Ontario 
DATE OF BIRTH:            April 8, 1898
                                             Wroxeter – Howick Township – County of Huron - Ontario
DATE OF DEATH:           September 4, 1918               20 years     5 months
CEMETERY:                     Ligny-St. Flochel British Cemetery – Averdoingt –
                                             Pas de Calais – France    
                                             IV     A     12
PARENTS:                         Mr. & Mrs. John Smith – Wroxeter - Ontario
Occupation:                        Miller                                   Religion:     Methodist
Enlistment:                         Wroxeter – March 21, 1916 – 161st Huron Battalion
Enlistment Age:                 17 years     11 months

The 161st Battalion had sailed from Canada on November 1, 1916 and arrived in England on November 11, 1916. On February 23, 1918 the 161st Battalion was absorbed into the 4th Canadian Reserve Battalion based at Bramshott – Hampshire. By March 29th he was overseas in France ant the Canadian Base Depot and by April 3rd he was at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp. Private Smith was here until he was called to the front and joined his unit out in the field on August 1, 1918.
Private Smith was wounded in the head on September 3rd and died from those wounds while being treated at No. 7 British Casualty Clearing Station – Ligny St Flochel the following day September 4th.  He had only been in France 6 months.
Private Smith was advancing with his Battalion between Villers-Gagnicourt and Gagnicourt.
At 01:30 am the Battalion moved to relieve the outpost lines of the 3rd Brigade. By 03:00 this relief was completed. As the relief was taking place the Battalion was under heavy enemy artillery fire and machine gun fire and this continued until after 04:00 am. Several casualties were taken during this period.
The weather was cool with a fresh breeze all day.
At 09:00 am patrols were sent out to keep in touch with the enemy. These patrols had to withdraw due to heavy enemy machine gun fire.
At 10:30 am additional patrols went out supported by the 1st Infantry Battalion and the objective was to set up an outpost line as the previous orders indicated, but then all patrols were recalled. Orders seemed to be coming in and being changed very soon after. As a result, patrols were sent to the Canal du Nord.
At 2:00 pm the Battalion was in motion with “A, B & C” Companies attempting to drive the enemy back over the Canal du Nord but in trying to do this the enemy artillery and machine guns held them up. It was here that the Battalion took many casualties. The two units on the flanks were also being held up.
By midnight of September 3/4 a little progress was being made and rations were brought up to the position of the Battalion.