Sgt Edward Benn
Birth: Nov. 10, 1898
Death: Jan. 12, 1940
Edward Benn 'Ned' Smith VC, DCM 10 November 1898 12 January 1940
was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most
prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be
awarded to British and Commonwealth forces, and at 19 the youngest such
recipient from the First World War.
WWI recipient of the Victoria Cross, the United Kingdoms highest
award for valor. Lance-Sergeant, 1/5th Bttn., Lancashire Fusiliers.
Born in Maryport, Cumberland, England. Smith won his V.C. for action
at Serre, France, August 21-23, 1918. From his citation: Sjt.
Edward Smith, D.C.M., Lancashire Fusiliers, while in command of a platoon,
personally took a machine gun post with rifle and bayonet, killing at
least six of the enemy, regardless of the hand grenades they flung at
him. Later he led his men to the assistance of another platoon he saw
in difficulties, took command, and captured the objective. During the
counter attack next day he led forward a section and restored a portion
of the line. His personal bravery, skill and initiative were outstanding,
and his conduct throughout an inspiring example to all. Smith
also won the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
|Edward was the RSM
of the 1st Bn in China 1935 to 1938 and was a good friend of Bandmaster
William Elliott his is a signed photo he gave to William 2nd photo
with William and the French Bandmaster 3rd photo William left
and Edward on the right
According to The Whitehaven News, a local West Cumbrian
newspaper, when he returned to his home town of Maryport after
the Great War in 1919, he was greeted by a cheering crowd of 6000
people, equivalent to the town's total population at the time.
Another local newspaper described Ned Smith in the following terms:
"Sergeant Smith is not only a
VC but looks it. He is a British soldier every inch of him.
He is an A1 man from the crown of his head to the soles of his
feet. .... He has not only won the VC but he has a chest on
which to display it."
He continued serving, from 1918-38, in China, Malalya and Ireland,
before retiring with an Army pension having attained the rank
of Regimental Sergeant Major. He then joined the Corps of Commissionaires
in London for about a year.
In 1921, he attended a Garden Party
held at Buckingham Palace by King George V of England for Victoria
Cross holders, as the youngest recipient present. He never married.
RSM Smith China 1936
|" CSM Edward Smith
VC DCM had served with Captain A B Sackett in the 1/5th Lancashire
Fusiliers, although Captain Sackett was only seconded there from
CSM Smith was on leave at home at Number 3 India Street Summerseat
on the 19th June 1918 when he wrote to Captain Sacket, who had
by then won a MC and was wounded and had lost a leg."
Sent in by Robert Sackett the son of Captain
He also served during the early days of WWII, rising to the rank of
Lieutenant (Quartermaster) in the 5th Bttn., Lancashire Fusiliers. He
was killed in action during fighting around Bucquoy, France, January
12, 1940. (bio by: Paul F. Wilson)
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Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension