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Michael Smith/Smyth

Rank: Private
Townland: Knockavagan
Town/Village: Kenagh
Civil Parish: Kilcommock
Catholic Parish: Kilcommock
Alternative Address:
Census 1901: Living at Knockavegan, Kenagh - surname listed as Smyth
Census 1911: As per 1901 - surname listed as Smith
Regiment/Unit: Inniskilling Fusiliers, 7th Battalion / [5th and 4th Connaught Rangers]
Regiment Number: 43281/ [4776]
Date of Death: 09-09-1916
Cause: Killed in action, Battle of Ginchy (Somme), France
Memorial: Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France

Michael Smith was born c.1896 near Kenagh; he was one of nine children of Andrew and Agnes Smith(Smyth). Prior to enlisting, Michael worked as a farm labourer, like his father. 

Pte Smith, enlisted in Longford initially with the Connaught Rangers, later transferring to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He disembarked in France on the 16 August 1915, but was killed in action at the Battle of the Somme. 

In September 1916 the 7th Battalion were stationed at the Gibraltar Camp, in a section of the Somme known as "Happy Valley" before being moved to areas known as Citadel, Billon Farm and onto Leuze Wood in quick succession. On the 7 September the regiment were relieved to the Divisional Reserve at Bernabay Wood, before moving onto Guillemonet on the night of the 8 September 1916. On the 9 September the Regiment received orders to participate in the attack at Ginchy as to support the 47th Brigade. Pte Smith was one of 100* RIF men from the other ranks who were killed, injured or reported missing as a result of the attack; five officers were reported killed/missing. Despite the losses, the attack was successful and Ginchy was captured, giving the Allied forces the advantage in this area. However, Michael went missing-in-action and was later presumed to have been killed-in-action.

Parents Names: Son of Andrew and Agnes Smith, Knockavegan, Kenagh, Co. Longford.
Notes: The Regimental War Diary report by Captain Keir on the events of the 9 September 1916 show there to have been confusion in delivering and implementing orders in the face of fierce enemy fire, with men from different regiments, including the Connaught Rangers and Royal Irish Regiment, "hopelessly mixed up" in the trench at the front line. *This number is from the report written on the 10 September - the hand-written diary puts the casualties from other ranks at 184.

Link to CWGC entry

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