Private Hugh Smyth

 

Hugh Smyth was born on 14 April 1895 at Cromkill, near Ballymena, County Antrim, one of twelve children of carpenter and farmer Robert Smyth and his wife Catherine (née Watt). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at Cromkill with his parents and three of his siblings and working on the family farm.

Smyth enlisted in the North Irish Horse at some point following the declaration of war in August 1914 (regimental number unknown).

At the end of December 1916 he was one of forty North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The formal transfer took place on 9 January 1917, and on the same day they embarked for France, where they were posted to the 10th Battalion, joining it at Ploegsteert Wood on the Ypres front on 16 January. Smyth was issued regimental number 40666.

Smyth remained with the Inniskillings until the end of the war, although in a different battalion following the disbandment of the 10th Battalion in January 1918. The War Office Daily Casualty List of 11 October 1918 reported that he had been wounded. This most probably occurred in late August or early September 1918 during the Advance to Victory offensive.

 

At least three of Smyth's brothers also served in the war: William in the Royal Engineers; Robert in the Machine Gun Corps (awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1917 for rescuing wounded men under shell-fire); and Archie in the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment (died of pneumonia at Cairo on 2 January 1919).