Topic: Percy Daniel Smith

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Percy Daniel "Tod" Smith (Service no. 46666) was a First World War soldier with links to New Brighton

Percy Daniel Smith was born on 13 November 1885 in Christchurch. He was the grandson of G. T. Hawker, the "Father of New Brighton" (who is buried in Block 14 Plot 7, Linwood Cemtery, Christchurch). His parents, Daniel Edward Smith and Kate Evelyn Hawker (buried in Block 4 Plot 16, Linwoood Cemetery, Christchurch), married in 1883. Tod married Lillian Rota Bluff Plumridge on 23 February 1909 at All Saints' Anglican Church, Burwood. The couple had three daughters, one of whom died in infancy. Helen Catherine was born on 20 December 1910 in Christchurch and Dorothy Enid on 21 October 1914 in Invercargill. Lillian died on 19 December 1916 and is buried in Block 47 Plot 101, Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch.

Tod was a cabinetmaker and worked as a commercial traveller for G.H Lyster, furniture manufacturers of Wellington. In about 1903 he suffered an accident in a factory in Christchurch. His arm was caught in machinery which led to poisoning in his left arm. He was ill for four months and spent two months in Christchurch Hospital. This left scars on his left hand and fingers.

Tod signed up on 8 February 1917 in Wellington in H Coy.  25th Reinforcements in the 3rd Battalion 3rd N.Z. (Rifle) Brigade. He placed his two young daughters in St Saviours Anglican orphanage, where they stayed until adulthood. He trained in Trentham and on 4 March 1917 was promoted to Lance Corporal. On 26 April 1917 he embarked on the Turakina for England. On 22 June 1917 Tod reverts to ranks for "improperly possessing the property of a comrade and failing to appear at a place appointed by his commanding officer". His pay was also stopped for 7 days on 7 July 1917. On 20 July 1917 he disembarked at Plymouth, England, and went to Sling Camp in Wiltshire.

About a month later, Tod left for France from Brocton Camp at Cannock chase, County Staffordshire. While there he befriended Gertrude Orton, who wrote a letter to Tod's aunts in New Zealand in 1919.

On 20 October 1917 he was in Étaples, and a few days later he joined B Coy. On 3 April 1918 Tod was once again promoted to Lance Corporal. From 1-8 June 1918 Tod was in hospital, evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station, Doullens in the Somme Department, on 7 June and to Le Treport on 8 June. On 23 June he was back in Étaples and out again to the front.

Tod was killed in action on 9 September 1918, probably in the fighting to gain Trescault Spur between Havrincourt and Gouzeaucourt overlooking the Hindenburg Line.

Percy Daniel Smith was buried in Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His name is on the New Brighton School Roll of Honour.

Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetary, Commonwealth War Graves Commission


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Percy Daniel Smith

First Names:Percy Daniel
Last Name:Smith
Place of Birth:Christchurch