Smith, Everard Cecil
Elder son of the Reverend Cecil Evan Smith, Rector of Titsey, Surrey, and Rosamond Linda, daughter of Charles Rushworth, Governor of Jamaica, he received his early education at Mr E P Bailey’s school at Limpsfield. He was a House prefect in 1903 and shot for two years for Wimbledon VIII.
He passed out of Sandhurst with distinction in 1905 and was posted to the 3rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. From 1906-1907 he was employed in survey work in South Africa and afterwards went to India. At the outbreak of war he was attached to the 4th Battalion, and proceeded with them to France on 6th August.
He was killed at Nimy, near Mons, on 23rd August – one of the first British officers to fall in the war. Along with a fellow Wykehamist in the same battalion – Lieutenant Joseph Frederick Mead (G1905-1910 – see individual entry) – he fell on the 23rd of that month during the fighting on the Mons-Condé Canal. Mead and Smith were helping to defend a bridge at Nimy in the face of overwhelming numbers. His death was not confirmed until September 1916 and in the intervening period there were many letters exchanged between the Smith family and the military authorities. A letter to Everard’s sister from his Company Commander, Captain Carey, is in response to one such enquiry: “I asked my wife to write to the War Office and heard by the last mail that they could tell her no more than that he had been reported as wounded and missing. I hear that people are just hearing from friends in Belgium and Germany, so we must hope for the best. I am most awfully sorry I can tell you nothing further but even what I have said is more than one can gather about some others.” Eventually, on 11th September 1916 a letter was received from E F Goss, 4th Royal Fusiliers, who was in a prisoner of war camp in Germany, which tells how Everard died.
To explain what I know will take few words, but many could I use, to express my high regards of his actions. I was with your son, as his bugler, the whole of the time. He was too brave, and exposed himself perhaps too much with the result that he received a rifle shot in the head, which injured his brain, he lived but a few moments in which he said “Carry on Goss”, then dropped his head and died. I buried his sword, revolver, maps etc. after ascertaining that life was extinct, and in my opinion I am confident that there is no possibility of his having been merely unconscious as his wound was too severe. This occurred at about 2 – 2.30 p.m. 23rd Aug 1914. I was captured with 22 others at about 6.30 p.m. His body still lay where he received his wound, when we were marched away. There was no other person present at the time your son met his death, his servant however, Private White came up 10 or 15 minutes later. Lieut. Smith was a good officer and a gentleman who always had the goodwill of the men under his [command]…. Corporal McLelland, who wrote to Everard’s mother on 16th August 1916 from Germany where he had just been released from prisoner of war camp, that “Lieut. Smith deliberately picked off eight Germans in succession. Just as he was about to fire his ninth round he fell back, himself wounded…………. He set his men a splendid example which it seems they followed as he would have then do”. He was posthumously promoted to Captain in September 1914.
He lies in grave II.A.5 of the St Symphorien Military Cemetery.
VCs were posthumously awarded to Lieutentant Dease and to Private Godley from 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers for their bravery and gallantry during the fighting that day on the Mons-Conde Canal.
(With thanks to the Smith family for additional information)
- Surname: Smith
- Forenames or initials: Everard Cecil
- House: D
- Years in School: 1897-1903
- Rank: Lieutenant
- Regiment: Royal Fusiliers
- Date of Birth: 3rd February 1885
- Date of Death: 23rd August 1914
- How Died: Killed in Action
- Location in War Cloister: Outer B1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: ST. SYMPHORIEN MILITARY CEMETERY: Grave II.A.5