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Lance Corporal Roland Job Smith of 1st Essex Regiment in WW1 was born on 9th August 1897 and died in 1963. His parents were Thomas Absalom Smith and Deborah Rittie Annie Smith née Traylor.
In 1911 Deborah and her children Roland, Kate, Deborah and Charles were living in Haxcells Cottages, Peldon while her husband was a patient at Essex County Hospital following a serious stroke. There was another older sister Eveline/Evelyn (also called Selina).
Roland, who was usually known as 'Dick', used to tell the story that in WW1 he went into Colchester to enlist without telling his mother. Accompanying him were two friends from other Peldon families (we're not certain of the spelling of the nicknames!) 'Cruger' Balls and Nicker/N***er Wyncoll. We have a photo of two Peldon boys in uniform, Clifford William Wyncoll and his sister's brother-in-law, Ernest Robert Balls, both born in 1898. Were these the boys who enlisted with Roland Smith? Of the three, Clifford was to lose his life in November 1916 but Roland and Ernest returned home.
Photo: Mersea Museum - Phillip Conway
Image ID PCN_005
Category 1 Places-->Peldon-->People
Category 2 War-->World War 1
This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.