ID: PH01_HWS / Elaine Barker

TitlePeldon People: Harry and Angelina Smith
AbstractPeldon People: Harry and Angelina Smith

Henry William Smith was born in Peldon in 1853 and during his working life he was a horseman on a farm and farm labourer. He married Angelina Cousins (born 1857) in 1875.

In 1935 they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and in honour of the occasion some detail of their life in Peldon was described in the neighbourhood news column that October.

MR and MRS HENRY WILLIAM SMITH of Sampson's Farm, Peldon, reached the 60th anniversary of their wedding on Tuesday, having been married at Peldon Parish Church on October 22 1875. Mr Smith, a native of Peldon, is in his 82nd year. He has always enjoyed good health and is still active. He started farmwork at the age of eight years, receiving 4d per day for his services and the last 40 years of his working life were spent in the employ of different members of the family of the late Mr Fairhead. Sampson's Farm where Mr and Mrs Smith have lived for 30 years, is remote from the actual village, and it is a long walk to the Parish Church, but Mr Smith is very regular in his attendance morning and evening, and has held the office of Rector's warden for 20 years. At the centenary celebrations of the Church of England Day School held two years ago he was given a place of honour as the oldest 'old boy'.

Of their seven sons, six served with the Forces during the War; one already in the Army in India remained there; another, a reservist in Canada came over to do his bit, and the remaining four joined up. All were spared to make a safe return. There are two daughters living and seven grandchildren. Essex County Standard 26.10.1935

Their sons were William, Harry, Frederick, Sydney, Stanley, Frank and Luther. Their daughters were Beatrice, Bessie and Annie.

On the Roll of Honour for WW1 in Peldon Church there are eleven servicemen called Smith and only three can be identified certainly as sons of Henry and Angelina. Those that do appear include Harry and Angelina's eldest, William.

William was born circa 1883 and in 1901 at the age of 18 enlisted. His occupation was given as 'engine cleaner' and he signed on for Short Service, which, the form states involved 7 years in Colours and 5 years Reserve. He joined the Royal Artillery (Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery). In 1901, prior to enlisting he was a boarder in West Ham working as an engine cleaner and then in 1911 he's living in the Louisberg Barracks, with the RFA 134th Battery in Bordon, Hampshire. He was aged 28 and described as single and a Gunner. It is possible he is the serviceman referred to above as being 'already in the army in India' at the outbreak of WW1.

Stables at Bordon Barracks

Postcard of the Louisburg Barracks, Bordon

William was to be pictured outside The Plough in 1973 in Peldon years later, aged 90, in his Chelsea Pensioner uniform with all his medals. He was also an Old Contemptible and his Mons Star medal is clear in the picture. To qualify as an "Old Contemptible" a British Army soldier would have to have seen active service actually in France and Flanders between 5 August and 22 November 1914. For this he would qualify for the medal known as the 1914 Star. This medal was introduced in 1917. In 1919 a clasp bearing the qualifying dates was authorized and given to soldiers who had actually been under fire between those dates. It was also known as the "Mons Star"

William Smith outside the Plough with Freddy Walker in 1971

His death, although he was no longer living in Peldon, was recorded in the Parish magazine in November 1975. William died at the age of 92. He was 19 years in the army, worked on the land and as a gardener and in later years was a Chelsea Pensioner.

The Mons Star

Old Contemptibles Memorial in Westminster Abbey

Frederick was born in 1886. His marriage to widow, Jessie Elizabeth Gillmore in 1925 in Ontario confirms that he moved to Canada and the report above suggests he was already resident there and a Reservist when war broke out, coming back to 'do his bit'. He is listed on the Absent Voters' List as being in the Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery.

Sydney who was born in 1888 is the S Smith on the Roll of Honour who was a Private in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards. In the Absent Voter list of 1918 he is listed as living at Sampsons, Peldon.

Stanley was born in 1891. It seems likely he never married, the 1939 register describes him as single. He is 49 and living with his newly widowed father, Harry, (aged 86) in half of Forge Cottage, Peldon. Brother Luther and his wife were in the other half of Forge Cottage. Stanley is described as incapacitated although in the 1911 census he was working as a farm labourer.

Luther was born 30th July 1896. According to his wartime Short Service Attestation signed in January 1915, he was 18 years old and working as a Farm Labourer. His address was Sampsons Farm, Peldon. He was to enlist with the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner and he fought on the Somme. In 1983 his memory was triggered by a parish news article about the Mazengarb family who had settled in Little Wigborough. The French village of Mazingarbe suffered heavy damage during the First World War, the battle front being only two kilometres away at Vermelles.

It was the scene of heavy fighting during the First World War and Luther recalls having to transport ammunition through the village [Mazingrabe] when it was well in the range of the German guns. It was all 'rather dicey'. Peldon and Wigbrooughs Parish News July 1983

Luther was to marry Doris Everitt from Newpots Farm and in the 1939 register was listed as a Builder's labourer, heavy worker. He was also in the Home Guard during the Second World War. He lived for many years in Forge Cottage and Mike Watson remembers him as 'Smudger' Smith.

In the Parish News of August 2006 Joy Wisdom relates

Luther Smith ... lived at Harvey's Farm. The family later moved to Sampson's Farm. When living at Forge Cottage with his wife Doris, Luther proudly displayed a framed letter from King George V thanking his father for letting his sons go in the forces to help their country in the Great War

The Forge and Forge Cottage

In later life, Luther and his wife moved into The Glebe and then to Albion House in Rowhedge where he died in 1986 at the age of 90.

Sadly Luther Smith, our oldest male Peldonian, died in October. He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday. He and his five brothers all served in WW1 and returned safely and he had great memories of life in the village of yesteryear. We assure Doris and John their son and his family of our love and sympathy Peldon and Wigborough Parish News November 1986

Doris died two years later also at the age of 90.

Of the other boys Frank was born in 1892 and was a Bombardier with the 102 Battery Royal Field Artillery. Harry was born in 1901 and presumably too young to enlist.

Of the girls, Bessie Drusilla Smith was to predecease her parents and died young at the age of 27. She was buried at Peldon Church on 17th March 1922. Her address was given as the family home, Sampson's Farm

Their mother, Angelina died in 1938.

After a long illness Mrs Angelina Smith passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80. The deceased was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Cousins of West Mersea and on the death of her mother, which took place during her childhood, was adopted by her grandparents, Mr and Mrs Talbot of Sampson's Farm, Peldon. At the age of 18 she married Mr Henry William Smith, who was employed as a farm worker by the late Mr Fairhead of Brick House Farm, Peldon. After 30 years of married life, several of which were spent at Home Farm, on the Mersea Road, they settled down at Sampson's, her former home, and it was here that the diamond wedding was celebrated in October 1935. It was not until last year that they left the farm to move into Forge Cottage, a smaller and more convenient house. Mrs Smith was held in high esteem. Although united by marriage to a Church Of England family, she retained the Non- conformist sympathies of her parents, and members of long standing on the Methodist Church roll recall the days when she was a staunch supporter of the services held in barns and cottages before the erection of the chapel in 1893. The deceased leaves a widower, two daughters and seven sons, six of whom served with the Forces in The Great War, being every one spared to make a safe return. Essex County Standard 5.2.1938

Harry died in 1943.

Within a month of his 90th birthday, Mr Henry William Smith passed away at Forge Cottage, Peldon on Friday Oct 15 and the village loses one who was held in highest esteem.

Born at Peldon on Nov 15 1853, and son of William Smith, an agricultural worker, he made early acquaintance with the land, starting work at the age of 8 years for a wage of 4d per day. He also attended the Church of England Day School and at the centenary festival held in 1933 was given a place of honour as the oldest 'old boy'.

About 40 years of his life were spent in the employ of members of the family of the late Mr Fairhead and the greater part of every Sunday was devoted to the parish church which for 28 years he served as Rector's warden, being in office up to the time of his death. At the vestry meeting held last year Mr Smith stated that his memory carried him back to the restoration of the building in 1858.

His office was no bar to friendship with local Methodists and he was a frequent worshipper at afternoon service and on special occasions. In 1875 he married Miss Angelina Cousins of West Mersea and their Diamond Wedding was celebrated in 1935. A year later Mrs Smith passed away. The deceased had, throughout his long life enjoyed excellent health. Essex County Standard 29.10.1943

Elaine Barker
Peldon History Project

Further information or pictures of the Smith family of Peldon would be gratefully received!

AuthorElaine Barker
PublishedJuly 2020
SourceMersea Museum
Related Images:
 Mr & Mrs Henry William Smith of Sampson's Farm, Peldon
 From Peldon Neighbourhood News scrapbook Page 24.  PNN_042_001
ImageID:   PNN_042_001
Title: Mr & Mrs Henry William Smith of Sampson's Farm, Peldon
From Peldon Neighbourhood News scrapbook Page 24.
Date:26 October 1935
Source:Peldon History Project / Pat Wyncoll