WWI Royal Navy soldier

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    The Royal Naval Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has taken delivery of a fascinating series of documents and artefacts that tell the story of an ordinary sailor who never went to sea but who was wounded in the trenches in World War I.

    The story of Alfred Frank Smith known as the ‘Baker Soldier Sailor’ unfolds in the new collection, kindly donated to the Royal Naval Museum by his family.

    When the First World War broke out, Alfred worked as a baker in Sussex, a reserved occupation. To 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment but in 1916 he decided to join The Royal Navy and go to sea.

    Instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division. Despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a boy sailor and assigned to the 'Hood' battalion as a Lewis gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France.

    On the September 28, 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet, which lodged itself close to his heart.

    Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. However it was enough to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset. Wearing his hospital blue uniform the local people would take him into their homes for meals.

    Demobilised in 1919, Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewes, East Sussex. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.

    “We only know of Alfred's story due to the kind donation to the Royal Naval Museum by Alfred's family of photographs, a pocket watch he carried in the trenches and his original service certificate together with the memories that they have of him,” said a Museum spokesperson. “This is just one of the many treasures on display in the Royal Naval Museum.”

    http://www.culture24.org.uk/history/war/world war one/art66291

    Objects acquired by the Royal Naval Museum telling the story of RN soldier Alfred Frank Smith.

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