Edward Glanville Smith with fellow officers from 4th Tank Bn – and a rabbit, no doubt destined for the cooking pot
Photograph from Russell Enoch – not to be reproduced without permission.
Edward Glanville Smith concluded his account in The Wanderings of “D” in France at the end of 1917, so sadly he left no record of the great tank battles of 1918 which paved the way for the final Allied victory.
He must have played a key role in them, as the War Diary of 4th Tank Battalion (formerly D Battalion) says on August 28, 1918: “Capt. E.G. Smith, M.C., is appointed Coy. Comdr. “C” Coy. vice Major. H. Hannay.”1 This means Glan now commanded the 12 fighting tanks in C Company, formerly No. 12 Company, having replaced Major Hugh Hannay – who had himself taken over after Major R.O.C. Ward was killed at Cambrai.
In October 1918, Glan took command of the battalion’s single composite company during its final action of the war, but again he left no record of these epic events.1
The last official mention occurs in the War Diary on March 28, 1919, when Major Smith’s name appeared on a list of 10 officers and nine other ranks who left the battalion – then based at Bellacourt in France – for the Dispersal Centre, marking the end of their wartime service. Also on the list was Lieutenant Frank Heap, who had commanded D51 Deborah at Cambrai.1
Like so many others, they now had to somehow put the war behind them and resume their family lives and careers in a world that had changed beyond all recognition.
1 War Diary of 4th Tank Battalion in National Archives (WO 95/110). In the original the surnames are capitalised.