A selection of photos illustrating the life and army career of Edward Glanville Smith. Many thanks to Catherine Piper for permission to reproduce them. They show:
1. Edward Glanville Smith (seated in middle row, far right) on a pre-war football tour of France. A note on the back says: “Easter 1910 OId Owens Tour – Rouen & Paris. HL Saunders, HD Kidd, JC Farrant & EGS. Match v. Les Rouennais at Rouen. Result a draw 1-1.”
2. Pencil sketch of Edward Glanville Smith as an officer in 17th Bn London Regiment, dated January 31, 1916, and presumably drawn by a brother officer.
3. Studio photograph of officers from No. 12 Company, D Battalion, before the Battles of Arras and Bullecourt in April-May 1917. A note on the back records their names and says they belonged to No. 10 Section. Edward Glanville Smith used this photo to illustrate The Wanderings of “D” in France in the Tank Corps Journal (May 1921), but captioned it simply “Officers of 12 Company” without giving any names – presumably to avoid revealing his own identity. The photo shows:
Second Lieutenant Ralph Carson Cooney (born 1897) – originally served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was wounded while commanding a tank on May 3. After this he remained in England on the Tank Corps staff until August 1918, when he returned to the Western Front in 14th Bn Tank Corps. He died in 1975.
Second Lieutenant Frederick Alan Rankin (born 1897) – enlisted as a private in 10th Bn King’s (Liverpool Regiment) the day after war was declared. He was commissioned in 5th Bn Border Regiment in 1915, and was killed at the age of 20 on April 23, 1917, while attached to No. 10 Company. The War Diary says his “Tank... received a direct hit and caught fire... Lieut Rankin and one O.R. being burnt in Tank.” He is buried in Wancourt British Cemetery, France. His older brother James was killed later the same year at Cambrai.
Lieutenant Edward Glanville Smith
Second Lieutenant David Reginald Lewis (born 1892) – joined up in 1909 as a Territorial in 6th Bn King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and initially served with them as a sergeant on the Western Front. Like Rankin, he was commissioned in 5th Bn Border Regiment in 1915, and served alongside him in the tank attack on April 23, 1917. Lewis’s tank was also hit and burned out but he escaped uninjured. He was captured with his entire tank crew on August 22, 1917, and spent the rest of the war in captivity. He died in 1971.
Second Lieutenant Alfred Reginald Morgan – commissioned in 11th Bn Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) in 1915. He was wounded on April 9, 1917, in a frustrating attempt to provide tank support for the Canadian attack on Vimy Ridge. He was later promoted to major and survived the war, but his service record is still held by the Ministry of Defence and no further information is available at this time.
Second Lieutenant Herbert Robert Chick (born 1893) – enlisted in Hawke Bn of Royal Naval Division within days of war being declared, and served with them in Gallipoli. Commissioned in Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and transferred to Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps in December 1916. Commanded a tank at the Battle of Bullecourt on May 3, 1917. Later promoted to captain and served for the rest of the war in 16th Tank Bn. He married in 1921 but died of natural causes the following year, aged just 29.
4. Signed photograph of officers from No. 12 Company, D Battalion, before the Battle of Passchendaele in July-August 1917. It was probably taken at a studio in Poperinghe, where the crews often went during rest periods. Edward Glanville Smith used this photo to illustrate The Wanderings of “D” in France in the Tank Corps Journal (August 1921). He captioned it “Four officers of 12 Company (‘D’ Battalion)” and included their names. The photo shows:
Second Lieutenant Harold Heatley Dobinson (born 1894) – enlisted as private in 1/5th (City of London) Bn London Regiment, known as the London Rifle Brigade, and went to France with them in November 1914. Commissioned in 1915 and commanded tanks in the Battles of Bullecourt, Passchendaele and Cambrai. Awarded Military Cross for handling his tank “with great gallantry and skill” at St Emilie on March 21, 1918. He ended the war as a captain, and then trained as a vicar in Canada before returning home to take up various clerical posts, becoming a Chaplain to the Forces in 1930. He died in 1979.
Second Lieutenant George Ranald Macdonald (born 1891) – wounded on August 22, 1917, while commanding tank D51 (probably called Deborah). For more details, see here [link to separate section of website]
Second Lieutenant David Reginald Lewis – see previous photo
Second Lieutenant James Thomson Doran Clark (born 1897) – commissioned in 4th Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1915 and served with 9th and 10th Bns on the Western Front, before transferring to Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps in December 1916. Commanded tanks in the Battles of Bullecourt, Passchendaele and Cambrai. Promoted to captain in 1918 and became second-in-command of the company. As a practising doctor, he applied for a Territorial commission in the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1926. His wife Mabel enjoyed a successful career as a playwright and novelist under the pen-name Lesley Storm. He died in 1955.
5. Captain Edward Glanville Smith (right), wearing his Military Cross ribbon, at home on leave in South Woodford, Essex. He is shown with members of the family including his brother, Captain Norman James Kissock Smith (left), who was invalided out of the army after being badly wounded at High Wood on the Somme in 1916.
6. A group of officers from 4th Tank Bn, of whom only two have been identified: Captain Edward Glanville Smith (seated on chair, centre), and Second Lieutenant Frank Heap, the commander of D51 Deborah (seated on ground, third from left). The light-hearted atmosphere suggests this was taken around the end of the war, in 1918 or perhaps 1919.
7. An even more informal shot, in which a group of officers from 4th Tank Bn pose in a field wearing pyjamas and slippers. Again only two can be identified – Second Lieutenant (later Lieutenant) Frank Heap and Captain Alfred Enoch. In Deborah and the War of the Tanks, we observe that “The rationale for this [photograph] is lost, but it may relate to a family story about the time Smith went to war and found his mother had packed his pyjamas, which seemed somewhat incongruous in an army hut.”
8. Edward Glanville Smith returned to uniform during the Second World War, when he became a corporal in the Home Guard. This shows him with a group of fellow NCOs, all but one of whom wear Great War medal ribbons. The cap badge is that of the Middlesex Regiment.
Copyright on the original photographs belongs to Catherine Piper – not to be reproduced without permission.