Charles Ernest Smith
Private 708 14th Battalion
Royal Warwickshire Regiment
Charles Ernest Smith, known as Ernest, was a son of John Smith, an army schoolmaster, and of Mary Ann (Annie) Burleigh. Both parents were originally from Dudley, but travelled the world with the army.
The eldest son, Sydney, was born in Egypt. Ernest was born in Bangalore, India in 1894. When the children were young the family lived in Knocknagory near Belfast, before moving back to England.
Both Sydney and Ernest became bank clerks, while the family lived in Walmley Road / Penns Lane in Sutton Coldfield. They then moved to 63, Grantham Road in Sparkbrook.
Like many white-collar workers, Ernest joined the 1st Birmingham Pals (14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment) at the beginning of the war. The 1st Pals’ Battalion were sent to France in November 1915. In their first year of fighting, the three Birmingham Pals’ battalions lost over a thousand men. Ernest was killed in action on 23rd July 1916, at the Battle of the Somme, specifically the battle for High Wood. His body was never found and he was deemed to have died on or after that date.
Ernest Smith is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.