Robert George Elijah Smele

Service:                Army

Rank:                    Corporal

Service No:           21790

Unit:                     1st Bn. Queens Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Robert was born in Bedminster 1896; he was the 2nd child of Robert and Ann Smele.  A 6 year old schoolboy in 1901 he was living with his parents & siblings at 132 East Street Bedminster; his father was a greengrocer.  By the time of the 1911 census his father had died and the family had moved to 39 Air Balloon Hill, St George, the widow Ann was running her own green grocery & Robert was employed as a pawnbroker’s assistant.  

Robert formerly served as 28272/20378/267548, in the Gloucestershire Regiment before transferring to the RWKR. On 17 September 1916 he was posted to the 1st battalion at Rouen & one month later on 17th October 1916 was transferred to the 1/6th Battalion. On the 28th April 1917 he received a gunshot wound to his left foot. He was to spend the next 72 days in hospital until 10 July 1917 (1st Southern General R.A.M.C. (T) Kings Heath Section Birmingham). On 7th September 1917 he embarked Southampton arriving at Harve the following day then went on to Rouen where he was posted to the 2/6th Gloucester’s. He later, 12th Feb 1918, was to join the 13th Gloucester’s and then moved on to the RWKR possibly 25 May 1918. After a short period of leave in the UK 30-9-18 to 2-10-18 Cpl Robert Smele returned to 1st Battalion RWKR in the field.

Corporal Robert Smele died of pneumonia on 3rd November 1918.

Robert is buried & remembered with honour in the Caudry British Cemetery. Grave IV. G.4

Image by kind permission of CWGC.

Robert was entitled to the British War Medal & The Victory Medal these were issued to his mother.


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

1901 & 1911 UK census

The Long Long trail