( 6) Rifleman Frank Smith

First Use of Flamethrowers in Battle

Rifleman Frank Smith (6) was born in 1893 at Greenwich to Charles and Mary Jane Smith. In 1911 they lived at “Highlands” and in 1918 they were living at “Rosebank”, High Road. In the 1911 census Frank’s job is shown as being a gardener.

He enlisted on the 1st of September 1914 in Southend and joined the 21st Lancers. He later transferred to the 9th Battalion the Rifle Brigade. They entered France on 19th May 1915 and were assigned to the trenches around Hooge.

On the 30th July 1915 the Germans attacked using a new weapon – the flamethrower. There was intensive hand to hand fighting in the trenches and the positions were lost. During it Rifleman Frank Smith (6) was killed in action – we do not know exactly how. He was 22 year old.

German flamethrowers during the First World War on the Western Front, 1917
German Federal Archive

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