A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Archibald Smith -


Marine EX/5265 Archibald Smith, Royal Marines, R.M. Group, M.N.B.D.O.1.


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information
Several men of the parish joined the Royal Marines between 1939 and 1945 but only one was to lay down his life - MARINE ARCHIBALD SMITH of 2 Downs View, High Street, Newchurch.

Archie was born in The Square, Newchurch on 6th January 1917, the younger son of Harry and Eileen Smith. Harry Smith was an old Navy man, having been a Petty Officer serving on the Royal Yacht before World War I, but he was invalided from the Service and on his return to Newchurch he was employed as a ditcher by Mr L.C. Attrill at Bathingbourne.

In the 1920's Archie Smith attended Newchurch School where he is remembered by his old schoolmates as a large, very cheerful and very amiable boy. He took a keen interest in the life of the village and throughout his all too short life he regularly attended this Parish Church. On leaving school in 1931 he started work at the local nurseries of Mr William Groves and worked there for some years until he took employment as a road worker with the County Council.

He joined the Royal Marines on or about 14th April 1940 and underwent basic training at Arborfield Barracks, Wokingham near Reading. From Arborfield he went to Cleave in Cornwall in July 1940 for gunnery training and from there he was assigned to the 1st Heavy Anti-aircraft Brigade at Derby where he remained until January 1941. In February of that year his unit was posted to the Middle East and in April it arrived at Port Said where it boarded the merchant ship 'City of Paris' bound for Crete. The 1st Heavy A.A. Brigade was first put ashore at Suda Bay under intense enemy air attack and from there was transferred by landing craft along the north coast to Heraklion. During the ensuing weeks the fierce struggle for Crete took place with almost continuous air attacks and with heavy casualties on both sides. At the end of the last week of May the British evacuation commenced under appalling difficulties. One of his fellow Marines, a local man from Winford, saw Archie as arrangements for evacuation were being put into effect and remembers that he was as cheerful as ever with no fear of what might befall. Marine units were taken on board first the destroyer H.M.S. Hereward and subsequently transferred to the cruiser H.M.S. Dido. The transfers from ship to ship were taking place on the night of the 29th May under incessant bombing attacks and during the operation H.M.S. Hereward was hit by bombs from an Italian aircraft as a result of which it sank. Marine Archibald Smith, with many of his comrades, was reported 'Missing, believed in action' and it is almost certain that he lost his life in the destruction of the 'Hereward'.

From the CWGC record :

Archibald Smith's Date of death is given as 1st June 1941.

He is commemorated at : Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 103. Column 2.

CWGC record ...


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