A Poppy
A Poppy

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


Sergeant 2614476 Geoffrey William Smith, Grenadier Guards


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

Just over six feet in height and straight as a ramrod SERGEANT GEOFFREY WILLIAM SMITH was everyone's picture of what a Guardsman should be and he was justifiably proud of being a Sergeant in the Grenadiers.

Geoffrey was born on 2nd September 1916 at 'West View' Newchurch the son of Robert and Ellen Smith, both of old Newchurch families. He spent his schooldays at the village school at Newchurch where he was popular with his schoolmates and he was a member of the Congregational Sunday School at Langbridge, growing up to attend the Chapel there where his elder brother Robert was organist.

On leaving school Geoffrey worked for a short time for his uncle, Gilbert Richards, at Popes Farm, but he then took a job as stores clerk at Shanklin with the Shanklin & Ventnor Gas Company. On reaching the age of 18 in 1934 he joined the 1st Batallion Grenadier Guards and after the usual training ar Pirbright he served with the Batallion in this country, in Egypt and in the Sudan attaining the rank of Lance-Sergeant. After four years with the Colours during which time he carried out duties at the various Royal Palaces, the Tower and the Bank of England, he left the Guards and joined the Essex County Constabulary at Grays and he remained in that Force until he was recalled to the 3rd Batallion Grenadier Guards on the outbreak of war in 1939. He was promoted to full Sergeant and was stationed at Chelsea Barracks as an instructor from 1939 to January 1943 being a highly qualified exponent of grenade-throwing and bayonet fighting as well as a good shot. This period was not given over entirely to instruction for these were the years of the London 'Blitz' during which the London-based Guards were called upon to play many varied roles.

Geoffrey married Vera Thoroughgood in 1940 whom he had met whilst serving in the Essex County Constabulary and his brother Robert who was then himself in the Army was able to attend the ceremony as best man.

During his Service career Geoffrey had been able to follow his love of sport and he had become an excellent gymnast as well as a good horseman. In fact it could be said that he was a real man's man with a liking for fast motor cars and motor cycles, but on the more serious side, he also developed, like his brother, a love of music.

In January 1943, with the build up of the First Army's campaign in Algeria and Tunisia Sergeant Geoffrey William Smith went with his Batallion to become part of the Guards Brigade. He was killed there on 24th March 1943 and he lies buried in the British Military Cemetery at Medjez-el-Bab in a countryside which saw some of the fiercest fighting of the North African campaign and in which his Batallion gained fresh laurels for their high courage and unswerving devotion to duty.

Further information :

Son of Robert Smith and Ellen Smith (née Richards); husband of Eveline Vera Smith, of Chelsea, London.

Born : 1916, Isle of Wight (registered in Brading sub-district).

Married : 1940, Eveline Vera Thorogood (registered in Thurrock, Dec qtr, 1940).

With the 5th Bn Grenadier Guards at the time of his death.

CWGC record ...

More information can be found on the Essex Police Memorial website.

Newspaper cuttings :


Saturday, April 24, 1943 Page 3

M.T. Sergt. Geoffrey William Smith, Grenadier Guards, younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Smith, of West View, Newchurch, reported killed on active service in North Africa. He was 26, and left England only six weeks ago. He previously served in the Guards for four years, and was two years in the Essex Police. He was recalled to the colours at the outbreak of the war.

Acknowledgments :

Janet Griffin for newspaper research
Page last updated : 7th December 2012 (added newspaper report)


Site designed by Community Internet Services