A Poppy
A Poppy

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


Driver T/14440751 Vernon Joseph Smith, Royal Army Service Corps


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

At nineteen years and two months of age VERNON JOSEPH SMITH of "Thornbury" Apse Heath was the youngest man in the Parish to lay down his life in World War II. He was the elder son of Joseph Smith and Florence Beatrice Smith and was born at Shanklin on 16th November 1925. Mr Smith was a haulage contractor and well-known in the area. The Smith family moved to "Ciren" Ventnor Road Apse Heath when Vernon was about five years old and after a short spell back in Shanklin they settled down again in the Parish in the then newly-erected house "Thornbury" on the main Newport - Sandown road.

With a short break at Shanklin Vernon spent his schooldays at Newchurch School where he was well liked as a very inoffensive and shy boy.

On leaving school in 1939 he set about learning the trade of baker and pastrycook at the Shanklin bakery of the Shanklin Lake and Branstone Union Co-operative Society and he subsequently took a job as a baker with Mr Harry Dore of High Street, Sandown, and he remained in this job during the early years of the War.

When the Home Guard was formed Vernon became a member of the Sandford section of 'C' (Shanklin) Company of the 20th Batallion Hampshire Home Guard and he served as a part-time soldier with this unit until October 1944 when he joined the Regular Army at Newport Recruiting Office and he reported to the Infantry Training centre at Derby on 4th November 1944.

After six weeks training he was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps and in December 1944 after a short leave at home in Apse Heath he was sent to an active service unit in Europe where he drove a Jeep with the Pathe Film News team. The last great German drive in the Ardennes had been halted and Vernon's unit became involved in the attack by the 52nd (Lowland) Division to clear the last enemy salient in South Holland, west of the River Roer, prior to entering German territory. In those few short hectic weeks since leaving England Vernon had had time for only one letter to his parents and five weeks after leaving home he was killed in action on 25th January 1945 when the vehicle he was driving was hit by enemy shellfire. Vernon is buried in the Sittard War Cemetery, twelve miles north-east of Maastricht, on the Maastricht to Roermond road.

CWGC record ...


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