Frank (Fred) Smith

23rd January 2006
Roy Woods

Fred Smith was born on the 13th October 1910 in Liverpool and eventually joined the 2nd Battalion XX The Lancashire Fusiliers in 1926 as a Band Boy, He was duly posted to India and had been promoted to the rank of L/Cpl by 1931. Fred returned from India via Palestine in 1935 eventually to Colchester, England.
At the outbreak of the war Fred left the Band to go on active service being promoted to Sgt and eventually Company Sgt Major to Captain Kevin Hill, (as he was then), in 'C' Company still with the 2nd Battalion. He saw service in France, North Africa, Sicily and Italy and was with Frank Jefferson at Cassino when Frank won his VC. Fred was also 'Mentioned in Despatches'
At the end of the war the 2nd Battalion was disbanded and Fred left the Lancashire Fusiliers along with Jim Brackley and Mick Higgins to join the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals for the next five years, after all they were superb musicians.
In 1952 Fred learned that the 2nd Battalion was reforming and rejoined them at Bulford in Wiltshire. He was to become Sgt of the Mortar platoon in Support Company and that is were I first had the pleasure of meeting him and found him to be a very nice man, no one could ever fall out with Fred. However a short time afterwards the 2nd Battalion were recruiting for a new band and although being reluctant to leave my new Sgt, I volunteered. I lined up in the NAFFI and was called behind a screen to be interviewed and to my amazement who should be there with Band/Sgt Ernie Wharton was none other than Fred Smith. We returned to Bury to complete reformation of the band and Fred succeeded Ernie Wharton as Band/Sgt. Then off to Trieste only to be disbanded again in 1955. Fred subsequently joined the 1st Battalion and left in 1959. He went on to help with the 5th Battalion in Bury. He took a job in civilian life with Walmersley's Paper Mill in Bury but never left his attachment with the Lancashire Fusiliers.
In 1982 Fred had a stroke which was to happen at the funeral of Francis Jefferson VC and although living for another 24 years never really recovered, being nursed by his wife Ivy, herself a former nurse, until such time he had to go into residential care in 2004, this was fortunately situated next to Wellington Barracks and I was able to visit him there. Fred never really lost all his faculties for an elderly gentleman, his recognition was quite good but it became difficult to hold a conversation with him.
Fred died on the 23rd January 2006 aged 95 years, a loving husband, dad and grandad and a friend to all who had the pleasure to know him. A true Lancashire Fusilier.