Edward Benn Smith VC

Name: Edward Benn Smith

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: October 22, 1918

Service: Army

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Edward Benn Smith VC
Edward Benn Smith VC Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Maryport, Cumberland/November 10, 1898

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Lance Sergeant (later Lieutenant)

Date of bravery: August 21 – 23, 1918

London Gazette citation:

No. 51396 Cpl. (L./Sjt.) Edward Smith, D.C.M., Lan. Fus. (Maryport).

For most conspicuous bravery, leadership and personal example during an attack and in subsequent operations.

Sjt. Smith while in command of a platoon personally took a machine-gun post, rushing the garrison with his rifle and bayonet. The enemy on seeing him advance scattered to throw hand grenades at him. Regardless of all danger, and almost without halting in his rush on the post, this N.C.O. shot and killed at least six of the enemy. Later, seeing another platoon requiring assistance, he led his men to them, took command of the situation and captured the objective.

During the enemy counter-attack on the following day he led a section forward and restored a portion of the line. His personal bravery, skill and initiative were outstanding, and his conduct throughout exemplified magnificent courage and skill, and was an inspiring example to all.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: DCM

Place/date of death: Bucquoy, France/January 12, 1940

Grave/memorials: Beuvry Communal Cemetery Extension, France; Maryport War Memorial, Cumbria

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Spink, London, 1996.

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum