241949 Pte James SMITHSON M.M. 2/5 York Lancaster Regiment

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James SMITHSON was a resident of Barnsley. Born in 1890 he was the son of Alfred and Kate and lived at 38 Clarendon Street, Barnsley.

A motorman assistant he worked at the Barnsley British Cooperative Society traffic Department.

James enlisted at Rotherham on the 17th November 1915 and was called up to service under the Derby Scheme on the 24th March 1916.

He entered France on the 14th January 1917 as a battalion runner.

The 2/5th York Lancaster Regiment were involved in the battle for Cambrai. It is here during the advance on Bourlon Village on the 27th November 1917 that James was rewarded for his bravery. He was awarded the Military Medal, this would appear in the London Gazette on the 14th March 1918. The battalion war diary for the period reveals that the 2/5th York Lancs advanced on Bourlon Village supported by tanks. The Germans had fortified the village, creating obstacles to stop the tanks, hidden artillery pieces to deal with the tanks and skilfully placed machine guns to deal with the foot soldiers. Heavy casualties were suffered and the village was not taken. the attack was called off.

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On the 26th April 1918 James was wounded, blown up by a shell causing face and arm injuries. He would be evacuated by various medical stations to end up convalescing at the 2/1 Southern T.F. General Hospital, Birmingham from where he would be discharged on the 19th February 1919.