Gunner Henry Thomas Smallcombe

Gunner Henry Thomas Smallcombe in the Canadian Field Artillery during WW1. He is entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His enlistment number is 273893 and his War Service Badge Army Class B : C 29634

Born on October 6th, 1889 in Bristol, England

Trade: painter    Religion : Methodist        Status : married

Height: 5′ 3″    Eyes : blue     Hair : pale     Weight : 103 lbs

1891 United Kingdom census taken in 29 Green Bank road, Gloucester

Father: Henri James Smallcombe (cooper) born in 1859

Mother : Elizabeth born in 1860

Sister: Elizabeth born in 1881        Sister : Mable born in 1883

Sister: Alice born 1886                   Sister: Daisy born in 1891

March 31st, 1901: He was an errand boy living at 63 Greenbank Road Minorca villa. He had 3 sisters and one brother (his sister Elizabeth is not with him in 1901)

August 29th, 1907: Arrived in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada onboard the Empress of Ireland.

1910: Second semester married in Bristol, England

Enlisted in Montreal on November 7th, 1916 in the 216th battalion (Bantam battalion)

Name of his mother : Elizabeth Smallcombe     Address : 240 Boyer street Montreal, Quebec

Name of his father : Henry James Smallcombe    Address : 62 Greenbank road Lower Easton

Started school at 7 years. Left at 14. Went to Merchant College to learn painting and decorating for 5 years. Came to Canada 1907. Did painting and decorating in Montreal. He had four children

Cyril Henry, born on February 9th, 1911 William Albert, born on May 6th, 1913

Clifford Edward, born on December 6th, 1914 Lillian Violet, born on December 5th, 1915

March 18th 1917 : Sailed from Halifax on SS Scandinavian. Arrived in England on April 29th.

March 30th : Taken on strength Reserve Brigade Canadian Field Artillery. Posted with the 1st Reserve Artillery on June 22nd.

September 22nd : Transferred to France

Admitted at the 6th Canadian Field Ambulance le November 11th 1917

Excerpt from medical report : “Shell hit 20 yards from the man blowing to pieces next two mules in front with their drivers, Man seemed stunned. Rode home himself through fire and may have being blown up but no evidence of that. Man did his best to stick it there but on two occasions woke up from sleep raving M.O. sent him out. Evidence one driver (Marshall) who was behind him.

On November 2nd 1917 at Passchendaele while leading some pack mules of 4th D.A.C. to 10th battery, he was blown up rendered unconscious. Taken to a dressing station he recovers consciousness. He was returned to the 10th Batty. Next day taken on a stretcher to no 6 Canadian Field Ambulance then 62nd British Casualties Clearing Station. About two weeks after the accident he developed temperature – evening rises – morn fall (max 102.6 oF ). Temp lasted about one week. On November 29th Hospital was bombed by an aeroplane at a proven + blow up (34 kills 40 wounded). His became much worst. Sent to 3 Canadian General in Boulogne. On December 11th he was sent to 4th London General Hospital.”

December 3rd : Transferred to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital.

December 11th : Transferred to the 4th Canadian General hospital

June 4th, 1918 : Sailed from England

Excerpt from a medical of September 2nd “Was blown up at Passchendaele 2/11/17. Unconscious and was sent to Hospital. Bombed while in Hospital 29/11/17. Transferred while in Hospital 2/11/17 which made him worse. Transferred to the 4th London General where he was bombed again, and lost his voice. Sent back to Canada 4/6/18 with tremor of whole body and stuttering very much, walking with a hesitating gait and limp”

Was blown up in November while driving along the road in Ypres Salient . Went to C.F.W. Amb regained consciousness here. Sent to 62nd Casualties Clearing Station could not see but did not stutter. Sent to have eyes examined. While in 62 C.C.S. was bombed heavily. Went to England about Dec 9th 1917. Lost his voice in January during air raid on London for 3 or 4 days and was shaken up. Sailed to Canada in June

8/7/17 Walking stiff legs and stammering

9/8/17 Has been walking much better and sleeping well

13/7/18 Much improved this morning. Had a shock on the street last night and was shaken up but this morning says he is very much better

30/7/18 Stammering has improved very much. Is able to walk and run and can jump on to a chair. Is very pleased with himself.

7/8/18 Hydrotherapy recommended

14/8/18 Is much better enjoys massage and hydrotherapy and is now doing P.T.

21/8/18 He no longer requires further treatment. He occasionally stammers but can now walk perfectly well

Recommended discharge. Chest cleared up”

Demobilized on September 9th, 1918 in Montreal, Quebec. Listed in Lovell’s Montreal directory as a decorator and living at 366 Boyer from 1919 until 1922.

July 31st, 1944 : His son, William Albert, was killed in action in France. He was serving with the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada and is buried in Bayeux War Cemetery in France

Died on May 5th, 1959.

Although this gentleman did not get any physical wounds from his war service, enduring what he had to endure (shell shock in WW1 and losing his son in WW2), it must have left him with deep scarves.

If you know more information on this gentleman, please leave me message so I can add it to his small biography

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  • Linda Brown  On 2015/12/13 at 10:12

    I came across your blog quite by accident and was excited to discover this information about my grandfather, Henry Smallcombe. He never spoke much about the war and I don’t even think my mother ( Lillian Violet) or her siblings ever knew as much as the contents of this short biography. I have recently been trying to find info on my uncle (William Albert) who died in WW2 and this is how I unexpectedly came across your blog. I never thought I would find out anything about my grandfather from so long ago.
    There are a couple of dates in this that are incorrect so I will verify them and let you know. Also I will see if any of us have photos or any other info to add.
    I was wondering how or where you even found this information and if you are able to share any of your sources with me. I have no idea how to go about researching and would love to find out anything I can about my grandfather and uncle. I would so love to compile as much info as I can to pass on to my son and his cousins before it is all forgotten.
    I can’t thank you enough for this blog – it gave me a small glimpse back in time.


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