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From the convoys to D-Day - the story of Willian Henry Smith

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 06, 2014

William Henry Smith, known as "Smudger".

William Henry Smith, known as "Smudger".

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WILLIAM Henry Smith, known as "Smudger", was a colourful character.

Originally from Shropshire, he was named after one of the brothers mentioned in the story. He joined the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and was later transferred to the Durham Light Infantry after it suffered large losses in France.

He saw active service on the Arctic convoys, in northern France and in Italy. He had a busy war, hence the medals.

He was part of the D-Day Landings on June 9, 1944, in Normandy.

He was severely wounded at Caen, suffering shrapnel injuries, and was relocated back to the VAD Hospital at Osmaston Manor.

Once he was mobile, he came into Ashbourne and was on the Recreation Ground, sitting on a bench, when Ann's mother came into the grounds on her lunch hour from Dawson, McDonald and Dawson, in Compton, where she was making bombs for the war effort.

That was where they met. They married by special licence on Boxing Day 1944.

Her mother was local and had the surname Gerrard before she was married. The rest, as they say, is history.

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