Spr Hugh Smith - 11th Fd Coy

Spr Hugh Smith
RCE Dieppe Memorial in Newhaven, England

Sapper Hugh Smith was born in 1904 in Belfast, Ireland, to John and Mary Smith. One of seven children, he had four brothers: James, Joseph, Vincent, and Cevard and two sisters: Veronica and Eileen. Hugh worked as a painter and decorator before enlisting on 18 September 1939 in Windsor, ON and assigned to 11th Field Company that had been mobilized on 1 September 1939.

After a short period of local training, the company concentrated at Camp Petawawa, ON. During this training, Sapper Smith was qualified as a Painter on 29 July 1940. Sapper Smith embarked from Halifax for England on 22 August 1940 with the main body of the 11th Fd Coy.

In England, the 11th Fd Coy continued training and was tasked with constructing the Canadian camps in south-east England. In November 1941 they moved to Seaford, County of Sussex, as part of operational defence plan for Sussex and settled down to a period of more construction and training. In May 1942 their routine was changed as the pace and focus of training increased and exercises were conducted in order to prepare for the Dieppe Raid.

During the Dieppe Raid Sapper Smith was a member of Major Sucharov’s Party of 92 All Ranks that was tasked to support the landings on RED and WHITE beaches by assisting the infantry through the anticipated minefields. The Party was organized into eight teams and distributed among the Tank and Infantry landing craft. Smith was a member of Corporal Sewell’s team of 12 sappers whose primary task was to assist the infantry through any minefields on RED Beach. They searched for mines without locating any but did clear other obstacles. Under heavy enemy fire, Sapper Smith was Killed in Action. He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, France.

{…with research assistance by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum…}
 

 

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