A fine Great War Battle of the Somme August to September 1916 Military Medal group awarded to Private R.M. Smethurst, 12th Service Battalion, Manchester Regiment, who as part of the 52nd Brigade in the 17th Division, saw service out on the Western Front from 15th July 1915, being wounded in action near Hill 60 in January 1916, he returned to the front in July 1916, was then decorated in the London Gazette for 11th October 1916, which indicates an award won by him during August to September 1916, before being wounded again and evacuated home in November 1916. He had been twice wounded, suffering a gunshot wound to his head, he having been previously shot in the left leg earlier in the year. Having recovered he later saw home service with the Military Foot Police during 1918.
Military Medal, Geo V, named to 23455 PTE R.M. SMETHURST. 12/MANCH:R.; 1914-15 Star named to 12-23455 PTE. R.M. SMETHURST MANCH.R. British War Medal and Victory Medal named to 23455 PTE. R.M. SMETHURST. MANCH.R. Together with the remnants of the recipient’s tunic medal ribbon bar.
Robert Macey Smethurst came from Chadderton, Oldham, Manchester, and having worked as a spinner, then with the outbreak of the Great War, enlisted into the British Army at Hollywood on 30th January 1915, joining as a Private (No.12-23455) the 12th Service Battalion, Manchester Regiment, a part of the 52nd Brigade in the 17th Division. Posted officially to the 12th Battalion on 4th February 1915, he then saw service out on the Western Front from 15th July 1915. The battalion first went into the line on the 24th July near Vierstaat and later south east of St Eloi. For the rest of the year they were in and out of the frontline around Ypres. On the 2nd January 1916 the battalion went in to the trenches at Hill 60, and Smethurst was then posted home on 23rd February 1916, having been wounded in acton, his service records state that he received a gunshot wound to his head and left leg, but it is believed that he received these wounds on two separate occasions, nevertheless, he was evacuated home on 23rd February 1916. Posted to the 14th Reserve Battalion on recovering from his wounds on 22nd July 1916, he was then sent back out to rejoin the 12th Battalion on the Western Front on 18th August 1916, and was immediately embroiled in the Battle of the Somme. Smethurst was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field in the London Gazette for 11th October 1916, which indicates an award won by him during August to September 1916. Wounded again, he was then evacuated home on 4th November 1916, and this time would remain on home service. Having recovered, he was posted to the Depot, and then detached to the Military Foot Police on 10th July 1918, and officially transferred to this unit as a Private (No.P.15946) on 1st August 1918, on which date he was appointed to Lance Corporal. Smethurst was eventually transferred to the Army Reserve on 4th June 1919.