James Herbert “Herb” Smith was born in Hamilton, Ontario 10 August 1896, son of William Smith and Margaret Ellen Murray.
He enlisted 25th of February 1916 into the 129th Overseas Battalion at the age of 19.
He sailed to England on board RMS OLYMPIC on 21 August 1916, disembarking 30 of August 1916 at Liverpool and was sent to Whitley. He trained there until 19 October 1916 when he was transferred to the 124th Overseas Battalion when he was sent to Bramshott, United Kingdom. On 27 of November 1916, he was transferred back to Whitley to join the 3rd Battalion (which was already in France), and arrived in France on 29 November.
Details are sketchy but duplicate entries on his service record show he was taken on strength sometime between the 3rd and 6th of December 1916. With the Battalion located at Camblain-L’Abbe on 3 December 1916, unit war diaries state: “Draft of 150 O.R. [other ranks] from 123rd, 124th, and 129th Canadian Bns reported this date. Draft paraded to school and drew small box respirators”. A notation made on the 4th states that “Draft which reported on 3rd “inst” sent to Divisional School for training”.
Herb was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal shortly after the Battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917.
He may have been a clerk but his son William stated that he finished the war as a Lewis Gunner. Herb was discharged on 23 April 1919 and had survived the war without any wounds, but was believed to have been gassed at some point.
Upon returning to Canada, he married Sarah (Sadie) Eaton, a British Home Girl, in Hamilton on 15 June 1920. They had two sons, Russell, born 27 Oct 1921 and William, born 15 Oct 1931 and an adopted girl, Sheila, born 12 April 1938.
Herb worked as a shipper for a local grocery store and ended up working at Westinghouse in Hamilton.
Herb Smith passed away peacefully on 20 April 1978 in Hamilton and is buried in Hamilton Cemetery across the street from Dundurn Castle.