Smart, Charles (No. 7019390)

Smart, Charles

Rifleman

No. 7019390, 2nd Battalion the London Irish Rifles, Royal Ulster Rifles

Lost at sea on Thursday 6 May 1943 (aged 33)

No known grave

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, Tunisia (Face 31)

Newtownards and District War Memorial

BIOGRAPHY

Charles Smart was born on 4 August 1909 in East Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Charles and Kathleen (sometimes Catherine, sometimes Cassie) Smart (nee McChesney) of Kiltonga, Newtownards.  Charles Smart Senior worked as a general labourer and he and Kathleen McChesney were married on 22 January 1894 in Greenwell Street Presbyterian Church, Newtownards.  Charles Smart was a son of Thomas Smart, a labourer, and Kathleen McChesney was a daughter of John McChesney, a labourer.

Charles and Kathleen Smart (nee McChesney) had at least eleven children, the first four of whom were baptised in Greenwell Street Church:

Eleanor (Ellen) McChesney (born 5 August 1894 in Newtownards)

Maggie (born 20 April 1896 in East Street, Newtownards)

Anna (Annie, born 13 November 1897 in Windmill Row, Newtownards)

Thomas George (born 8 May 1899 in Windmill Row, Newtownards; died of laryngitis 13 October 1900 in East Street, Newtownards)

Jane (born 16 May 1902 in Newtownards)

John (born 14 January 1905 in East Street, Newtownards; died of bronchitis 20 February 1906 in Ann Street, Newtownards)

George (born 23 December 1905 in Ann Street, Newtownards)

Charles (born 7 January 1908; died of bronchitis 14 February 1908 in East Street, Newtownards)

Charles (born 4 August 1909 in East Street, Newtownards)

Rachel (born 9 March 1911 in East Street, Newtownards)

Mary Catherine (born 1 January 1913 in East Street, Newtownards; died of pertussis 11 January 1914 in East Street, Newtownards)

In May 1943 Charles Smart Senior was officially informed that his son, Rifleman Charles Smart (No. 7019390), had been reported missing and was believed to have accidentally drowned.  In the 4 September 1943 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle there were six Lost at Sea on Active Service notices – one from his widowed father and three of his siblings: Elizabeth, William and Charles; one from his brother George and sister-in-law Jean Smart of Milecross, Newtownards; one from his sister Maggie and brother-in-law Willie Stevenson of 167 Greenwell Street, Newtownards; one from his sister Annie and brother-in-law Willie Maxwell and their sons Thomas and Charlie of 116 Greenwell Street, Newtownards; one from his sister Rachel and brother-in-law William Gunning of 114 John Street, Newtownards and one from his sister Nellie and brother-in-law Charles Dorrian of 163 Mill Street, Newtownards.  These notices contained the following verses:

Sleep on, dear son, in your foreign grave,

A grave we may never see,

But as long as life and memory last,

We will remember thee.

 

Times have changed in many ways,

But one thing changeth never,

The memory of those happy days

When we were all together.

 

He never shunned his country’s call,

But gladly gave his life – his all;

He died; the helpless to defend,

An Ulster soldier’s noble end.

 

Day by day we all do miss him,

Words would fail our loss to tell;

But in Heaven we hope to meet him,

Evermore with him to dwell.

 

A loss so great, a shock severe,

To part with one we loved so dear,

Though great the loss, we’ll not complain,

But trust in Christ to meet again.

 

What happy hours we once enjoyed,

How sweet their memory still,

But death has left a loneliness

This world can never fill.

In subsequent years, Our Heroes – In Memoriam notices contained the verses:

A light is from our household gone,

A voice we loved is stilled,

A place is vacant at our hearth

Which never can be filled.

 

Too far away thy grave to see,

But not too far to think of thee.

When days are dark and friends are few,

How we’ll think and long for you.

 

Although we’re in a far-off land,

And your grave we cannot see,

As long as life and memory last,

We will remember thee.

 

We little thought when he left home,

That he would ne’er return;

That he so soon in death would sleep,

And leave us here to mourn.

Rifleman Charles Smart was 33 when he died on 6 May 1943 and he is commemorated on the Medjez-el-Bab Memorial in Tunisia and on Newtownards and District War Memorial. His nephew, Rifleman Charlie Maxwell (No. 7022229), died on 3 June 1944.