Alexander Smith, 15 Ballantrushal
Company Sergeant-Major ALEX SMITH
Last address in Lewis: 15 Ballantrushal,
Son of John and Isabella Smith, of 15, Ballantrushal
Service unit: 7th Seaforth Highlanders
Service number: 10065
Enlisted at Stornoway
Date of death: 23 March 1918 at the age of 29
Memorial: Pozieres Memorial, Panel 72 and 73
Local memorial: North Lewis, Borve
Alex appears in the 1891 census at 17 Ballantrushal, he is aged 1. He is one of the 8 children of John (37) and Isabella (36), the others being Isabella (14), Mary (13), Effie (12), Catherine (9), John (7), Janet (5), and Dolina (3). In 1901, five more children have been added to the family, Mary (8), Cath (5), Mordina (3), John (2) and John (10 months). Of the children, present in 1891, only Bella (24), Janet (16), Dolina (13) and Alexander (12) remain at home (or alive?).
His brother John was a sergeant major in the Seaforths and was severely gassed; he survived the war. His other brother John was accidentally killed at sea in 1915 whilst serving in the Merchant Navy.
The experience of Ballantrushal in the past week accords with the saying that troubles never come singly. We had hardly realised the blank created in the village by the loss of John Macleay, our genial and much-respected fellow villager, when the gloom of sadness was deepend by the news, officially reported that CSM Alex Smith, son of Mr and Mrs John Smith, 15 Ballantrushal, was killed in action on the 23rd March. SM Smith was an old soldier, having joined the Seaforths about 12 years ago. He crossed to France with the first Expeditionary Force, came safely through the retreat from Mons, and had the same good fortune in all the hard fighting of his regiment till he was gassed in June 1915. He made a speedy recovery from the effects of the gas, and in the course of a very short time was back again in the fighting line. In the summer of 1916, he was wounded his arm being fractured, and after a period of hospital treatment in this country returned to the regimental depot where he was for a time employed in training recruits. Towards the end of that year he was sent again to the front where, for his gallant services with the 7th Seaforths, he was awarded the Military medal. Being entitled to the Mons Star he had thus the distinction of two war decorations. SM Smith was a young man of sterling qualities whicih won for him the esteem of all those with whom he associated and much sympathy is felt for his parents, brothers and sisters in their bereavement. Mr and Mrs Smith's only surviving son is a Sergt.-Major in the Seaforths. He also had been a regular soldier before the war, and had served 9 years with the colours, six of which were spent in India, and at the outbreak of war was a reservist. He was severely gassed at the same time as his later brother, who found him lying unconscious, and to whose efforts in carrying him to a place of safety he owes his life. He had never completely recovered from the effects of the poison and is employed at a military depot somewhere in England.