Samuel Smith was born about 1864 in Manchester. Mary was born in Blackburn about 1867. They were married about 1892. In 1901 they lived at 100 Linthorpe Rd, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. Samuel was 37 and an electrician and shopkeeper. Alexander was 8 and his sister Ethel 3. In 1911 they were living at 14 Disley Avenue, West Didsbury. Alexander was an invoice clerk in a dye works.
Alexander enlisted on 4 September 1914, aged 21 years 6 months. He enlisted in the 3rd City Battalion of the Manchester Regiment (service number 9929) but later served in a number of battalions, including the 18th, in which he was serving at the time of his death on 9 July 1916. At some stage he was a signaller. His name appears on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 13A and 14C.
There are later documents in his service record concerned with giving his parents his medals including the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. A document from 13 July 1919 gives his parents’ address as 117 Burton Rd. His father’s signature is witnessed by the Rev J T Middlemiss, father of Thomas Elmslie Middlemiss, whose name also appears on the war memorial. Subsequent documents refer only to his mother.