Frederick George Smith was born in April 1882 in Crook, County Durham, the eldest son of a firebrick moulder, Samuel Smith and his wife Mary Jane. Samuel and Mary had two younger sons, Ernest and Bertram and also a young daughter, Edith.
The Bede magazine lists Frederick Smith as a student for the years 1900-02: however on the census night of Sunday 31 March 1901 he was at his parents’ home in High Hope Street in the centre of Crook, where he described himself as an Elementary School Teacher.
In 1905, he married May Blanche Boddy, also a teacher; a daughter, Doreen May, was born in 1906. By 1911, the family was living at Shiney Row, near Fencehouses, County Durham, and both parents are listed as teachers. Fred Smith was working for Gateshead Borough Council as a Senior Assistant Master at St Mary’s School in Gateshead, and May Smith was working for the County Council.
Early in the War, Frederick Smith enlisted with the 18th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and was made Company Quartermaster Sergeant. On 7 November 1915 Smith was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and when 18 D.L.I. were sent abroad in December of that year he was transferred to 21 D.L.I. At some stage in his military career he earned a mention in despatches (as confirmed by the C.W.G.C.) and possibly his commission came as a result of this recognition.
Second Lieutenant Fred Smith was killed on 8 October 1916 whilst serving with the 23rd Battalion D.L.I., aged 34 years, leaving a widow and young daughter. He was buried at Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery on the western outskirts of Arras. His sacrifice is commemorated on numerous memorials , including a tablet at St Mary’s School, Gateshead, plaques in Shiney Row where he had lived for some time, and on Crook Cenotaph, his place of birth. He is also remembered on the Bede College 1914-1918 Cross, Plaque, and Roll of Honour.