Bill Smith's Story.

John and Bill were great pals who arrived from the Royal West Kents. They got into plenty of scrapes together and were both keen sportsmen, often sparring together and though John was the smaller, it was Bill who usually got the bloody nose. Bill trained as a signaller while John went on the guns. Bill's gripping account of the Regiment's baptism of fire in France is in the book.

He also remembered some of the 'lighter' moments.

Bill Smith following an endurance exercise, described in the book. These exercises were to be the source of great pride to the  regiment

On one occasion, whilst serving as signaller for Capt. Ducquenoy, they had lost contact with their NCO signaller Sam Bridges. Bill was asked to go and look for him. A dangerous job for the road was covered by a German machine gun. Bill hurled himself across the road straight into a slit trench that had been used by the Germans as a latrine. He continued to inch his way forward smelling of German poo and eventually found Sam - fast asleep!! After cursing him roundly, he told him they ought change clothes.

In December 1944 Bill was wounded in the leg by shrapnel. After recovering he was posted to REME where he finished the war.

Bill finally passed away peacefully in his sleep in June 2001, at home in Minster,Thanet, Kent, after a short battle with cancer.

(By the way, I have been trying for years to contact ACMP Ducquenoy. I believe he came from one of the Channel Islands. If anyone can help....

...... please email me at don@gunsandbugles.com or call me 0121 743 2339.


Bill was also the troops "PIAT" man, a PIAT being a type of bazooka.

Excited at the thought of a few stories of tank blasting, I asked Bill for details.

He told me.

"Don, I lugged that bloody thing half way round Europe and never fired it once!!"

So much for the romance of war.


One of the Regiments most notorious Sgt Majors was WO Budd. Bill Smith and John May were the object of his wrath a number of times. There is more about Budd on Percy Lewis' page.

On one occasion they both missed their last train after a night on the town, and tried to fudge the return time. Budd spotted it straight away and reported it the c/o Major Moorshead, another unpopular Officer.

He gave them 7 days confined to barracks and docked them a month's pay.They were reduced to Class 2 soldiers, which put Bill back on the guns, although he was made up again to signaller pretty smartish once in France.