b. ? d. ?
DATE OF AM ACTION: 17/01/1919 Wizernes, France.
Very little is known about James Smith AM. All is known is that he enlisted as a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers on 1st December 1911. He served in France in the Great War before transferring the Mounted Military Police as a Corporal. He was presented with his AM by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 30th November 1919.
The KING has ‘been pleased to award the Albert Medal to Lieutenant (acting Major) William Revell Smith, M.C., R.F.A., Sergeant Alexander Gibson, Royal Engineers, and Corporal James Smith, Military Mounted Police, in recognition of their gallantry in endeavouring to save life at Wizernes in January last. On the 17th January, 1919, a fire occurred at the brewery at Wizernes. In the engine room a Frenchman, whose cries for help could be heard, had been entombed by a fall of masonry which completely blocked the entrance. The upper part of the building was blazing fiercely, and the only entrance ‘to the engine room was by a small hole in the wall which carried the machinery belting. Major Smith, Sergeant Gibson, and Corporal Smith succeeded in making ,their way through this hole into the room, and worked for threequarters of an hour before: they exposed the head and shoulders of the entombed man, who was found to be dead. They undoubtedly risked their lives in endeavouring to save life, for a further collapse of masonry (which appeared imminent) would have completely cut off their exit.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.