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Samuel Small, Age 32

Private, 58273, 142nd Field Amb, Royal Army Medical Corps.

Royal Army Medical Corps
Royal Army Medical Corps.

Both Joseph and Samuel were the sons of Benjamin & Sarah Small of 8 Crown Street, The Finger, Dawley. The Family had previously lived at 16 Malinslee. Before the war Samuel worked as a brick maker at the Randley Brick & Tile Works and had done so for 14 years, His brother Joseph had been employed as an insurance agent.

Samuel in his spare time had been a member of the Dawley and Ironbridge Ambulance Corps and on the outbreak of war volunteered for the RAMC, he was married to Bertha (nee Corbett) and they had three sons.

Whilst with the RAMC and during the battle of the Somme, Samuel was killed in action while attending to a wounded soldier on the 24th July 1916 his body was buried at Bemafay Wood Cemetery but at some point, its exact location was lost because of shellfire, His name now appears on a Special memorial grave stone within that cemetery as ‘believed to be buried in this cemetery”.

Samuel’s widow received a letter from his Sgt-major C.W.Telling saying “On behalf of the ambulance and myself I wish to tender our sincere sympathies to you in the loss of your husband. As his Sgt-major I can honestly assure you he was a good soldier, willing, respectful and a great favourite with all ranks and I am deeply sorry to lose him. He did not suffer at all as he was killed instantaneously by a bursting of a shell while doing his duty on the field tending the wounded. We are called upon to make sacrifices at this terrible time and God called upon him to make the supreme sacrifice of laying down his life for his King and Country. Our sympathies go out to you at this terrible loss and I hope God will give you strength to bear up at this time, Respectfully yours C. W. Telling Sgt—Major 142 Field ambulance B.E.F.”

In another letter the Sgt-major went on to say that Samuel had been killed on July 24th at about 11am and had been buried with full military honours by a Church of England clergyman.

Joseph wrote home shortly after his brother’s death saying that “All Dawley people ought to be proud of Sgt Langford, I do not think there could be a better N.C.O in all the British army” (Joseph was right as Sgt Langford went on to win the DCM & MM). He goes on to say “That I had spent two hours near the place where Sam was buried without knowing that he had been killed, if I had known I could have visited his grave”.

Head Stone

Photo courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project

Inscription added to head stone by:This information is missing.

Their Glory Shall Not Be Blotted Out

Bemafay Wood Cemetery

Bemafay Wood Cemetery

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

Commonwealth War Graves
Buried Bemafay Wood Cemetery


victory-medal britishwar-medal 1914-15 Star
Victory Medal British War Medal 1914-15 Star Medal

WW1 Death Plaque