Rank: Staff Serjeant S/15818
Regiment: Army Service Corps, 50th Field Butchery
Died: died 19 September 1915
Budleigh Salterton, Newton Poppleford
Budleigh Salterton War Memorial, Newton Poppleford War Memorial, St Peter's Church War Memorial, Budleigh Salterton Roll of Honour
Other Memorial: Helles Memorial [Google]
Dan, older brother of Charles, joined the regular army in 1897. The second Boer War did not finish until 1902, but Dan was not posted overseas that early in his career in the army. Many of the British casualties in that war were due to disease and infection, but Dan was not subjected to that risk.
He had joined the Royal Army Service Corps and not surprisingly was attached to the 50th Field Butchery Division. His father described himself as a cattle dealer but was also involved in the slaughter and butchering of the beasts. In Whites Gazetteer of Devon he is described as a butcher. In 1891 he employed his four oldest children in the business; clearly they were not all buying and selling cattle. The RASC had three provision roles - general supplies, fuel, and ammunition.
All Dan’s time in the army was concerned with the first of these, specifically meat. He reached the rank of Staff Serjeant, by slow degrees with one set-back. In 1905 as a private, he was convicted of being drunk and using threatening and obscene language to a non-commissioned officer. He received ‘14 days CB.’ (confined to barracks). Except for two other very minor offences, his service record was “very satisfactory“.
In the same way as Fred Ellis, he was posted to the Egyptian Theatre of War. This posting must have been soon after the war began, or maybe before it started. The conditions of slaughterhouses in a country with very high temperatures and water only available for drinking, is not difficult to imagine.
Dan caught dysentery and was returned to HMHS (His Majesty’s Hospital Ship) Egypt suffering from “acute dysentery supervening on enteric“. (Enteric fever is Typhoid). He died on board while the ship was in Alexandria, on 19 September 1915, and is presumably buried in a service grave near that city.
Copies of correspondence regarding his effects are on record, and particularly touching is the letter from his wife who lived at 9, Perriams Place, Chapel Street, Budleigh Salterton. On 28 October she wrote “I am writing to no (know) if I can have my husbands things Sgt D. Smale No 15818 when it is convenient for you to send them to the above address, Yours Truly AE Smale“.
All his possessions and medals were returned to her on 20 January 1916. Dan is also mentioned on the Budleigh Salterton War Memorial. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.
D. Smale, Acting Staff Sergt. A.S.C. is listed under 'Died in their Country's Service' in the Budleigh Salterton Roll of Honour.
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