L Sgt Smart remembered

Robert Smart
Robert Smart

Today (February 19) is the 70th anniversary of the death in action at Monte Cassino, Italy, of L Sgt Robert Pattrick Smart, formerly of Linden Walk, Louth.

His nephew, also called Robert Smart who lives in Bexhill, contacted the Leader to tell us about the anniversary.

Mr Smart told us: “He initially enlisted in February 1939 when only 16-years-old with the Louth Territorials, no doubt emulating his father and elder brother, my father, both called William Smart, but withdrew later that year before his true age was discovered.

“He enlisted with the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards in 1940 when 18-years-old: This Battalion had moved from Wakefield to Louth following the retreat from Dunkirk.

“He trained at both Windsor, where he met his fiancé, Mair Evans who was working at a munitions factory in Slough, and Perth in Scotland, where according to Nicolson’s definitive account ‘...they were concerned with the preparations for more than half a dozen separate adventures (which)...gave them a distinct status in the eyes of the Regiment and indeed the whole Army.’

“The 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards sailed on board the Belgian ship HMT Leopoldville from Gourock in Scotland to Algiers in November 1942 and were immediately involved in early 1943 in the successful Tunisian Campaign. From the Grenadier Guards War Diaries the 3rd Battalion sailed from Philippeville in Algeria to Naples in Italy in early February 1944.

“My uncle was killed some two weeks later with No 2 Coy on Pt 711 near Monte Cassino and buried at Minturno. It has been suggested that he was put in for the VC, but I have no firm evidence of this. If any of your readers have further information I would be delighted to hear from them.

“My cousin has arranged for a prayer to be said at the Louth War Memorial at 11am on Wednesday, February 19. In this context it is pertinent to reflect on his own words written in March 1943 in Tunisia contained in the attached letter or elegy. As in the Remembrance Prayer, ‘we will remember him and them.’”