PRIVATE GEORGE SMART
SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT
1ST NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 35
BURIED: ROMERIES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
On the 1 November 1918 the Germans decided to make a stand at Valenciennes, the last French city in German hands. Its capture was vital to the Allies' progress but the presence of a large civilian population made the attack difficult. George Smart's regiment, the 2nd South Staffordshires, were in support on the 1st but the war diary does refer to shelling by the enemy with 77 mms and 4-2s, perhaps this is when Smart was killed. His body was not discovered until April 1920, it had not been buried in a marked grave.
Smart is buried in Romeries just south of Valenciennes. There are 703 burials in the cemetery, five of them from the very earliest days of the war - the 24th, 25th and 26th August 1914, one from October 1916 and all the rest from the last month of the war. The war was returning to where it had begun.
George Smart's mother chose his inscription. It is not a common one but it was used on public war memorials in communities across the Empire. Seemingly composed in the immediate post-war era it has an echo of Simonides as reflected in 'Our British Dead' a 1917 poem by Joseph Lee which has the lines:
Here do we lie, dead but not discontent,
That which we found to do has had accomplishment.
That accomplishment? - that we, the survivors, may live in peace.