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The son of John and Christiana Smith, Henry was born on 3 April 1895 in Wolverhampton. His mother died at the age of 41 in 1898. By 1901, he was living with his father and siblings Thomas, Elizabeth and George at 205 Sutherland Avenue, Wolverhampton. Henry’s father, John, remarried to a Sarah Stockton in 1908. By 1911, Henry (listed as “Harry” on the census, was living at 223 Bilston Road, together with his father, brother George, stepmother, step-brothers Fred and Thomas Stockton and step-sister Lizzie Stockton. Henry had become a labourer at an iron foundry.

On 3 April 1913, Henry enlisted in the Royal Navy (number J12306), when his occupation was given as “Iron Worker”. He first served on the HMS Impregnable, serving on various vessels and rising to the rank of Signaller. He was killed while serving on the HMS Defence on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.