Major Clement Potter Smith MC was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England on 15 September 1876 to William Potter Smith and Emma Elizabeth Smith.
Smith enlisted into the 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1895, seeing service in South Africa in actions in the Cape Colony and Orange Free State. He qualified for his LS&GC in 1913. He was promoted to be Quartermaster Sergeant before being commissioned in December 1914.
During the Great War he saw three periods of service at the front in France and Belgium – 20 December 1914 to 24 January 1915, 4 March 1915 to 11 May 1915, and June to 11 November 1918. He then went to the Balkans theatre from 20 July 1917 to June 1918, where he was wounded.
He won his MC in North Russia in 1919, during the ‘Railway Offensive’ between May and July 1919. He went out as Adjutant and Quartermaster of the KRRC Special Company and was later Second in Command of the detachment. The London Gazette 23 July 1919 states:
“…for distinguished service in connection with military operations in Murmansk, North Russia.”
One raid during the campaign led by Maj Smith saw him position an 18 pounder gun, unhandled by gunners of 1203rd Battery RFA, within 1000 yards of the enemy front line. With a flare put up within 50 yards of the enemy the gunners put in 71 rounds, supported by two lewis guns. They caused sufficient damage and sick to be able to return the way they came without pursuit. They did however spray the area from which they were attached for many hours after Smith and his raiders had departed, wasting valuable ammunition on top of the damage inflicted directly by the raid.1
On retiring from the army he took up the post of Secretary and Quartermaster with the Queen Victoria Rifles, retiring in 1937.
He was initiated in January 1927, and installed as Worshipful Master in 1932. He would be installed for a second time in 1936. The Second World War would see him serve two further, successive terms in 1943 and 1944. He was given London Grand Rank.
He passed away on 17 December 1956 in Weston-Super-Mare.
Source: “Churchill’s Secret War With Lenin” Damien Wright. Helion & Company. 27 July 2017