War hero ancestor found on school trip

David Petrie Smith
David Petrie Smith

A former Montrose man‘s son found his great, great uncle’s name on the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France on a recent school trip.

Back in May, Mark Smith’s son Tyler (11), took a trip with other pupils from Kings Road Primary School, Rosyth, to visit the War Graves in Belgium and France.

Mark had also taken the same trip 27-years-ago whilst at Montrose Academy. He later left Montrose to join the Royal Air Force.

Earlier this year, Mark’s father passed down a medal to him to look after and he told Mark that it belonged to his uncle who was killed in WW1. Mark had not known this previously and his father had very little information. After doing some research, Mark found out that his name was David Petrie Smith and he was the son on of George and Mary Smith, of Dryleys Cottages, Montrose. He had joined the 17th Bn., Highland Light Infantry and died on November 18, 1916 age 19. Mark was looking through the war graves commission when he found that David’s name was written on the Thiepval Memorial in northern France, which coincided perfectly with his son’s pending trip.

Mark managed to track down an written account from a book written by his unit which described the day he died, in the last day of the Battle of the Somme.

Mark said: “Out of thousands of names on the memorial, Tyler managed to find David’s.

The whole experience has been quite an emotional one but it’s good to know it has all been pieced together.”