Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: J. Ambrose Smith (1878-?)

Contractor.

Born at Heaton Mersey, Lancashire on 2 August 1878, son of John Thompson Smith and Mary Ann Wilson Povah, he was educated at Shrewsbury School. His first military commission was with the Manchester Regiment (1896-1899). Up to 1908, he worked in a land agency with his father, who was principal agent for Earl Egerton of Taton, Taton Park, Cheshire. He came to Canada and travelled over the country before settling in Winnipeg and establishing a contracting business in 1911.

At the outbreak of the First World War, he reported to the British War Office and was posted to “The Lancashire Fusiliers” as Captain of the 15th Battalion. He later served with the 16th Battalion, 19th Battalion, and 96th Brigade. Promoted to Major in June 1915, he was mentioned in dispatches in June 1916; second in command, 10 June 1916; Somme, 1 July; taking and holding Leipsig salient, 17 July; taking of Ovillers La Boisselle with 2nd South Lancashire Regiment; battalion transferred to 49th Division; battle of Nieuport and Ypres, 1917; mentioned in dispatches, April 1918. Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, 1 February 1918; on 9 April, battalion en route from Ypres salient was diverted with orders to hold up German advance on Kemmell Hill, occupied trenches on forward slopes of hill, repulsed three German attacks; French 99th Regiment came to assistance; decorated on the field by French Commander with Croix de Guerre (Ordre de Division); when relieved from line, became counter attack and support battalion for 99th French; on 21 April, 99th French relieved by 416th French Regiment; night of 24 April, German attack broke 416th French Regiment; remnants of battalion held up German advance until surrounded, but held long enough to re-enable line to be established in the rear; wounded and taken prisoner. Lieutenant-Colonel, 19 June 1919 on completion of service. President, Imperial Veterans in Canada, Winnipeg Unit, 1922, 23, 24. President, Imperial Veterans in Canada, Dominion Command, 1923. Clubs: Junior Army and Navy, Cranford, Manitoba, United Service. Anglican. Residence, 916 North Drive, Fort Garry, Winnipeg.

In 1914, he married Margaret Grand.

Sources:

Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 17 October 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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