Smelser, William Arthur

Jump to: navigation, search
Tinycrest.gif This article is Under Construction and as such may be considered incomplete. Information appearing on this page is as accurate as possible but further work is intended before the page will be considered mature and this notice removed.

William Arthur Smelser
19 October 1883 – 13 February 1968
Place of birth Fisherville, Ontario
Place of death Victoria, British Columbia
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Lieutenant-Colonel
Lieutenant-Colonel William Arthur Smelser (19 October 1883 - 13 February 1968) was a Canadian soldier who served before, during and after the First World War.

Early Life

William Arthur Smelser was born on 19 October 1893 to parents Frederick Smelser and Louisa Matilda (Eliza) Otterman. According to the 1901 and 1911 census, he had one sister, Percie Matilda, born in 1891.

When he attested for service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, he listed his occupation as an electrical engineer.


When Smelser attested on 1 May 1918, he listed previous service of seven years with the 91st Regiment (Canadian Highlanders) (noted in Hamilton Times October 1909 paper as being promoted to Lance Sergeant from Corporal), two years with the Canadian Officer Training Cadre (COTC) at the University of Hamilton and two years with the Musketry School in Militia District No. 2.

On 1 May 1918 he joined as a Lieutenant with the Canadian Engineers. He embarked for England on 11 July 1918 and was taken on strength of 2nd Canadian Engineer Reserve Battalion and sent "On Command" to the Canadian School of Military Engineering until 21 October 1918. On 16 December 1918 he was transferred to the 1st Canadian Engineer Reserve Battalion before being transferred to the Canadian Engineer Replacement Depot on 27 January 1919. He was sent "On Command" to the Khaki College, Seaford UK, to teach until 4 June. He returned to Canada on 13 August 1918 and was demobilized on 30 August 1919.

Provisional Lieutenant, Canadian Engineers (supernumerary) - 11 April 1918

Notes on his CEF file seem may indicate (difficult to decipher):

re-enrolled C.E. - 3 January 1921
Confirmed in rank of Lieutenant - Canada Gazette May 1922
No. 21 Signal Company - Provisional Captain - 6 October 1923
No. 21 Signal Company - Captain - Visual Telegraphy Grade "A" Certificate - 13 December 1924
No. 21 Signal Company - Provisional Captain - Line Telegraphy Grade "A" Certificate - 28 May 1927
No. 21 Signal Company (independent) - Captain (senior officer listed)
11th Divisional Signals - Captain with seniority 28 May 1927
11 Divisional Signals - 16 October 1932
11 Reserve Divisional Signals - ended appointment as CO - 3 October 1933
11 Reserve Divisional Signals - 4 October 1933
Transferred to the Corps Reserve of Officers MD No. 11 - 15 December 1936

It is known that on 28 October 1930 he held the rank of Major. Additionally, his Colonial Auxiliary Long Service Medal is engraved "P/Lt. Col. W.A. Smelser 11 Div. Sigs. CCofS"[1] so it appears he was promoted and commanded 11th Divisional Signals at some point after 1930.

Personal Life

Related Pages

No related pages at this time

Related Items


  1. Award announced in General Order 89 of 1932.