John Samuel Smalley, known as Sam, was born 9th March 1920 in Radcliffe on Trent, the son of Thomas Smalley and Lucy Speed. His mother died 1922 and his father remarried Mary A Flower in 1923, sister of William Robert, George, Harold, Herbert, Fred and Sam Flower who all served in WW1. Sam had a sister Edna born 1919 and a step brother William G Smalley born 1925.
In 1939 Sam and the family were living on Main Road, Radcliffe on Trent.
He enlisted as a Corporal, Sherwood Foresters, 5th Battalion (Previously the 2/5th battalion), Service no 4986719.
The 2nd Battalion landed in France with the British Expeditionary Force in September 1939 and took part in the early stages of the ‘Phoney War’ and the advance into Belgium. The 1/5th, 2/5th, and 9th Battalions also joined the British Expeditionary Force, the former as lines of communication troops and the latter two for pioneer duties. All three of these Battalions were totally ill-equipped for the operational tasks they eventually had to perform in the retreat to the Channel Coast. At one period the 2nd, 2/5th and 9th Battalions were together defending the Dunkirk perimeter before the successful evacuation.
In January 1943 the 2/5th Battalion, by now renamed the 5th Battalion, joined the 1st British Army in Tunisia and was followed shortly by the 2nd Battalion.
Commonwealth and American forces, including the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, landed near Salerno on 8-9 September 1943 and there was fierce fighting for some days in the bridgehead that they established.
Sam was killed on 12th September 1943; his grave is in Salerno War Cemetery.