Early One Morning

By Les Smith

The 88 years it took for these Men to be pardoned and acknowledged as victims of the war is another statistic often forgotten. Early One Morning takes the story of one of these Men, Private James Smith, and tells us a tale of how a Man who faced the darkest hours of the war at Gallipoli and the Somme, winning two conduct medals for bravery, finally lost himself to the horrors he had faced. Buried by a shell with a shrapnel wound the 'size of a fist' in his shoulder, James Smith was sent home to recuperate. Although his physical injuries healed, his mind never recovered. He gave up his rank of Lance Corporal 10 days after returning to the front. He subsequently went missing at Ypres and the battle of Passchendeale, and was sentenced to 90 days field punishment and losing his commendations. Finally, before the battle of Pilckern Ridge, he was found fit by a doctor, but refused to fight. On 22nd August 1917 he was court-martialled and sentenced to death for cowardice. On 5th September 1917 Private James Smith was shot by his colleagues and friends. None was capable of shooting him in the heart, and badly wounded the officer in charge knew he had to take the killing shot. Instead Smith's friend, Private Richard Blundell, was forced to shoot Smith in the head, something that haunted him to his deathbed. Jimmy Smith is buried in the Military Cemetery at Kemmel Chateau in Belgium in grave M25.



Name Role
Stanley Whittaker Director
Mark Storton Sgt Fielding
Martyn Frost Major Watson
John Spencer Lt Collins
David Rhodes Lt Pierce
Daniel Starkie Pte Jim Smith
Liam Husband LCpl Bradley
Simon Pierce Pte McKinnel
Matthew Holmes Pte Webster
Elliot Brown Chaplain
Philippa Vipham Lizzie Cartwright

Past Production

This show ran from 18th April 2015 - 25th April 2015.


Rossendale Players
69 Burnley Road East
Waterfoot, Lancashire

Back to top of page