Charles Henry Smith

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Charles Henry Smith
1st Australian Light Railway Operating Company.jpg
Unit's Colour Patch
Personal Information
Date of Birth 4 Feb 1882
Place of Birth Paramatta, New South Wales
Death 22 Jan 1954, aged 71
Place of Death Perth, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 34 years, 7 months
Description 5'8" (1.73m) tall ; 150lbs
68.039 kg
; fresh complexion ; grey eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Locomotive Driver
Religion Church of England
Address NOK 556 Beaufort street, Mt Lawley, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Alice Smith
Military Information
Reg Number 651
Date of Enlistment 1 Oct 1916
Rank 2nd Corporal
Unit/Formation 15th Australian Light Gauge Op Coy‎
Date of Embarkation 19 Feb 1917 ‒ 25 Apr 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A70 Ballarat Melbourne to Devonport
Date of Return 12 Mar 1918 ‒ 23 Apr 1918
Ship Returned On SS Kenilworth Castle England to Durban
Date of Return 28 Apr 1918 ‒ 13 May 1918
Ship Returned On SS Field Marshall Durban to Fremantle
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

On 28 Mar 1907 Charles married Alice Peak in Perth. Alice was born 13 Jun 1886 and died on 10 Feb 1959 in Mt Lawley. Children born before Charles served in the AIF were Walter Jack Smith (1908 - 1074); and Stanley Charles Smith (1911 - 1958).

War Service

On entering camp, Charles was allocated to the 91st Depot Company before being earmarked for Artillery reinforcements a fortnight later. As such he was sent to Victoria to undergo specialist training at Maribyrnong. On 8 Jan 1917 his pre war experience with the railways was identified, and he was transferred to one of the Railway Units then being formed at Royal Park in response to requests from Britain. Promoted the same day to Second Corporal. The unit at this time was known as the No. 2 Section, Australian Railway Operating Division which embarked for England on 19 Feb 1917. Just prior to their arrival, however, at 2:00pm on 25 Apr 1917 in the English Channel, as a Anzac Day service was being held, the HMAT A70 Ballarat was torpedoed by U-boat UB-32, sinking the next day. All personnel were recovered and were landed in England.

On arrival in England, now known as the 1st Australian Railway Operation Division they were sent to Borden in East Hampshire, the specialist training base for railway personnel, before proceeding overseas to France on 29 May 1917 where Charles was now a member of the even more recently designated 15th Australian Light Railway Operating Company. This unit's final designation was to be the 1st Light Railway Operating Company.

From 14 - 22 Jun 1917 Charles was treated by the 98th Field Ambulance for tonsillitis, before rejoining his unit, and on 4 Dec 1917 he was again hospitalised, this time by the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station who then placed him on Ambulance Train No. 24 for Boulogne where 10 days later he was discharged to the No 1 Command Depot where on 21 Jan 1918 he was described as 'unfit'. His problem (not stated in his records) was more severe and so he was transferred on 8 Feb 1918 to England, entering the No. 2 Command Depot in Weymouth on 9 Feb 1918 where it was quickly decided to send him back to Australia for a 'change'.

There is an entry in his records for 25 Mar 1918 that he was admitted to the Edmonton General Hospital suffering with a gun shot wound to the arm. is records make no other mention of a wound.

Discharged by the 5th Military District on 30 May 1918

Post War

Following Charles return, Hilary Herbert Smith (1919 - 1983); and Kathleen Mavis Smith (1922 - ) were added to the family.

Alice died on 10 Feb 1959 aged 72 in Mt Lawley


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