Herbert Charles Smith

From Our Contribution

Herbert Charles Smith
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1885
Place of Birth Gympie, Queensland
Death 2 Apr 1917
Place of Death Noreuil, France
Age at Enlistment 30 years, 8 months
Description 5'10" (1.78m) tall ; 155lbs
70.307 kg
; florid complexion ; brown eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Pipe moulder
Religion Church of England
Address Brook road, Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Hannah Smith
Military Information
Reg Number 2532
Date of Enlistment 13 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 20 Sep 1916 ‒ 15 Nov 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A66 Uganda Fremantle to Plymouth
Fate KIA 2 Apr 1917 Noreuil, France
Monument Gosnells War Memorial
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Ward Honour Roll
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Had three years experience with the Goldfields Voluntary Infantry.

War Service

Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 13 Mar 1916 and three weeks later was a member of the 13th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion. On 3 May 1916 he was sent to NCO's School, and on graduation day, 5 Jun 1916, was promoted Corporal with the 5th reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion.

Travelled with the draft to England, and on arrival was sent to the 13th Training Battalion where he reverted to Private. On 1 Dec 1916 he was appointed ADP Corporal, but on 12 Dec 1916 he was sent to an isolation camp at Sutton Veny until 1 Jan 1917 when he rejoined the 13th Training Battalion at Codford.

On 4 Feb 1917 Herbert proceeded overseas to France from Folkestone aboard HMT Victoria to the 4th Australian Division Base Details, and on doing so, again reverted to Private. Herbert was taken on strength by the 51st Battalion on 19 Feb 1917. At Buire on 13 Mar 1917 Herbert was charged with being in Étaples on 10 Mar 1917 while not being in possession of a pass. He forfeited 5 days pay. Soon after, on 21 Mar 1917 he was charged with "Whilst on active service, neglecting to obey an order given by an NCO. For this he was awarded 7 days Field Punishment No. 2. (See notes.)

The 51st battalion was on 2 Apr 1917 tasked with attacking German positions between the villages of Noreuil and Longatte, where the Germans were attempting to slow the allied troops advance to the Hindenburg Line. Early in the attack it was found that the artillery bombardment had not cut a path through the wire, or destroyed the enemy machine gun posts. As a consequence the battalion suffered 80 casualties before it reached the wire and many more at the wire. Herbert's records simply record that he was killed in action. There is no mention of a burial, and consequently he is listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

  • Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
  • Section of the 51st Battalion's panels

Post War

Herbert's wife Hannah received a pension of 40/- fortnightly ($4), and for their son Edmond Charles and additional 20/- ($2) fortnightly. Pensions were dated from 24 Jun 1917. In Nov 1921 Hannah had moved back to Lemington-on-Tyne, Northumberland, England, but by March 1924 was again in Western Australia, living in Bayswater. Hannah died on 18 May 1940 in Bayswater, aged 54.


Field punishment could be awarded by a court martial or a commanding officer for any offence committed on active service. There were two categories of field punishment. Field punishment No. 2 consisted of heavy labouring duties. All offenders awarded field punishment would march with their unit, carry their arms and accoutrements, perform all their military duties as well as extra fatigue duties, and be treated as defaulters

External Links