Reginald Arthur Smith

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Reginald Arthur Smith 6 August 1915. Image courtesy Ruth Velvin Gilchrist.

SMITH, Reginald Arthur

Service no: 2689 [1]

Place of birth: Orange, 1891

Address: c/- Messrs Wright, Heaton and Co, Newcastle

Occupation: Clerk to Public Accountant

Next of kin: John Smith (father), c/- Messrs Wright, Heaton and Co, Newcastle

Date of enlistment: 29 April 1915

Place of enlistment: Liverpool

Age at enlistment: 23

Fate: Embarked HMAT A54 Runic Sydney 9 August 1915. Joined 2nd Battalion, 8th Reinforcements, Gallipoli, 4 November 1915. Transferred to 54th Battalion 14 February 1916. Promoted to Corporal 1 May 1916. Promoted to Sergeant 24 May 1916. Promoted to Temporary Corporal 1 March 1916. Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant 23 August 1916. Admitted to New Zealand Stationary Hospital, France 28 January 1917. Rejoined unit 4 February 1917. Embarked to join 14th Training Battalion England 19 July 1917. Proceeded to France 3 March 1918. Admitted to 3rd General Hospital suffering a gunshot wound to the neck 23 April 1918. Transferred to 55th Battalion 11 October 1918. Embarked for England 24 December 1918. Returned to Australia 20 May 1919.

Date of death: 28 July 1969

Reginald Arthur Smith was born on 22 May, 1891 in Orange NSW, the first son of John Smith and his wife Elizabeth Candy Smith (nee Velvin). A brother, Herbert, followed in 1892 and a sister, Doris, in 1896.

Reginald’s grandfather, John Velvin, was a 3rd generation master cabinet–maker who worked for Dalton Brothers store in Orange. He was Mayor of East Orange in 1898-9 and 1901 and, with his wife Elizabeth Anne, was instrumental in the establishment of the East Orange Post Office in Summer Street East, which opened in December 1901 and is still in operation.

Reginald was working as an accountancy clerk with Wright Heaton & Co in Newcastle when he enlisted in the 1st AIF in April 1915, aged 24.

He sailed on the Runic to the Middle East on 9 August 1915, and was at Gallipoli in November 1915 as Acting Corporal in the 8th Reinforcements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli, Reginald proceeded to Alexandria in Egypt, where he was promoted to Sergeant in the newly formed 5th Division of the 54th Battalion. He later served with the 55th Battalion.

By August 1916 Reginald had been appointed Lieutenant and was stationed in France, where he was wounded in April 1918. He remained in France until December 1918. After armistice he was posted to England with the Pay Office, returning to Australia aboard the Armagh in May 1919.

In 1937 Reginald married Ethel Alice Thomas. The couple settled in Cremorne in Sydney and did not have any children. Reginald died in Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, on 28 July 1969, aged 78.

Reginald's brother Herbert Velvin-Smith also served in WWI.

  • Jane Silvester, 2015
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