The AIF Project

Oliver Edward CALEY SMITH

Regimental number760
Place of birthAngaston, South Australia
SchoolSt Peters Collegiate School, South Australia
Other trainingAdelaide School of Mines, Gawler, SA
OccupationEngineer student
Address'Yalumba' Angaston, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 8"
Weight158 lbs
Next of kinFather, Sydeny Osmond Smith, 'Yalumba' Angaston, South Australia
Previous military service'B' Company, 79th Infantry (still serving)
Enlistment date5 March 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll11 March 1915
Place of enlistmentKeswick, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentSergeant
Unit name27th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/44/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A2 Geelong on 31 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll27th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 5 November 1916
Place of death or woundingFlers, France
Age at death20.8
Age at death from cemetery records20
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Sidney and Bessie SMITH, Lockleys, South Australia
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Admitted to No 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis, 24 September 1915 (ricked back); transferred to Helouan Convalescent Depot, 27 October 1915.

Marched into Australian Overseas Base, Cairo, 2 December 1915.

Admitted to No 3 Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, 7 April 1916 (appendicitis); transferred to No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 7 April 1916; to Ras el Tin Convalescent Depot, 13 April 1916; discharged to duty at 'A' Base, Tel el Kebir, 28 April 1916.

Marched into No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, England, 21 July 1916.

Marched into 7th Training Depot, Rollestone, 8 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 15 August 1916; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 17 August 1916.

Proceeded to unit, 25 August 1916; rejoined 27th Bn, 28 August 1916.

Posted as missing in action, 5 November 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 30 July 1917, pronounces fate as 'Killed in Action, 5 November 1916'.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CALEY SMITH Oliver Edward

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