The AIF Project

James SMITH

Regimental number1062
Place of birthGirthon, Scotland
Place of birthWigtown, Scotland
SchoolGarlieston School, Wigtownshire, Scotland
Age on arrival in Australia17
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSteward
AddressExtreme Point, Garlieston, Wigtownshire, Scotland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation24
Height5' 5.75"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Jeanet Smith, Extreme Point, Garlieston, Wigtownshire, Scotland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 February 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 12 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of death or woundingPolygon Wood, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
84
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915. Admitted to hospital, 25 September 1915; returned to duty, 27 September 1915 (no further details recorded). Admitted to HS 'Valdivia', 14 October 1915 (dyspepsia); transferred to No 1 Auxiliary Hospital, Luna Park, Egypt, 18 October 1915; to No 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis, 14 November 1915 (pneumonia); to Port Said Convalescent Camp, 28 December 1916 (enteric).

Embarked for Australia from Suez on board 'Commonwealth', for 3 months' change, 21 January 1916.

Embarked Sydney, 22 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 12 October 1916. Found guilty, Bovington Camp, 27 October 1916, of being absent without leave from midnight, 25 October, to noon, 26 October 1916: admonished, and forfeited 1 day's pay. Proceeded overseas to France, 13 December 1916; taken on strength, 17th Bn, 18 December 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal to complete establishment.

Admitted to 7th Australian Field Ambulance, 11 March 1917; transferred to 9th General Hospital, Rouen, 14 March 1917; to England, 17 March 1917 (venereal disease), and admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital, 18 March 1917; to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 26 March 1917; discharged on furlough, 12 April 1917, to report to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 26 April 1917.

Found guilty, 26 April 1917, of making a false statement to an NCO thereby obtaining duplication of furlough: reprimanded. Found guilty, 31 May 1917, of being absent without leave from 3 pm, 25 May, to 7.30 pm, 29 May 1917: reprimanded, and forfeited 5 days' pay. Marched in to Overseas Training Depot, Perham Downs, 16 June 1917. Found guilty, 5 September 1917, of being absent without leave, 5.45 am to 10.30 am, 16 August 1917: reverted to Private.

Proceeded overseas to France, 30 August 1917; rejoined unit, 11 September 1917.

Reported missing in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917; Court of Enquiry subsequently determined fate as killed in action.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format