The AIF Project

Benjamin Edward Harold SMITH

Regimental number326
Place of birthAnnandale, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationClerk
Address'Cluny', 135 Annandale Street, Annandale, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 5.5"
Weight138 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs M A Smith, 'Cluny', 135 Annandale Street, Annandale, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date8 March 1915
Rank on enlistmentLance Corporal
Unit name19th Battalion, A Company
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)Name does not appear on Nominal Roll
Date of death8 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records26
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
89
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Frederick and Mary SMITH, 135 Annandale Street, Annandale, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrother: [1304] Lt Roy Alfred Walter SMITH, 19th Bn, died of wounds, 15 October 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915.

Admitted to hospital, Gallipoli, 1 October 1915; transferred to 1st Casualty Clearing Station, 3 October 1915 (diarrhoea); transferred by Hospital Ship 'Assaye' to Malta, and admitted to hospital, 10 October 1915. Embarked for Egypt on board HS 'Nile' fit for service, 2 December 1915; disembarked Alexandria, 6 December 1915. Returned to duty with 19th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 8 January 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 25 March 1916.

Wounded in action, France, 26 August 1916 (shrapnel wound, left arm); transferred to 4th Casualty Clearing Station, 30 August 1916; to 24th General Hospital, Etaples, 31 August 1916; to 6th Convalescent Depot, 23 September 1916; to 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, 23 September 1916; marched out to unit, 3 November 1916; rejoined 19th Bn, 6 November 1916. Promoted Sergeant, 6 November 1916.

Appointed 2nd Lt, and posted to Infantry Reinforcements, England, 31 May 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 21 June 1917; reported for duty, 19th Bn, 30 June 1917.

To Divisional Bomb School, 29 August 1917; rejoined Bn from Bomb School, 4 September 1917. Posted to Grenade School, 17 September 1917; rejoined Bn from Grenade School, 27 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 8 October 1917.

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

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