Percy Ellesmere SMYTHE MC

SMYTHE, Percy Ellesmere

Service Number: 2461
Enlisted: 10 May 1915
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Winton, Victoria, Australia, January 1893
Home Town: Kogarah, Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Jerilderie Public School
Occupation: Electrician
Died: Denistone, New South Wales, Australia, 23 June 1966, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Northern Suburbs Memorial Gardens and Crematorium, NSW
GARDEN FO 61
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World War 1 Service

10 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2461, 3rd Infantry Battalion
14 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2461, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Orsova, Sydney
14 Jul 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2461, 3rd Infantry Battalion
30 Sep 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 24th Infantry Battalion
23 Mar 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 61st Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 24th Infantry Battalion
23 Nov 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 24th Infantry Battalion
1 Jun 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion
3 Nov 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion
3 Jun 1919: Honoured Military Cross, Mont St Quentin / Peronne, 2nd Lt Smythe was awarded the Military Cross (MC) on 1 February 1919 at Mt St Quentin near Peronne during the operations on 1 September 1918 when he displayed marked courage.

Help us honour Percy Ellesmere Smythe's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

In the years leading up to the war, he served 2 years 2 months with 27th Inf. Reg. He enlisted on 11 May 1915, and embarked for Middle East with 7th Reinforcements, 3rd Infantry Btn. on 14 July 1915 on the "Orsova". Perce was 'taken on strength' in the 3rd Btn. at Gallipoli on 2 September 1915, but was evacuated to Malta with pneumonia on 24 September 1915. Later, he rejoined his unit at Tel-el-Kebir and proceeded to France in March 1916. In October 1916, he was transferred to the 24th Btn.

After a period of service in France, he developed severe bronchitis and was sent to hospital in Birmingham, England. After he recovered, he returned to the front and was 'taken on strength' in the Officers Cadet Battalion in England and promoted to 2nd Lieut. After rejoining the 24th Btn., he saw action at Mont St. Quentin in October 1918, where he was awarded the Military Cross. He was promoted to Full Lieutenant before the  Armistice and returned to Australia on 22 August, 1919.

Percy kept a detailed journal of his service life spanning 1915-1919. This covered events prior to his enlistment, as well as his service abroad in Gallipoli, France and Belgium. Percy continued this documentation until his return to Australia on 13 October 1919. His daughter Betty Smythe transcribed the diaries containing this journal to computer, prior to donating them to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It is available online and also on C.D. for anyone who is interested.

This series of diary accounts are a valuable source of primary information (especially for those who are researching the 3rd, 24th and 56th Bns), as they give details of the battles from the perspective of a soldier who served on the front lines.  Percy mentions so many of his comrades by name with details of their actions and in many cases, of how, when and where they died.

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