Richard Godfrey (Dick) SMITH


SMITH, Richard Godfrey

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 21 March 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 21st Infantry Battalion
Born: Victoria, Australia, 28 February 1883
Home Town: Murtoa, Yarriambiack, Victoria
Schooling: Richmond, Bendigo Central, Inglewood, Timor and Maryborough State Schools, and Queen's College
Occupation: Coach Builder
Died: Killed In Action, Pozières, France, 26 August 1916, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

21 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion, Melbourne, Victoria
10 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
10 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 21st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
29 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
14 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion
26 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 21st Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour Richard Godfrey Smith's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Brother of 3486 Pte. Walter Leslie Smith (/explore/people/324591) - Died of Wounds in France on 31 Jul 1916 and Capt. Harold Ernest Smith (/explore/people/171795) - who was Killed in action in France on 26 Aug 1916

"...2nd Lieutenant Richard Godfrey Smith, D Company, 23rd Battalion. A 32 year old coach builder of Murtoa, Vic, he embarked on 10 May 1915 with headquarters , 21st Battalion. Promoted to the rank of Captain, he was later killed in action on 26 August 1916..." - SOURCE (

"Constable's Three Sons Killed.

GEELONG.— Word has been received that Captain Harold Smith and Captain R. G. Smith were killed in action in France on 28th August. On 31st July, another brother, Private Walter Smith died in France from wounds. All are sons of ex-police Sergeant Smith, of Bendigo, and Newtown and Chilwell." - from the Melbourne Age 26 Sep 1916 (


Captain R. Godfrey Smith who was recently killed in France, in his last letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. C. H. Smith, of Holmes-road, dated 23rd July, said:-

"At present the din of the guns is so terrific, that one does not feel like fighting. We expect to have a piece of 'Fritz' in a day or two. I am in excellent health and am feeling very fit. Harold and Walter are very fit also. They both look the picture of health. We are having some very wet cold weather. This is summer in France. What must the winter be like? We had a very fine church service this morning. I love the opportunity of having church on the battlefield. It has indeed been a great help to me. I am also very thankful for the Christian training I have experienced. During the months that have passed my experiences have been very trying, but God has been ever near me. It is a grand thing to know Jesus. At a time like this one cannot have a better friend, for He is ever willing and able to help those who trust Him. In a few days we move forth to battle and God is my guide. I am going forth clad in the armor of the Lord and fully trusting in Him. Thanks for the Godly home I was nurtured in. Give my love to all and remember me to inquiring friends." - from the Bendigonian 12 Oct 1916 (


Captain A. R. Macneil of the 21st Battalion writes from a hospital in France to Mrs. Smith, on 28th August:

I feel that it is my sad duty to write to sympathise with you on the death of your husband, Capt R. G. Smith of battalion. I was within two yards of him when he fell, and got off with only a few splinters in the legs. He was officer commanding assault in an attack, which we carried out on Saturday morn- ing, 26th August. He was observing the operations from a point of vantage when he was hit — at about 9.30 a.m. He was buried in the Quarry, 200 yards south-west of Mouquet Farm. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your bereavement, and rest assured that your husband died doing his duty, and highly esteemed by all his colleagues.

Lieut. R. Smitheram, writing on 31st August to Mrs. Smith, says :—

"I saw some of the boys early next morning, and the first one they told me about was Dick, and a little later I heard of Harold's death. I saw the battalion on Sunday evening, and it was a heart rending sight to see the few of them left — only a few of the old boys. They went over the parapets about half-an- hour before dawn on Saturday morning, and had a very hard fight, but reached their objective and held it. They put up a grand fight, and their work is the admiration of every one. Major told me that Dick was doing splendid work, and had just given a message to the C.O. when a shell burst right along side him and killed him instantaneously. He was buried in a shell crater close by — I will try to ascertain the exact spot and let you know later on. It was a short distance north of Pozieres near Mouquet Farm. I have a watch Dick lent me about a week before which I will send you the first opportunity. The padre is writing you and will send you Dick's personal belongings. Your late husband was looked upon by all who knew him as a fine officer and a gallant soldier; and that he died a hero's death in his country's cause will be some consolation to you and help to bear your heavy burden."

Private Alexander Whyte, the late Captain R. G. Smith's orderly, wrote to Mrs. Smith:—

What a stroke of Fate!   Wally first wounded, and now both other brothers killed together; they died leading their men in a charge. They were very much attached; hardly a day passed without one visiting the other. I will do my best to forward his personal belongings to you. How I will get along now after being with him so long I don't know, nor do I care much now. Dear Mrs. Smith accept deepest sympathy from one who knew him well." - from the Dunmunkie Standard 20 Oct 1916 (


Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Richard and Mara SMITH, husband of Ellen SMITH of McDonald Street, Murtow, Vic.

Captain Richard Godfrey Smith was the eldest son. He was born at Richmond. was 33 years of age, and a married man with no family. At the time of enlisting he was employed by Messrs. Wynne and Scott., coachbuilders of Murtoa. He learnt his trade at Messrs. Harling and Sons, Maryborough. He attended the following schools: Richmond, Bendigo Central, Inglewood, Timor and Maryborough State Schools, and Queen's College. In the Methodist Church he was a lay preacher, is member of the choir and superintendent of the Sunday school. In the Wimmera district he was well- known and respected for his efforts on behalf of charity and other worthy
causes. For two or three months prior to enlisting in March, 1915, he was on the instructional staff at Broadineadows. On May 8 he sailed, and after stopping in Egypt for a short lime proceeded to Gallipoli, where he was in the trenches for about four months till the evacuation, when he returned to Egypt. He was on the "Southland" when torpedoed. On March 6 of this year he proceeded to France, where he remained till the time of his death on August 26. Although no official word has been received, it is understood he was to be made a major. He was in the 21st Battalion, 6th Brigade.