Pte
Albert Arthur Smith

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1895
Place of birth:
Dunolly, Victoria, Australia

General information

Profession:
Driver

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
5666
Enlistment date:
24/05/1916
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 24th Bn. (Victoria)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
09/10/1917
Place of death:
Daisy Wood, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
22

Cemetery

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Private Albert Arthur Smith served in the Australian Infantry 24th Battalion, “A” Company, part of the 6th Australian Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division.
The 2nd Australian Division participated in the Battle of Poelcapelle (9th of October 1917), a stage in the Third Battle of Ypres. The 6th Brigade on the left of the divisional front went forward with the 24th, 22nd, 21st Battalions; the 23rd Battalion was in support. Notwithstanding the exhaustion of the men and the overall lamentable state of the Battalions the Division was ordered to advance towards Daisy Wood.
The artillery barrage which preceded the attack was weak an inaccurate. Consequently as the attacking arties advanced through the boggy ground, they were an easy target for the German snipers and machine-guns. When the 24th Battalion reached Daisy Wood they encountered heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, causing heavy casualties.
Casualties had reduced the units until the attack fell apart into small groups, operating largely on their own initiative. “C” Company in the center merged with “A” Company on the left and established posts in Daisy Wood. The attack came to a standstill and reinforcements of the 28th Battalion had to come over to fill up a gap in the line. Daisy Wood was eventually cleared from German resistance by 2 p.m., but the Battalion was unable to consolidate their gains, due to their small numbers.
German counterattacks and German strongpoints behind Daisy Wood contributed to the dire situation. The positions of the men remained critical throughout the night, but the men held out and were relieved during the night.
Private Albert Arthur Smith was killed in action on the 9th October of 1917. According to two reports in his Red Cross Wounded and Missing File he was shot by a sniper when clearing Daisy Wood. He was initially buried in the field along the Nieuwemolen-Broodseinde road, just west of Daisy Wood. Albert Arthur Smith’s remains were exhumed after the war and interred in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood.

Files 2

Sources 8

"The Red and White Diamond, The Official History of the 24th Battalion", Harvey W.J., Uckfield, The Naval & Military Press Ltd, 1920, pg. 190-193.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 104-106.
Sources used
AIF-project
https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/search
Sources used
Australian War Memorial
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10264991
Sources used
CWGC
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/480454/SMITH,%20A%20A
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/
Sources used
War Diary A.I.F. 24th Bn.
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338583
Sources used