Oswald Rowley Smith

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Cunnamulla, Queensland, Australia

General information

Last known residence:
Commercial Bank, Carcoar, New South Wales, Australia
Station Hand - Farm Hand
Church of England

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Machine Gun Corps, 13th Coy.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Allawah, New South Wales, Australia
Cause of death:
Death post-war (unrelated)

Cemetery or memorial

There is no known cemetery or memorial for this soldier.

Distinctions and medals 4

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

Oswald Rowley Smith, a former station hand, was born on 1 June 1894 in Cunnamulla, Queensland. He was the son of Oswald Malcolm and Eliza Rowley. Before the war Oswald lived with his family at the Commercial Bank in Carcoar, New South Wales. He enlisted as a private on 9 March 1915 in Liverpool, New South Wales, joining the 6th Light Horse Regiment, 10th Reinforcement. This unit embarked from Sydney on 12 October 1915. By September 1917 Oswald was part of the 13th Australian Machine Gun Company, part of the 13th Australian Brigade, of the 4th Australian Division.

At midnight between the 23-24 September 1917, eight machine guns of the 13th Australian Machine Gun Company relieved the eight guns of the 5th Australian Machine Gun Company near Garter Point, southwest of Zonnebeke. At 6.45 a.m. on the 26th of October the 4th Australian Division attacked. Their goal was to reach the south side of Zonnebeke village. The 13th Australian Brigade was tasked with capturing the chateau grounds, east of Brick Kiln and Yard. This attack was successful, and the machine guns were brought up while the infantry were consolidating the line. Two guns remained in support near Tokio. In the night of 27-28 September 1917, the men were relieved by the 24th Australian Machine Gun Company.

Private Smith received a Military Medal for his actions that day. His citation read the following: “For bravery and conspicuous ability in carrying out duties of runner under heavy shell fire. On his return with intelligence from front line he volunteered and guided parties to collect gun gear dropped by casualties during advance and rendered greatest assistance in keeping communication between machine guns.” Oswald Rowley Smith would later be promoted to sergeant and would survive the war. He returned to Australia 17 March 1919 and died in Allawah, New South Wales, on 21 April 1950.

Sources 4

13th Australian Machine Gun Company (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 24/18/15).
Sources used
13th Infantry Brigade (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/13/20).
Sources used
Photographic collage of 103 men from the Blayney locality, NSW, who served during the First World War (Australian War Memorial, P12042.001)
Sources used
Smith, Genevieve. The Battle of Polygon Wood (Hatch, 14/12/2017)
Sources used

More information 1

The AIF Project (UNSW Canberra)