Sunday, 13 October 2013

Digger Smith in Coburg

Sez she, "Our Jim's a soldier! Ain't it grand?"

I was a bit overwhelmed when I found over 5,000 names when I searched the World War One service records at the National Archives of Australia. Then I discovered that nearly 900 of them died. What a huge research task!

The authorities must have had real trouble sorting out who was who. So far I’ve identified 17 Smith soldiers with links to Coburg and I’ve only positively identified nine of them. Maybe someone out there will be able to correct my errors or add new names to my list.

Coburg's Smith soldiers

Albert Edward Smith, possibly a teacher.
Arthur Smith, an old boy of Coburg State School.
C.A. Smith, listed on the Coburg Harriers Honour Board. 
Charles Godfrey Smith, son of Alfred Smith of Wilson Street.
Ernest Albert Smith of 62 O'Hea Street.
Frederick Thomas Smith, son of Ernest Albert.
Harold  Smith, an old boy of Coburg State School
John Edward Smith of 5 Alice Street.
Lawrence Joseph Smith of 13 Cope Street.
P.C. Smith
R. Smith
Percival Kerrison Smith of 24 Rodda Street.
Robert Charles Smith of South Yarra but born in Coburg.
Samuel George Smith of 36 Deakin Street, Coburg.
Stanley Smith, an old boy of Coburg State School.
William H. Smith, an old boy of Coburg State School.
Frederick Smyth of 37 Hudson Street.

We're Soldiers of the King my lads

The photograph below shows a send off to Brunswick soldiers held in December 1914 at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute. (Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 8 January 1915, p.1) I’ve included it here in the spirit of Smith as everyman. Coburg had organised its own send off for the second contingent, held on 18 December at the Coburg Town Hall. (Brunswick and Coburg Star, 18 December 1914, p.2). 

One of our Digger Smiths of Coburg had already sailed with the first contingent in October: Ernest Alfred Smith of O'Hea Street.

Image courtesy Moreland City Libraries. Image S7_3b.001.

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