1994 Lieutenant Leo Thomas Smedley MM WIA***
34th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Division
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

Introduction

Image if available

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Leo Thomas Smedley MM.

Note that some of the service record pages are duplicated - presumably when the unit and Army records were amalgamated on discharge.

Service numbers were allocated by unit, and are not unique to the individual.

Prepared for Margaret Anne Wine, great-niece of Leo Smedley by Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 9 Jul 2018.

View Leo Smedley's Service record


Enlistment Details

Service Number

1994

Name

Leo Thomas Smedley

Born at

Petersham, County of Cumberland, NSW

Age

20 years (Birth dates not recorded, only age on enlistment)

Trade or Calling

Labourer

Marital Status

Not married

Next of Kin

Father - William A Smedley, 35 Thomas Street, Petersham, NSW

Previous Military Service

No

Attested at

Bathurst, NSW

Date of Enlistment

21 Feb 1916

Height

5 foot 6 inches [167.5 cm]

Weight

140 pounds [10 stone or 63.5 Kg]

Chest

35½-37½ inches [90 cm - 95.2 cm]

Complexion

Fair

Eyes

Blue

Hair

Fair

Religious Denomination

Methodist

Units

34th Battalion, 9th Brigade


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

Enlisted

25 Feb 1916

Private

Assigned to K Company Bathurst Depot

25 Feb 1916

Private

Asigned to 3rd Reinforcements to 53rd Battalion

15 Apr 1916

Private

Embarked on HMAT "BARAMBAH" (A37) for overseas

25 Jun 1916

Private

Sick, Influenza

4 Jul 1916

Private

Disembarked Plymouth

25 aug 1916

Private

Taken on Strength of 34th Battalion from 53rd Battalion

23 Sep 1916

Posting to 53rd Battalion on paper only, never took effect.

Private

Proceeded Overseas to France from Southampton.

21 Nov 1916

 

Lance Corporal

Appointed Lance Corpoal

17 Jan 1917

Lance Corporal

Wounded in Action (WIA), gunshot wound (GSW) to right eye

19 Mar 1917

Lance Corporal

Transferred to 2 Casualty clearing Station (2 CCS).

12 Feb 1917

Lance Corporal

Rejoined 34th Battalion

28 Mar 1917

Lance Corporal

Admitted, Australian 10th Field Ambulance (10 AFA), foreign body right eye.

20 Apr 1917

Lance Corporal

rejoined unit

21 Apr 1917

Lance Corporal

Admitted 11the Australian Field Ambulance (11 AFA), splinter R eye.

2 May 1917

Lance Corporal

Admitted to Australian 12th Casualty Clearing Station,GSW Right eyelid

8 May 1917

Corporal

Appointed Temporary Corporal (vice Cpl Harpley)

20 Jun 1917

Lance Corporal

Reverts to Lance Corporal (vide Cpl Harpley returned to unit)

6 Jul 1917

Discharged to duty from 12 CCS, rejoined unit

6 Aug 1917

 

Corporal

Wounded in Action (WIA) 2nd time

9 Jul 1917

Lance Corporal

Rejoined Unit

4 Jul 197

Corporal

Promoted Corporal vice Temporary Sergeant McCann promoted to Sergeant.

12 Sep 1917

Corporal

Wounded in Action WIA), 3rd time. Shrapnel wounds, serious.

12 Oct 1917

Lance Corporal

Reverts to Lance Corporal on evacuation wounded

12 Oct 17

Reversion in rank later rescinded.

Corporal

Embarked for England per Hospital Ship (HS) "PIETER DE CONICK"

18 Oct 1917

Contusions "w" [sic]

Lance Corporal

Letters written to Anzac Section query as to whether promotion on 12 Sep 1917 was to temporary or substantive rank.

19 Nov 1917

Lance Corporal

Letter written to Command Depot re ranking

19 Dec 1917

Response must have been that promotion was substantive, as next entry has Leo Smedley as Corporal

Coporal

Proceeded overseas to France via Southampton ex Longbridge Deverill

3 Jan 1918

Corporal

Rejoined unit from wounded, England

10 Jan 1918

Lance Sergeant

Appointed Lance Sergeant vice L/SGT evacuated wounded

5 Mar 1918

Lance Sergeant

Awarded Military Medal (MM) vide 5th Supplement, No 30897 to the London Gazette, dated 13 Sep 1918.
Citation:
For gallantry and devotion to duty during attack on enemy position in the vicinity of MORLANCOURT, ALBERT on the night of May 5//6th 1918. An enemy Mchine-gun temporarily held up the advance. He rushed the post, bayoneted the crew, and capatured the gun. At the second objective he was the first man of his platoon into the treanch, and silenced a bombing post, killing two and capturing two of the enemy. His courage was an inspiring example to his men.

1 Jun 1918

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Lance Sergeant

Proceeded to joint [Officer] Cadet Battalion commencing 5 Jul 1918

20 Jun 1918

Lance Sergeant

Disembarked at Folkstone on duty from france 23 Jun 1918 and to report to Administrative Headquarters

23 Jun 1918

Cadet (Lance Sergeant)

Joined No 6 Officer Cadet Battalion and is appointed Cadet

5 Jul 1918

Second Lieutenant

Appointed Second Lieutenant on probation and allotted to General Infantry Reinforcements

2 Jan 1919

Second Lieutenant

Proceeded overseas to France viw Southampton

13 Feb 1919

Second Lieutenant

Marched in to Havre from England to Australian Division Base Depot

14 Feb 1919

Second Lieutenant

Marched in to 3rd Australian Divisional Wing

21 Feb 1919

Second Lieutenant

Marched in to 34th Battalion

22 Feb 1919

Second Lieutenant

Detached to PART School

23 Mar 1919

Second Lieutenant

March out to Base for Return to Australia

28 Mar 1919

Second Lieutenant

To UK

9 Apr 1919

Second Lieutenant

Disembarked ex France

10 Apr 1919

Lieutenant

Appointed Lieutenant, 34th Battalion, AIF List 489

13 May 1919

Lieutenant

Returned to Austraia per SS "BORDA" ex England

11 Aug 1919

Lieutenant

Appointment terminated

14 Aug 1919


Medals awarded

Military Medal (MM)
British War Medal 1914-1920
Victory Medal

Dress Embellishments

Three Wound Stripes
Three Long Service Stripes
Two Overseas Service Chevrons

Rising Sun Badge - 1st and 2nd AIF

World War One medal set


L to R - 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal

Unit Shoulder Patch
34th Infantry Battalion
34th Battalion Shouldr Patch
Not entitled to wear
ANZAC 'A' on Shoulder Patch
ANZAC A

Military Medal

Military Medal

Background - Infantry Battalions

The 1914 infantry battalion was a large unit, composed of eight rifle companies each of 3 officers and 116 other ranks armed with Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303 rifles, a   small headquarters with 4 officers and 21 other ranks and a machine gun section with two .303 Maxim machine guns, one officer and 17 other ranks, a total of 32 officers and 991 other ranks. In December 1914, battalions were reorganised into four companies each of four platoons, but strength was unchanged. By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

34th Battalion, 9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Divison


[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]

The 34th Battalion was formed in January 1916 at a camp established at the Maitland showground in New South Wales. It was planned that the bulk of the battalion's recruits would be drawn from the Maitland area and thus it was dubbed "Maitland's Own". The first recruits for the 34th, however, hailed from the far north-west of the state and arrived at Maitland after joining a recruiting march that began at Walgett. These men were known as the "Wallabies".

The 34th became part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. It left Sydney, bound for the United Kingdom in May 1916. Arriving there in late June, the battalion spent the next five months training. It crossed to France on 22 November, and moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on 27 November, just in time for the onset of the terrible winter of 1916-17.

The 34th Battalion had to wait until the emphasis of British and Dominion operations switched to the Ypres Sector of Belgium in mid-1917 to take part in its first major battle; this was the battle of Messines, launched on 7 June. After several stints in the trenches, and a period of rest and training, the battalion entered battle again on 12 October around Passchendaele. The battlefield, though, had been deluged with rain, and thick mud tugged at the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat, and over 50 per cent casualties for the 34th.

For the next five months the 34th alternated been periods of rest, training, labouring, and service in the line. When the German Army launched its last great offensive in the spring of 1918, the battalion was part of the force deployed to defend the approach to Amiens around Villers-Bretonneux. It took part in a counter-attack at Hangard Wood on 30 March, and helped to defeat a major drive on Villers- Bretonneux on 4 April.

Later in 1918, the 34th also played a role in the Allies' own offensive. It fought at the battle of Amiens on 8 August, during the rapid advance that followed, and in the battle of St Quentin Canal - the operation that breached the Hindenburg Line at the end of September, thus sealing Germany's defeat. The 34th Battalion disbanded in May 1919.

Battle Honours:

Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Somme 1918, Avre, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, St Quentin Canal, France and Flanders 1916-18

Information from Australian War Memorial

The ANZAC 'A'

The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.

ANZAC 'A'

Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.

Wound Stripes

Long Service Badges

A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.

Long Service Badges

Overseas Service Chevrons

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]

Overseas Service Chevrons