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

This file last updated 21 October, 2023 10:31


1994 LT Leo Thomas Smedley MM
[Photograph courtesy of Helen Grayson]

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Leo Thomas Smedley MM. Leo was the son of William and Phillipa Constance Smedley, née Evans. On 27 May 1921 he married Ann A. Smedley. He was born in January of 1896 and died on 21 Jul 1971 at Paramatta.

Prepared for Helen Grayson, granddaughter and Margaret Anne Wine, grandniece of Leo Smedley by Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 25 Sep 2020. Helen provided the family photographs below.

View Leo Smedley's Service Record Part 1 (pps 1-21) and Part 2 (pps 22-42) , World War One Nominal Roll entry, and Recommendation for the MM . The latter is a description of a specific action, however the London Gazette lists only the name of the recipient and the date of the award. Although his immediate family requested a copy of the citation they did not receive one at the time and this recommendation is the only information available and I have given the text below.

The recommendation for his Military Medal when a Corporal (acting Lance-Sergeant) reads:
'For gallantry and devotion to duty during attack on enemy position in the vicinity of MORLANCOURT near ALBERT on the night of May 5/6 1918. An enemy machine gun temporarily held up the advance. He rushed to the post, bayoneted the crew and captured the gun. At the second objective he was the first man of his platoon into the trench, and silenced a bombing post, killing two and capturing two of the enemy. His courage was an inspiring example to his men.'

His Service dress tunic is held by the Australian War Memorial and there is a description of it on the AWM site.

Unit photographs of the 34th Battalion, circa March 1918 can be seen here

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations or acronyms which have a dotted underline can be expanded by moving the cursor over the term - e.g. WIA. The cursor will be replaced by ? and the expanded abbreviation will be displayed. This is gradually being incorporated into the site, replacing the the current expansion of abbreviations. There may be a discernable delay of about a second before the expansion is first provided.

There is also a separate list of abbreviations which is available through the menu at the top of this page or the hyperlink here.  Abbreviations are inconsistent, even within a single occurence where a term is abbreviated.

There are a number of sources for tracing abbreviations used in Australian and New Zealand service records. Those used when operating with the British or US forces can generally be found, especially in World War 1. Abbreviations used solely within Australia in WW2 are most difficult to trace, particularly when they are regional. Sometimes a 'best guess' is the only answer.

Duplicated Pages

Some of the service information may appear to be duplicated although individual occurrences are not in the same order and different abbreviations used. This occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated upon discharge or death in Service.

Service Numbers

Service numbers in WW1 were unique to the unit (e.g. Battalion) or Corps (e.g. Artillery). In WW2 Service Numbers were unique to the State in which they were allotted. For further information about identity numbers for Service personnel, see Regimental and Service Numbers

Dates of Occurrence and Reporting

The date of reporting an incident may be hours, days or months after the date on which incident actually occurred.

The original service record is amended only when the incident is reported which means that events are not necessarily recorded in in strict chronological sequence. This is the date shown on the left of the page of the original record, and also on the left in my transcription but readers should note that at times there may be no date of reporting at all, particularly when service personel are repatriated for discharge at the end of hostilities.

To assist the reader, when transcribing the military record I have done my best to record events in their chronological sequence. This is date is on the right of the page of the original record and also on the right in my transcription.

For clarity I have transcribed all dates into the format d MMM yyyy.

Leo Thomas and Anne Elizabeth Smedley nee Staniforth
[Photograph courtesy of Helen Grayson]

LT Leo Thomas Smedley MM (left) and GNR Hector William Smedley (right)
[Photograph courtesy of Helen Grayson]

Smedley family photograph

Hector William b1899     Leo Thomas b1896
Cyril John b1905,     Beryl Constance b1910,     Oliver David b1901
Charles Peter b1907
[Photograph courtesy of Helen Grayson]

Enlistment Details

Service Number



Leo Thomas Smedley

Born at

Petersham, County of Cumberland, NSW
[He was actually born at Corryong, Victoria, Victorian Registration No 2646/1896]


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

Trade or Calling


Marital Status

Not married

Next of Kin

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

Previous Military Service


Attested at

Bathurst, NSW

Date of Enlistment

21 Feb 1916


5 foot 6 inches [167.5 cm]


140 pounds [10 stone or 63.5 Kg]


35½-37½ inches [90 cm - 95.2 cm]







Religious Denomination



34th Battalion, 9th Brigade

Chronological Events







25 Feb 1916


Assigned to K Company Bathurst Depot

25 Feb 1916


Asigned to 3rd Reinforcements to 53rd Battalion

15 Apr 1916


Embarked on HMAT "BARAMBAH" (A37) for overseas

25 Jun 1916


Sick, Influenza

4 Jul 1916


Disembarked Plymouth

25 aug 1916


Taken on Strength of 34th Battalion from 53rd Battalion

23 Sep 1916

Posting to 53rd Battalion on paper only, never took effect. Reinforcements were often redirected to units which had a greater need.


Proceeded Overseas to France from Southampton.

21 Nov 1916


Lance Corporal

Appointed Lance Corporal

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, 10th AFA, foreign body right eye.

20 Apr 1917

Lance Corporal

Rejoined unit

21 Apr 1917

Lance Corporal

Admitted 11the AFA", splinter R eye.

2 May 1917

Lance Corporal

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

8 May 1917


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



Wounded in Action (WIA) 2nd time

9 Jul 1917

Lance Corporal

Rejoined Unit

4 Jul 197


Promoted Corporal vice Temporary Sergeant McCann promoted to Sergeant.

12 Sep 1917


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.


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


Proceeded overseas to France via Southampton ex Longbridge Deverill

3 Jan 1918


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.
For gallantry and devotion to duty during attack on enemy position in the vicinity of MORLANCOURT, ALBERT on the night of May 5th/6th 1918. An enemy Machine-gun temporarily held up the advance. He rushed the post, bayoneted the crew, and captured the gun. At the second objective he was the first man of his platoon into the trench, 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

See also London Gazette 13 Sep 1918 page 10778 at position 135 and Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 4 Feb 1919 on page 129 at position 178.





Lance Sergeant

Proceeded to join [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


9 Apr 1919

Second Lieutenant

Disembarked ex France

10 Apr 1919


Appointed Lieutenant, 34th Battalion, AIF List 489

13 May 1919


Returned to Austraia per SS "BORDA" ex England

11 Aug 1919


Appointment terminated

14 Aug 1919

Medals and Dress Embellishments

Military Medal, British War Medal 1914-1920 and Victory Medal.

Three Wound Stripes for 19 Mar 1917, 9 Jul 1917 and 12 Oct 1917.

Three Long Service Stripes and four Overseas Service Chevrons.

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.

Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information in Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring.]

In December 1914, battalions of about 1000 men were organised into eight companies each divided into half of 60 men and then into two sections of around 30 men. Command was highly centralised with companies commanded by a Captain, half-companies by Lieutentants and sections by a Sergeant.

In early 1915 Australia reduced the number of Companies to four, but doubled their size to more than 220 men. Each rifle company had a headquarters and four platoons. Each platoon had a headquarters and four rifle sections of 10 men commanded by corporals.

From early 1916 light machineguns replaced medium machine guns and were eventually issued to each rifle platoon.

During 1917 rifle platoons were reorganised to have a light machine gun section, a rifle grenade section, a hand grenade/bombing section and a rifle assault section.

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.

Rifle, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III
Rifle, Small Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III with sword bayonet

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

[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]
34th Battalion Shoulder Patch

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:

[Information from Australian War Memorial]

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

Military Medal

[Extracts from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940 & British Gallantry Awards, P.E. Abbott and J.M.A. Tamplin, Guiness Superlatives, Middlesex, 1971]

On 25 March 1916, King George V. instituted by Royal Warrant a new medal to be awarded to warrant officers,non-commissioned officers and men of the Army for individual or associated acts of bravery brought to notice be the recommendation of a Commander-in-Chief in the field.

The medal, which is silver, is designated "The Military Medal" and bears on the obverse, the words "For Bravery in the Field" encircled by a wreath and surmounted by the Royal Cypher and Crown. The medal is 1.42 inches in diameter and is mounted on an ornate scroll suspender.

The medal is worn on the left breast immediately before war medals and the 1¼ inch ribbon is dark blue, having in the centre three white and two crimson ⅛ inch alternating stripes.

The award may be made to men and women for devotion to duty under fire, and bars may be awarded for further services. Recipients are allowed to use the letters MM after their names.

The Military Medal is a level 3 award, positioned after the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and above the Mentioned in Despatched (MID), and was the soldiers' equivalent of the Military Cross for officers.

As a level 3 award, The Military Medal was superceded by the Medal for Gallantry in the Australian Honours system, after the Imperial Honours System was closed to Australian Service Personnel. The highest award for gallantry in the field under the Australian system is the Victoria Cross for Australia (VC), followed, in order, by the Star of Gallantry (SG), the Medal for Gallantry (MG) and the Commendation for Gallantry.

1914-15 Star

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
1914-15 Star

The decoration consists of a four-pointed star in bright bronze as shown, with the date 1914-15 on the central scroll. The reverse is plain, and is stamped with the name and unit of the recipient. The ribbon is red, white and blue, shaded and watered, worn with the red nearest the centre of the breast. It is atached to the medal through a ring.

It is similar in shape and description to the 1914 Star, to which few, if any, Australians were entitled. Those entitled were those who had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914.

The decoration, sanctioned in 1918, was issued "to all officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the British, Dominion, Colonial and Indian Forces, including civilian medical practitioners, nursing sisters, nurses and others eployed with military hospitals, who actually served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war as defined in Appendix 'A'. Individuals in possession of the 1914 Star will not be eligible for the award of this decoration."

Appendix 'A' included the Western, Eastern, Egyptian, African, Asiatic and Australasian Theatres of war, with commencement dates individual to countries and campaigns.

British War Medal 1914-20

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
British War Medal

This medal was approved by King George V in 1919 to record the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion and the arduous services rendered by His Majesty's Forces.

The medal, which is supended from its ribbon by means of a straight clasp, without swivel, bears on the obverse the effigy of His Majesty - exactly similar to that on a half-crown - with the legend 'Georgivus V : Omn : Rex et Ind : Imp'.

The reverse bears a design which represents St George on horseback, trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the central powers and a skull and crossbones, the emblems of death. Overhead is the risen sun of victory. The male figure, rather than a symbolical female one, was chosen because man had borne the brunt of the fighting. The figure was mounted on horseback as symbolical of man's mind controlling force (represented by the horse) of far greater strength than his own. The design is thus also symbolical of the mechanical and scientific appliances which helped so largely to win the war.

The ribbon has a orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and with borders of royal blue. It is stated that the colours have no particular signification.

Victory Medal

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]

This medal, of bronze, bears on the obverse a winged figure of Victory, full length in the middle of the medal and full face; the borders and the backgound plain, without either incription or date. On the reverse is an inscription. "The Great War for Civilization." and either the names of the different Allied and Associated Powers, or their coats of arms.

The rim is plain, and the medal hangs from a ring. The ribbon is red in the centre, with green and violet on either side shaded to form the colours of two rainbows.

It has also been approved that any officer or man who has been "mentioned in despatches" shall wear a small bronze oak leaf on the ribbon of this medal. Only one oak leaf is so worn, no matter how many "mentions" the wearer may have received.

The medal is designed to obviate the exchange of Allied Commemorative war medals, and is issued only to those who actually served on the establishment of a unit or ship in a theatre of war. [This is an important distinction, as those Australians who served only in Australia, or only in Australia and England, were not entitled to the award.]

The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with the spirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely accepted being that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted on  a semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse Wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.



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.

Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)

Wound Stripes

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.

Long Service Badges

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]
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.

Overseas Service Chevrons

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

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.

Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel and sterling silver issued to the wife, mother or nearest female relative of a serving soldier. Additional bars were suspended below for further individuals.

Membership badge of a Kookaburra in sterling silver, issued by the Government to the widows of men who lost their lives due to their service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who sustained a wound, or contracted sickness of disability in the course of the war as a result of which they were invalided out, or to soldiers who had retired during the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link withlength of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]