Indigenous Australian, Charlie SMITH, 6th Queensland Reinforcements.
Charlie SMITH was born at Harvest Home Station, near Charters Towers, Qld. to William and Cissie Smith in 1899 and was working as a stockman on Bluff Downs Station before he volunteered to serve with the first AIF in July 1918.
Charlie Smith was one of five stockmen to enlist from the Station, they included Bob Roberts, John Huggins, Patrick Brady and Bobby Ewan. His parents William and Cissie signed the consent form approving his enlistment as Charlie was under 21 years of age.
Charlie joined the other recruits at Rifle Range camp, Enoggera just outside Brisbane. In August he was granted two weeks ‘home leave’ to visit his family at Bluff Downs Station and say farewell prior to embarking for overseas.
However when Charlie returned he was admitted to the camp hospital suffering from influenza and remained there for 18 days.
Trooper Smith embarked from Sydney in October 1918 with the other members of the 6th General Reinforcements on board the troopship ‘Malta’ bound for Egypt, together with other indigenous reinforcements – Albert Jones, Bob Roberts and Martin Blyth.
During the voyage Charlie became ill and was admitted to the ships hospital, again with influenza, which quickly progressed to pneumonia from which he never recovered. Charlie Smith was buried at sea on 19 November 1918 and is commemorated at Chatby Memorial, east of Alexandria, Egypt.
His name is recorded amongst others of the Australian Light Horse Regiments who didn’t return home.
Read more …
- SERVICE RECORD: SMITH, Charlie
- Roll of honour
- Roll of honour circular
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cemetery Details
- BLUFF DOWNS STATION. The Evening Telegraph 2 March 1918 p. 3.
- Portrait: The Queenslander Pictorial, 9 November 1918
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- View the whole Collection: Indigenous enlistment
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland