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11 October 2009

Sapper John Lewis Smith

Photo: Courtesy of John Edwards
John Smith was a son of Jacob Adam and Mary Ellen Smith (nee Mincham). He was born on 15 June 1890 at Hackney SA, and his parents owned a property behind the Coromandel Valley Primary School. Their home was built by the Weymouth family and it still stands on The Knoll Crescent, Coromandel Valley. John attended Coromandel Valley Public School and the School of Mines, and worked as a motor mechanic and fitter in the Blackwood district before the war.

He enlisted in Adelaide on 30 August 1915 at the age of 25, as a reinforcement for the 3rd Field Company (Engineers) under the regimental number 5726. He embarked from Sydney on 20 January 1916, and was taken on strength of the 15th Field Company in Egypt on 18 March 1916. He was admitted to hospital on 24 March 1916, again on 27 April, and died on 14 May 1916 of arsenic poisoning at the age of 26. He is buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery and his name is on panel 25 of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, on the State National War Memorial on North Terrace, and on the Blackwood Soldiers Memorial.

His only brother, Frank Palmer Smith was wounded in the first wave to land on the beaches at Gallipoli, and survived the war. The home in Coromandel Valley is still in the family.

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