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Reginald Arthur Smith, 6 August 1915. Image courtesy Mrs Ruth Velvin-Smith.

Reginald Arthur Smith, 6 August 1915. Image courtesy Ruth Velvin Gilchrist.

Reginald Arthur Smith was born on 22 May, 1891 in Orange NSW, the first son of John Smith and his wife Elizabeth Candy Smith (nee Velvin). A brother, Herbert, followed in 1892 and a sister, Doris, in 1896.

Reginald’s grandfather, John Velvin, was a 3rd generation master cabinet–maker who worked for Dalton Brothers store in Orange. He was Mayor of East Orange in 1898-9 and 1901 and, with his wife Elizabeth Anne, was instrumental in the establishment of the East Orange Post Office in Summer Street East, which opened in December 1901 and is still in operation.

Reginald was working as an accountancy clerk with Wright Heaton & Co in Newcastle when he enlisted in the 1st AIF in April 1915, aged 24.

He sailed on the Runic to the Middle East on 9 August 1915, and was at Gallipoli in November 1915 as Acting Corporal in the 8th Reinforcements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli, Reginald proceeded to Alexandria in Egypt, where he was promoted to Sergeant in the newly formed 5th Division of the 54th Battalion. He later served with the 55th Battalion.

By August 1916 Reginald had been appointed Lieutenant and was stationed in France, where he was wounded in April 1918. He remained in France until December 1918. After armistice he was posted to England with the Pay Office, returning to Australia aboard the Armagh in May 1919.

In 1937 Reginald married Ethel Alice Thomas. The couple settled in Cremorne in Sydney and did not have any children. Reginald died in Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, on 28 July 1969, aged 78.

Reginald’s brother Herbert Velvin-Smith also served in WWI.

*  Jane Silvester, 2015