Friday, 15 November 2013

Digger Smith dies at Pozieres

A million brave ole mothers 'oo 'ave known
Deep sorrer since them days before the war.

Broadmeadows c 14 December 1915. Studio portrait of two soldiers, one of whom is probably of 4293 Private (Pte) Albert Richmond Smith (right), 7th Battalion, of Pascoe Vale, Vic.
Image courtesy AWM. Image DA13012.

I stumbled on 4293 Private Albert Richmond Smith’s connection to Coburg through the Mapping Our Anzacs website, although he does not appear on the Coburg Town Hall Roll of Honour and I have not come across his name on any other local honour boards. At the time of his enlistment on 27 July 1915 his parents were living at ‘Strathlinden’, Bolingbroke Road, Pascoe Vale via Coburg, although they had mostly been connected with the Milawa area near Wangaratta. Albert had attended Bonegilla State School and as his occupation was given as farm labourer, it is likely that he remained in the area but came down to the city to enlist.

He embarked aboard HMAT Demosthenes on 29 December 1915 with the 13th Reinforcements of the 7th Infantry Battalion. He arrived in France on 4 April 1916 and just over three months later, on 23 July, was severely wounded at Pozieres and evacuated to England. He is included in the 7th Battalion’s War Diary AWM Item 23/24/17, RCDIG1005139) for that period as part of a huge casualty list sustained over several days of intense fighting. He had been wounded in the face and shoulder and suffered a severed artery in his neck. His wounds were grave, but he lingered for a month before dying of a secondary haemhorrage on 29 August 1916. He was buried at St Paul’s Church in Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells. You can see a photograph of his grave on the WarGraves Photographic Project website.


  1. I am currently reading Scott Bennett's book, "Pozieres: the Anzac story", which details the dreadful story of that battle - far worse for Australia than Gallipoli, and well worth a read.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on my every-growing list of must reads!

  3. You'll finf AR Smith's name on thel plaque of the War Memorial located at Rogers Memorial Reserve, Cumberland Road, Pascoe Vale. I have been researching the 59 names listed on the plaque.

  4. Thanks for that tip. That particular memorial is on my list of places to visit, just haven't got there yet.
    I have probably already done a lot of background research on these men as they fall under my Coburg and the First World War project, so do get in touch so that we can share information. I've been researching the 1500 plus men who had Coburg connections and am bound to have some material that could be of use to you. I'd also love to hear what your project is all about!

  5. Hello
    I have just researched Private Albert Richmond Smith for this website & would like to point out that Pte A.R. Smith did not die at Pozieres - He was wounded at La Boiselles and Contalmaison. He died in Rusthall V.A.D. Hospital, Tunbridge Wells, England. Here is link to the page he is on

    Cathy Sedgwick