Next of kin plaque : Sergeant Leonard Gilmore Smith, 19th Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area, Bullecourt
Accession Number AWM2016.385.1
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1921-1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'LEONARD SMITH'.

History / Summary

Leonard Gilmore Smith (spelt Gilmour on his birth record, and misspelt Gilmor on some military records) was a nineteen year old plasterer when he enlisted in the AIF in Sydney on 2 March 1915. Smith has traditional Aboriginal heritage connections to the Palawa Nation and European heritage. His great grandmother was married to a sealer on King Island, Tasmania, with the later generation settling in South Australia, where Smith was born in at Norwood, Adelaide on 21 November 1895.

After completing his basic training he was posted a private, service number 1303, to D Company, 19th Battalion. The battalion left Sydney aboard the troopship HMAT A40 Ceramic on 25 June. After further training in Egypt the unit landed at Gallipoli on 19 August. Smith sustained shrapnel wounds to both his thighs on 2 September and was evacuated to hospital in Malta. He returned to Egypt at the beginning of February for further convalescence, and his return to Australia for medical discharge was briefly considered. However, he had improved sufficiently to rejoin his battalion in the middle of April.

Instead of travelling with his battalion to France, Smith was transferred to England to attend training courses in May. He re-joined the battalion in France on 20 September. At the end of the year he was hospitalised with foot problems, and while there contracted mumps. He was promoted to sergeant shortly before he returned to the battalion in February, this time to B Company.

During the second battle of Bullecourt, on the morning 3 May 1917, Smith and two others were held up by German wire and forced to shelter in a shell hole, where Smith was wounded in the forearm. Although his companions bandaged the wound, which was not life threatening, Smith later decided to leave the shelter of the shell hole to seek treatment at an advanced dressing station. As he climbed over the rim of the hole he was hit in the stomach by German machine gun fire. It was impossible for stretcher bearers to reach him, and he died late that afternoon. His body was later recovered and is buried in the Queant Road Cemetery at Buissy, France.

This commemorative plaque was sent to Smith's father, Edward John Smith, in August 1922