Framed plywood caricature of Major E V Smythe

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Cowra
Accession Number REL30612
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Wood; Plywood
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Cowra
Date made 1942
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Plywood cut-out caricature of the head, in profile, of Major E V Smythe. The caricature shows an officer with an aquline nose and a moustache, wearing a peaked cap. The outer edge of the head and some of the internal lines on the head have been cut with a small jigsaw. Other lines have been drawn in pencil. Beneath the head is single plywood cut-out of a musical note (a crochet). The head and note are mounted on a diamond-shaped black painted wooden background surrounded by a brown wooden frame. The back of the frame bears the words 'CARICATURE OF MAJOR E.V. SMYTHE (CAMP COMMANDANT) CUT OUT OF PLYWOOD BY AN ITALIAN PRISONER OF WAR AT COWRA P.O.W. CAMP N.S.W. 1942'.

History / Summary

Born in Victoria in 1891, Edward Vivian Smythe served in both world wars. During the First World War he served as an officer with 24 Battalion, AIF, reaching the rank of major. He was awarded a Military Cross (MC) at Warlencourt, France, in 1917, and a bar to his MC at Broodseinde, Belgium, in 1918. He was also mentioned in despatches. During the Second World War Smythe served with 2 Garrison Battalion at prisoner of war camps at Cowra, where he was camp commandant of A Camp from 1942-1943, and at Hay from 1943-1945. At both camps he was in charge of Italian POWs. In 1945 he transferred to the military administration in New Guinea and was involved in the repatriation of Japanese, Korean and Formosan POWs. He also conducted local courts martial and investigated local war crimes. He was discharged in Rabaul in 1947 and remained in New Guinea working for the Post and Telegraph Service until his retirement in 1961.