Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P04630.001
Collection Photograph
Object type Colour - Print hand coloured black & white
Maker Unknown (Photographer)
Date made c 1917


Studio portrait of Captain (Capt) Vernon (Vern) Erle Smythe MC and Bar, 56th Battalion, of Jerilderie, NSW. Capt Smythe was one of four Smythe brothers who served in the First World War: 1175 Corporal (Cpl) Herbert (Bert) Andrew Smythe, killed in action 3 May 1917; 2nd Lieutenant Percy Ellsmere Smythe MC and Bar; Captain Edward Vivien (Viv) Smythe MC; and brother-in-law Lieutenant George Roy McPhee, Croix de Guerre. Capt Smythe enlisted with his older brother Bert on 21 August 1914 in Kensington, where they were both posted to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Australian Division. On 20 October 1914 they left Australia for service overseas aboard HMAT Euripides, and disembarked in Egypt for further training at Mena camp. On 25 April 1915 both men took part in the landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula with the 3rd Battalion. Vernon served at the Headquarters as a signalling officer and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant; Bert served as a sniper and was later evacuated to England suffering from a gunshot wound. In early 1916, after transferring to the 56th Battalion, Vernon joined two of his other brothers, Viv and Percy, in France northwest of Armentieres. At the age of 21 he was promoted to Captain. In April 1917, after suffering a slight gunshot wound to the leg, Capt Smythe was evacuated to England for hospital treatment. On 4 June 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross for personally supervising the digging of a communication trench across No Man’s Land under heavy shell fire during operations in Fromelles. Later the same year he received a Bar to the Military Cross. Shortly after rejoining his battalion in France, Capt Smythe was taken out of the lines and posted to rear headquarters, serving as a staff captain until his return to Australia in January 1919.