Chief Petty Officer William Smith Rhoades

Birth Date 1876-07-12
Birth Place United Kingdom: England, Sussex
Death Date 1968
Death Place Australia: Western Australia, Perth
Final Rank Chief Petty Officer
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

William Smith Rhoades was born on 12 July 1876 at Southwick, Sussex, England. He married his wife Jessie on 14 June 1900. Rhoades was thirty-five when he was lent to the Royal Australian Navy from the Royal Navy on 13 May 1913, with the rank of chief petty officer. He was part of HMAS Sydney’s original crew and departed on 25 July, arriving in Sydney Harbour on 4 October.
After the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, HMAS Sydney operated in the New Guinea and Pacific waters, but was despatched to Australia to form part of the escort for the first ANZAC convoy. The convoy left on 1 November from Albany, Western Australia. The Sydney left the convoy on 9 November to investigate a 'strange warship approaching’ the Cocos Island wireless station. After the proceeding battle with SMS Emden, Rhoades wrote notes on the battle recording the number of hits on each ship, damage caused, and casualty numbers.
During his posting on the Sydney, Rhoades developed a type of anti-submarine ammunition that fitted over a gun muzzle and was fired by using a light charge in the normal way. His idea was forwarded to the Admiralty who, on 3 August 1917, thanked him and informed him the idea was being used in a modified form.
After leaving the Sydney in September 1917, Rhoades spent some time at the London depot before being sent to HMAS Cerberus in October, where he saw out the war. In October 1919 Rhoades was promoted to the rank of warrant instructor in the reserves, and by 1925 he had moved to Western Australia. He was promoted to commissioned instructor in June 1928 before retiring in 1936.
William Smith Rhoades died in 1968 in Perth, Western Australia.


Date of birth 12 July 1876
Date of death 1968