William Revell Smith CB CBE DSO MC* AM

b. 14/11/1894 Melbourne, Australia.  d. 04/06/1956 Southern Rhodesia.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 17/01/1919 Wizernes, France.

William R Smith

William was born in Melbourne, Australia, the son of Herbert Edward and Cleopatra Smith. He was baptised at Christ Church, South Yarra, Melbourne on 17th January 1895. He was educated at Charterhouse School, and enlisted as Private 1865 in the 2nd County of London Yeomanry and was posted to Egypt on 5th November 1914. He was awarded the Military Cross (6th April 1918), and a Bar to the MC (4th October 1919) either side of his Albert Medal action. He was presented with his AM by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 31st July 1919.

On 21st November 1920 in Bombay, India, he married Eleanor Margaret Flowerdew-Lawson, and they had a son and a daughter. He also served in WWII, being awarded the DSO (11th July 1940) and the CBE (1944). Following promotion to Major General on 16th January 1945, he was appointed Companion of the Bath on 24th January 1946. His medal group also consisted of the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal with MiD oakleaf, 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal 1939-45, War Medal 1939-45, Croix de Guerre (France), Commander of Legion of Merit (USA), Order of Crown (Italy) and Croix de Guerre (Belgium). He died in Southern Rhodesia in June 1956, aged 61.



On the 17th January 1919, a fire occurred at the brewery at Wizernes. In the engine room a Frenchman, whose cries for help could be heard, had been entombed by a fall of masonry which completely blocked the entrance. The upper part of the building was blazing fiercely, and the only entrance to the engine room was by a small hole in the wall which carried the machinery belting. Major Smith, Sergeant Gibson, and Corporal Smith succeeded in making their way through this hole into the room, and worked for three-quarters of an hour before they exposed the head and shoulders of the entombed man, who was found to be dead. They undoubtedly risked their lives in endeavouring to save life, for a further collapse of masonry (which appeared imminent) would have completely cut off their exit.





Allan Stanistreet – Image of William Revell Smith CB CBE DSO MC* AM.