Orders Decorations & Medals -Aust Singles


Lot 4746    SESSION 18 (2.30PM FRIDAY 28 JULY)    Orders Decorations & Medals -Aust Singles

Estimate $1,500
SOLD $1,600

MILITARY MEDAL, (GVIR type 1). V crown B impressed and VX3491. L-Cpl. J..Smith. AIF. Impressed and officially renamed. Heavily cleaned with a wire brush, otherwise very fine.

MM: LG 12/2/1942, p705.

Citation: Bravery of high order and devotion near Khaldie 10/7/41.

The Military Medal was presented to John Smith's father on 30/3/46 by the Governor of Victoria at Government House. Melbourne.

John Smith, born on 11Nov1916 at East London, South Africa; Enl.25Oct1939 at Melbourne; WIA 24Jul & DOW 26Jul1943 as Cpl ex 2/5 Infy Bn.

There was an illustrated article on John Smith published in the Argus (Melbourne), Saturday 20 Apr 1946, p28. At each illustration there was a descriptive passage. Across the seven illustrations, under the heading 'He Carried a Jap Sword into Battle', was written,

Sergeant John Smith, M.M., John Smith, formerly of Clifton Gardens, Sydney, who served with the 2/5 Battalion, won the Military Medal in Syria in 1941, and later became almost a legendary figure among Australian and New Zealand troops in New Guinea. It was said of him that "he had the courage of a lion and was a born leader", and his death on July 26, 1943, was mourned by all ranks.

John won the M.M. on July 10, 1941, after a daring single handed attack that drove French Foreign Legionnaires from strong posts covering a road block near Khalde, Syria. Moving to New Guinea "the six-foot blond 14-stone warrior" made a dashing figure as he carried a Jap sword into battle at Wau, where he was wounded. Within a few weeks he had returned to the battle front where, with both Yanks and Aussies, his name soon became a by word for cool courage and fearlessness.

On July 24, 1943, John Smith inspired his platoon in a desperate attempt to capture Jap posts at Mt. Tambu but John and two corporals were the only ones to reach the Japs. The two corporals were wounded, and John himself received the full force of an exploding mortar bomb badly wounded, the gallant sergeant was taken to an American hospital. Two days later John Smith died on the operating table, but his very name remained an inspiration to all who fought in the battles of the jungle.

With copy of the newspaper illustrated article.

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