Smith: John Lewis

Born in Hackney, South Australia, on 15th June 1890, John was the elder son of Jacob and Mary Smith.

The family moved to a house known as The Knoll in Coromandel Valley. (The house was still owned by the family at the time this article was prepared in January 2018).

With his brother Frank, John attended the local primary school at the turn of the 20th Century. Later, he attended the School of Mines* at the corner of North Terrace and Frome Street, Adelaide and from there went on to work as a motor mechanic and fitter in the Blackwood area.

John enlisted for service in the A.I.F. on the 30th August 1915 as a reinforcement, No. 5726, for the 3rd Field Company Engineers. His brother Frank had enlisted a year earlier, in September 1914, joining the 10th Battalion and going on to be wounded in the landing at Gallipoli.

At the time of his enlistment, John stood 5’9” (175cm), weighed 164lbs (about 73kg), had blue eyes and light brown hair. His religion was listed as Church of England.

John departed from Sydney for overseas service on 20th January 1916 and landed in Alexandria on 27th February. He was admitted to hospital within weeks of arrival in Egypt, first on 24th March 1916 then again on 27th April. Diagnosed as suffering from Arsenic poisoning John, aged 25, succumbed to his illness on 14th May 1916 and is buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.

Although this article favours John, the first of his given names, he is listed as Lewis Smith on the Coromandel Valley Public School Roll of Honour.


* The South Australian School of Mines evolved to become, first, the South Australian Institute of Technology and then the University of South Australia.


Research by Geoff Lock, 2015