The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Micheal Ernest Smith

SMITH, Michael Ernest

Michael Ernest Smith was born in 1893 in Nymagee, a copper mining town in north west New South Wales. His parents, James Smith and Margaret Bryant had married in Nymagee in 1888 and Michael had an older brother Joseph and a younger sister Ivy, though there may have been others. Margaret died in 1899. When Michael enlisted in the Australian Army in 1916 his father’s address was Dyo Station, Cobar and on Joseph’s marriage certificate of the same year, James’s occupation was given as ‘Blacksmith’.

Michael Smith enlisted at Casula, Sydney in February 1916, giving his occupation as ‘Labourer’, and after two months training left for Europe, arriving in England in June. He was in France in September and was wounded in action in November, receiving a shrapnel wound in his arm. He was sent to hospital in Rouen but was back in the Base Depot in Étaples by the end of the month and was with his Battalion by Christmas Day 1916. It was nine months later before he got leave in the U.K. and was then sent back to France. He was on leave again at the end of September 1918 and spent some time in Ireland. He was returning to England on 10 October on RMS Leinster when the ship was torpedoed.

Michael did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and identified by Private John Meigan, from the same Battalion. His gold ring assisted in the identification. Michael Smith’s funeral was with full military honours, with firing party, bugler, band and pall bearers. He was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. He is named on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour.




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