Gallipoli anniversary sparks search for Smyths of Cromkill

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An Australian couple’s search for relatives in the Ballymena area was sparked by the recent commemorations of the Gallipoli campaign.

John and Val Smyth were prompted to seek out any possible family still living in the area after attending a ceremony paying tribute to the fallen of the Australian Light Horse regiment in Adelaide on Saturday - the 100th anniverary of the landings at ANZAC cove.

Val Smyth explained: “Archibald Smyth - originally from Ballymena - joined the 10th Australian Light Horse and served at Gallipoli and other theatres of war.

“Archie, my husband’s uncle, had migrated from Cromkill to Western Australia in 1911. Sadly, having come through the fighting, he died of pneumonia in Egypt on December 27 1918.

“His name is recorded on the Australian National memorial in Canberra. We are very proud to be part of his family and to have probably been the first family members to place a poppy on his name at the Canberra memorial.”

John Smyth added: “Archie’s parents were Robert and Catherine Smyth of Crumkill. His brother Robert won the Distinguished Conduct Medal while serving in the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

“It was with sadness and honour we remembered fallen family heroes of our past today and it was a privilege to attend the Light horse remembrance service in Adelaide Australia.

“The ceremony marked the anniversary of the arrival at Gallipoli of the Anzacs and the beginning of a terrible onslaught.

“ Archie survived all of this but died of pneumonia no doubt weakened by injury and years fighting under at times very challenging conditions.

“We would love to know if there are any Smyth relatives still living in the Ballymena area and if a photo survives of him?”

Contact: jnelsonsmyth@bigpond.com

SMYTH, Archie, 340, Sergeant, 10th Australian Light Horse, B Squadron, died of disease on the 27th December 1918, Smyth enlisted on 20th October 1914, and he gave his next of kin as Robert SmythBallymena; this was later overwritten to read c/o Mr A Watt, Bridge Street, Ballymena.

He was sent to Gallipoli in October 1916 and left Australia on HMAT Mashobra. He sustained gunshot wounds to his right leg on the 20th April 1917 and was in No. 14 Australian General Hospital until June 2nd. He recovered to a degree but was often sick and he ended up in No.88 General Hospital in Cairo, Egypt in 1918. He died of pneumonia on 2nd January 1919 - according to his medical records.

He was aged 27 and unmarried, though apparently engaged to Miss N Bowden, 405 Bulwer Street, Perth, W.A. He was the labourer son of Robert Smyth, Crumkill, Ballymena; this spelling and address was given by his father when he certified receipt of his son’s effects.

He is buried in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

His brothers were Robert Smyth (DCM) and Hugh Smyth (father of John), wounded.