03 March 2012

Arthur Chaloner Smith - WWI Victory Medal

The destructive impact of WWI on Australian families is very evident in the following story. It goes to show how some family lines were completely cut. This often makes it difficult for us as we have to start searching for a relative who is often quite distant to the soldiers we are researching. 
That is what happened in this particular case and it was only through some great detective work by Tim that the case has been solved. This is what Tim has put together:
2707 PTE Arthur Edward Chaloner Smith, known as ‘Ally’, was born in 1873 in County Wicklow, Ireland, the only known child of John Chaloner Smith and Mary O’Shaughnessy. He subsequently emigrated to Western Australia and married Ada Rebecca Rudyerd (nee Lamb) from Naracoorte, South Australia in 1902. Ada was previously married to Jack, however, it did not last. Jack and Ada settled in Perth and they had a son named Jack in 1905, but he died the following year.   
Ally enlisted in the AIF on 21 June 1916 as a 41 year old, joining the 8th Reinforcements to the 16th Battalion. He served with A Company of the 16th Battalion at Gallipoli, in Egypt and on the Western Front prior to being Killed in Action in Belgium during the Battle of Messines on 12 June 1917. 
Ada had two sisters one of whom, Charlotte Augusta Lamb, married Campbell Mehaffey at Naracoote in 1892. The other sister does not appear to have married. Charlotte and Campbell had a number of children including SGT John Lamb Mehaffey known as 'Little Jack', who was Killed in Action in France whilst serving with the 50th Battalion on 2 April 1917 and PTE Campbell William Graham Mehaffey, who was Killed in Action in Belgium serving with the 6th Field Ambulance on 5 November 1917. A third son was Darcy Gerald Arthur Stock Mehaffey born in 1897, who had a child named Campbell born in 1920, the namesake of his lost uncle. 
Ada remained close to the Mehaffey family until her death in 1926. The photos below are of 'Little Jack' and Campbell. The medal will be sent to the Mehaffey family.
The returned medal tally is now 1081. 


Service no 3418
50th Battalion (late 10th Battalion)
Born 25 February 1894 at Naracoorte
Son of Campbell Mehaffey of Naracoorte
Occupation prior to enlistment Clerk
Enlisted 4 August 1915
Served in Egypt, France and Belgium
Reported missing, Norieul, later reported killed in action

Studio portrait of 3418 Sergeant (Sgt) John Lamb Mehaffey of Naracoorte SA who enlisted as a Private in the AIF on 4 August 1915. Pte Mehaffey embarked in Adelaide on 27 October 1915 as an acting Corporal with the 11th Reinforcements to the 10th Battalion bound for Egypt and on arrival was promoted to Acting Sergeant. When the AIF was re-organised in early 1916 he was transferred to the 50th Battalion, he reverted to the ranks, although he was quickly promoted to Corporal and sailed with the 50th Battalion on 5 June 1916 on board HMT Arcadian bound for Marseilles. After arrival in France he was promoted Sergeant on 9 July 1916. On 2 April 1917 Sgt Mehaffey was first reported as missing in action, amended to killed in action, when the details of his death in fighting on the outskirts of the French village of Noreuil were eventually reported. It is recorded in his file; "Buried in Australian Military Cemetery on outskirts of village and big cross erected by the Battalion." It is likely his grave was destroyed in subsequent fighting as today Sgt Mehaffey has no know grave. His name is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers Bretonneux, France. In the Roll of Honour circular completed by his mother she recorded that his brother, Pte C.W. Mehaffey, 6th Field Ambulance, was killed in Belgium the same year on 5 November 1917.
Picture Service No. 3418
50th Battalion A.I.F.
Born on February 25, 1894 at Naracoorte, South Australia
Son of Charlotte Louisa (nee Lamb) and Campbell Mehaffey
Occupation prior to enlistment – Clerk
Enlisted on August 4, 1915 at Adelaide, South Australia
Served in Egypt, France and Belgium.
Killed in action at Noreuil, France on April 2, 1917 aged 23 and buried at Noreuil.  He is commemorated at Villers-Brettoneux, France.
Sergeant Mehaffey’s brother – Private Campbell William Graham Mehaffey was killed on November 5, 1917 aged 21 in Belgium and is buried in the Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillabeke, Belgium.

MEHAFFEY, Campbell William Graham

Picture Service no 17145
6th Field Ambulance (Detached to 7th Fd Amb)
Born 7 April 1896 at Naracoorte
Son of Campbell Mehaffey of Naracoorte
Occupation prior to enlistment Draper
Enlisted 3 August 1916
Served in France and Belgium
Made the supreme sacrifice 5 November 1917 at Ypres

Photos and text - http://www.ww1sa.gravesecrets.net/m.html

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