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Smith, Issy (1890–1940)

from Argus (Melbourne)

Issy Smith, c. 1927 [detail]

Issy Smith, c. 1927 [detail]

Australian War Memorial, P02349.003

Sergeant Israel (Issy) Smith, first Jew to win the Victoria Cross in the 1914-18 war, died suddenly at his home in Derby street. Moonee Ponds, early yesterday. He was on duty as an officer of the Civil Aviation Department at Essendon airport the previous day.

Sergeant Smith won the V.C. when serving with the First Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on April 26, 1915. The official record shows that he performed conspicuous acts of bravery in bringing many wounded men to safety in the face of heavy machine gun and rifle fire. He was awarded war decorations by three countries. He had come to Australia before the Great War, and returned to England to serve with the Manchester Regiment. He was wounded five times.

Sergeant Smith was born in London on September 18, 1886. He returned to Australia after the war, and was manager in Melbourne for British International Pictures in 1928. In 1931 he contested the Melbourne seat in the House of Representatives against the late Dr. Maloney.

In 1937 he joined the staff of the Civil Aviation Department. After serving for a year on the head office staff he was transferred to Essendon, where he was popular with air travellers as tarmac officer. In recent years he suffered from heart attacks as a result of his war service. He is survived by a widow, a son, and a daughter.

He will be accorded a military funeral. The funeral will leave his home at 2 p.m. to-day, and will be met by a detachment of the 12th Garrison Battalion (First A.I.F.) at the Hebrew gates to the New Melbourne General Cemetery, Fawkner, in Boundary road, at 2.30 p.m. Joseph Allison son Pty. Ltd., Moonee Ponds, has charge of the funeral arrangements.

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Citation details

'Smith, Issy (1890–1940)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/smith-issy-8473/text24947, accessed 11 August 2020.

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