The Soldier's Details

Surname:
Smith
First Name:
Robert Leighton
Nick Name:
Blucher
Rank:
Private
Regimental #:
WX8736
Company:
‘B’ Company, Platoon 8
Enlisted:
23.10.1940
DOB:
19.08.1908
Place of Birth:
Norseman, Western Australia
Father's Name:
Thomas William Smith
Mothers's Name:
Sarah Jane Smith (nee Leighton)
Religion:
Methodist
Pre-war Occupation:
Truck Driver
Memorial:
Kranji War Cemetery, Collective Grave, Plot 6, Row E, Grave 13-16, Age 33.
Cause of Death:
Killed in Action
Place of Death:
West Mandai Hill
Date of Death:
11.02.1942

General Description

WX8736 Bob Smith
WX8736 Bob Smith

 

Bob Smith farewell at Noresman
Bob Smith farewell at Noresman
Bob Smith (5th from left) & mates Adelaide
Bob Smith (5th from left) & mates Adelaide
8th Platoon marching in Perth
8th Platoon marching in Perth

 

Smith Robert L

 

Bob was KIA 11 February 1942 when fighting with 8th Platoon under the command of Lt. MacKinnon.
Bob was one of four men from this platoon to tragically die that day – Sgt Richard Sandilands who was second-in-charge, Don Day and Raymond Carruthers.

To read further about this sad incident 

Bob’s brother Tom, was also in 8th Platoon.  Younger brother Tom went with ‘E’ Force to Borneo, died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Beri-Beri December 1944 aged 32 years.

Thomas William Smith born 1874 Victoria married 1904 Bendigo to Sarah Jane Leighton who was born 1885 Victorian goldfields.

Tom and Sarah moved to Norseman where their seven children were born, one daughter and six sons.

William Alfred born 1905

Robert Leighton born 1908 – 2/4th KIA 11 February 1942

Myrtle Jean born 1910

Thomas Ernst born 1912 – 2/4th died Sandakan December 1944

James Henry born 1914

Leonard Richard born 1916

Edward John born 1918 – WX11520 2/28th Battalion, died 9 September 1943, Busu River, New Guinea. Ted was one of 13 soldiers ‘missing’ at the Busu River crossing. Being a Goldfield’s boy he was unable to swim and was swept away. His body was never found.

Bob’s father Thomas William died 20 March 1920 at Wooroloo aged 46 years.  There was a Sanatorium at Coolgardie for TB Patients however it closed about this time and patients with silicosis were relocated  to Wooroloo.   The Coolgardie Sanatorium had been the first in Western Australia to treat TB Patients.

 

 

Bob’s widowed mother was left with 6 children whose ages ranged from 2 years to 15 years.

Sarah remarried in 1924 to George Blythe Jones. Sadly George died four years later in 1924 aged 42 years.

Sarah died at Norseman in 1963 aged 78 years, having never left the goldfields of WA.

She had to endure the news her three sons would not be returning to Australia from WW2 – Robert KIA February 1942, youngest son Edward drowned September 1943 New Guinea and Thomas Ernst died illness Sandakan, Borneo December 1944.

 

 

Read further the story of Sarah Smith and her family

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