Two Australian schoolboys wearing their father's medals

Boys With Fathers War Medals

Boys With Fathers War Medals.

Two Melbourne schoolboys wearing their father’s medals, probably in some form of patriotic parade during WW2. The boy on the left is Maurice Smith, the son of Issy Smith VC.

Issy Smith was born Ishroulch Shmeilowitz in 1890, in Egypt, where his father served in the French Consular Service. In 1901 the 11 year old boy stowed away on a ship bound for London. In 1904, when nearly 14, he enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, his name anglicized by the recruiting Sergeant as Issy Smith.

He served in South Africa and India and was awarded the Delhi Durbar medal. Discharged in 1912 he migrated to Australia and settled in Melbourne. In August 1914 he was recalled to the Manchester Regiment.

On the 26th of April 1915, during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, Corporal Issy Smith ran towards the enemy and carried a severely wounded man 250 yards to safety and later that day under heavy German machine gun and rifle fire he brought in many more wounded men. For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The then Sergeant Smith later served in Mesopotamia where he was awarded the Russian Cross of St George (4th Class) for rescuing a Russian soldier. He was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre. During the war he was severely gassed and wounded five times.

After the war he married Elsie McKechnie in London and in 1925, with his wife and daughter Olive, returned to Melbourne. He was appointed a justice of the peace in 1930 and regularly sat on the City Court bench. He worked for a number of Melbourne firms and in 1938 was appointed to the Department of Civil Aviation. Issy Smith died on the 11th of September 1940, survived by his wife and two children.

He was buried with full military honours in the Hebrew section of the Fawkner Cemetery.

Lest We Forget.

Photograph and information came from the Australian War Memorial. Image file number AWM 044296

Research undertaken for the article ‘Boys With Fathers War Medals’, was by Peter Barnes.  This story was previously posted on his Facebook Page.

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