Lieutenant Commander Smith joined the RAN before the war and by April 1940 he was serving in HMAS Yarra. Early in the war, Yarra saw service in the Mediterranean, and was recaled to Australia in December 1941. At that time, Smith was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became Yarra‘s second in command. In early February 1942, while under air attack, Yarra rescued survivors from the stricken troopship Empress of Asia, but a month later on 4 March, Yarra was escorting a convoy that came under attack from a large Japanese surface force, and was severely damaged and later sunk. It is possible that Smith took command of the stricken Yarra, after the captain, Lieutenant Commander Rankin, was killed. Smith did not receive an award for this action.
In 2011, Smith was listed in the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into unresolved recognition for past acts of naval and military gallantry and valour. The following is a link to Chapter 23 of the Report of the Inquiry which focusses on Smith:
This Chapter should be read in conjunction with Chapter 21, HMAS Yarra.
The Tribunal received 7 written submissions in relation to Lieutenant Commander Smith. These submissions are listed below.