Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith

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:

Chapter 23 – Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith

This Chapter should be read in conjunction with Chapter 21, HMAS Yarra.

Chapter 21 – HMAS Yarra

The Tribunal received 7 written submissions in relation to Lieutenant Commander Smith.  These submissions are listed below.

Submissions Received

Submission 045 – Commander Greg Swinden RAN

Submission 045A – Commander Greg Swinden RAN

Submission 086 – Mr John Bradford

Submission 099 – Mr G Wilson Annex H_Smith

Submission 124 – Mr Richard Pelvin

Submission 185 – Mr Ralph Bull

Submission 185A – Mr Ralph Bull


by Ken McFadyen
Oil on canvas on hardboard, 1968

RAAF's first operation over North Korea
Robert Taylor
Oil on canvas, 1986