Vale – Major Jock Smith MC and Bar

“Major Jock Smith was a proven, strong and fearless leader. It was not only the foe on the battlefield that experienced his wrath. Canberra suits were known to dive for cover, during many of his crusades seeking a fair go for soldiers under his command. Jock was a true blue cobber and dear comrade in arms.

George Mansford 

“Until we are all together again”

In the mist of time, Jock’s fond familiar image reaches out

Fleeting frames of determination, duty and a heart so stout

Forever, will be the sweet and glorious memories

Of his brotherhood, dash, daring and familiar cries of “follow me”

A proud history of brave deeds with his signature clearly seen

Of battle discipline where ever he had been.

Yet in barracks, his voice, always strident and strong

So often heard defending soldiers who had been wronged

Now he is travelling to join his old column so far away

Where familiar laughter and song can be heard night and day

A camp with sentries alert for military ghosts leaving Aussie shores

A challenge “who goes there?” and JJ is with old comrades once more    

George Mansford ©November 2021


Sad news just in from Mike Wells AATTV Victoria on the passing today, 12th November 2021 of fellow Team member Capt J. (Jock) J. Smith, MC and Bar, RAINF aged 83 years. 

Jock served with AATTV in South Vietnam from 16th July 1970 – Aug 70, 1/6 ARVN, Chu Lai. Aug – Dec 70, 1/51 ARVN, Mieu Bong Quang Nam. Jan 71, unallotted MATT, Military Region 1. Feb 71, MATT 22, Quang Ngai. Jock was WIA, 4 Feb 71, Nghia Hanh, Medevac, 7 Mar 71.

He also served a tour of duty with 1RAR from 18 Mar 1968 to 22 Feb 69.
 
In addition to the unit citations awarded to AATTV, Jock was also awarded a Bar to his MC.  A copy of the Citation reads as follows:
Army Number:                     311557
Rank:                                     Captain
Christian Name:                   Joseph James
Surname:                               SMITH
Honour or Award:                MC Bar
 
Captain Joseph James Smith was appointed to a commission in the Australian Army on 28 September 1966 following service in the British Army, and was allotted to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps.   He served with the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, from 30 September 1966 to 27 April 1969 during which he served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

He joined the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam on the 16 July 1970
On 24 February 1971, Captain Smith was accompanying 711 Regional Force Company on an operation against a suspected Viet Cong Company which had infiltrated the Tin Phu Hamlet, Nghia Hanh District in Quang Ngai Province. 


At  0900 hours, the forward element of the company came under intense small arms fire from an enemy position in a hamlet on the left of the axis of advance.  This element attempted to regroup by withdrawing to another hamlet on the right of the axis of advance but found this to be also occupied by the enemy.
 
At this stage, the Regional Force Company was in danger of losing the initiative and was prevented by the intense enemy fire from recovering their dead and wounded.   It became apparent that the enemy force was in fact the 5th Battalion of the 21st North Vietnamese Army Regiment.

Captain Smith, realising that the situation was rapidly deteriorating, rallied fifteen Montagnard soldiers and led them forward to attack the North Vietnamese Army Battalion headquarters.

Captain’s Smith small force succeeded in approaching to within 50 metres of the headquarters position before Captain Smith was severely wounded in the left side and left leg by a grenade explosion.   He continued to direct his soldiers during this battle until he was evacuated by helicopter to receive treatment to his wounds.
 
By his personal heroism, calmness under fire and devotion to duty, Captain Smith encouraged the Regional Force Company to continue to fight.  As a result of his actions, the company killed 47 enemy, captured a large amount of enemy equipment and inflicted a resounding defeat on a numerically superior force.
 
Captain Smith’s actions reflect great credit on himself and the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, and were in the highest traditions of the Australian Army and the Military Service.
 
I am sure that all Team members would wish to pass in their deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences to daughter Fiona, family and friends on the sad occasion of the passing of Jock.  A exceptional soldier who served his country well and has now moved on to join his other brothers in arms.  Jock will be sorely missed by us all.
 
Condolence messages may be passed to Fiona through Mike Wells on email: [email protected]
Funeral details will be advised once known.
May Jock now Rest In Peace,
Take care and Persevere,

His first MC relates to his British Army service in 1965 when the TA ‘Ever Readies’ were mobilised to serve in Aden.
Jock Smith, a platoon commander in A Company 5th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment based at Hornsey, North London was one of these and was awarded the Military Cross for actions under fire. An extract from the London Gazette is reproduced below detailing the citation for this award:

Lieutenant Joseph James Smith (468118) The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) Territorial Army (serving with The Royal Sussex Regiment)

“On 6th July 1965, Lt. Smith, who was commanding the Piccadilly piquet, manned by 3 Platoon, A Company, 1 Royal Sussex, led an ambush patrol towards the top of the steep rise known as Ludgate Hill. The ambush was in fact sited to intercept dissidents moving along the track leading up from the Wadi Taim; however at 21.20 hours a small party of dissidents were observed coming along the top of the escarpment past the ambush positions. Lieutenant Smith quietly redeployed his ambush and opened fire on the party of dissidents at a range of about 75 yards. Two of the dissidents were seen to fall whilst the remainder scattered and returned the fire of the patrol wounding one of its members.

Lieutenant Smith then called for Artillery fire on the path of retreat of the dissidents. He himself rendered first aid to the wounded soldier and withdrew his patrol to Piccadilly. He then ordered periodic harassing fire to be brought down on the area of the attack to prevent the dissidents recovering the bodies. At 06.30 hours the next morning he took his patrol back to the scene of the ambush where he recovered two dead Arabs. It subsequently transpired that four dissidents were killed and two wounded.


It is considered that Lieutenant Smith, a Territorial Army Emergency Reserve Officer, who had only recently joined his battalion displayed outstanding courage and skill in circumstances that would have tested a more experienced Officer.”

Shortly after his return to the UK Jock emigrated to Australia and joined the Royal Australian Regiment, he applied for a posting with the AATTV (Australian Army Training Team Vietnam) where he won a bar to his MC in 1967.  

Comments

  1. Jim Hislop says

    Jock was a man among men the soldiers soldier. As the Major in charge of Military Training at the Army Apprentice school he was their “Hero” they were certainly taught to be soldiers first and tradesmen second. I feel sure he had a good scotch or two when he heard his new CO was to be me a RAEME officer but we worked well together and he taught me plenty. We didn’t always agree but we were always friends. Rest in peace Jock.

  2. Tony Kirkett says

    If you didn’t give the role of the infantry verbatim when I was at the Inf Center in 1978 Jock would have you mumbling it out until you did get it out. He had a very commanding presence that was well deserved. He was well respected by everyone that was there. RIP GBNF