Wednesday, 2 August 2017

SMYTH, Irvine Johnston

Second Lieutenant, 6th Batt., Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Died: 03/09/1915
Age: 23

Interred in Green Hill Cemetery
Remembered on family Memorial Bangor Cemetery

Irvine Johnston Smyth was born in Hill Street, Lurgan, on the 18th December 1891. He was the eldest of three sons of William Henry Smyth, a Methodist Minister and Mary Jemima Ruskell Smyth (nee Johnston).

His parents were married on 11th September 1890 in Donaghadee Methodist Church where Mary’s father, Rev Irvine Johnston, ministered from 1890 until 1893.

He was educated at the Belfast Academy, Methodist College, Belfast (receiving a M'Arthur Scholarship in 1905) and Wesley College, Dublin. He passed the Matriculation examination of Royal University of Ireland in 1908 and went to Trinity College, Dublin.

Irvine was working in the Civil Service on the outbreak of war and enlisted in the 6th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch Territorials)  It wasn't long before he transferred to the Officers Training Corps and was commissioned as Second-Lieutenant on the 16th December 1914 and posted to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

In a letter received by his father, a brother officer wrote – "He was in charge of the machine-guns, and he very soon became known along the line of trenches for his skill. Other officers from other regiments would come along to see how Smyth, of the Inniskillings, had placed his guns, and to check their ranges by his. For coolness under fire and disregard of danger there were few his equal. One day he and I were huddled together under a little cover, and the enemy were picking off anybody who showed himself, from a close range, when a man was hit not far from us. Smyth jumped up immediately to do what he could for the wounded man, regardless of his own danger. It was the same when any of his own men were hit. He never hesitated to expose himself. I have lost a friend, the 6th Inniskillings have lost a skilled and important officer, and the men a splendid leader."



"SMYTH OF THE INNISKILLINGS."

Tribute to a Gallant Officer.

A tribute to the memory of Second-Lieutenant Irvine J. Smyth, 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, whose death in the Gallipoli Peninsula was recently reported, is paid in a letter received by his father from a brother officer, who writes – "He was in charge of the machine-guns, and he very soon became known along the line of trenches for his skill. Other officers from other regiments would come along to see how Smyth, of the Inniskillings, had placed his guns, and to check their ranges by his. For coolness under fire and disregard of danger there were few his equal. One day he and I were huddled together under a little cover, and the enemy were picking off anybody who showed himself, from a close range, when a man was hit not far from us. Smyth jumped up immediately to do what he could for the wounded man, regardless of his own danger. It was the same when any of his own men were hit. He never hesitated to expose himself. I have lost a friend, the 6th Inniskillings have lost a skilled and important officer, and the men a splendid leader." 
    This gallant officer was a son of Rev. W. H. Smyth, a Newtownards man, who was formerly minister of University Road and Carlisle Memorial Methodist Churches, Belfast, and who has accepted an invitation to the latter congregation for June, 1916. Deceased, who was a grandson of Rev. Irvine Johnston, Bangor, was born in Lurgan.
Belfast Newsletter, 9th October 1915



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