Name: Ira Alfred Smart
Rank: Private (Bugler)
Service Number: 980
Unit Served: 27th Battalion
Personal Details: Ira was born on the 24th February, 1894, to William and Anna Matilda Smart at Athelstone. He attended Modbury School and worked as a gardener. He listed his address as Modbury when he enlisted but he was actually living with his sister, Mrs. H. Kemp, at Fulham. He had served for 3 years with the Grange Senior Cadets. He was 5” 6 ½” tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark hair. He weighed 136 lbs.
Enlistment Details: Ira enlisted on 27th March 1915, at the age of 18 years and 1 month. He was assigned to C Company of the 27th Battalion.
Details of War Service: Ira left Adelaide aboard the “Geelong” on the 31st May 1915. After landing in Egypt and training for 2 months, the 27th Battalion landed at Gallipoli on the 10th September, 1915. On the 12th the battalion took over trenches at Cheshire Ridge. Despite no actual battles taking place the battalion was, according to the battalion diary for October 1915, “continually harassed by shrapnel, high explosive, bombs and musketry fire”. On the 31st 0f October, Ira received a gunshot wound to the back. 2 days later he died of his wounds at the 7th Field Ambulance. As Ira lay dying of his wounds, a R. J. Godfrey Number 3985 of B Section of the 7th Field Ambulance wrote a letter to his next of kin. It went as follows;
In Action, Gallipoli Peninsula, 2nd November.
Give my love to Mother, and tell her not to worry.
He knew as well as we did his turn had come to die,
And slowly turn down each pallid lid,
Closed up each tender eye;
But although he knew as we did,
He did not dare to sigh.
He only had a rough bed, and yet he did not mind,
For friends were kneeling at his head,
And Death to him was kind.
Oh braver words were never said,
And ‘twould be hard to find.
A man who died as he did,
Who did not fear his fate.
But ah! He made a willing bid, for life and its estate.
But he knew as well as we did,
His bidding came too late.
‘Twas just before the daylight
Broke through the Eastern sky,
His soul passed out into the night
And left us standing by.
He knew the secret of that night,
His turn had come to die.
As Ira was only 18 he needed a parent’s permission to enlist which his father gave unbeknown to his mother. She was unhappy when she found out and obviously distraught when she had heard that Ira died. She never forgave her husband for giving his permission.
Ira was originally buried at the Chailak Dere Cemetery about 1 ½ miles NE of Anzac. After the war, in 1924, the Imperial War Graves Commission went to concentrate the graves in that area but was unable to identify individual graves. The remains that were recovered were moved to the Embarkation Pier Cemetery and Special Memorial headstones were erected with the words “Believed to be buried in this Cemetery, actual grave unknown” inscribed into them.
Date of Death: 2nd November 1915
Age at Death: 18
Cemetery Details: Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Anzac Cove, Special Memorial D 32