Smyth, Irvine Johnston

Smyth, Irvine Johnston (Irvine)

Second Lieutenant

6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Killed in action on Friday 3 September 1915 (aged 23)

Buried:

Green Hill Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey (Grave I. C. 22)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Newtownards and District War Memorial

Methodist College Belfast

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor

BIOGRAPHY

Irvine Johnston Smyth was born on 18 December 1891 in Hill Street, Lurgan and he was the eldest son of the Rev William Henry Smyth and Mary Jemima Ruskell (sometimes Russell) Smyth (nee Johnston).  Mary Johnston was a daughter of the Rev Irvine Johnston and she and William Henry Smyth were married on 11 September 1890 in Donaghadee Methodist Church where Mary’s father ministered from 1890 until 1893.  Later the Rev Irvine Johnston lived in Donaghadee Road, Bangor.

The Rev William Henry Smyth ministered in University Road and Carlisle Memorial Methodist Churches in Belfast and Wesley’s Chapel Cork.  Irvine Smyth’s paternal grandfather, James Smyth, lived in Newtownards.

The Rev William Henry Smyth and Mary Jemima Ruskell Smyth (nee Johnston) had three children:

Irvine Johnston (born 18 December 1891 in Hill Street, Lurgan)

James Coulter (born 3 October 1893 at 67 Heytesbury Street, Dublin; awarded an OBE; died 19 October 1972)

William Henry (born 5 December 1896 at 123 Sunday’s Well, Cork; died 15 June 1982)

Irvine Smyth was educated at Methodist College Belfast and at Wesley College Dublin and prior to the Great War he worked in the Civil Service in Dublin.  He enlisted and served with the 6th Battalion Black Watch Territorials before obtaining a commission in the 6th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in December 1914.  He served in 31st Brigade of the 10th (Irish) Division.

Second Lieutenant Irvine Smyth survived the landing at Suvla Bay in August 1915 but was killed in action on 3 September 1915 when bringing the machine-gun section of the Battalion into action during a period of heavy shelling by the enemy.  A brother officer wrote to Irvine’s father to express his sympathy and in the letter he commended Irvine’s skill in placing his guns and setting the range.  He said that officers from other regiments would come to see how Irvine placed his guns and to check their ranges by Irvine’s calculations.  He also commended Irvine’s coolness under fire and his bravery when going into the open to help comrades who had been wounded.

Second Lieutenant Irvine Smyth was 23 when he died and he was buried in Green Hill Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey.  There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST

Second Lieutenant Irvine Smyth is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Methodist College Belfast; in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 597) and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor.

His father, the Rev William Henry Smyth MA, died on 14 July 1949 (aged 85) and his mother, Mary Ruskell Smyth, died on 20 August 1950 (aged 88).

His father-in-law, the Rev Irvine Johnston, died on 11 March 1911 (aged 88) and his mother-in-law, Irvina Johnston, died on 3 April 1922 (aged 90).