Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith

LCDR Francis Edward Smith

Lieutenant Commander Francis Edward Smith was HMAS Yarra’s first Lieutenant and was also lost in her sinking.

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 recalled 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.

His actions as officer of quarters of No. 3 gun had received high praise during previous actions.