Romain and Gilbert Smith.

Romain Smith was born in 1891 at Waterloo near Beaufort.

Romain saw active service during World War 1 after enlisting on 2 February 1915 at Bendigo (#696). He described his occupation as government fencer.

He joined the 22nd Battalion AIF and embarked on 8 May 1915.

His army records show that Romain got into a bit of strife on a couple of occasions with his superiors and lost a few days pay.

On 29 September 1915 Romain was admitted to hospital with abdominal pain. A few days later he was admitted to St David’s hospital in Malta where he was diagnosed with colitis. On 1 February he was diagnosed with paratyphoid and enteric fever and invalided back to Australia on 11 April 1916. He was discharged on 9 March 1917.

Romain’s younger brother, Gilbert, was born at Waterloo in 1889.

On 15 September 1914 Gilbert enlisted in the 14th Battalion (#787) at Ballarat.

He listed his profession as public servant. A letter on his file from the State Forest Department and signed by the conservator Hugh Robert MacKay giving him leave to join the army, stated that Gilbert had been an overseer of fencing for a period of four years before enlisting.

On 3 July 1915 Gilbert returned to Alexandria aboard the Dunluce Castle suffering from enteric fever and on 5 September 1915 he embarked at Port Said aboard HMAT Ascanius departing Suez and arrived back in Melbourne on 4 October 1915 still suffering enteric fever.

He returned to military duty 4 January 1916. On 10 May 1916 he reattested as his original paperwork was missing.

He transferred to 39th Battalion and was promoted to sergeant on 1 May 1916.

Gilbert embarked from Melbourne on the HMAT Ascanius on 27 May 1916 bound for Egypt.

On 23 November 1916 Gilbert proceeded to France via Southhampton but was wounded in action on 31 January 1917 by a gunshot wound to the right leg. He was taken to England via Bologna on the ship Princess Elizabeth on 11 February 1917.

Gilbert was admitted to the 3rd Army General Hospital with a severe compound fracture, and on 27 September 1917, he returned to Australia and was discharged from the army on 28 February 1918.

After the war, the two brothers, Gilbert and Romain Smith didn’t return to Forest Department but were awarded the contract to deliver mail from the Upper Ferntree Gully Station to Belgrave via Upwey, a distance of three miles, six times weekly, by motor vehicle, at £25 per annum. The contract ran from 17th April 1919 to 30th June 1920.

Following this initial tender another was given solely to Romain Smith for a further 3 years for a daily service terminating on 30 June 1923.

Romain passed away on 30 August 1945 at Frankston.

Gilbert died at Heidelberg in 1957 aged 68.

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