b. 06/08/1916 Nottingham Road, South Africa. d. 10/1997 Durban, South Africa.
Smythe was born on 6 August 1916, the grandson of the penultimate Prime Minister of Natal, Charles Smythe and was educated at Estcourt High School. At the start of the war he served with the 1st Natal Carabineers against the Italians before being moved to North Africa.
For conspicuous gallantry in action in the Alem Hamza area on the 5th June, 1942.
During the attack on an enemy strong point in which his officer was severely wounded; Sergeant Smythe took command of the platoon although suffering from a shrapnel wound in the forehead. The strong point having been overrun, our troops came under enfilade fire from an enemy machine-gun nest. Realising the threat to his position, Sergeant Smythe himself stalked and destroyed the nest with hand grenades, capturing, the crew. Though weak from loss of blood, he continued to lead the advance, and on encountering an anti-tank gun position again attacked it single-handed and captured the crew. He was directly responsible for killing several of the enemy, shooting some and bayonetting another as they withdrew.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: DURBAN CREMATORIUM, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA.
Quentin Smythe's medals including VC on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London (August 2014).
Constitution Hill, London
(Picture - Thomas Stewart).