Master (Lieutenant R.N.R.)SMITH, ARCHIBALD BISSET

Died 10/03/1917

Aged 38

S.S. "Otaki" (Plymouth)
Mercantile Marine

V C

Citation

An extract from "The London Gazette," dated 24th May, 1919, records the following

"Otaki"

For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the S.S. , on the 10th March, 1917. "At about 2.30 p.m. on 10th March, 1917, the S.S., whose armament consisted of one 4.7 in. gun for defensive purposes, sighted the disguised German raider "Moewe", which was armed with four 5.9 in., one 4.1 in. and two 22 pdr. guns, and two torpedo tubes. The "Moewe" kept the under observation for some time and finally called upon her to stop. This Lieutenant Smith refused to do, and a duel ensued at ranges of 1,900 - 2,000 yards, and lasted for about 20 minutes. During this action the scored several hits on the "Moewe", causing considerable damage, and starting a fire which lasted for three days. She sustained several casualties and received much damage herself, and was heavily on fire. Lieutenant Smith, therefore, gave orders for the boats to be lowered to allow the crew to be rescued. He remained on the ship himself and went down with her when she sank with the British colours still flying, after what was described in an enemy account as "a duel as gallant as naval history can relate."

Commemorated at TOWER HILL MEMORIAL

Location: London, United Kingdom
Number of casualties: 36081

See cemetery plan
Memorial details

CWGC Archives

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Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.
DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.