Major Neville Smethurst graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in December 1956 and was allotted to the Royal Australian Infantry. He saw service in Malaya, Borneo and the Arctic before Joining the 7th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment in January, 1969. He arrived in South Vietnam with his battalion in February 1970.
As the Battalion Second-in-Command, Major Smethurst has set a high example of leadership and impeccable performance of duty. His energy, thoroughness and loyalty have earned the respect of all ranks of his Battalion.
On a number of occasions, he has, during the absence of the Commanding Officer, assumed command of the Battalion and shown sound judgement and quick positive action during a number of contacts with the enemy.
Major Smethurst commanded an Infantry Company for a period of three months on continuous operations. During this period, the company consucted a deliberate attack on a large enemy bunker system in the SOng Rai area. The planning,command and execution of this operation were faultless, and have been used since as a pattern for similar attacks.
His example and devotion to duty throughout the whole of his tour in South Vietnam reflect great credit upon himself, his Battalion and the Australian Army.