Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sepia Saturday - War and Peace - Week 1 - Smiths in WWI

My great grandmother, Isabella Frances Parker Smith, saw two of her five sons go overseas from Canada to fight for King and Country during WWI. These must have felt like very long years.

This is my Great Uncle, Herbert Austin Smith. All I know about his service is that he was captured by the Germans and held prisoner for some time.

Before Uncle Herb shipped out, he visited his sister, Frances Ruth Smith, at prep-school, King's Hall Compton, in Lenoxville, Quebec. There Herb met her Principal, Miss Joll, who so approved of him that she declared a school holiday when word came that he had been freed from the POW camp.

Miss Joll

My grandfather, George Washington Smith, also served in WWI.

He enlisted on August 18, 1917 at the age of 19 and was discharged on July 11, 1919 at 21.

My mother was always under the impression that he worked in the "motor-pool" during World War I and saw no combat. He was still overseas after Armistice Day and spent his 21st birthday, February 22, 1919, delivering a truck back to its unit and waiting for a train back to his own unit. An entry in his WWII service file, however, indicates that he was a machine-gunner.

It will be a while before I can find out more. While his WWII file was available through the mail after a wait of about five months, both his and Uncle Herb's WWI files are being digitized as part of a huge undertaking by Library & Archives Canada. They are working through the "M"s now, according to their last update. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will see their files by the end of 2017.