Nov 112011
Today’s moment of reflection at 11.00am on the 11/11/11 gives us a chance to remember and thank all those who have served and those who continue to serve in the military.
Today I am particularly thinking of my grandfather Leslie Smith who died during WW2. He was serving in the Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders when he was injured in a training accident, became a quadriplegic and died of his injuries 14 December 1944.
1813543, Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders
Husband of Lilian Smith, father of David, of Crayford, Kent.

Remembered with honour
Inveresk Parish Churchyard Scotland

Unfortunately we don’t have a photo of Leslie in uniform.  Leslie died when my father was four years old so he had no real memories of his father. My Grandmother died when I was 12 and she never spoke of her husband to me and only rarely spoke of her life in England. 
In  many ways Leslie was never quite a solid, real person to me. Certainly I knew some things about him, he was a qualified cabinet maker who was halfway through an Antique Restorers’ apprenticeship when war was declared.  
He was very good with his hands and rode a motorcycle with a side-car for grandma. He was in the Salvation Army band. He had a sense of humour which was demonstrated during a meal with his new in-laws when he had set up a magnet under the table and when they reached for the salt and pepper shakers he would move them away. He made a beautiful doll’s house as a present for Dad’s cousin Jean during the war, which I have been lucky enough to see and admire.

When I spoke with some of my father’s relatives their memory of Leslie was that “he was a lovely man, always ready to help anyone”
This loss of people and family and their future potential lives together is the saddest thing about war and the loss of life.
Leslie, Lilian and David Smith about 1940 Dartford Kent.
But we will remember them and they will live on.

  2 Responses to “Remembrance Day 11th November”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I love the bit about the salt and pepper shakers!

  2. You are so right Helen, the loss of opportunity and family is one of the true tragedies of war. How terribly sad for your father. I love the fact that some tangible record of his skill survives in the doll's house….a true family heirloom.

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