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Ack-Ack on the Monacher of Bermuda

Heroes Remember

Ack-Ack on the Monacher of Bermuda

Interviewer: Do you remember when you set sail from Halifax? Oh, it must have been June. I went over, the, the ship I went on was the, the, was the Monacher Bermuda, and they still carried civilians, so we had a state room. Myself and two other fellas, friends of mine, we had a state room. And they, they put us on ack-ack because they had a dummy funnel in the ship, it was a dummy, so he put us on up there in ack-ack and the, the one reason they put us up on ack-ack was because I was one of the only guys who knew anything about a Lewis machine gun. And I'd learned that in New Westminster where my father belonged to a reserve when he went up there in, to do the thing, you know, the, the reserves thing, I used to go sit there as a kid and watch. I knew all about a Lewis machine gun, it was a terrible machine gun. But they knew I knew about it.

Smokey talks about heading overseas on the Monacher of Bermuda and why he was assigned to the ack-ack.

Ernest “Smokey” Smith

Ernest “Smokey” Smith VC, CD, was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, on May 3, 1914, and was educated in elementary and technical schools there. He was the second of five children having an older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Both brothers served in and survived the Second World War. Smokey left his work with a contracting firm to enlist with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in March of 1940 and began basic training with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto. He went on to complete his training at Camp Borden before sailing out of Halifax in June of that same year on the Monarcher of Bermuda, heading for Europe and joining the regiment overseas a few months later. Smokey was injured while fighting in Sicily, but returned to battle a few months later in Italy. He was a private when he won the Victoria Cross, Canada's highest award for valour, at the Savio River in Italy on October 21-22, 1944. After the war, Smokey left the Army for a short time, but rejoined and served until August 1964, when he retired and was released with the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military Smokey and his wife established the Smith Travel Agency in Vancouver. In 1995, Smokey was appointed to the Order of Canada. At the time of his death on Aug. 5, 2005 Smokey Smith was the last surviving Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ernest “Smokey” Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Seaforth Highlanders

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