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From England to Sicily

Heroes Remember

From England to Sicily

Interviewer: Did you know where you were going? We knew that we weren't going back to the south of England. By this time we figured we were going, you know, something was going on. Interviewer: Had they issued you with new equipment, or uniforms? No, no, we had the same thing. Oh we had, we ended up with shorts, and puttees. We just said, where are we going with shorts and puttees? And the shorts we brought out, after we landed in Sicily, we just threw them away, and the puttees, because with the shorts you'd lay there and the ants would chew your legs to ribbons, so we got rid of the shorts right quick. And the puttees you, you know, who wore puttees in those days, they were terrible. Interviewer: How many days were you at sea, from Glasgow to Sicily? I figure we were thirty, but it seemed like sixty. They kept going back, they kept going, they were in the Atlantic and they, they'd go way South and it'd be nice and warm and then they'd turn around and come back. And they were all wandering around to join up together, cause it was a big convoy, you know, a big, more ships, then they went right through to Gibraltar. Interviewer: So it was a straight run through the Straits of Gibraltar right into Sicily. Yeah, right into Sicily. Interviewer: Were you, do you recall being intercepted at any time by either... Well, you could hear them at night, you know, if a ship got torpedoed you'd hear the thump, you know, bang, and, and so we had, we had, I think at that time we had control of the air, which made us very lucky. (Yes.) Quite, a few of those ships got torpedoed. Some of them got torpedoed off Gibraltar, and I think most of them got ashore, and a bunch of them got torpedoed, ended up in Africa.

Smokey talks about his journey from England to Sicily

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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