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Value of History

Heroes Remember

Maybe I was lucky to get wounded. I got home to Sally, and if I, if I hadn't have been wounded, I probably would have killed and there were many officers in my regiment and many other ranks killed. My friends in the infantry were all killed. I, I got quite callous about, when their replacements came up. Well, of course, this is the old story, but you hardly even want to be introduced to the new infantry officers who come in because you know that they're, chances are that they're not going to be around that long, and the artillery officers were almost, the artillery officers at the, back at the guns in this war, didn't take the hammering that they did in the First War. In the First War, the German counter-battery artillery was very effective, so the field gunners were constantly being, constantly being shelled by the, by the German heavy artillery and many, many casualties were suffered by the Canadian Artillery in the First War. The Second World War, the FOOs took a pounding, and there were of course, some casualties at the gun positions, but not, nothing like the First War. So thank God I was in the Second World War, and thank God I wasn't in the infantry and with November the 11th coming up, you know, we are very conscious of the fact that getting wounded was a blessing, that so many others went out the hard way. Well, as you know, history has very little interest to our present educators, and many schools, as far as I can see, don't teach any Canadian History at all. So I'd be delighted if they even know there was a Second World War. Now, unfortunately, it's a one week deal, where there's a little bit of emphasis by a few caring teachers in the first eleven days of November, but after that it's forgotten for the rest of the... I think perhaps, there's, the cycle is going around, there seems to be more interest in stories of Veterans from the First World War and the Second World War now. I would like there to be remembrances and I think the War Museum will serve that purpose.

Mr. Smith reflects on how he feels. He was lucky to have been wounded, for if he hadn't have been, he would likely have been killed. He gives his thoughts on the value of history.

Arthur Britton “Britt” Smith

Mr. Smith was born on May 13th, 1920 in Kingston, Ontario. His father was a lawyer, and Mr. Smith was headed to the law firm at a very young age to follow in his father's foot steps when he decided to branch over and become an army officer with the 32nd Battery at the age of 15. Mr. Smith climbed the ranks quickly, becoming a signal sergeant by his 18th birthday. Educated on what was happening throughout Europe, Mr. Smith was not surprised when he heard of the outbreak of war in 1939, and within a year of the declaration, his unit was overseas undergoing artillery training. While in Europe, Mr. Smith's unit became a vital part of the Normandy Campaign, fighting on the dangerous and unforgiving battlefields of France. After the Dieppe raid of 1942, Mr. Smith was promoted to Captain at the young age of 22, carrying the weight and responsibility for 85 men. Mr. Smith's military career was ended abruptly in 1944 when he was wounded in action on the Verriere Ridge in France. Upon arrival home Mr. Smith was awarded the military medal and was finally able to marry his childhood sweetheart Sally. Mr. Smith returned to law school and became a lawyer, creating a home for himself and his wife in Kingston, Ontario.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Arthur Britton “Britt” Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
4th Field Regiment
Gunnery Officer

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