Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

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    Seaforth Highlander
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    Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

    Post by Seaforth Highlander on Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:05 am

    I am happy to report that I negotiated with the family of Sgt. E. A. "Smokey" Smith, Victoria Cross and last year they passed three of his uniforms to me to distribute to museums as I saw fit. All three were 1950s vintage {family says there are no WWII uniforms] with the VC ribbon etc. when he served with the Black Watch. He won his VC with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in WWII. He joined the Seaforths in ancouver rather than his hometown Westminster Regiment becuase he did not want to serve under his former teachers (many teachers held milita commissions.) He rejoined the Canadian Army for the Korean War but they would not allow him to go into combat but held him back for recruiting duties. Why did he join the Black Watch? His daughter says it was because he believed that if he joined a western regiment, that he would have to go on parade a lot and he HATED parades. I will say that I knew Smokey but can't claim him as a friend because I was an officer and he hated officers!

    1. Cutaway service dress - Given to the New Westminster Museum and Archives because Smokey was born and raised in New Westminster, BC. They also have his Freeedom of the City scroll and he wore this jacket when he received it in 1958. I was Manager of the NW Museum 2005-2011.
    2. Summer tan uniform - given to the Black Watch Museum in Montreal. Lots of RHC insinia on it.
    3. Patrol Blues - To the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada Museum and Archives. Least amount of "offensive" (regimental pride you know) Black Watch insignia. I was Curator of the Seaforth Museum at this time.

    By the way the museum also has Smokey's Victoria Cross group and a post-war BD blouse of LtCol Cec Merritt, VC when he was commanding the Seaforths.

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    Colin Stevens

    mk1rceme
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    Re: Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

    Post by mk1rceme on Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:20 pm

    Pictures! Need pictures! lol!

    Really though, if you get a chance please take a few pics of the uniforms.


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    Seaforth Highlander
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    Re: Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

    Post by Seaforth Highlander on Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:49 pm

    I took lots of photos of the Smokey Smith VC uniforms including some with Smokey's daughter to help authenticate them. I shall see about posting some photos.

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    Colin Stevens

    ledfut
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    Re: Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

    Post by ledfut on Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:56 am

    Great post!

    I too had the privilege just last year of getting to take a look at some of the militaria from Smokey Smith's estate. I followed up on a posting on eBay listed from my former home town. I was curious to see what the connection was with this person posting items from Smokey Smith's estate and my home town. It turns out, the seller was Smokey's granddaughter. The family was in the process of trying to sell off much of his remaining militaria (most of the best stuff had already gone to museums). She invited me out to have a look at what she had.

    Lots of great stuff, but much of it not for sale at that point as the family (daughter, granddaughter, grandson) was unsure of what to price things at. There were many photos and VC reunion programs (with MANY VC signatures) as well as several uniform items. Some of the uniform items would have most likely went with the uniforms you aquired. I do remember a few post-war caps, including a Black Watch tam and a nice glengarry, as well as some miscellaneous highland items (hose, spats, sporran, etc.). The caps were missing all insignia, but you could clearly see where the red hackle was worn on the tam. None of these items were for sale at that time (though the tam did end up on eBay shortly after), but I was still very grateful that the family took the time to show them to me. We had a very nice visit, and I was able to learn more about the man that Smokey was.

    I was fortunate enough to pick up several fantastic items that now have a special place in my collection:



    The first is a beautifully framed 19x15 photo of Smokey receiving the VC. The daughter confirmed that Smokey had this photo on the wall in his home in Vancouver. The second photo is a small 5x7 photo of Smokey on one of his return trips to Italy. It shows Smokey visiting the grave of an old friend. Of all the items I looked at, this small but poignant photo moved me the most. The last item is a Veterans Affairs name tag worn by Mr. Smith on his trip to Cessena, Italy in October of 2004 for the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the night of October 21-22, 1944.

    I am honoured to have these items in my collection and am am just trying to do my part to help preserve the memory/history of a truly great Canadian!

    mk1rceme
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    Re: Smokey Smith, VC uniforms now in 3 museums

    Post by mk1rceme on Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:44 pm

    Very Nice! Your extremely lucky to have those items.


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