Feel Like Such a Groupie...

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Rocketeer, Mar 12, 2005.

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  1. couple of my pals called up and invited me to lunch at ' The Club '.. well, never one to turn down a chance to have snooty waiters serve my miserly portions at inflated prices and to quaff alcohol at obscenely inflated prices, I dug out my regimental blazer and tie and headed off...

    Was surprised that it wasn't going to be the usual sit down and natter, but an ' event ' with a guest of honour..

    thrilled to meet the object of attention.. One Pte Smokey Smith, VC...

    Still feisty, though relegated to a wheelchair, and obviously enjoying the attention he's been receiving of late as we recall the last days of WWII and VE Day coming up...

    Smokey was with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade, trying to establish a bridgehead on the northwest bank of the Savio River...The Germans had embedded positions and heavy armour which kept the Canadians pinned down..The Seaforths had a platoon of 16 soldiers organized into 8 PIAT teams.. simple tactics, break the enemy tanks' treads with Hawkins grenades and then blow the tanks with the PIAT.

    The Germans send down 4 Mk V Panthers, two self-propelled guns and 30 infantry.. Smokey takes one team across an open field to where they can get a good shot after Hawkins are deployed across a road where the tanks have to travel... They manage to get the lead vehicle,, a staff car, and a self-propelled gun..but a Panther comes up and takes out Smokey's partner, already wounded in the face by shrapnel, with a burst of machine gun fire. Smokey fires from 30 feet disabling the tank,10 Germans jump off the tank and advance on him firing , Smokey stands in the middle of the road and returns fire with his tommy gun and manages to drive them back, a second tank opens up and more infantry advance.. Smokey dives into the ditch where his pal lies injured, grabs his ammo , reloads and jumps back up firing driving the enemy back , again.. He then drags his buddy to safety behind a nearby farm building and resets for more tanks, he's able to advance to a German army kitchen and nets 56 prisoners, by this time re-inforcements arrive and he's able to capture, with their help, more Germans bringing his total to 150 ...

    To hear him talk about it, it was nothing special, just instinct and presence of mind and a little desire to stop being shot at [ they orginally had been pinned on the riverbank for 24 hours ]

    it will probably take 60 years for similar stories from GWII to filter out into ' acceptable dinner conversation '...
     
  2. Smokey is quite a guy. His award is for the action on the road, and keeping the tanks at bay, not the prisoner capture.

    The German tanks just gave up and backed away. They couldn't believe it was only one guy apparently.

    He was Pte when that happened, but actually finished as a Sgt.

    After the war he got out for a while, then rejoined. I guess when you have a VC you can do pretty much what you want, and he served in the Vancouver recruiting office until he retired, a Seaforth the whole time.

    He's one of few remaining Canadian VC holders. Thanks to Trudeau not many Canadians will be getting any more.
    They can share the Star of Courage with Stewardesses who don't freak out when a passenger ac takes a big fall in an air pocket.
     
  3. I've scanned some pages about it from the Seaforth history, if you are interested

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    a picture of "Private Smith" at home in the Armoury:

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  4. Words fail me... Wow! I'll raise a glass to him tonight...
     
  5. I've never been in the presence of a VC holder, but even seeing the medals mounted in the Museum is a humbling experience.

    'For Valour' is one of the best books I have....... Every single one of these fella's must have had balls the size of a dumper truck.
     
  6. I completely agree... Most of the stories move me to tears: The spirit of mankind at its best.
     
  7. I knew Nobby S***** the HQ NI bomb bloke. He got GM for not letting the bstrds demolish the Excelsior Hotel in Belfast. They came in and put a bomb on reception. He took it outside and dealt with it. They brough one with anti-tilt and he slid it onto table top to take it outside. They came in with another, spread a big pool of super glue on the counter and banged the box down on that. He dismantled it in situ.
    You've never met a more unassuming or normal seeming bloke. I think he not only saw it as his duty but as a personal challenge. Not as if he didn't know what could happen - I helped him on two occasions to pick up bits of his lads.
     
  8. A very special man.