Saturday, 22 January 2011

Smokey Smith

Today, i want to talk about the greatest solider of the entire war: Smokey Smith. Well, his real name was Earnest, but he was nicknamed Smokey because when he ran track he kicked up smoke. 

Smokey was from Vancouver, and at the outbreak of world war two, joined up with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, a regiment based there. His regiment was deployed as part of Operation Torch (The allied invasion of occupied North Africa) and carried on right up through Italy. Smokey and the Highlanders fought in the famous Battle Of Ortona where the Germans literally launched buildings at the Canadians, who despite being outnumbered more then 2-to-1, still managed to beat the odds and take the village by storm. Smokey claimed that during this battle he took out seven Germans with six bullets after they pinned him down in a room of an abandoned building.

Once Ortona was safely in Canadian hands, they headed North to the Moro river. It was pouring down with rain and the river was incredibly strong so the Germans relaxed their defenses, thinking that the Canadians would never attempt a crossing in this weather. However, the Seaforth Highlanders had other ideas and swimming across the river, they took the German position.

Smokey's real claim to fame came when him and his friend were wounded after crossing the river. Smokey had two bullets in him, but was still on his feet. His friend on the other hand had been taken down. The pair were alone and pinned down by a German tank, which Smokey quickly dispatched. However, the Germans called in reinforcements, 2 more tanks and 10 soldiers... which Smokey also promptly took out. His actions at the Moro river earned him the Victoria Cross, but his fun wasn't over. He remained with his regiment for the rest of the war, they went on to take the rest of Italy with time left over to free The Netherlands.

Smokey returned to active service during the Korean War however was kept from the front lines due to his iconic status, however, he snuck into combat, only to be discovered and returned to base after only a few hours.

His latter days were spent back in and around Vancouver until his death in August 2005. He was the last surviving Canadian recipient of the victoria cross.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, nice one Zac. Sarah smiled ear to ear when she saw this.