Sunday, 6 September 2015

Lost Too Soon: David Smith

Leslie & David abt 1943
Remembering today my father David Smith, who would have been 75 this year 16th February, but who was taken too soon, 26 November 2003.

He was born 16 February 1940, Dartford, Kent, England to Lilian and Leslie Smith. Both Lilian and Leslie were staunch Salvationists.
Lilian, Leslie and baby David 1940
Leslie was sadly killed in the Second World War and Lilian and David emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Asturias 4 June 1949. Leslie's brother Frank had emigrated to Australia arriving aboard the Largs Bay in 1934.It had been Leslie's dream to visit his brother and Lilian decided to do so in search of a better life in Australia after the rigors of a post-war England. Life was still difficult in Australia and David was placed in the Salvation Army home in Goulburn while Lilian worked at the People's Palace in Sydney. She was able to eventually find work in Goulburn.

Housing was difficult to find in the post-war period in Australia and it took quite a while as evidenced by the newspaper report in the Goulburn Evening Post May 1951 where she is making application for a home that had been left to the Salvation Army, a Returned Serviceman was also applying for the home. She had found work there but not a home where they could be reunited. Lilian was successful in her application to rent a home that had been deeded to the Salvation Army in Goulburn and they were able to be reunited.

They dug up the large back garden and planted vegetables and carnations plus had a productive hen house. When the crops were ready Lilian would take a string bag into work and sell the produce and eggs. Dad would talk sometimes about making the special warm mash for the chickens so they stayed laying through the cold Goulburn winters.

Originally they sold the flowers to the market until David decided to talk to the local restaurants and then he established a flower run along with his newspaper run. 

He also earned money by collecting beer bottles and handing them into the bottle depot. The bakery behind their home still used horses at that time to deliver the bread daily and his other job after school each day was to muck out the stables, some of which went to fertilise their garden.

Unfortunately later some of the money he earned went to support the smoking habit which he started in 1953.

Christmas Day 1953 Lilian's father Robert Henry Philpott died and in 1954 Lilian and David travelled back to England to visit with family.

David with his dog before they went back to England 1953

After the year with the family they returned to Australia. David joined the New South Railways as a porter and gradually worked his way up to shunter. He had wanted to be called up for National Service and when this didn't happen he joined the Army instead in 1958 and gets transferred to Brisbane
David Smith 1960 3RAR Enoggera Qld
He met Violet Busby at a church picnic and spent some time with her on the drive home as she had gotten travel sick on the bus. He drove her home and they started dating and in March 1961 they married.

David Smith & Violet Noreen Busby March 1961

From there they would start their new life.

Today Father's Day in Australia, remembering my father David Smith lost too soon.