In Memory of Tom Smith 1891-1917~Your Hope Is Strong In Us

By
Industry Observer

 Thomas Smith and Granny-da and family

The thousands of miles that separated Thomas Smith from his family and home in the North Bay area of Ontario, Canada, disappeared in his final hours as he recalled his rocky Canadian shield home and the barren landscape of felled forests and clear lakes.
What he would give for one more day to be back home cutting trees as a lumberman rather than dying here in the waste deep mud and wet cold in the battle for Passchendaele, Belgium. The end was so close, on Tom's last day, so close and yet so far.

Tom, my Grannyda's Uncle, died in that mud, better known as the 'slough of despond', on October 26th, 1917. Barely 11 days later the battle was won. 'If only he could have hung on a bit longer', we voice our thoughts as we shake our heads sadly.

He left behind no children; only the families of his siblings and his closest brother, Blakeney Smith, my Great-Grandfather. Today, as we remember, our hearts are sad for you and the thousands of your compatriots who died for the same cause, Tom.

We keep your memory safe with us and have not forgotten you, nor the sacrifice you made so that we, your descendants, might live in peace and security.

If you are able to look down upon us now and hear the conversations of the family who still feels a heavy heart over your death, you will have seen the narrowing of my Father's and my eyes this morning, as we sat remembering in a quiet kitchen while drinking tea and gazing upon all that we have left of you.

You would have seen our heads downcast in sorrow as we talked of your height of 5'11 1/2" and how you were tall and strong and had the blue eyes of your family who came before you.

 Tom Smith British War Medal and Victory MedalYou would have heard my Father exclaim once more, while holding old documents in hand, 'such a tragedy and loss of so many young men and all so far from home.' You would have heard us discuss your grave in Flander's Fields and the memorial there with your name on it. Still so far from home.

You will know, that we who hold your memory strong, hold your medals up to the light and read your name finely engraved on the outside edges, as a feeling of sorrowful pride envelops our hearts and we remember once more, that these were earned , by you.

British War Medal

Victory Medal

We know so little about you.
Of course, we have all of your particulars in government issued, official looking documents, duly stamped and signed, that describe your appearance down to the finest detail and where you were stationed and when you arrived and when of course, you died.

The 'human' element is missing though. What made you, you.
What made you smile, what songs you enjoyed on Sunday evenings after dinner with the rest of the Smith clan in those northern woods you called home.

We know not of your dreams that you held close to your heart or if there was someone back home that you held a candle for in the depths of your being.
Those stories were not recorded by government issued documents. It was only your body and mind they wanted, and this was evidenced in the line of one document where you were 'taken for strength' to fight the next mission as your military history moved forward in fine penmanship on a frail, old paper that we keep safe.

We sit in kitchens and surmise as we gaze upon the seriousness Tom Smith -Passaschendaele and determination of your handsome young face, and in our hearts we know, that not only did you do good, you did good for all of us. We will remember you Thomas Smith, always.

If, in your final hours, the old phrase of your Irish ancestors, 'my hope is strong in thee', crossed your mind while you lay in the cold and mud so far from home, know that your final thoughts sent on a trajectory of time, were received by us and they will live on.
What you fought and gave your life for, your hope for peace and the security of future generations that was etched upon your soul, is strong in us, Tom Smith.
Your unspoken thoughts in your final hours, your hope, will live on through us and the successes you died for, will always remain.
We will remember you , Thomas Smith, we will always remember.

In Memory of Private T SMITH

648824, 58th Bn., Canadian Infantry
(Central Ontario Regiment)
Who died age 27
on 26 October 1917
Son of William Smith, of Teeswater, Ontario.
Remembered with honour

YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL




Commemorated in perpetuity by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission










©2007JoSmith

 

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Rainer
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Julie Neerings~Lifting Hearts ♥ Building Dreams~
Agent Referral - Salt Lake City, UT
Jo-You amaze me with every blog I read of yours.  What an incredible tribute to Tom Smith and how although I didn't know him, because of your words and the profound feeling you put into them, I feel as though I have learned about a man of greatness. 
Nov 11, 2007 07:42 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Joan Mirantz
Homequest Real Estate - Concord, NH
Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire

A beautiful Tribute Jo...So much promise and a family who loved him and remembers.

A face so like the faces flashed nightly at the close of the evening news....it breaks my heart.

Nov 11, 2007 08:15 AM #2
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Jo, What a beautiful tribute and a post that really touched me.  How wonderful that you honor your family in such an incredible post.  I loved that you had pictures and were able to share them.  Thank you for reminding us not only of Private Tom Smith but of all the veterans who served.

Nov 11, 2007 08:39 AM #3
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Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Jo,

Beautifully done. Although the video was a little difficult to view at times.

Nov 11, 2007 09:06 AM #4
Anonymous
BettySmith

 

  Jo-Anne:  Your Dad told me of your blog.  I am his cousin Betty in North Bay.  Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to our great uncle Tom Smith.  I plan to read all your other stories.  I will send this on to my 2 brothers and my daughter.

Nov 11, 2007 10:14 AM #5
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Julie,  Thank you for reading this tribute to a member of my family who died during the  WWl.
So many have given their lives, and give their lives still,  so that we may have the freedoms that we enjoy today, and it is upon each of us to always keep their memory and the hope that they fought for, alive within our hearts.

I believe you are right, he and all of the others are true men and women of greatness.

Jo 

Nov 11, 2007 11:32 AM #6
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Thank you Joan, for visiting and reading this tribute for Tom and the other fallen soldiers.

It breaks my heart too.....I think of my own sons and can't even imagine the pain of loss that was visited upon, and is visited upon to this day, families who've lost loved ones to wars.  Even though he is a distant member of my family and I never knew Tom Smith, I feel such a sense of sorrow and heartache at the loss of his young life on a lonely, muddy field so far from home, so long ago.

Jo 

Nov 11, 2007 11:37 AM #7
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Kris Wales
Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center - Macomb, MI
Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI

The beauty of this post is that the memory of Tom and the many hundreds and thousands of Toms won't be forgotten.  I think they would like that they are never forgotten, and I'm sure Tom would be proud of his family (you) keeping his memory alive.

 

Nov 11, 2007 08:15 PM #8
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Tom Plant
WINEormous.com - Murrieta, CA
Jo - What a lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing a few branches from your family tree with us. I'm not familiar with the term grannyda. Can you enlighten me?
Nov 12, 2007 01:23 AM #9
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Carole,  Thanks so much for stopping by.  The internet is allowing us to do incredible things. I was able to gather information from my Dad about our ancestor Tom Smith, who we've often talked about, and write this memorial for him on Canada's Remembrance Day....coincides with your Veteran's Day.

We have the freedoms that we enjoy today due to those who came before and gave their lives for what they believed in and their hopes for the future. How can we ever thank them enough? We really can't, all we can do now is keep their memory alive. 

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment, 

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 01:57 AM #10
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Good Morning Lynda
thank you for stopping by and reading this post and for your lovely comment. I changed the video to one a bit less graphic, thanks for mentioning it.

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 01:58 AM #11
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Good morning Betty !  It's so nice to see your comment on my blog. Thank you for visiting and reading this post and also for your kind comment. I do remember you well and also remember meeting you at various family functions. My Dad talks about you often and tells me of any news he's heard from you.

Thank you for forwarding this post on to Peter and Larry and to your daughter and also for taking the time to read some of my other stories.

It gave me great pride to write this tribute for Thomas Smith and he will always be remembered by all of us. I'll forward the link on to my brothers and my sons also.

I hope your week is going well,

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 02:04 AM #12
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Kris, Thank you so kindly.

It's my belief that Tom is still with us in spirit and knows that we speak of him and how we have never forgotten the sacrifice he made for all of us.
I believe it would also bring him happiness to know that the war he fought in was a success, thanks to him and all of the other men and women who served alongside him, and that today we enjoy freedom and relative peace.

Thanks for visiting this post,

((-:

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 02:07 AM #13
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Good morning Tom P.,

Thank you for your kind thoughts and words. 
My Dad's side of the family is Irish and the Irish word for Dad is 'Da'  .  We always called our Irish Grandfather (the small blond boy in the picture above) 'Grannyda'....and our Grandmother 'Granny'.

My Mother's side is French-Canadian and I called my French Grandparents 'Mamare' and 'Papare'....

((-:

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 02:10 AM #14
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Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Hi Jo,
I am sure most of us had family that served our country during times of war.  Their service to their country is something that can never be repaid but we can honor and give tribute to them on Veterans Day.  Thank you for sharing the story of your family member and his service to his country.
Nov 12, 2007 06:17 AM #15
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hello Cynthia,  Yes, I believe every family was affected by either WW1 or WW2 or other wars.

Here in Canada, yesterday was Remembrance Day, an equivalent to your Veteran's Day; hence I wanted to post this on Remembrance Day in memory of Tom Smith and all of the others who died serving their country.
I feel it's very  important that we always keep the memory of who they were, the part of them that goes beyond a rank and file number, alive, and take time to talk about them and the sacrifice they made for all of us. This is especially important in the family unit who knew them on a more personal level.

thanks for stopping by,

(-:

Jo 

Nov 12, 2007 06:39 AM #16
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Trace Galle
Designs by Trace - Kelowna, BC

Hi Jo,

What a beautiful tribute to your great great uncle. It so wonderful of your family to keep his memory alive. 

Nov 13, 2007 06:59 AM #17
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Trace !  Thanks a bunch for stopping by and for your lovely comment...greatly appreciated. Yes, we are the ones to keep his memory alive, for he was part of us and therefore we knew him beyond who he was as a soldier.

(-:

Jo 

Nov 13, 2007 07:47 AM #18
Anonymous
melissa
people deserve more then this act called war.
Dec 11, 2007 07:28 AM #19
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Hi Melissa,

I completely agree with you....humans deserve to live in peace and dignity and more than anything, they deserve to be able to live out long and meaningful, happy lives.

Jo 

Dec 11, 2007 10:18 AM #20
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