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August 04, 2005

Smokey Smith, VC, RIP.

Canada's Last Surviving Holder of the Victoria Cross no longer survives, having packed his kit and hit the road to Fiddler's Green.

I mentioned Private Smith in this post on the PIAT, the weapon he used during the fight that resulted in his Victoria Cross.

Under heavy fire from the approaching enemy tanks, Private Smith, showing great initiative and inspiring leadership, led his P.I.A.T.(1) Group of two men across an open field to a position from which the P.I.A.T. could best be employed. Leaving one man on the weapon, Private Smith crossed the road with a companion and obtained another P.I.A.T. Almost immediately an enemy tank came down the road firing its machine-guns along the line of the ditches. Private Smith's comrade was wounded. At a range of thirty feet and having to expose himself to the full view of the enemy, Private Smith fired the P.I.A.T. and hit the tank, putting it out of action. Ten German infantry immediately jumped off the back of the tank and charged him with Schmeissers and grenades. Without hesitation Private Smith moved out on the road and with his Tommy gun at point-blank range, killed four Germans and drove the remainder back. Almost immediately another tank opened fire and more enemy infantry closed in on Smith's position. Obtaining some abandoned Tommy gun magazines from a ditch, he steadfastly held his position, protecting his comrade and fighting the enemy with his Tommy gun until they finally gave up and withdrew in disorder.

The Canadians Militant of the blogs Brigaded under the Red Ensign are noting PIAT Gunner Smith's passing.

Damian at Babbling Brooks.
Andrew, at Bound By Gravity.
Sue, at Turning 30-and-a-Half.
Nicholas at Quotulatiousness.

Of course, Matt at Blackfive is on it.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

H/t to Damian. *Someone* is falling down on their job around here!