The funeral of Royal Navy war veteran and Maurice House resident Reginald Smith will be held this Friday (February 16) at Thanet Crematorium at 1pm.
All service Standards are welcome to attend as Reg, who was 102, is laid to rest.
Reg was born in Walthamstow, East London, on 26th July 1921 and was always keen to join the Royal Navy. He spent a little while in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve until he was called up to the Royal Navy in August 1939, just days after his 18th birthday.
After training at Chatham, Reg, Yeoman of Signals, was assigned to the Admiral’s staff and moved between ships with the Admiral, serving on various King George V Class vessels including HMS Duke of York, but most of the time on his beloved HMS King George V.
His ship was involved in a number of actions but most of his tales were about the Arctic convoys, which were designed to make sure that vital supplies got through to the eastern allies.
It was clear from any chat with Reg about his past that King George V was a major highlight in his life. In particular he liked the camaraderie.
When the job of the Artic convoys was mostly done, volunteers were invited for a ‘special operation’ and after further special training he was landed on the Normandy beaches on D- Day+1. His senior officer, sitting next to him on the landing craft, was shot, so Reg took the map, and the lead, as they landed on Juno beach with the Canadians. And from the beaches Reg made his way through France and Germany until he was demobbed in Hamburg in January 1946.
His work on the convoys was recognised by the Russian government who awarded him the Admiral Ushakov Medal: a high Russian award for courage and bravery. For his achievements in helping with the liberation of France, Reg was awarded the French Legion of Honour; the highest French decoration and one of the most famous medals in the world.
Reg celebrated his 100th , 101st and 102nd birthdays at The British Legion’s Maurice House in Broadstairs where he lived his last seven years until he died on January 17th , surrounded by his family.