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Author Topic: Captain Edwin Smith, first Canadian to have "Royal Commission" in Royal Navy?  (Read 542 times)

Jen.j.rubio

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Hi, am working on a book (http://www.rocksmills.com/ontario-years-1918-1921.html). An important person named Edwin Smith plays a role in this journal. The journal is written by the Canadian author of Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery. She describes Captain Smith as follows in a journal entry of Sept. 21, 1919. I am trying to get some kind of corroboration and any further information! Did this really happen? Any help much appreciated!:

[...]

Captain Smith stayed until Wednesday and we enjoyed his visit very much.

About twenty years ago Edwin Smith was the minister in Kensington and Long River. I never met him but as the Park Corner folks were in his congregation I heard of him frequently through them. I always felt a certain unusual interest in him because it was hinted abroad that he was a writer of articles and so I felt professionally akin. He was then a young man, lately married, very handsome and clever. The first time I saw him was on the occasion of a meeting of Presbytery in Cavendish during the “church row.”

Fan Wise and I were standing in the hall porch looking at the ministers on the platform, Edwin Smith among them. “That man is too good looking to be a minister,” whispered Fan. Later on he preached in the new church on the occasion of Ewan’s induction there. He was then settled at Cardigan; after that he went out to Alberta and when the war broke out was settled in Tilsonburg, Ontario.

He had always had a hobby for sailing and wherever possible he kept a yacht. He had studied navigation and qualified as a captain. When the war broke out he offered his services to the British admiralty and was accepted. For four years he has been an officer in the British navy, commanding a flotilla of submarine chasers. galore and did such good work generally that he was personally thanked and decorated by the king." [...]
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PhiloNauticus

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Finding an officer named Smith in WW1 is not easy....  and there were several Edwin Smiths... However, I have found an article in the Daily Mirror Newspaper of 25 July 1916 with a picture of a naval officer, with the caption that it was the Reverend Edwin Smith of Ontario, Canada, who had temporarily left the church to join the British Navy.
This means that he will be the Edwin Smith was commissioned as a Temporary Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve 8 June 1916.  He is shown as in command of Motor Launch 397 from September 1916.  Promoted to Lieutenant RNVR 8 June 1917, from end-1917 to 1918 he was in command of ML-172. 

Not a captain then, but a Lieutenant RNVR

I have not found any particular decoration that he was awarded.  I doubt that he would have been the first Canadian to be commissioned in the RN
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Jen.j.rubio

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Thank you very much for this information! My goodness, I cannot imagine how you found it but I am really grateful. I am trying to find that Daily Mirror article online. If you let me have your full details I will thank you in the acknowledgements ... I need to think about how to reword my footnote based on this information ...
Thank you again!!!
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PhiloNauticus

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I have sent a private message with e-mail address;  I can send you a copy of the article

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