Collens-Smith, Audrey

Audrey Collens-Smith played her own role during the Second World War…the accordion. Her job was to keep Canadians’ morale high – and to keep them entertained. Teenagers at the time, she and her sister Mary toured military bases on the home front, and played all kinds of events to keep Canadians smiling and dancing. Audrey was born in Toronto on March 28, 1928, and she grew up in the city’s west end. She and her sister took up the accordion when they were quite young, and played together as a duet – the Dew Sisters. During the war they played for many charities, as well as many shows at military camps, Camp Borden in particular. They were one of the “Victory Entertainer” groups; Audrey also tapped with the line dancers (Audrey is featured in a performance in the last segment on this page, showing that she still has it at 92!). Mary married Mike Collens, a veteran, in 1948, and together they raised three daughters, Wendy, Sandra and Patti. Mike and Audrey lived in the Gravenhurst area for many years, as well as owning a cottage and spending time in Florida. Mike passed in 2006; later, Audrey married Gordon E. Smith, also a WW2 veteran whose story can be found on this webpage.
We met Audrey courtesy of the Gravenhurst Royal Canadian Legion and Allan Denne; Scott Masters interviewed Audrey in her home in August 2018.