Gordon E. Smith was born in Humber Bay, Toronto, on March 19, 1925. He grew up in Depression-era Toronto, and left school, working on the family farm and a machine shop. In 1944, Gord joined up, knowing that he was soon to be called by the military. Initially he joined the Artillery, and completed his basic training in Toronto and Petawawa. While there he opted to join the paratroopers, and he was one of five to pass the physical test. The next stops would be Winnipeg and Shilo, Manitoba where airborne training took place and Gord earned his wings. From there, Gord was sent to the Far east for a short stint in the India/Burma theatre, where further airborne training occurred. By this time, D-Day was on the way, and Gord relocated to Europe and began night jump training. He was the Number 5 in his group, the #1 Bren Gunner, and between him and the next man the ammunition and gun containers were dropped. On one of the practice jumps the ammo container hit Gord midair, collapsing his chute. He fell to the ground unconscious, only coming to in the hospital later on. He found out that he had broken his leg and back, and the doctors put him into a body and leg cast, which he wore for the next ten months. Gord was sent to a convalescent hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, until sent home on a hospital ship in July 1945. The 172 pound fit young man came out of that time at 127 pounds. He was discharged from the army in September 1945, when he began to readjust to life, eventually joining the fire department.
We met Gord courtesy of Allan Denne and the Royal Canadian Legion, and Scott Masters interviewed him and his wife Audrey Collens-Smith in their home in Gravenhurst in August 2018.
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