Medals from the Collection of the late Eric Smith
Eric Smith (1928 - 2008)
Offered for sale today is the first selection from the collection of my friend Eric Smith, who sadly passed away on 21 December 2008. Eric was not that well known in the medal world but he was a great enthusiast for the hobby and compiler of records.
His interests were many and varied, as his collection demonstrates, and includes World War II casualties, a fine series of George VI Naval LS & GC awards, Indian campaign medals to both soldiers and followers, medals to women and anything else that caught his eye.
Eric, born on 4 May 1928, was from south London and, after working as an office boy at the BBC during the latter years of the last War, joined the Royal Navy and saw active service off the coast of Palestine and also in the Suez Canal area. He remained an enthusiast of the navy for the rest of his life.
On leaving the service Eric trained as a draftsman and began a collection of militaria. By the 1960s he had moved to Cornwall and began work with English China Clays at St Austell, while his militaria collection started to focus on medals.
From an early point in his collecting life Eric was always interested in the man behind the medal. Researching was not an easy task in the 1960s or 1970s, so Eric began the mammoth task of compiling records of R.N. casualties. When I, as a young collector, first met Eric in the early 1980s in Plymouth, he already had all the casualty records for the R.N. from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at home, copied and indexed. This, of course, meant he could look up a naval casualty long before the CWGC was online. As a result of his records Eric was a regular consultant for Navy News and several medal dealers of the time but remained uncredited for this. It was his way to help out.
Eric remained a collector till the last and instructed that this collection was to be sold off on his passing. His archive, however, has been presented to the Chatham Dockyard Historical Society where it may be consulted in due course; a very appropriate home for this one-time Chatham rating's life's work.
Eric leaves two sons and a daughter.